H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has launched the first eight volumes of “Arabic Language Historical Dictionary”, the biggest Arabic linguistic knowledge and information project that documents the history of Arabic language lexicons and their usage transformations over the last 17 centuries (Pre-Islamic to current times).


This came in a ceremony hosted by the Ruler of Sharjah on Thursday in the city of Khorfakkan and attended by a number of heads of Arabic Language Academies, Arabic Language scholars and researchers from the Arab World.


On the occasion, H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan gave a speech thanking all those who contributed and participated in editing the “Arabic Language Historical Dictionary”, especially the Language and Science Academy Union, headed by Dr. Hassan El Shafei, and all the scholars working with him.


“This project has been a dream of mine for a long time, and I became more eager and keen on supporting and executing this project when I learnt that previous similar attempts were not so successful,” he said.


He also congratulated the Arab Nation for this dictionary that documents the history of Arabic lexicons from pre-Islamic, Umayyad, and then Abbasid eras, all the way to our modern times. “Today we witness the launch of the first eight volumes of the dictionary, executed and printed in a beautiful manner to be put in the hands of Arabic language and culture for their own knowledge and leisure.


“Being a historian myself, I have always thought: Why Arabs do not have a historical dictionary documenting their language? Are Arabic linguists and scholars incapable of accomplishing such a project? “The answer is no, the lovers and scholars of the Arabic language are not incapable of producing such a dictionary.


“I then realised that the project requires gathering the forces, inspiring the morals, unifying the lines, organising the efforts, and providing the finances that are suitable of a project of this magnitude,” he went on to say.


“Praise to Allah Almighty, and with the help of the scholars of the Arabic Language Academies, we were able to overcome the challenges that faced of the completion of this project before.


“Thanks to your dedication and devotion, the project that was a mere dream 80 odd years ago, is now a reality that I hold in my hand.


“I reiterate my congratulations to the Arab and Islamic nation for the launching of the first eight volumes of the dictionary, covering only the first two letters of the Arabic alphabet,” the Ruler of Sharjah said in his speech while promising that the coming few years will witness the issuing of dozens of new volumes of this dictionary.


“This dictionary would be the biggest and richest reference for specialists in various domains, students, academics, poets, linguists, and all of those who adore this great language.”


He added that this dictionary will not only provide history, origins, meanings, and explanations of words, but will also document the history of the nation, preserve its civilisation, and celebrate the achievements of Arabs from the Arabian Peninsula to the Atlantic Ocean, in addition to recording Arabic poetry, literature, tales and news carried by Muslims spreading Islam far in Asia and deep in Africa.


He continued, “This is a joyous day for me, as I have been waiting for this day for over two decades, and Allah Almighty chose Sharjah to be the cradle that embraces this project, to cement its status as a beacon of Arabic culture and a capital of Arabic language. I have spent my entire life making Sharjah a cultural centre that attracts lovers of culture, language, literature, theatre, and knowledge.


With this project, His Highness has achieved a historic task that roots date back to almost a hundred years, as it has been attempted several times by many entities, notably the Cairo Arabic Language Centre in 1936.


On the occasion, Dr. Hassan El Shafei, Chairman of the Language and Science Academy Union, gave a televised speech lauding the efforts of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and celebrating the launch of this monumental and long-awaited project that would greatly serve the Arabic language.


Later, Dr. Mohamed Safi Al Mosteghanemi, Secretary-General of Sharjah’s Arabic Language Academy, presented a historical brief of the dictionary and the preparation stages of the first eight volumes, providing statistics and methodologies adopted by the project team during these stages.


Dr. Mamoun Wajih, the Scholarly Project Manager, in turn, briefed the attendees of the details of the project, thanking His highness for his generous support and efforts in granting this project the success it has achieved.


At the conclusion of the ceremony, the Ruler of Sharjah handwrote a gratitude note on the first page of the first volume that read, “We thank all of those who contributed in making this dictionary, the administrators, the editors, and the thinkers, hoping that Almighty Allah guides them to the completion of this great project and count it as part of their good deeds.” — WAM


Source: National News Agency


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