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In the Name of God بسم الله

Linguistics Discussion: Arabic vs Hebrew. Similarities and Differences

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I've heard and took some elementary lessons learning Hebrew and Arabic to find out how eerily similar these languages sound despite some minor differences. Hebrew is the language of the Israelites, while Arabic is the language of not just the Arabs but of the Ishmaelites importantly given Prophet Ishmael/Ismail (AS)'s legacy he left behind in the soils of Arabia. I think it's a fair statement to state that both Hebrew and Arabic are brother languages.

Now what I wish to discuss is the following,

1. If it is well known fact that both the Hebrew term "Shalom" and the Arabic term "Salam" mean the same thing which is translated as "Peace", then is there a Hebrew equivalent of the Arabic terms "Muslim", "Islam", "Kaafir", and "Shahaada"?

2. If Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, and all 3 Abrahamic Religions with most of their scholars are in agreement with this statement, then what was he? Some would like to simply label Abraham as a Monotheist and consider him a Founding Father of the 3 Abrahamic Religions. Plain and Simple. However, If its true in the Quran Surah 3:67


jesus - Qur'an Search - The Noble Qur'an - القرآن الكريم

SAHIH INTERNATIONAL TRANSLATION: Abraham was neither a Jew nor a Christian, but he was one inclining toward truth, a Muslim [submitting to Allah]. And he was not of the polytheists.

TRANSLITERATION: Ma kana ibraheemuyahoodiyyan wala nasraniyyan walakinkana haneefan musliman wama kana minaalmushrikeen

Now the meaning of the term "Muslim" in the Quran from what I understand from my teachings so far is that it is a universal term that is interrelated to the Shahaada (Statement of Faith) in Islam.

Muslim: Those who submit themselves to the belief that there is no god except God, and Prophet So-and-So is His Messenger.

Thus, Prophet Abraham submitted himself that there is no god except God, and He is God's Messenger. During Prophet Abraham (AS)'s time period, this Shahaada would be the norm to distinguish between those who submit and those who don't. Same case for Adam (عليه السلام) all the way to Jesus/Yehshua/Isa (عليه السلام).

Therefore, the Arabic terms "Muslim" and "Kaafir" are God given universal labels within the Arabic Language to distinguish between those who submit to Him and accepted His Prophet as His Messenger at whichever timeline along with those who don't submit to Him and don't accept His Prophet as His Messenger.

The current Shahaada of Islam is as follows in Transliteration of the original Arabic language


La illaha illallah Muhammad ur rasullullah

Where Muhammad (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) is God's Messenger.

However, if we all were in Abraham's timeline, then the Shahaada in Arabic Transliteration would be,


La illaha illallah Ibrahim ur rasullullah

Where Abraham/Ibrahim (عليه السلام) is God's Messenger.

Now that we've digested the Shahaada of Islam, what would be the Hebrew translated version of the "Shahaada" which is in Arabic language?

3. If the Quran is in original Classical Arabic, would it be a fair game if Muslim scholars translate the Quran from Classical Arabic to Classical Hebrew to see if the miracle of The Quran being the Word of Allah which is the Arabic term for the Hebrew term "Ellah" also holds true in Classical Hebrew? In other words, would translating the Quran from The Original Classical Arabic to Classical Hebrew be a 100% Accurate and Perfect Translation? What makes me so angry at this day and age is how Non-Muslims with their ignorance do NOT understand the Arabic Language of The Quran which makes me think that such Non-Muslims are projecting their inherent racism towards the Arabs and NOT considering learning their own language to understand just how Context Sensitive The Quran is. Similar case can be made for the Hebrew Language as well.

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5 hours ago, ZethaPonderer said:

"Muslim", "Islam", "Kaafir", and "Shahaada"?

Muslim “Meshulam” according to Rashi, kaffur “kofer” dont know about shahaada but know “our Lord” is “Ribinu” 


5 hours ago, ZethaPonderer said:

then what was he?

Hanif, Abraham’s religion “hanif” continued through some of the Ishmaelites. 


5 hours ago, ZethaPonderer said:

to Jesus/Yehshua/Isa (عليه السلام).


1. It’s Isho Msheekha not “Y’shua” which is an insult to Isa ((عليه السلام)).

2. The shahada for the original Christians is highlighted in John 17:3

3Now this is eternal life: that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent.

