al-Tha‘alabi: Types of Loud Noises

Types of Loud Noises

Any forceful voice is al-ṣiyāḥ (to shout, cry). Al-Ṣurākh (and al-ṣarkha) is the sharp cry that comes from fright or calamity. Close to it in meaning is al-za‘qa (shriek) and al-ṣalqa (grating cry, especially during battle). Al-Ṣakhb is the noise made during argument and quarrel.

Al-‘Ajj is the raising of the voice when one says the ritual phrase, “Here I am to serve you!” or when one invokes the name of God during slaughter. Al-Tahlīl is to raise one’s voice in saying, “There is no god but God and Muhammad is the Prophet of God.” Al-Istihlāl is the first cry of the newborn child.

Al-Zajal is to raise the voice when one is moved by music. Al-Naq‘ is the loud scream. Al-Hay‘a is the cry of fright, as in the Prophetic tradition: “The best of men is the one who holds fast the reins of his steed and the one who, when he hears the shriek of fear, flies toward it.” Al-Wā‘īya is the crying lament over the dead. Al-Na‘īr is the shouting of the victor over the vanquished.

Al-Na‘īq is the sound of the shepherd calling his flock. Al-Hadīd (and al-hadda) is the fierce noise you hear when part of a building or mountain collapses. Al-Fadīd is the farmer's throaty call to oxen or donkeys while working in the field. As mentioned in the Prophetic tradition, “Brusqueness and harshness are traits of the loud-voiced men in the field.”

Al-Ṣadīd (to laugh out loud, to raise a clamor) is another loud noise, as is al-ḍajīj (to raise a tumult), and appears in the Qur’an: When Mary’s son was given as an example, your people howled with laughter (Surat al-Zukhruf: 57), which is to say: they raised a clamor, a tumult, a ruckus. Al-Jarāhīya is the sound of people when their words are spoken publicly and openly rather than in secret and, according to Abu Zayd, is similar to al-hayḍala (the hue and cry of battle).

Fiqh al-lugha wa-asrār al-‘arabīya, ed. Yāsīn al-Ayūbī (Saydā’: al-Maktaba al-‘Usrīya, 2008), 238-9

al-Tha‘alabi: Types of Sleep

The prolific anthologist ‘Abd al-Mansūr ‘Abd al-Malik ibn Muhammad al-Tha‘alabi (961-1038) was the author of the encyclopedic lexicon, Fiqh al-lugha wa-asrār al-‘arabīya (Fundamentals of Language and the Secrets of Arabic). In this original work, al-Tha‘alabi organizes vocabulary according to remarkably subtle distinctions. 

To honor the long nights of the present season, let us begin with sleep.

Types of Sleep

The first stage of sleep is al-nu‘ās (drowsiness), which is when a person needs to sleep. Then comes al-wasan (nodding off), which is when the drowsiness becomes heavy. Then comes al-tarnīq (dimming), which is when the drowsiness makes the eyes begin to shut. Then come al-kurā and al-ghumḍ, which is when a person is between sleeping and waking. Then comes al-taghfīq, which is the kind of sleep when you hear people talking (this by way of al-Aṣma‘ī). Then comes al-ighfā’, which is light rest. Then comes al-tahwīn, al-ghirār and al-tahjā‘, which is a short kind of sleep. Then al-ruqād, which is a long sleep. Then al-hujūd, al-hujū‘, and al-hubū‘, which are forms of deep slumber. Finally there is al-tasbīkh, the soundest form of slumber.

Fiqh al-lugha wa-asrār al-‘arabīya, ed. Yāsīn al-Ayūbī (Saydā’: al-Maktaba al-‘Usrīya, 2008), p. 205.