Souq Ukaz near Ta’if was a seasonal market which operated for two weeks each year during the month of Dhu al-Qi'dah.
It was active from approximately 542-726 CE. It was more than a market, it was an important center where Arabs would meet to formalize tribal rules, settle disputes, pass judgments, make agreements, announce treaties and truces, hold sporting competitions and races, poetry competitions, and religious gatherings. It was especially important for poetry competitions, which served to formalize rules of Arabic language grammar and syntax.
The linguistic competitions of the Ukaz market should be imagined as the Greek Olympics in sports, however here the words and poems challenged each other to a noble competition. Meanwhile, the language was purified, settled, freed from frills, and became suitable to express lofty thoughts. The revelations of the Quran were sent down by Allah (SWT) between 610-633 to His Prophet (peace be upon him) in this purified Arabic language.
The nation lives in its language, and when the language is destroyed, the nation is lost. Neither the Quran nor the Arabic language could not get rid of the attempts of “falsification,” “modernization,” or incorporation into other local languages. But thank to Allah, all these remained only attempts which have been failed. Among the first has to be mentioned was Musaylimah who, as a contemporary of the Prophet (peace be upon him), claimed for himself the same prophecy and in order to prove his authenticity produced false “surahs”, which were ridiculous, infantile. Thus, he is referred in the tradition as “Musaylimah the liar”.
I do not wish to present all the experiments, rather I’d like to mention the ruler, the governor (wali), whom we are not able to thank enough for his role in preserving the Arabic language and thus the linguistics and inner spirit of the Quran.
Mohammed Ali Pasha ruled over Egypt, Levante and Sudan as a governor authorized by the Ottoman Empire between 1805-1848. Originally of Albanian descent, Ali Pasha was the person who laid down the foundations of modern Egypt. In addition to setting up an army, boosting industrialization, science, education, he also realized that the Arabic language and its application in the system could not be left out, in order to consolidate the consciousness of Egypt and the entire Muslim Umma.
Despite of Ali Pasha practiced Albanian, Turkish, French languages he turned towards the Arabic while he was only speaking and not reading it. It was his age when Napoleon withdrew from Egypt and after the fragile Mameluk power exhausted during 600 years, Ali Pasha introduced a new, firm administration with a hard hand. The cultural, scientific and technical power of the age was France.
The language was one of the pillars of English and French colonization. Using the language of the colonizer served the general principle that a local language is not able to express the scientific and intellectual content of modern terminologies and the most advanced achievements of a given age, so a local language is not suitable for “civilized” expression and understanding. I.e., a local language is uncivilized, barbaric. This colonialist perception was hampered by Ali Pasha and it was a huge discovery on his part. He knew that a foreign language was an essential part of a modernization process, but regarding the maintenance of local culture and faith only the local language could play a preservative role. He also knew that a language other than Arabic cannot express the essence of the “faith” taught in the Quran. Thus, if the Arabic is lost, the faith that holds Umma together is lost.
n the 1820s, Muhammad Ali sent the first educational "mission" of Egyptian students to Europe. This contact resulted revolution in literature that is considered the dawn of the Arabic literary renaissance, known as the Nahda.
To support the modernization of industry and the military, Muhammad Ali set up a number of schools in various fields where French texts were studied. Ali Pasha appointed Rifa'a al-Tahtawi, who supervised translations from French to Arabic on topics ranging from sociology and history to military technology, and these translations have been considered the second great translation movement, after the first from Greek into Arabic.
The unforgettable merit of Rifa’a al-Tahtawi was that the French language did not marginalized Arabic, and as a result of his work, the appropriate terminologies and technical jargons also appeared in Arabic. If foreign technical words were to settle en masse instead, it would only be a matter of time and they would have taken over the linguistic areas where the soul of the nation lives, feeds and recharges. Well, that was hindered by this hero language supervisor.
English, French, or even Hungarian only cover the concepts for which these languages have been developed. Even after 40 years of active reading and study of the Quran, I myself discover new meanings in the Arabic body text, which I have to interpret over and over again in my own mother tongue. Therefore, the posts in which people indicate that they have read the Quran and is written in it so and so, makes me smile. The Quran cannot be read. Or it can be read, but not in the way how a non-specialized European or other brain does it, because this brain does not contain the meanings, comprehensions that belong to a given word. So, it is unnecessary to argue with these posts. I go further. Nor is it worth arguing with born-Arab people either who are not familiar with the language of the Quran. So nascency is no guarantee either. The language of the Quran demands depth and inspiration. It takes many years for this to develop, during which the content can be evoked in a state of a continuous transcendence. It’s like a violinist practicing in vain for 5-6 hours a day, interpreting and performing the same piece is different in the ages of 20 and 60, not to mention the transcendence, which also changes, deepens.
So, my answer to the question whether Arabic language belongs to the Quran and Islam: YES! It belongs to it inseparably. Although it is possible to add to the body text of Quran explanations, interpretations in another languages, however the Quran itself cannot be preserved, recited or quoted in a language other than Arabic. With this statement, I also admit that my own translation and explanation of the Quran is not and cannot be perfect. I am glad if I was able to give 20-30 percent of what Allah (SWT) has revealed. I think that's a good ratio, too. I ask Allah to accept it from me and forgive if I have made mistakes in my interpretations.
A.L.R. These are the symbols (or Verses) of the perspicuous Book. (Quran 12:1)
We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an, in order that ye may learn wisdom. (Quran 12:2)
On the picture: Mohammed Ali Pasha