Lisan ud-Dawat

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Lisan al-Dawat)
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Lisaan ud-Da'wat il-'Alaviyah
Lisan al-dawat
لسان الدعوۃ العلویۃ
Lisaan e da'wat.png
"Lisaan ud Da'wat il 'Alaviyah" in the Arabic script
RegionWestern India, Gujarat
Arabic script
Language codes
ISO 639-3

Lisaan ud-Da'wat (Arabic: لسان الدعوة‎, Lisan ud-Dawat, "language of the Dawat"; abbreviated LDA) is the language of the Taiyebi Bohras of Gujarat, an Isma'ili Shia Muslim community. It is a dialect of the Gujarati language, but incorporates a heavy amount of Arabic, Urdu, and Persian vocabulary and is written in the Arabic script. Originally a ritual language, since the period of the 41st Da'i al-Mutlaq Saiyedna Jivabhai Fakhruddin from 1330 AH (c. 1911 AD) in Vadodara it has also been propagated as the vernacular language for members of the Alavi Bohras, but the version used by the Saiyedna and his assembly members or clergy still differs slightly from the Gujarati spoken by other community members.[2]

Some key works in Lisan al-Dawat are the translations of the literary masterpieces of Isma'ili literature written during the reign of the Fatimids in Egypt, with summaries and admonitions in poetic form written by Fakhruddin. Some of the nasihats recited regularly by Alavi Bohras are "Aye Mumino socho zara, duniyaa che aa daar e fanaa" (O faithful, you think that this world is going to end) and "Khazaano ilm no mushkil-kushaa ni itrat che" (The treasure of knowledge is the progeny of Ali, the legatee of Mohammad Rasoolullaah).

Many in the community look upon Lisan al-Dawat as a bridge for their Gujarati community to Arabic.

Origin[edit]

The Alavi Bohra community are a people who believe in Shi'a Isma'ili doctrine, beliefs and tenets. The 18th Faatemi Imaam Maulaana Mustansir Billah (478 AH/1094 AD), from the Aal-progeny Mohammad ul-Mustafa, held the seat of the Faatemi Empire in Egypt and acted as the sole authority of the Shi'a Isma'ili branch of Islam. In his era, Maulaai Ahmad (مولائي احمد), on Mustansir Billah's decree, arrived at the coast of Gujarat (Khambhat) along with a group of traders. His responsibility was to spread Shi'i Islam in the guise of doing trade. At that time, Sidhraj Jaysingh[3] was ruling in Patan-Sidhpur, and a small Isma'ili community was already residing in Gujarat. Many such representatives of Faatemi Imaam were also present in Yemen. Every Isma'ili preacher who came to India after Maulaai[4] Ahmad, either from Egypt or from Yemen, had Arabic as his basic and main language. With the help of Gujarati Isma'ili traders they gradually learnt the local native language to propagate their religion. It also happened that, in order to learn more about their religious teachings, many people from Gujarat migrated to the Da'i (the representative of the Imaam of Egypt) in Yemen. This took place in the 10th century AH/16th century AD. This is where the basic Arabic language of Faatemi Mission first combined with the local Gujarati language, giving birth to a new form of language which got more correlative, complex and comprehensive over time.

Map of Gujarat

Language contact of Arabic, Sanskrit, and Gujarati with Persian and Urdu[edit]

During the mid-16th century, Mughals invaded India through the Gulf of Khambhat (Cambay), since Khambhat was then the biggest port of India. Mughals came from Persia (Iran) and spoke Persian (Farsi). This was the period when Bohra missionaries practiced and preached their faith openly and the local people felt their presence in Ahmedabad. Thus, the blend of Arabic, Sanskrit, Gujarati and Persian now was the language of the Bohras. Also, Persian art and culture amalgamated with Indian art and culture.

