22. The dialects of the urban population.



The dialects of the urban population follow the language of the nation or race that has control of (the cities in question) or has founded them. Therefore, the dialects spoken in all Muslim cities in the East and the West at this time are Arabic, even though the habit of the Arabic Mudar language has become corrupted and its vowel endings (i'rab) have changed.184 The reason for this is the fact that the Muslim dynasty gained power over (foreign) nations. Religion and religious organization constitute the form for existence and royal authority, which (together) constitute the matter for (religion).185 Form is prior to matter. Religion is derived from the religious law, which is in Arabic, because the Prophet was an Arab. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid using any language but Arabic in all the provinces of (Islam).

This may be exemplified by 'Umar's prohibition against using the idiom native among the non-Arabs. He said that it is khibb, that is, "ruse" and "deceit." Since the religion (Islam) avoided the non-Arab dialects, and the language of the supporters of the Muslim dynasty was Arabic, those (dialects) were avoided altogether in all its provinces, because people follow the government and adopt its religion (ways).186 Use of the Arabic language became a symbol of Islam and of obedience to the Arabs. The (foreign) nations avoided using their own dialects and languages in all the cities and provinces, and the Arabic language became their language. Eventually, (Arabic) became firmly rooted as the (spoken) language in all their cities and towns. The non :Arab languages came (to seem) imported and foreign there. The Arabic language became corrupt through contact with (foreign languages) in some of its rules 187 and through changes of the word endings, even though it remained unchanged semantically. (This type of Arabic) was called "the sedentary language" (and was used) in all the cities of Islam.

Furthermore, most of the inhabitants of the cities of Islam at this time are descendants of the Arabs who were in possession of these cities and perished in their luxury. They outnumbered the non-Arabs who lived there and inherited their land and country. Now, languages are inherited. Thus, the language spoken by the descendants has remained close to that of their forefathers, even though its rules have gradually become corrupted by contact with non-Arabs. It was called "sedentary" with reference to the inhabitants of settled region's and cities, in contrast to the language of the desert Arabs, which is more deeply rooted in Arabism.

When non-Arabs, such as the Daylam and, after them, the Saljuqs in the East and the Zanitah and Berbers in the West, became the rulers and obtained royal authority and control over the whole Muslim realm, the Arabic language suffered corruption. It would almost have disappeared, if the concern of the Muslims with the Qur'an and the Sunnah, which preserve Islam, had not (also) preserved the Arabic language. This (concern) became an element in favor of the persistence of the sedentary dialect used in the cities as an Arabic (sedentary dialect in its original form). But when the Tatars and Mongols, who were not Muslims, became the rulers in the East, this element in favor of the Arabic lan­guage disappeared, and the Arabic language was absolutely doomed. No trace of it has remained in these Muslim provinces: the 'Iraq, Khurisan, the country. of Firs (southern Persia), Eastern and Western India, Transoxania, the northern countries, and the Byzantine territory (Anatolia). The Arabic methods (uslub) 188 of poetry and speech have disappeared, save for a (remnant). Instruction in (what little Arabic is known) is a technical matter using rules learned from the sciences of the Arabs and through memorizing their speech. (It is restricted) to those persons whom God has equipped for it. The sedentary Arabic dialect has largely remained in Egypt, Syria, Spain, and the Maghrib, because Islam still remains (there) and requires it. Therefore, it has been preserved to some degree. But in the provinces of the 'Iraq and beyond (to the East), no trace or source of (the Arabic language) has remained. Even scientific books have come to be written in the non-Arabic (Persian) language, which is also used for instruction in (Arabic) 189 in class.

God determines night and day.190