The Philosophy of Language - Part Three: The Mechanics of Language

We can use Philosophy, as a language in and of itself, to go deeper into understanding what was spoken, what thoughts were relayed, or what knowledge was revealed and shared, and this is known as the Philosophy of Language. That the truth of something is given by Allah to someone, and that someone discloses the truth in a form best comprehended by that individual. In that, we can try our utmost to determine that truth, by analyzing that individual’s thoughts and inherent personality to trace the spoken sounds and their meanings.

The same case is applied to the Qur’an and Hadith. It is folly, in the determination of truth, to translate the Qur’an and Hadith into English, or any other language, and base an interpretation from those translated languages. One must trace all the relayed symbols back to the source origin and determine ‘what was spoken’, ‘how it was spoken’, and ‘why it was spoken’ in the manner that it was, and this cannot be done in a translated language. It must be done in the source language. The Arabic that was spoken in that environ, with its social influences, thoughts, tones, emotions, and philosophies. No one can definitively identify a Cosmological language, by which I mean the language from which all other speech comes from. A language that is spoken throughout the cosmos, that every being communicates with. The language of the Angels, with which they communicate with Allah, or the True speech of Allah. One might pose the argument that since Allah has disclosed the creation of man in the Qur’an in Arabic, then that would have been the language of communication between Allah and Adam. But a counter to that argument can also be that the creation of man was not first introduced in the Qur’an, but in all previous scriptures as well, which were not revealed in Arabic. The conversations between Allah and Adam were revealed to the Israelites in Hebrew. They would have been revealed to Ibrahim in his tongue, or to Nuh in his tongue. Yet we find something very unique when comprehending our Beloved Prophet’s miraculous journey through the cosmos, in that he spoke with other prophets and messengers in a language comprehensible to both! Even though the narration of this event has been done in Arabic by the Holy Prophet himself, whose tongue is of the Arabs, it is not likely that he conversed with all the other Prophets in Arabic, especially if Arabic was unknown to them, or especially if he himself did not know their tongues. The question then is, how did they converse? Which language did they speak? One must understand that this journey through the cosmos was not in biological form, however much that can be argued. The logical implication is that the human biological body cannot enter a dimension other than the biological three-dimensions it is confined to. Therefore, the biological vocal chords required to communicate would not have been applicable. It holds therefore that the conversations between the Prophets would not have been in an earthly tongue, rather a language of the Heavens, in a form unknown to us. That being said, the speech with which Allah has revealed the Qur’an to us contains both the essences of an earthly language, Arabic, and an unknown cosmological language embedded into the Arabic language. This is hypothetical, of course, and only Almighty Allah truly knows best. But what it enables us to perceive is that the language Allah has chosen for the Qur’an must be a language correct in every form, that is, without any error. This is called Al-Fus’ha الفصحى . It is pure in grammar and syntax, delivered in its raw form without any edits or corrections required. With this understanding, and a proper analysis of the language, Arab linguists structured and refined their own spoken language in a manner that preserves the source origin, so that whenever it is relayed, it flows in a true and correct form, free from any misunderstanding. These are the mechanics of language, that each proponent fits into another in perfect harmony and balance, like the gears of a machine, or the pieces of a puzzle. More importantly, because we, in our current state, are suspended in a Spacio-Temporal realm whereby we cannot actually hear Allah speak the Qur’an, nor can we hear, first-hand, the Holy Prophet speak, we have no other choice than to decipher the symbolic inscription of their speech in the preserved texts. For this reason, the mechanics of language, within a correct Epistemology, become vital tools in order to correctly understand the Qur’an and Hadith, because we are unable to first-hand witness the tone, emotion, body language or narrative state of the speakers themselves, nor the environs and atmospheres in which they spoke. The Mechanics This is not an article on how to learn the language, rather it is to understand the dynamics of the language. It cannot be emphasized enough that every knowledge seeker must learn the Arabic language for the purpose of understanding the Qur’an and Hadith. Neither can be understood in translated scripts. The Arabic language has three proponents which are structured to relay the three core principles of every occurrence and its knowledge. The ‘actor’, the ‘action’, and their ‘orientational coordinates’. Or the ‘doer’, the ‘deed’, and exact marker of both. The