With the invasion of the Mughals arose a need for trade and commerce. New trade routes were opened between India and Persia. Along this route, Turkish people also started trade and commerce. They spoke a Persio-Arabic language. The amalgamation of their language with the contemporary language of India gave rise to a new language, a link language called Urdu, due to the mingling of Persian and Hindavi (aam boli). Thus it is a Pidgin language and a part of the Proto Indo-European language family. During this era, in 1621 AD, there was a major schism of succession in Ahmedabad among the Bohras. A major group, the Dawoodi Bohras, seceded from Alavi Bohras who believed in the Da'iship (leadership) of the 29th Da'i al-Mutlaq Saiyedna Ali Saheb, the grandson of the 28th Da'i. Thus, Alavi Bohras maintained their own separate identity from other Bohra groups of Gujarat and Yemen, but the basic language pattern of all the Bohra communities remained unchanged, unlike the Sulaymani Bohras who deviated from the main course to embrace Urdu as their community language.

Thus due to these reasons and the migration of the Alavi Bohras from Ahmedabad to Vadodara, they speak a blend of Arabic, Sanskrit, Persian, Urdu, and Khojki. Khojki has a minimal influence on the Alavi Bohra language and Sanskrit vocabulary also gradually degraded due to Gujarati influence on this language. Alavi Bohras read, write and speak an Arabicized form (blended with Arabic vocabulary) of Gujarati called Lisaan ud-Da'wat il-'Alaviyah, i.e. the "Language of the Truly Guided Mission of Ali" (Saiyedna and martyr), which is an amalgamation of Arabic, Urdu and Persian words and written in Arabic script.

Today, Alavi Bohras are settled in Baroda (Gujarat) after the migration in 1110 AH (c. 1698 AD) and "Ad-Dawat ul-Hadiyah ul-Alaviyah" – the Rightly Guided Alavi Mission – is the official headquarters of the 45th Da'i ul-Mutlaq.

LDA محبو عبادۃ کرو صبح و شام
Couplet Mohibbo 'IibAdat Karo Subah-o-shAm
Language Arabic Persian Gujarati Urdu
English

Translation

People Worship Do Morning-evening
O people of love! Worship (your Lord) in morning and evening
عبادۃ سی ملسے فضیلۃ تمام
'IbAdat Si Milse Fazeelat TamAm
Persian Gujarati Gujarati Arabic Urdu
Worship By To get Merits All
All merits you will get by worship
LDA تمیں دنیا نی دولت چھو
Couplet Tame Duniyaa Ni Daulat Cho
Language Gujarati Urdu Gujarati Persian Gujarati
English

Translation

You World The Wealth Are
You are the wealth of the World
تمیں عقبی نی عزت چھو
Tame 'UqbAA Ni 'Izzat Cho
Gujarati Arabic Gujarati Urdu Gujarati
You Hereafter The Respect Are
You are the respect of the Hereafter

Sound change and semantic change[edit]

Sound change[edit]

Sound change is the most studied area in historical linguistics. Sound tends to change over time and due to contacts with other languages. Sound change also helps to determine whether languages are related.

Example Standard Gujarati LDA Meaning
i. pankho - પંખો fankho پھنکھو۔ fan
ii. aapo - આપો aalo آلو۔ give

In example i, the sound /p/ in 'pankho', meaning "fan", changes to the sound /f/ in 'fankho', meaning "fan". This change has come due to the interaction of Arabic, as it does not have the sound /p/. A similar case is given in example ii. Other examples:

Example Standard Gujarati LDA Meaning
iii. vAL - વાળ bAl - بال hair
iv. maL - મળ mil - مل meet
v. vAdaL - વાદળ vAdal - وادل cloud
vi. kangAL - કંગાળ kangAl - کاگل poor
vii. kAraN - કારણ kAran - کارن reason
viii. AngaN - આંગણ Angan - آنگن courtyard
ix. pahAD - પહાઽ pahAr - پھاڑ mountain
x. dahAD - દહાઽ dahAr - دھاڑ lion roar
xi. soDam - સોઽમ soram - سورم smell
xii. kadvAS - કઽવાશ kadvAs - کڑواس bitterness
xiii. mithAS - મિઠાશ mithAs - میٹاس sweetness
xiv. Su - શું su - سوں what

In example iii, the retroflex sound /L/ in vaL meaning "hair" changes to the alveolar /l/ in bAl. Similar cases are shown in iv, v and vi. In example vii, the retroflex sound /N/ in 'kAran', meaning "reason", changes to the alveolar sound /n/ in 'kAran'. A similar case is shown in example viii. In example ix, the retroflex sound /D/ in 'pahAD', meaning "mountain", changes to the alveolar sound /r/ in 'pahAr'. Similar cases are shown in examples x and xi. In example xii, the postalveolar sound /S/ in 'kadvAS', meaning "bitterness", changes to the alveolar sound /s/ in 'kadvAs'. Similar cases are shown in examples xiii and xiv.

