How to write Salaam in English?

Discussion in 'Language Notes' started by sunni_porter, Aug 30, 2015.

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  1. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    yes habibi, I recognize you've addressed that, not trying to prove a point or anything, simply wanted to clarify what I had in mind when I said 'aid in their recitation' :)
  2. AbdalQadir

    AbdalQadir time to move along! will check pm's.

    habibi, i've already alluded to your point regarding letter recognition in my post #2:

    if we want transliteration to serve the purpose of a memory flashcard for the Arabic text that is already known to someone or most Muslims (and hopefully pronounced correctly), i understand what you mean there.

    if it is meant as a teaching aid to start from scratch or even to aid someone half way through, then it serves zero purpose for phonetics and in Arabic phonetics are crucial.

    nonetheless, i will repeat, as far as i know, the ulama rule that it is forbidden to transliterate the Quran or individual Surahs. it will be disastrous for someone ignorant who can think he can read the Quran just by reading the transliteration. it would also discourage learning the Arabic.

    we already are in bad enough times where fools think they are shaykhul hadith and shaykhul Islam by reading the abridged english "translations" of the hadith or the Quran.

    long story short, there are NO short cuts and quick fixes in life, especially in knowledge. no one ever became anything worthwhile in deen just by downloading some colorful smartphone apps! ;)
  3. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    I thought about what I really meant or was trying to convey by 'aid in their recitation' - I feel the transliteration assists in letter recognition and breaking words into the appropriate syllables. Not for phonetic sounds as you've pointed out.
  4. AbdalQadir

    AbdalQadir time to move along! will check pm's.

    in regards to the Quran, for the Arabic text itself, with all the harakaat and tashkeel, you could be lost if you read a variant recitation not popular in your part of the world.

    even those who know how to read properly with the pronunciation and rules of recitation, know only the specific recitation (or those specific recitations) they have read under a qualified teacher who himself learnt under a qualified teacher and so on, the chain of oral transmission going back to the Prophet 3alaihis salam.

    for example, see verses 6 & 7 of the Fatiha in the recitation of Khalaf (from Hamza), and see how the word صراط is pronounced, even though the same letter ص is used

    in the same recitation of Khalaf (from Hamza) see the variations in pronunciation of "مُوسَىٰ" and "أَدْنَىٰ " despite being written the same way, and see the pause in recitation in "تُنبِتُ الْأَرْضُ" and pay close attention to the recitation variation in "طَعَامٍ وَاحِدٍ" - in 2:61

    within the recitation of Hafs (from Asem) itself, the most popular recitation read in the world (including the subcontinent), you wouldn't know how to read a verse like 11:41 if you didn't have a proper teacher by your side

    (click on the headphone icon underneath the verses from the concerned recitation to listen)

    our holy book has come to us through a the chain of oral narration (one of the few things mr. yaqoubi got right) passed on to the masses, so strong that any error is inconceivable and an absolute impossibility.


    if you ever come across an Arabi Malayalam (as per wiki, spelt عربِ ملیاۻم, in its native script) text, see if an Urdu or Persian speaker can read it proficiently. some info on it -

    or if you know modern Turkish, try your luck with reading Ottoman Turkish - &

    not being smart. i know nothing of Arabi/c Malayalam, and am dyslexic to handicapped in trying my luck with reading Ottoman Turkish.
  5. AbdalQadir

    AbdalQadir time to move along! will check pm's.

    you learn a language under a teacher who knows how to speak it.

    no amount of transliteration, no matter how meticulously done, can ever teach you the phonetics of the Arabic (or any) language, if you're not sitting face to face with someone who knows how to speak it.

    try transliterating ڑ of Urdu and get a non-native speaker to pronounce it on his own. or see if you can make proper phonetic sense of some transliterated malayalam characters in the absence of a native speaker to guide you


    well then transliteration would beat the purpose it's supposed to supposedly serve. transliteration requires recognizing special characters (granted in one's base native script; for example you'd have to come up with a special "S" for س or ص or both) and the phonetic sounds associated with those special characters corresponding to the Arabic characters (once again requiring a teacher to teach the sounds correctly). it would in fact be confusing to identify two different sounds for the same character, one in Arabic and one in the language of transliteration.

