Are there non-arabic words in the holy Kur'an?

  • Enes Karić, prof.dr.


In this paper (more an essay than a scientific study) we try to point out the essential problems evident in the field of Islamic and Oriental exegesis and hermeneutics of non-Arabic words in the Kur’an. We try to cite the arguments of Abu Ubayde, Muhammad ibn Garir at-Tabari and others who assert that there aren't non- Arabic words in the Kur'an. However, we have given more space to those who uphold the opinion (Ibn Abbas, as-Sayuti, az-Zarkaši and others) that there exist non-Arabic words in the Kur’an. It is natural that we have developed their opinions in more detail. The classical exegesis and hermeneutics of the Kur’an maintain the predominant attitude that there are non-Arabic words in the Kur’an and that this field isn't blasphemous to study. The Kur'an itself says that nothing was said to Muhammad that hadn't been said to the prophets before him; that is, that the basic monotheistic massages came and were proclaimed also in Hebrew, Aramaic and other languages which God decided to make sacred languages.

In the Kur'an some words from the previous proclamations were revived. This is a great proof of how much the Kur'an relied on the original monotheistic traditions, the eternal reiligion (religio perennis). On the basic of this literature it is possible to asceirtain that in the Kur'an there exisit Ethiopic, Persian, Greek, Hindu, Syriac, Hebrew, Nabataean, Ćoptic, Turkish, Berber and »Negro« words. Of course, numerous theses most be explored and examidied to avoid error. Representing oriental opinions, we used the works of A. Jeffery, Rodi Pareit, J.D. Pearson, A.T. Welch, T. Noldeke, Joseph Horovitz and many others. We also point to the harm done when some writers tried, by means of foreign vocabulary in the Kur'an, to make of Muhammad a great genius who »with ten hands seized from all traditions to compile the Kur'an«. lit seems that we got the basic stimuli for this essay by reading the situdies of S.H. Nasir and Frithjof Schuon. They, by means of their assertions that Islam inherited the main flows of religio-perennis, helped much to better understand this problem.

How to Cite
Karić, E. (1987). Are there non-arabic words in the holy Kur’an?. Anali Gazi Husrev-Begove Biblioteke, 8(13-14), 135-152. Retrieved from