Ism اسم, the Fi’l فعل, and the Harf حرف. These three proponents come together to enable the listener with an imaginative description of what was done, who did it, and in what context. For instance, the first portion of Baqarah 2:30; وَإِذۡ قَالَ رَبُّكَ Can be broken down into; ‘And when’ - وَإِذۡ - Harf ‘He said’ - قَالَ - Fi’l ‘Your Lord’ - رَبُّكَ - Ism This structure allows the listener to comprehend what is being relayed as “And when your Lord said” by immediately recognizing that ‘at a certain point in time, Allah said something’, after which he can then proceed to understand what follows. The same core mechanics apply to all other languages, where these three proponents are a necessity in conveying thoughts and emotions with utmost accuracy. This is language in its simplest form, so that even one who is illiterate can understand purely through sound. Each of the symbols convey their unique sounds, and when put together they convey the individual sounds corresponding to the doer, the deed, and the context, and when they are all put together in the correct order, they convey a message which can be comprehended. These basic mechanics of language can then undergo various morphs, shapes, and forms, which can then be put together to convey the relative meanings, such that the message can be comprehended in its entirety. In all cases, the message always relates to the fundamental questions asked in order to acquire knowledge, which are universal in every language, both in relation to the doer and the deed, the actor and the action. What; as in what happened? What is it? What does it mean? How; as in how did it happen? How is its state? How can its meaning be derived? Why; as in why did it happen? Why is it the way it is? Why does does it exist? When; in providing the coordinate of Time. When; in providing the coordinate of Space. The mechanics of language grow ever more complex as language itself is something that matures over time. This maturity comes about through the morphology of the symbols in the language, from their root origins into something that defines a specific. Here we enter the realm of Linguistics and the sciences of language, by studying subjects such as Morphology and Etymology, among various others. Etymology deals with breaking down a particular symbol into its root origin to determine its core meaning, and how that core meaning is shared with other symbols of similar or different meanings. This is an essential skill in understanding the true meaning of something spoken or written. For instance, the symbol ايمان (Imaan - Faith) is broken down as ا ي م ا ن and is found to have the trilateral root of ا م ن which is also shared by the symbol امانه (Amaanah - Trust). In this context, even though Imaan is recognized as ‘Faith’ and ‘Belief’, one can understand it as the act of having faith is the act of trusting, and thus we can understand that the symbolic and philosophical meaning of Imaan is in the essence of ‘believing and having faith in Allah by virtue of trusting in Him’. Morphology deals with identifying how a symbol changes its core shape to convey a specific meaning. For instance, where ايمان (Imaan) is the act of ‘believing’, how can this core symbol be used to identify the actor who has faith, that is to say, how do we identify the ‘believer’. In this context, the symbol م (Meem) is applied to the symbol ايمان in order to attach the ‘actor’ to the ‘action’ so that one can immediately recognize by sight or sound that the symbol مؤمن (Mu’min) denotes a ‘believer’. Note how even though both مؤمن and ايمان share the same trilateral root of ا م ن , both have undergone a change in shape and form to convey two separate, yet affiliated meanings. The same principles of etymology and morphology apply to any other language. Since modern languages are seen as words and letters instead of symbols, it seems fitting to describe them as such for the purpose of comprehension. Regardless, one must never take the meanings of words in any language by mere surface analysis. Where possible, if the Etymology and Morphology can be applied, astounding results can emerge. For instance, the word ‘default’ mentioned at the beginning of the first article has a surface meaning of ‘something that is usual or standard’ meaning something that always adheres to a standardized norm. The true meaning of the word is something else entirely. Its roots are traced as such; ‘Default’ (modern English), from ‘Defaut’ (old French) from ‘Defaillir’ (to fail - also old French) from ‘Fallere’ (disappoint or deceive - Latin), which denotes the word ‘Default’ to have a meaning of ‘fail and disappoint, or deceive an obligation’. Now, perhaps, my statement ‘We have unknowingly defaulted the Will of God by acting on defaultive impulses, embedded into our minds by the defaulter’ can be understood with what I really meant to convey. We have unknowingly disappointed the Will of God by acting on deceptive impulses, embedded into our minds by the deceiver. In this age of deception, language is the primary tool used by the deceiver to deceive. In the twisting and turning of letters and words, he can so easily take us off the right path, because we who were once the guardians of knowledge have forgotten our purpose. We have disappointed our creator by becoming too lazy to investigate and determine the truth.