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Arabs And Arabic In The Age Of The Prophet

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Chapter Summary

The linguistic conditions that prevailed in Arabia at the time of the revelation of the Qurʾan are one of the most hotly debated issues among Arabists. The problem is important not only for the history of the Arabic language, but also for the understanding of the nature and original purpose of early Islamic preaching. It must be said from the very outset that there is no agreement among Arabists about the linguistic situation in pre-Islamic and early Islamic Arabia. The fact is that the Qurʾan uses an Aramaic orthography which is reminiscent of that of the Namara inscription, and which does not render all the details of the structure of the ʿArabiyya. It is well worth noting that according to the Qurʾan, the term designating a professional user of this poetic language, that is, a shāʿir ("poet" in later Arabic) actually had more or less the same meaning as kāhin.

Keywords: Arabists; Aramaic orthography; Islamic preaching; Qurʾan

10.1163/ej.9789004176881.i-864.64
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