TOPIC: VARIATION IN THE LANGUAGE OF HUMANS: ONE OF THE SIGNS OF ALLAH
‘Audhu billah minash shaytanir rajeem Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem. Alhamdu lil laahi Rabbil aalameen. Was salatu was salamu ala nabiyyillah Muhammad al Mab’uthi rahmatan lil aalameen
The creation of human beings and the jinn are not but for a purpose and the purpose is to worship their creator, Allah. Human beings and jinn will however not understand why they have to worship Allah except they recognize Him as not only an existing but a living being. In understanding His existence and to show His oneness, Allah Himself gave us and explained to us a lot of signs (Q2:242) which He mentioned in the Qur’an and purposely raised messengers to come and rehearse for us (Q2:151).
These signs include: Maqam Ibrahim (The Station of Ibrahim near the Ka’bah in Makkah) Q3:97, the creation of humans from dust the Creation of mates from ourselves that we may dwell in tranquility with them, the creation of the heavens and the earth and the variations in our languages and colours, the sleep we take by night and day and the quest that we make for livelihood out of His bounty, the lightening He shows us which causes fear and aspiration, the rains He sends down to us from the sky which gives life to the earth after it is dead, the heavens and the earth remaining as they are through His command, (Q30:20-25),the sending of the winds as bringers of good tidings (Q30:46). We are however, focusing on the variation in our languages as a sign of Allah to commemorate the February 21 UN Observance of the International Mother Language Day.
Language has been described as a body of words and the systems for their use common to a people who are of the same community or nation, the same geographical area, or the same cultural tradition. Language is obviously a vital tool. Not only is it a means of communicating thoughts and ideas, but it forges friendships, cultural ties, and economic relationships. Language, of course, is knowledge, and in our world today knowledge is one of the key factors in competitiveness. Brains and knowledge are what create the prosperity and growth we tend to take for granted. In an advanced industrial society in an increasingly interdependent world, the knowledge of other languages becomes indispensable. Just think of how the advent of the Internet has changed our lives. For the last few years, millions of people across the world, who share common interests, are able to communicate with each other and exchange ideas. Not only are they able to do this due to the various technological advances, but also because they share a common language.
The Mother language also known as the first language is one’s native language learned by children and passed from one generation to the next. The native language is also very important as learning to speak in it is very important for a child’s overall development. It has been said being fluent in the mother tongue benefits the child in many ways which include: it connects him to his culture, it ensures better cognitive development and it aids in the learning of other languages.
Perhaps Prof. Aliu Babs Fafunwa, a distinguished educationist of blessed memory, will best be remembered for his advocacy of learning, in our ‘mother-tongue’ with English as a second language during the six years of primary education. The use of the mother tongue, according to Fafunwa would;
1. deliver the student from the shackles of colonialism.
2. Allow for effective and meaningful communication between the teacher and student within and outside the classroom, and
3. Promote the development of mature judgement by the pupils.
Generally, the essence of a language to a Muslim is to see the variation in it as a sign of Allah and appreciate Him the more through it.
Conclusively, Muslims should remember that those that disregard the signs of Allah, variation in our languages inclusive, will be disregarded on the Day of Qiyaamat. Allah, in Chapter 20:124-127 captures the episode thus:
But whoever turns away from My Reminder, for him is a confined life. And We will raise him on the Day of Resurrection blind.” He will say, “My Lord, why did You raise me blind, though I was seeing?” He will say, “Just as Our signs came to you, and you forgot them, today you will be forgotten.” Thus We recompense him who transgresses and does not believe in the signs of his Lord. The punishment of the Hereafter is more severe, and more lasting.
May Allah make us one of those who regard His signs in this world and thus be regarded on the Day of resurrection.