Language

” Thus language does have a definite  and stable oral tradition that is independent of writing, but the influence of the writing prevents our seeing this”

– Ferdinand De Saussure in Course in General Linguistics

While reading the book today, I came across this. And it reminded me of the time when we were doing Literary Theory and Criticism Course. It was Plato in his dialogue Phaedrus discussed this whole issue of writing versus the oral tradition. And the teacher who was teaching us at tthat time said how in our tradition, we still hold oral tradition supreme. “Hamaray haan rivayat seena ba seena chalti hai.”

Even today, in Medrassahs, the Sheikh Al Hadeeth, when teaches hadiths in class he  tells the students that I’ve listened it from my teacher (stating the name), and he listened it from his teacher, and traces it back to the Prophet Muhammad SAW. SubhanAllah!

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6 thoughts on “Language

  1. ” Thus language does have a definite and stable oral tradition that is independent of writing, but the influence of the writing prevents our seeing this”

    WoW!! Subhanallah!

    I should listen to Nasr and Schuon, and Martin Lings when they praise the oral traditions. When they say that oral tradition is an integral part of the traditional world. I am thinking of leaving someday all university stuff and submit myself into a traditionalist madrissah. I’ve to do this someday. Inshallah.

  2. @ Umer

    I would strongly recommend that you read Muhammad Hasan Akari on ‘Rivaayat’ i.e. Tradition, before you jump on to reading perennialists 🙂

    There’s another book by Jamal Panipati, and it is called ‘Adab Aur Rivaayat’ … woh bhi dekhiye… Askari Sahab was greatly inspired by Rene Guenon. And I haven’t read better criticism on literature than that produce by him! Although he wrote in Urdu but his critique of Western literature is highly valuable. I will write more about it in a short while, inshaALlah.

  3. Umer, I would agree with N.A.

    And I would like to add that even Hifz i.e. memorizing the Holy Quran comes under oral tradition in our “Tradition”. So much importance is given to it even today. So much respect and dignity to the people who do it.

    P.S. I think N.A. would explain it better…

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