From the above examples iii to xiv, it is observed that all of the retroflex and postalveolar sounds in Standard Gujarati changes to alveolar sounds in Alavi Bohra. This change is again due to the contact of Arabic and Persian, as the later languages do not possess retroflex and postalveolar sounds, thus they are changed to alveolar sounds in LDA.

From example i to xiv, it can be observed that, though they have borrowed words from Gujarati, the words are themselves blended with Arabic, Urdu and Persian. Thus, Alavi Bohras use an Arabisized form of Gujarati.

Example Standard Gujarati LDA Meaning
xv. cap - કપ cup کپ ۔ cup
xvi. barAbar - બરાબર barobar برابر ۔ proper
xvii. hoshiyAr - હોંશિયાર hushiyAr ھشیار ۔ clever
xviii. khushbU - ખુશબૂ khushbo خشبو ۔ fragrance

In example xv, the mid vowel /a/ in 'cap', meaning "cup", changes to the close-mid vowel /u/ in 'cup', meaning "cup", when followed by a stop, similar to example xvi. In example xvi, the open vowel /A/ in 'barAbar', meaning "proper", changes to the close-mid vowel /o/ in 'barobar' when followed by a stop. The same is the case with examples xvii and xviii, where the close-mid vowel of the end vowel of /o/ changes to /u/. Thus, if open and mid-vowels are followed by a stop/plosive sound, they change to close-mid vowels.

Example Standard Gujarati LDA Meaning
xix. kem - કેમ kim - کیم why
xx. em - અેમ im - ایم that's why
xxi. namak - નમક nimak - نمک salt
xxii. gaL - ગળ gil - گل swallow
xxiii. ketla - કેટલા kitla - کتلا how many/much
xxiv. etla - અેટલા itla - اتلا this much
xxv. jetla - જેટલા jitla - جتلا that much

In example xix, the close-mid vowel /e/ in 'kem', meaning "why", changes to the close vowel /i/ in 'kim'. Similarly, in example xx, the close mid vowel changes to a close vowel when followed by the nasal sound /m/. In example xxi, the mid vowel /a/ of 'namak', meaning "salt", changes to the close vowel /i/ in 'nimak' when followed by the nasal sound /m/. Also in example xxii, the mid vowel /a/ of 'gaL', meaning "swallow", changes to the close vowel /i/ in 'gil' when followed by the alveolar sound /l/. This means that if the close-mid and mid vowels are followed by a nasal sound /m/ or alveolar sound /l/, the sound changes to a close vowel. Similarly in example xxiii, the close-mid vowel /e/ in 'ketla', meaning "how many/much", changes to the close vowel /i/ in 'kitla'. Similar cases are shown in examples xxiv and xxv. Thus, close-mid and mid vowels change to close vowels when followed by the nasal sound /m/ or alveolar sound /l/ and /t/.

Thus, from example xv to xxv, we can observe that the open vowels tend to move towards the close vowels, affecting the Gujarati lexicon.

Example Standard Gujarati LDA Meaning
xxvi. kyaare - ક્યારે kiwaare - کیوارے when
xxvii. tyaare - ત્યારે tiwaare - تیوارے at this time/then
xxviii. jyaare - જ્યારે jiwaare - جیوارے at that time/then

In example xxvi, the consonant sounds /k/ and /y/ of 'kyaare', meaning "when", are separated by the vowel sound /i/, and the consonant sound /v/ is also infixed in 'kiwaare'. Infixation is a morphological process whereby a bound morpheme attaches within a root or stem. Infixation is a very common process in Arabic. Similar cases are shown in examples xxvii and xxviii.

