Some Linguistic Sobriety from Ibn Ḥazm of Cordoba

"Some people labor under the impression that their language is superior to all others. This makes no sense. The aspects of superiority are known: things are superior either by the work they do or by selection. But languages do not actually do work, and there is no scriptural testimony about the preference of one language over another. The Almighty says: “We have not sent a prophet except using the language of his community so he can explain things to them”, and also: “We revealed it only in your language in order that they may remember it”. With these words God informs us that He only revealed the Qur’ān in Arabic to make the Prophet’s community understand the message. Here, Galen was in error when he said: “Greek is the most superior language, because other languages resemble the barking of dogs or the croaking of frogs”. This is ignorant hokum. Anyone who hears a foreign language he does not understand regards it in the same way as Galen does other languages."

وقد توهم قوم في لغتهم أنها أفضل اللغات وهذا لا معنى له لأن وجوه الفضل معروفة ، وإنما هي بعمل أو اختصاص ولا عمل للغة؛ ولا جاء نص في تفضيل لغة على لغة ، وقد قال تعالى : {وَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلاَّ بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ لَهُمْ فَيُضِلُّ اللَّهُ مَن يَشَآءُ وَيَهْدِي مَن يَشَآءُ وَهُوَ الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ } وقال تعالى : {فَإِنَّمَا يَسَّرْنَاهُ بِلِسَانِكَ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَذَكَّرُونَ } .فأخبر تعالى أنه لم ينزل القرآن بلغة العرب إلا ليفهم ذلك قومه ﷺ لا لغير ذلك ، وقد غلط في ذلك جالينوس فقال : إن لغة اليونانيين أفضل اللغات لأن سائر اللغات إنما هي تشبه إما نباح الكلاب أو نقيق الضفادع . قال أبو محمد: وهذا جهل شديد لأن كل سامع لغة ليست لغته ولا يفهمها، فهي عنده في النصاب الذي ذكره جالينوس ولا فرق

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