    plus the teacher or the student should know the fiqh & recitation rules and/or permissions regarding people with speech or other impediments.
  6. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    For example an English speaker learning Arabic. They would use an English transliteration to aid in their recitation (with ultimate goal of using the Arabic only and not having to rely on transliteration). This would be considered impermissible? What if the individual has difficulty with the Arabic script due to old age or poor learning ability?
  7. AbdalQadir

    AbdalQadir time to move along! will check pm's.

    how exactly will transliteration in latin (or devanagri) or any other script aid in the recitation?

    the Arabic script with proper tashkeel and harakaat is perfect, and the only acceptable recitation aid for that purpose.
  8. sunni_porter

    sunni_porter Well-Known Member

    Even if the transliteration is meant to aid readers in their recitation?
  9. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    what about 786?
  10. AbdalQadir

    AbdalQadir time to move along! will check pm's.

    probably the thought that the transliterated "Salam" does 100% justice to the Arabic pronunciation of "سلام"

    that's why i said, if some language nazi fluent in both Arabic and english was to go all pedantic, then even "Salam" isn't full on, as the single english vowel "a" (the second time, after "L") doesn't do justice to the "لا"

    and like you said, the letter "S" doesn't fully make it obvious if the Arabic implication is س or ص

    so with the greatest respect to the mufti sahib issuing the fatwa, the implications of his fatwa are self defeating - if at all his reasoning was that transliteration in latin script alters the Arabic pronunciation and therefore the meaning of the words. furthermore, Urdu follows Arabic script and i'd hazard a guess 80% of people who read and write in proper Urdu do zero to no justice to Arabic pronunciations and by extension the meanings!!!

    nonetheless, this line of reasoning (alteration of words, meanings, pronunciations) has grounds in the fact that the ulama among the khalaf have deemed it sinful and unacceptable to even read the Arabic script without the harakaat and tashkeel (as was done by the sahaba and/or tabi3een). once again - this is a "bid3ah" that is WAJIB /FARD to be implemented in our times, something that even wahabis begrudgingly accept.

    if he had different reasoning, then of course we need to see what it is, for the fatwa doesn't specify.
  11. Aqib alQadri

    Aqib alQadri Veteran

    Thanks, and the same was assumed by me.

    If the premise about "asSalaamo alaykum" being an Arabic word (or it being part of a verse from the Qur'an) was the Mufti's concern, what prompted him to say that writing (Salam) is OK?

    Does not the "S" in English stand for "seen" as well as "suad" in Arabic?
  12. AbdalQadir

    AbdalQadir time to move along! will check pm's.

    he should have explained why "assalam-u-alaikum" is wrong (according to him)

    i have a hunch that it is because in transliteration the correct Arabic pronunciation and sometimes the meaning too gets lost, but then for common and popular words most people know the ع and ص and other letters like in "alaikum", and if someone doesn't know the proper pronunciations, the script regardless of latin or Arabic won't help him much.

    how many subcontinentals pronounce Aref with the ع?

    how many of us say Azeem (عزيم or ازيم) to someone named عظيم

    what's he going to say for writing names like Abdullah or Ali in english or Umar or Sa3d?

    i do believe it is haram to transliterate or read verses of the Quran transliterated in other scripts, regardless of how meticulous the transliteration has been

    in fact it is mardood and sinful to even read the Quran in the Arabic script without the tashkeel and the harakaat for the people of these times (wahabi alert: this is a necessary bid3ah and going against this bid3ah is sinful!!!) as opposed to the times of the pious elders who knew what they were reading and also had millions of huffazdh amongst them

    for common words like "assalam-u-alaikum" the transliteration only points to the actual and real word popularly known by most Muslims, who are either aware of the correct pronunciation and spelling or those couldn't be bothered knowing either and just go along with the wave (and so the Arabic or english script doesn't help them. Urdu script doesn't help a lot of people in many many cases)

    for awrad and duas etc from ahadith and the works of scholars and awliya, i don't know the ruling, but gut feeling tells me that provided someone actually knows the dua or wird by heart or recites it routinely, the transliteration in this case too would only be a pointer for memory, to the actual text that is already known.

    if someone is to go pedantic, then even "Salam" might be deemed wrong to some as it must really be "Salaam".

    Allah knows best.
  13. Aqib alQadri

    Aqib alQadri Veteran

    Saw this Fatwa. A bit perplexed, for actually the word Salaam is one of Allah's names.......


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