A distinctive feature of the Semitic languages is the triliteral or triconsonantal root, composed of three consonants separated by vowels. The basic meaning of a word is expressed by the consonants, and different shades of this basic meaning are indicated by vowel changes. This distinctive feature of Semitic languages may be affecting the Gujarati words in examples xv, xvi, and xix. Thus, this distinctive feature may also be responsible for the vowel changes in examples xv to xix.

Hence, from examples i to xxviii, we can observe that, although they have borrowed words from Gujarati, there is an impact of Arabic, Persian and Urdu due to the language contact. Also, we can say that these language contacts are affecting the Gujarati language internally.

Vocabulary[edit]

Semantic Change[edit]

Semantic change is a change in one of the meanings of a word.

Ex Standard Gujarati Meaning LDA Meaning
i. rasoi - રસોઈ to cook pakAvvu - پکاوؤ to cook/to ripen
pakAvvu - પકાવવું to ripen pakAvvu - پکاوؤ to cook/to ripen

In the above example, in standard Gujarati 'rasoi' means "to cook" and 'pakavvu' means "to ripen", and in LDA 'pakavvu' means both "to cook" and "to ripen". 'Pakna' means "to cook" as well as "to ripen" in Urdu. Here the meaning of "to ripen" is extended metaphorically. Metaphor in semantic change involves extensions in the meaning of a word that suggest a semantic similarity or connection between the new sense and the original one. Thus, due to the contact of Urdu and metaphorical extension they have dropped the word 'rasoi' and have adopted the word 'pakAvvu' to explain both the senses of to cook and to ripen.

Ex Standard Gujarati Meaning LDA Meaning
ii. who (nominative) I (nominative) me (nominative) - میں I (nominative)
me (ergative) I (ergative) me (ergative) - میں I (ergative)

In example ii, like in example i, in Gujarati 'who (nominative)' means "I" and 'me (ergative)' means "I", but in LDA, 'me' means "I" in both the cases. Also, in Urdu Language "mE" and in Persian "man" meaning "I" are used in both the cases. Thus, due to the contact of Urdu and Persian and metaphorical extension they have dropped the word 'who' and have adopted the word 'me' to explain both the senses I (nominative) and I (ergative). Thus, from example i and ii, we can observe the impact of Urdu and Persian on Gujarati through metaphorical extension.

Semantic borrowing[edit]

Semantic borrowing is the process of borrowing the entire semantic meaning from a language. Semantic borrowing occurs when two or more languages come into contact.

Ex Standard Gujarati Borrowed word in LDA Meaning
i. bhikAri - ભીખારી faqir (Urdu) - فقیر beggar
ii. ghar - ઘર makAn (Arabic) - مکان house
iii. sandeSo - સંદેશો peghAm (Persian) - پیغام message
vi. salAh - સલાહ nasiHat (Arabic) - نصیحۃ advice
v. icchA - ઇચ્છા khwAhis (Persian) - خواھش wish
vi. chopdi - ચોપડી kitAb (Urdu) - کتاب book

Thus, from the above examples i to vi, it is observed that Alavi Bohras speak borrowed words from Arabic, Persian and Urdu. Hence, they use a particular form of Gujarati permeated with Arabic, some Persian words, and some Urdu words and write in the Arabic script called Lisaan ud-Da'wat il-'Alaviyah. This unique language makes the Alavi Bohras linguistically different from other Bohra sects.

Recognition[edit]

