Whenever we sent a messenger, he spoke with the tongue of his people..
(Surat Ibrahim: 4)
This article was written by Shehzada Dr Aziz bhaisaheb Qutbuddin in 2017.
Every Messenger “spoke the tongue of his people.” The purpose, as the Quran Majeed expresses, is so that they can explain, clarify and communicate to the people with clear bayaan (liyubayyina lahum).
Rasulullah SA, our Nabi, spoke Arabic, the language of the people of Makkah al-Mukarramah and the Arabian Peninsula. He encapsulated and expressed the revelation (wahy) he received with the garb of the Arabic language – ‘lisanin Arabiyyin Mubeen’ (Surat al-Shura: 195). The high status of Arabic as the language of the Quran Majeed and the language of ‘ilm was forever established. The deeper meanings of the Quran Majeed and the essence and tawil of the Shari’at continued to be expressed and composed in Arabic by Rasulullah’s SA, Amirul Mumineen SA, A’immat Tahereen and their Du’aat Mutlaqeen. The 51st Dai, 1400 years after Rasulullah SA, based in India, composed over 40 Risalats and over 10,000 verses of poetry (qasidas & munajaats) in Arabic.
However, when the Da’wat was established in North Africa and Egypt after the zuhoor of Imam Mahdi, the Hudood who were sent to Persia and subsequently to India spoke the language of their people. Syedna al-Mu’ayyad al-Shirazi who was from Shiraz in present day Iran not only had a superb command of Arabic but also spoke to the people in Shiraz in their own language. In India, the Hudood of the Imam’s Dawat, prior to the seclusion of Tayyib Imam SA, such as Mawlaya Ahmad, Syedi Fakhruddin Shaheed, Syedi Hasanpir all spoke the language of their people in Guajarat and Kathiawar.
After the seclusion of Tayyib Imam SA, the Du’aat in Yemen continued to compose remarkable Risalats and Qasidas in Arabic. Their primary language (mother tongue) was Arabic. Their Hudood in India, whose mother tongue was either Gujarati or Hindi, continued to communicate with their followers and do bayaan in the language of their people.
After the headquarters of Dawat moved from Yemen to Ahmedabad in India, the Dai himself began to communicate and address local Mumineen in their language, Gujarati. Arabic still remained the language of ‘ilm and learning and many Arabic words were part of the regular waaz, bayaans and sabaqs and consequently these commonly used Arabic words became part of a new dialect of Gujarati that came to be known as Dawat ni zabaan or Lisan-ud-Dawat. Many Du’aat also composed nasihat and marsiyahs in Lisan-ud-Dawat and even in Urdu. Our identity as Dawoodi Bohras became linked to our unique language, the mother tongue of our Du’aat.
The demographics and the languages spoken by Mumineen continue to evolve. Syedna Taher Saifuddin RA ensured that his successor Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin RA was fluent in English as well. Syedna Burhanuddin addressed the Mumineen in Yemen in Arabic and delivered waaz in Arabic in Yemen.
The underlying principle was to communicate the message of Dawat – the message of Haqq – in the language of the people and in the clearest way possible. For this reason Syedna Khuzaima Qutbuddin RA encouraged the dissemination of the message of Dawat in English and Gujarati as well. Dawat-ni-zaban continued to be and still continues to be our primary language and a strong part of our identity.
Following in this tradition Syedna Fakhruddin TUS has addressed Mumineen in multiple languages. With his raza and doa, the Fatemi Dawat Website Team launched the multi-lingual website in an endeavor to ensure that Syedna’s message – the message of Haqq – reaches far and wide to Mumineen in their primary language. The website homepage is now available in Dawat-ni-zaban, Arabic, Gujarati, Hindi and English. Content in the various languages will be gradually published.
May Allah Ta’ala grant longest life to Syedna Taher Fakhruddin TUS to continue to guide us and communicate the message of Haqq to all Mumineen. May Allah Ta’ala grant us tawfeeq to listen this message of Truth.