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Tamannī If Wishes Were...: Notes on Wishing in Islamic Texts

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Chapter Summary

The undoubtedly universal human practice of making wishes could not fail to attract the attention of Muslim thinkers and scholars. For one thing, both the Qurʾān and ḥadīth make mention of wishing and address the appropriateness of making certain wishes. Moreover, in the particle layta, the Arabic language possesses a grammatical device specifically suited for making wishes. Wishing thus has a small but distinct place in the exegesis of the Qurʾān and ḥadīth and in Arabic philology. According to Thaʿlab (d. 291/903-4) a wish is “a suggestion of the mind concerning what can be and what cannot be” (ḥadīth al-nafs bimā yakūnu wa-bimā lā yakūnu). Ibn Durayd (d. 321/933), on the other hand, offered an overtly etymological derivation of the term tamannī.

Keywords: ḥadīth; Arabic philology; Muslim scholars; Muslim thinkers; Qurʾān; tamannī; universal human practice



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