After the 21st Faatemi Imaam Maulaana Taiyeb[5] went into seclusion in 528 AH/1134 CE from Egypt, his deputy, legatee and vicegerent, who is called the Da'i (a spiritual head or a missionary working on the divine command of Imaam in seclusion), started a religious mission in the name of Imaam Taiyeb for the purpose of self-searching and purity wherever Isma'ili-Taiyebi people were staying. This mission came to be known as "ad-Da'wat ul-Haadiyat ut-Taiyebiyah"[6] meaning "The Rightly Guided Mission of Imaam Taiyeb". This religious mission continued in Yemen between 532–974 AH (1138–1567 AD), from the first Da'i Saiyedna Zoeb till the 24th Da'i Saiyedna Yusuf. During this period, as the time demanded and need arose, many Waali-Mullas (the representatives of Da'i who in his absence is entitled to do all religious activities) were appointed to teach in the Madrasah Taiyebiyah all aspects of the religious and social knowledge to the people. At each place where the Isma'ili-Taiyebi community resided, there used to be a learned and pious mulla who conducted various classes of religious teachings with different groups of students under the direct guidance of the Yemeni Da'i. As the Isma'ili-Taiyebis, residing in Gujarat and nearby areas were very enterprising, enthusiastic, progressive and soulfully involved in business and accordingly in their daily affairs and conduct, they were called "Bohras" (excellent or unique community). Because of their lineage to the 21st Imaam Taiyeb, they came to be known as Isma'ili Taiyebi Bohras.[7] In the 9th and 10th century AH, a special delegation used to come to Gujarat from Yemen, where Arabic was in vogue, and teach the local Waali-Mulla by giving necessary instruction from the Da'i, conduct examinations, inspect the madrasahs, and teach Arabic to smart students. Some of these students were sent to Yemen to acquire higher religious education under the inspection of the Da'i himself. This way the trade and social relations between Yemen, Hind and Sindh[8] became stronger and the lingual expressions, dialects and accents of Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Gujarati got mixed together. Keeping the main structure of the Gujarati language intact, normally Arabic, Persian and Urdu words were introduced by the learned people and gradually the community as a whole began using them in their daily and routine conversations.

Spiritual Head
Aqaa Maulaa delivering a lecture in LDA in 2016 AD

Writing system[edit]

LDA is basically inspired and based on the 28-letter alphabet of Arabic. Because the missionaries had to deal with local people in Gujarat for trade and religious affairs, they included 16 other letters of Gujarati for better communication and expression. LDA thus contained 44 letters. From these, three independent letters, Pe-پ (પ), Che-چ (ચ), and Ghaaf-گ (ગ), are widely used to incorporate Gujarati, Persian and Urdu terminology that cannot be written in the Arabic alphabet. Three other letters modified from Arabic that are used exclusively for Gujarati words are ٹ ,ڈ, and ڑ (ઽ,ટ).

Thirteen other letters are from the Haa-ھ family. "Haa" is mixed with different letters to get letters of different languages, such as baa-haa (بھ,ભ), baa-taa (تھ,થ), baa-ţaa (ٹھ,ઠ), pe-haa (پھ,ફ), jeem-haa (جھ,ઝ), che-haa (چھ,છ), daal-haa (دھ,ધ), ďaal-haa (ڈھ,ઙ), kaaf-haa (کھ,ખ), and gaaf-haa (گھ,ઘ).

28 Arabic letters used in LDA:

Sr. No. LDA

letter

Transliteration Example Transliteration Translation Equivalent letter in Gujarati Equivalent letter in English
1. ا Alif اللہ Allaah The Almighty A
2. ب Baa (be) باب Baab Door B
3. ت Taa (te) تمام Tamaam Complete T
4. ث Ṯhaa (se) ثمر Ṯhamar Fruit સ઼઼
5. ج Jeem جلال Jalaal Glory J
6. ح Ḥaa (he) حسد Ḥasad Jealousy હ઼
7. خ Khaa (khe) خادم Khaadim Servant ખ઼ Ḵh
8. د Daal دراز Daraaz Long D
9. ذ Ḍhaal (zaal) ذخيره Dhakheerah Treasure ઝ્ Ḍh
10. ر Raa (re) رحمة Rahmat Grace R
11. ز Zay (ze) زمين Zameen Land Z
12. س Seen سحر Sahar Morning S
13. ش Sheen شکر Shukr Thanks-giving Sh
14. ص Ṣaad (suad) صبر Ṣabr Patience સ્
15. ض Ẓaad (zuaad) ضمانة Ẓamaanat Security ઝ઼
16. ط Ṭoe طاقة Ṭaaqat Strength ત઼
17. ظ Żoe ظالم Żaalim Tyrant ઝં Ż
18. ع 'Ain عقل 'Aql Intellect અ્ 'A
19. غ Ghain غلط Ghalat Wrong Gh
20. ف Faa (fe) فجر Fajar Dawn F
21. ق Qaaf قلم Qalam Pen ક઼ Q
22. ك Kaaf كرم Karam Blessing K
23. ل Laam لب Lab Lips L
24. م Meem مال Maal Money M
25. ن Nun نجم Najm Star N
26. ه Haa (he) هفته Haftah Week H
27. و Waaw وزن Wazan Weight W
28. ي Yaa (ye) ياد Yaad Remembrance Y

