Etymology etc 

Recently I have revisited my passion for linguistics. Since leaving university I have endeavoured to maintain skills and knowledge I acquired on my degree as well as my overall experience of university. Whilst at university and even to this day I am amazed at the links there are between linguistics and Islam. 

The reason I ventured into etymology was because of a question about the meaning of the word ‘zamzam.’ With the easy access to wifi these days I simply searched the internet to find the same definition of ‘collecting’ again and again. However being a wordsmith this did not suffice and I knew there was more depth. Having studied Arabic for a short while I knew that even the surface level of this language had layers that were not opaque. 

So I put on my ‘linguistics hat’ (or rather hijab) and thought how I could explore this word further. It reminded me of university when I would come to a standstill with an assignment and silently converse with Allah asking to help me find the way. Then the ‘gestalt’ moment happened and I remembered etymology. It is mainly concerned with the study of the meaning and origin of words and how theses meanings have changed over the years. 

This then lead me to the other aspects of linguistics I had touched upon that I had avid interest in. For example I had completely forgotten about pragmatics and semantics. Gradually everything came back and I found it related closely to concepts in the Arabic language and Islam. As the first lexeme of revelation was ‘iqra.’


Spotted dresses and luxurious cloaks

Two days ago I dressed my daughters. Dressing my children is one of the elements of motherhood I enjoy and anticipate excitedly. The night before I mentally prepared the outfits in my mind. Both would adorn cotton attire that had been gifted to them by relatives. 

This related to a lecture I heard many years ago about Imam Abu Hanifa. He is one of the most revered scholars of Islam. He lead a humble life and had a zeal for knowledge. He had a respect for gaining and imparting knowledge especially when this related to faith. It was reflected as I recall when the orator said that; Imam Abu Hanifa would wear the best of his garments when he spoke of the Prophet (SAW.) This is how much he honoured our beloved Messenger (SAW.) 

It also made me think of how we present ourselves when we pray to our Lord or discuss issues regarding Islam. Alhumdulillah our religion has many ways we attain reward and that day I related it to how we present ourselves as Muslims.