The Profoundness of Spelling in the Arabic Language
kr’s note: I recently asked one of my teachers a question that I had been thinking about for a while. He gave such a fantastic response that I asked him permission to share it with everyone and he agreed. I personally was blown away by his excellent answer, and perhaps you all may find some benefit in this explanation as well.
My Question: Quick question for you: usually we see the word “fitrah” (فطرة) is written with a ta-marbuta. But in Surah al-Rum, verse 30 (see below), it’s written with a ta rather than ta-marbutah. Any significance for this? I’ve read that certain Arab tribes would write it like this so the Qur’an uses this as well, but any specific reason that why within this particular ayah (which is a pretty powerful ayah) this spelling is used?
Then set your face upright for religion in the right state– the nature made by Allah in which He has made men; there is no altering of Allah’s creation; that is the right religion, but most people do not know–
My teacher’s reply:
ok..coming to your Fitrah question… a really really interesting question… a wonderful question… ok words of praise out of the way…
Next point…there are a few words which are written in a similar manner: words like ni’mat, rahmat, masiyat, lanat, etc. So yes, there are many words which are written like fitrat (فِطْرَتَ) , where the Taa is muftoohah or mabsootah, and they are not marbutah or maqboodah.
why have they been written as mubsootah? well…that’s how it was in the Rasm Uthmani (script) or there were tribes who wrote those words that way.
Also, a person can use their own logic to come up with reasons why those words have been written in every single place of its mention or only in certain places why it is mabsootah…so use your logic and do Qiyas….
So why was the word fitrah here written with an open taa in this ayah (فِطْرَتَ) ? The word Fitrah (فطرة) denotes the innate nature present in every human to be inclined towards the worship of one creator if they make an effort to seek the
truth, i.e. worship of Allah. So every human should be open to accepting the truth because the pathways have been opened for him.
So the Taa in fitrah in this ayah (فِطْرَتَ) is open and spread out because the soul is open to accepting the truth. That is how the soul has been created. That open acceptance is innate. If the soul was not created in such a manner, then the disbelievers would say that we never had the ability to accept the truth because our hearts and souls were sealed and we were created in this locked up chained up marbootah fashion. But in this verse, it is being pointed out that…no…your souls and your hearts and your minds were created in a manner that they would openly accept the truth because that is how they were created. You had the ability within you to cast away those shackles and chains of kufr and you didn’t need to stay locked up and closed up because the fitrah of Allah is open to every single human.
So that’s that…fascinating eh?
The next part…interesting stuff here…the letters FAA TAA RAA (فطر) give the meaning of opening up something after a prolonged closure. That is why we have IFTAR (افطار) in Ramadhan. We open up our fast because we have been fasting so Fatoor/futoor (فطور) means to open our fast after fasting all day. So the amazing point here is that the Taa is open (ie, فِطْرَتَ) and not closed and the word fitrah itself denotes and gives that meaning of being open! So the word fitrah with the open taa (فِطْرَتَ) here…is giving the meaning of “open” twice: once with the word fitrah with the three root letters and then secondly with the open taa.
The message here is simple: “Mankind! Humanity! Accept the “open” invitation from your creator and humble yourselves and submit!”
so carrying on… the root letters of fitrah giving the meaning of being opened after being closed. So we can say that the person’s soul is really closed till it opens up with the acceptance of Islam, and once the person returns to the fitrah state, it is only then that the soul and the heart are truly open. Otherwise, a person out of his own choice has sealed the mind/soul/heart by not opening up to the fitrah. So when a person accepts Islam, he has finally came out of that closed state and opened up and did iftar and maximized his fitrah.
Finally, the openness of the letter taa and the root meaning of fitrah conveying the meaning of “open”, both also hint towards this point that the religion of Allah (Islam) is open for everybody. It is not restricted like some religions and cults are.