Grammatical and literary studies began at Basrawith Abu I-Aswad ad-Du'ali, the friend and confidant of the Prophet'sson-in-law 'Ali. It naturally happened that many of the people of 'Iraqwho had learned Arabic only late in life when they were converted toIslam committed many solecisms in reading the te t of the Qur'an, anthese errors distressed 'Ali. So he appealed to ad-Du'ali to draw upsome rules for the guidance of those who were not well used to the useof the only language permitted for prayer and reading the revealedword, But ad-Du'ali was prevented from carrying out this command by'Ali's murder on 21 St January, 661, and he wasreluctant to take any steps to assist the governor Ziyad ibn Abihi whomhe regarded with disapproval because he, after serving 'Ali, hadtransferred his services to the 'Umayyad usurper Mu'awiya. Though Ziyadrenewed 'Ali's request ad-Du'ali held back and did nothing. Then oneday he heard a reader mispronounce two vowels in the text of Qur., 9,3, so as to pervert the sense from "God is free from (the covenant of)the idolaters, and His Apostle (also is free)" into "God is free from(the covenant of the idolaters and (from the covenant of) His Apostle",and this misrepresentation of the inspired word so shocked him that heforthwith began to devise methods to prevent similar errors. For thispurpose he introduced vowel points into the hitherto unpainted Arabictext and began giving instruction in the grammar and vocabulary of theArabic language. Incidentally in doing this he seems to have been tosome extent influenced by Aristotle's logic, not by any of the Greekgrammarians.


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