Classical Arabic (CA), also known as Qur'anic or Koranic Arabic, is the form of the Arabic language used in literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times (7th to 9th centuries). It is based largely on the Medieval language of Hijazi tribes of Qurayš (which contrasted somewhat with the speech of Najdi and adjoining tribal areas). Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is the direct descendent used in writing and in formal speaking, for example, prepared speeches, some radio broadcasts, and non-entertaining content. While the lexis and stylistics of Modern Standard Arabic are different from Classical Arabic, the morphology and syntax have remained basically unchanged (though MSA uses a subset of the syntactic structures available in CA). The vernacular dialects, however, have changed more dramatically. Both CA and MSA are normally called al-Fuṣ-ḥā (الفصحى) in Arabic.
Because the Qur'an is written in Classical Arabic, the language is considered by most Muslims to be sacred. It is the only language in which Muslims recite their prayers, regardless of what language they use in everyday life.
Classical Arabic is one of the Semitic languages, and therefore has many similarities in conjugation and pronunciation to Hebrew, Akkadian, Aramaic, and Amharic. Its use of vowels to modify a base group of consonants resembles similar constructions in Biblical Hebrew.
These words all have some relationship with writing, and all of them contain the three consonants KTB. This group of consonants k-t-b is called a "root." Grammarians assume that this root carries a basic meaning of writing, which encompasses all objects or actions involving writing, and so, therefore, all the above words are regarded as modified forms of this root, and are "obtained" or "derived" in some way from it.
Classical Arabic had three pairs of long and short vowels: /a/, /i/, and /u/. The following table illustrates this:
Like Modern Standard Arabic, Classical Arabic had 28 consonant phonemes:
The consonants traditionally termed "emphatic" were either velarised or pharyngealised . In some transcription systems, emphasis is shown by capitalizing the letter, for example, /sˁ/ is written ‹S›; in others the letter is underlined or has a dot below it, for example, ‹ṣ›.
There are a number of phonetic changes between Classical Arabic and modern Arabic dialects. These include:
|06D6||ۖ||SMALL HIGH LIGATURE SAD WITH LAM WITH ALIF MAKSURA|
|06D7||ۗ||SMALL HIGH LIGATURE QAF WITH LAM WITH ALIF MAKSURA|
|06D8||ۘ||SMALL HIGH MEEM INITIAL FORM|
|06D9||ۙ||SMALL HIGH LAM ALIF|
|06DA||ۚ||SMALL HIGH JEEM|
|06DB||ۛ||SMALL HIGH THREE DOTS|
|06DC||ۜ||SMALL HIGH SEEN|
|06DD||||END OF AYAH|
|06DE||۞||START OF RUB AL HIZB|
|06DF||۟||SMALL HIGH ROUNDED ZERO|
|06E0||۠||SMALL HIGH UPRIGHT RECTANGULAR ZERO|
|06E1||ۡ||SMALL HIGH DOTLESS HEAD OF KHAH = Arabic jazm • used in some Qur'ans to mark absence of a vowel|
|06E2||ۢ||SMALL HIGH MEEM ISOLATED FORM|
|06E3||ۣ||SMALL LOW SEEN|
|06E4||ۤ||SMALL HIGH MADDA|
|06E7||ۧ||ARABIC SMALL HIGH YAA|
|06E8||ۨ||SMALL HIGH NOON|
|06E9||۩||PLACE OF SAJDAH|
|06EA||۪||EMPTY CENTRE LOW STOP|
|06EB||۫||EMPTY CENTRE HIGH STOP|
|06EC||۬||ROUNDED HIGH STOP WITH FILLED CENTRE|
|06ED||ۭ||SMALL LOW MEEM|
|From: Unicode Standard - Arabic|