3. the current Jews believe their shahada is the shema “shama’a Yisroel Adonai eloheinu Adonai echad” as for the original followers of prophet Musa ((عليه السلام)) it’s unknown but since prophet Isa ((عليه السلام)) confirms the saying of shadaha it’s fair to assume that prophet Musa ((عليه السلام)) also preached the saying of the shahada.

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6 hours ago, ZethaPonderer said:

which is the Arabic term for the Hebrew term "Ellah" also holds true in Classical Hebrew?

“Allah” in Hebrew is “Alahim” transliteration.  In Aramaic in Jesus dialect  it’s “Allaha” in the Dialect of Jeremiah, Ezra and Daniel it’s “Allah”. 

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On 7/22/2020 at 5:14 AM, ZethaPonderer said:

1. If it is well known fact that both the Hebrew term "Shalom" and the Arabic term "Salam" mean the same thing which is translated as "Peace", then is there a Hebrew equivalent of the Arabic terms "Muslim", "Islam", "Kaafir", and "Shahaada"?

Islam, and subsequently its active participle, Muslim, acquired a distinct meaning of "surrender" in Arabic. In other Central Semitic languages -- Hebrew and Aramaic -- the verb has more the meaning to hand something over or to complete. In Hebrew, there is no "if'aal" verb stem, rather the hiph'iil stem, in which you have של''ם appear as השלים (to complete, preform, make an end of), in Aramaic you have in some varieties a he-prefix (haphel) and in other varieties an aleph-prefix (aphel). So we find in Syriac, for example, ܐܫܠܡ meaning to deliver or hand over. So while these words do have cognates, the usage and meaning isn't the same between them (that isn't to say they have the original meaning or Arabic does, since we can't look at their ancestor to find out how it would've used the ancestor word seeing as the ancestor of these languages didn't have any records). Kafir being the active participle of kafara does have cognates in Hebrew and Aramaic, Hebrew in the Piel stem (cognate to the Arabic bab taf'iil and Aramaic pael stem) had kipper meaning to cover and of course the word Kippuur (as in Yom Kippur) is cognate with Arabic كفارة (kaffara), at least in usage as they mean the same thing. In Aramaic kfar means to deny which also has a similar conceptual meaning to the theological usage of the word in Arabic. And as for shahada, in both Hebrew and in Aramaic cognates exist, שהד (śāhēδ) and שהד or ܐܣܗܕ respectively. Though for Hebrew, I've observed the word עד is more common. And the reason for the differences between shalom and salam have to do with sound changes, in Arabic the pronunciation of sibilants (the sounds s, sh, and ś fall into) shifted around as the proto-Semitic ś was lost (yes, Arabic did lose sounds and change the pronunciation of others, e.g. s might've been more of an affricate than a sibilant, so a /ts/). So /sh/ shifted to a /s/ in Arabic, while in Hebrew and other Canaanite languages there was a shift in long /a/ to a long /o/, so the active participle shifted for example from pā'il to pō'ēl. In certain environments as well short vowels elongated as well based on stress, taking us from earlier *šalām to šālōm. There's been an excellent PhD thesis written about the development of Biblical Hebrew vowels by Benjamin Suchard, now at Leiden University, I've really breezed over complex sound changes for the sake of simplicity so if you want a full treatment of this subject, refer to him and refer to Ahmad Al Jallad (formerly at Leiden University and now I believe at Ohio) for the development of Old Arabic, also to Marijn van Putten -- the latter of which I've been in contact with for a couple of years now.


On 7/22/2020 at 1:36 PM, Ali_Hussain said:

*video comparing Arabic and Hebrew*

I had to express disappointment that whenever we Muslims engage with other classical languages this is the sort of level of discussion. I'm going to ignore mistakes he made when talking about sound mergers and just address his main argument. Biblical Hebrew managed to preserve a distinction that Arabic lost altogether by the time of the Quran, the phoneme /ś/ (Welsh double L), but it doesn't mean that for preserving it, at least in writing, that there was somehow an edge that makes it objectively better in a way than Arabic. And the ambiguities between ḥārash to till and ḥārash to be silent are still preserved in context, which is the arbitrator in any such instance and works to obviously disambiguate the various meanings Arabic words can have as well. It doesn't really speak to the quality of the language let alone whether they are capable of carrying a "linguistic miracle". And I think this is another instance showing what makes demonstrating this a silly task, we need to count how many ways Arabic is a superior language, a concept no linguist would endorse, to show how it was capable of transmitting a linguistic miracle, and we demonstrate that by counting how many rhetorical devices are in a passage. It really lacks the sort of objectively miraculous quality that one would expect.

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