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Ghazal and Grammar: al-Bāʿūnī’s Taḍmīn Alfiyyat Ibn Mālik fī l-Ghazal

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Chapter Summary

The beginnings of Arabic grammar featured a close relation with other disciplines such as qirāʾāt (Qurʾānic readings), tafsīr (Qurʾānic exegesis), muʿjam (lexicography), balāgha (rhetoric), naqd(poetics), fiqh(Islamic law), and uṣūl al-fijiqh(principles of Islamic law). Ramzi Baalbaki, additionally, highlights an important link between grammar and balāgha, suggesting that the latter was a result of "the failure of the grammarians in interpreting linguistic data primarily in accordance with meaning rather than the formal considerations they employed - let alone their inability to create a coherent grammatical theory based on meaning," nevertheless, this new discipline of balāgha"has its very roots embedded in naḥw. By comparing two key figures of naḥw and balāgha, respectively Sībawayhi and al-Jurjānī, he brings to light the delicate relation between naḥw and balāgha with respect to concept, method, and terms, and clarifies the undermined contribution of the early Arab grammarians to syntactical and stylistic studies.

Keywords:Arabic grammar; balāgha; naḥw



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