An Introduction to the language of the Arabs
Ibn 'Ajiba

From amongst the most important things that the human being can concern himself with after rectifying his din, and realising both his faith and outward practice, is the rectification of his tongue from erring in speech. And that is (attained) by ones immersion in Arabic language and lexicography.  Since by that one strengthens ones understanding of His mighty Book and the Sunnah of His Prophet through both of which the din is established. Thus, its existence became fixed with the Muslims. And were it not for this noble science, change and deviation would surely have entered into the prophetic Sunnah and flaws would certainly have occurred in the understanding of the decisive Book of Allah. Thus the preservation of this science became personally obligatory upon every sensible person with intellect.

Then it becomes obligatory after the rectification of ones tongue to begin rectifying ones intellect and soul by purifying it from vices and embellishing it with different types of virtues, by that enabling ones heart to radiate the lights of the reality of tawhid and the secrets of tafrid. For the rectification of the tongue is a perfection without a perfection, whilst the rectification of both of them is utter perfection. How excellent was Sibawaih, may Allah be pleased with him, when he said;

An eloquent tongue, pure Arabic in its speech,
If only it would save one from the sorrow of exposure,
Pure Arabic speech doesn’t benefit one who isn’t God-fearing,
Whilst an unintelligible tongue never harmed the God-fearing one.

The upright scholar, the jurist al-Maimuni said, “ and from what is even more repulsive is that the human being learns or teaches the rectification of the tongue, whilst neither learning nor teaching the rectification of the heart which is the ‘abode’ of the Lord. For Grammar is of two types, the grammar (as used by the) the mouth’s tongue and the ‘grammar’ of the heart. And knowledge of the grammar of the heart, in the opinion of those of intellect, is more certain and more beneficial than the knowledge of the tongue. Due to the fact that we find he who hasn’t perfected the articulation of the speech of the Arabs, erring in his utterances by making what is accusative nominative and what is nominative accusative, in the state that he finds himself in, lacking (knowledge) of both the Qur’an and the Sunnah. And this is widespread in the time we live in. And this is blameworthy with Allah and His Messenger, such that he said; ‘The wretched of my nation are the versed ones.’ And he also said ‘Knowledge is of two types, knowledge of the tongue and that is Allah’s proof against the son of Adam, and knowledge of the heart and that is beneficial knowledge’ ”
Knowledge of the heart is great certitude and knowledge of Allah characterised by clarity. It is the hearts grammar and it is personally obligatory on every Muslim, meaning the treatment of the heart that has been afflicted with illness’ such as love of the lower world which is the chieftan of all sins, anxiety over provision, fear of creation and whatever else from those illness’ that hinder one from the knowledge and the witnessing of al-Haqq. This is the hearts grammar, the Sufis have called it al-mahu with the letter mim, because it effaces from the heart everything other than Allah. And this knowledge is the ultimate goal (final resting place), the sphere of contemplation, indeed  with it they have no need for the remaining sciences. It was said to the great friend (of Allah), my master Ahmad bin Musa, may Allah be pleased with him, “have you studied grammar?” He replied “I have (only) read two lines from the Alfiyya ‘we have no option except to follow Ahmad’ and his statement ‘do whatever has been made permissible  and leave that which hasn’t been made permissible.’ The sheikh of our sheikhs the essence of our way, my master al-Arabi, may Allah be pleased with him said, “ I had no knowledge of grammar except the inflection of the saying of He the most High ‘if they are poor, Allah will enrich them of His bounty.’ ‘If’ here is a conditional particle and ‘will enrich them’ is the response to that condition and what is intended by enrichment is al-Akbar. So it is a direct address to those that are heading for the path of the People of symbolic expressions.

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