Question: “Isn’t the Evolution of Arabic an evidence against Islam?”

In connection with a previous question, the skeptic says that surely, in the thousands of years when Arabic has been evolving as a language, a good percentage of the language must have become modified in some sense [i.e. in structure, meanings of words, etc.]. He asks that, are we Muslims really sure that the Arabic of the Jaahiliya time was really the best, with nothing better than it before or after, and if so, where are the scientific studies which show this claim to be true.

He explains that since the arrival of Islam, many new terms have entered into the normative version of Arabic, the grammar has changed and many other modifications have come upon it which seriously call into question the eternal validity of classical Arabic as the best mode of human expression [the skeptic maintains that languages do change as a natural matter of course, but it is our insistence that there is indeed a peak of linguistic achievement which is problematic for any objective and serious researcher into the Islamic religion]

Answered by Sharif Randhawa (Researcher at Bayyinah Institute, owner of Qur’anic Musings blog), with slight modifications

If someone wants to attempt the challenge in the standard modern version of Arabic, or in any other form of Arabic, then they are by all means welcome to try.  However, I think they will be unable to meet the challenge before they even begin.  That is because the vocabulary and grammar of Classical Arabic if far richer, more meaningful, more precise, and much more rhetorically significant.

If someone wants proof of this, all they have to do is consult one of the sundry medieval or modern lexicons of Classical Arabic and manuals of grammar of Classical Arabic and rhetoric that are available, since these are enormous sets of volumes that many a times had to completed by more than one author over the course of their lives.  I don’t think anyone, no matter how skilled they are, will be able to meet the standard of the Qur’an by using modern Arabic—though again, as I said, they are welcome to try.

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