Ya Taalib’l-I’raab

Oh Seeker of the Science of Syntax

O Seeker of the Science of Syntax muhammad23This succinct but brilliant poem by Shaykh Abdullahi ibn Fuduye`, may Allah be merciful to him and provide us with his baraka; regarding the particles of inflection (huruuf’l-`iraab) was first published according to my knowledge by Shaykh Abdullahi al-Ilorin al-Qaadiri of the southern region of Nigeria; which I used as the basis of this translation.

The poem comprises thirty-eight stanzas and briefly covers the basic functions of the particles related to nouns and verbs and gives simple examples for each. Shaykh Abdullahi did not cite all of the particles in order to keep the text as concise as possible. I am presently working on a commentary upon this text, explaining the meanings of the technical terms, as well as providing the inflections of the examples the Shaykh offered.

It must be understood that Shaykh Abdullahi ibn Fuduye` was an absolute scholar of independent judgment (mujtahid mutlaaq) in the linguistic sciences, and did not adhere to either the Kufan or Basran schools of grammar; but as Shaykh Ibn `Ajiba said of Shaykh Ibn Ajurum:

“He inclined to the truth wherever he discovered it.”

As the Shaykh states, he originally composed the text for ‘the student of the science of syntax’ in order to cut short the time normally required for learning this science. Because the text is extremely brief, and because of the extensive knowledge the author possessed of the Arabic linguistic sciences; it is my opinion that Shaykh Abdullahi utilized the text to give indications of a far more transcendent and spiritually elevated science, than the science of syntax. This becomes apparent when the expressions ‘taalib’ (student) and ‘`iraab’ (syntax) are given an esoteric significance; such as ‘seeker’ and ‘transformation’ respectively.

That is to say, that this poem, like the renowned al-Ajurumiyya before it, contains gateways through which the gnostics and sages of Islam can comprehend and transmit the esoteric sciences, such as the transformation of character (takhalluq) and the sciences of Divine realities (`uluum ‘l-haqaa’iq).

Allah willing, it is our intention of composing an elucidation of this poem utilizing the methodologies of Shaykh Maymuun al-Fasi, Shaykh Ahmad Zaruq and Shaykh Ibn `Ajiba in their extraordinary transmutation of the al-Ajurumiyya into a canon for decoding the science of the soul, and gnosis of Allah; as well as the esoteric approach to the general science of grammar transmitted to us by Shaykh al-Qushayri in his Nahw’l-Quluub.

In this daunting task we seek the assistance of Allah in making our humble efforts purely for His sake; since there is no power or might besides Him, the Exalted the Mighty.

Shaykh Muhammad Shareef

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