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The Arabic language developed through the early centuries in the Arabian Peninsula in the era immediately preceding the appearance of Islam, when it acquired the form in which it is known today. Arab poets of the pre-Islamic period had developed a language of amazing richness and flexibility. For the most part, their poetry was transmitted and preserved orally. The Arabic language was then, as it is now, easily capable of creating new words and terminology in order to adapt to the demand of new scientific and artistic discoveries. As the new believers in the seventh century spread out from the Peninsula to create a vast empire, first with its capital in Damascus and later in Baghdad, Arabic became the administrative language of vast section of the Mediterranean world. It drew upon Byzantine and Persian terms and its own immense inner resources of vocabulary and grammatical flexibility.
During the ninth and tenth centuries, a great intellectual movement was underway in Baghdad, in which many ancient scientific and philosophical tracts were transposed from ancient languages, especially Greek, into Arabic. Many were augmented by the new wisdom suggested by Arabic thinkers; other text were simply preserved, until Europe reawakened by the explosion of learning taking place in Arab Spain, saw its rebirth in the Renaissance. That is how Arabic became by the eleventh century the principal reservoir of human knowledge, including the repository for the accumulated wisdom of past ages, supplanting previous cultural languages such as Greek and Latin. And it was the Arabic language alone which united many peoples in the Arab Empire and the civilization which flourished under it.
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For when we speak of the Arab civilization and its achievements we do not necessarily mean that all its representative were Arab, or that all were Muslims. It was the peculiar genius of Arab civilization that it attracted and encompassed people of many races and creeds. Citizens of the Arab Empire, they identified themselves with this civilization and it was the Arabic language, with its great flexibility, that made them exponents of that civilization.. Between the eighth and twelfth centuries, Arabic was as much the universal language of culture, diplomacy, the sciences and philosophy as Latin was to become in the later Middle Ages. Those who wanted to read Aristotle, use medical terms, solve mathematical problems, or embark on any intellectual discourse, had to know Arabic.
The first rules of Arabic language, including its poetry metrical theory, and its syntax, morphology and phonology, were written in Iraq. This task was conducted both in Al-Basrah under Al-
Khalil Ibn Ahmed Al-Farahidy and in Al-Kuufah under Abu al-Hasan Al- Kisaa’i. During the Middle Ages Al-Khalil in his book العين کتاب and, his student, Siibawayh in الکتاب concluded that task.
The first complete dictionary of the Arabic language was composed of Al-Khalil, who had also been involved in the reform of the Arabic script and who is generally acclaimed as the inventor of the Arabic metrical theory. The professed aim of العين کتاب , which goes under his name, was the inclusion of all Arabic roots. In the introduction, a sketch is given of the phonetic structure of Arabic, and the dictionary fully uses available corpora of Arabic by including quotations from the Qur’an and from the numerous pre-Islamic poems, which had both undergone a process of codification and written transmission by the hands of the grammarians.