6 letters of different languages used in LDA:

Sr. No. LDA

letter

Transliteration Example Transliteration Translation Equivalent letter in Gujarati Equivalent letter in English
29. ٹ Ťe ٹامٹو Ťaameto Tomato Ť
30. ڈ Ďaal ڈاڑم Ďařam Pomegranate Ď
31. ڑ Řaa پھاڑ Pahaař Mountain Ř
32. پ Pe پنکھو Pankho Fan P
33. چ Che چکلي Chakli Sparrow Ch
34. گ Gaaf گاي Gaai Cow G

10 Gujarati letters derived from the Haa (ﻫ) family used in LDA:

Sr. No. LDA

letter

Transliteration Example Transliteration Translation Equivalent letter in Gujarati Equivalent letter in English
35. بھ Bha بھاري Bhaari Heavy Bh
36. تھ Tha تھالي Thaali Plate Th
37. ٹھ Ťha ٹھوکر Ťhokar Stumbling Ťh
38. پھ Pha پھول Phool Flower Ph
39. جھ Jha جھنڈو Jhando Flag Jh
40. چھ Cha چھاتي Chaati Chest Ch
41. دھ Dha دهومو Dhumo Smoke Dh
42. ڈھ Ďha ڈهكن Ďhakkan Lid Ďh
43. كھ Kha كھيتر Khaytar Farm Kh
44. گھ Gha گھر Ghar House Gh

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • Appel and Muysken. (1987). Language Contact and Bilingualism. U.S.A.: Oxford University Press. Hans Hock, H. and Joseph Brian, D. (1996). Language History; Language Change and Language relationship: An Introduction to Historical and Comparative Linguistics. New York: Wolter de Groyter, Library of Congress Cataloging in publication data.
  • Campbell, L. (1999). Historical Linguistics: An Introduction. London: Edinburgh University Press
  • Bomhard, Allan, R. (1984). Toward Proto-Nostratic: A new approach to the comparison of Proto-Indo European and Proto Afro-Asiatic. Amsterdam: John Benjamin Publishing Company.
  • Daftary, F. (2007). The Ismailis: Their history and Doctrines. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Daftary, F. (1996). Mediaveal Ismaili History and Thought. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  • Ismail K. Poonawala - "The Pillars of Islam", Da'aim ul-Islam of al-Qadi al-Nu'man, Oxford University Press, 2002.
  • Da'wat e A'laviyah Personal Library- Files of Letters & Correspondence-1815 AD.
  • Katamba, F. (1993) Morphology, London: The Mac Millan Press Limited.
  • Qaraatis ud-Da'wat il-'Alaviyah, Alavi Library, Vadodara.

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Ernst Kausen, 2006. Die Klassifikation der indogermanischen Sprachen (Microsoft Word, 133 KB)
  2. ^ Blank, Jonah (2001). Mullahs on the Mainframe: Islam and Modernity Among the Daudi Bohras. University of Chicago Press. p. 143.
  3. ^ He was the ruler of Gujarat State who secretly accepted Isma'ili Faith on the hands of Maulaai Ahmad and was buried privately where only his close associates knew his place of burial
  4. ^ It is the term used in Da'wah Hierarchy where a person acts as per the orders of Da'i
  5. ^ http://alavibohra.org/imam%20taiyeb%20history.htm
  6. ^ Rightly Guided Mission of the last Islamic Prophet Mohammad and his progeny till the present Da'i Saiyedna Haatim Zakiyuddin saheb
  7. ^ Belief in the 6th Imam Isma'ili, the son of 5th Fatemi Imam Ja'far as-Sadiq and 21st Imaam Taiyeb Abul Qasim and the Da'i in his seclusion
  8. ^ The representative of Imam, Da'i has these three Jazaa'ir-Islands in his command. He then sends his deputies to other places of the world to see community affairs

External links[edit]