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Open Journal of Modern Linguistics
2012. Vol.2, No.4, 189-197
Published Online December 2012 in SciRes (http://www.SciRP.org/journal/ojml) http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojml.2012.24024
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 189
Phonological Analysis in Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya
(Fī Al-isteāḍe Supplication)
Afarin Zare1, Leila Dianat2
1Department of Arabic, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
2Department of Linguistics, Shiraz University, Shiraz, Iran
Received June 10th, 2012; revised August 29th, 2012; accepted September 6th, 2012
Implication, taken from the root “implicate”, means directing; like the implication of smoke for fire. The
denotative meaning of implication is: forming a meaning in mind by imagining the word. Word visualize-
tion in the human’s mind is done through different means such as: structure of the word, role of the word
in the clause, use of the dictionary, style and manner of pronouncing a word, and phonemes in a word.
The present study tries to analyze” Fī Al-isteāḍe Supplication “from Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya based on the
trends of phonology. Also, it tries to show the role of phonemes, having been used in Al-ṣaḥifa
Al-Sajjādiyya, in communicating the message to the reader. In this article, the fact that the interrelatedness
of form and content is obviously seen in all the supplications of Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya is unraveled. The
most important finding of this research is that all the phonemes employed in Al-ṣaḥifa are used as they are
appropriate to the context. When Imm Sajjād is talking about God’s mercy, he uses soft and delicate
sounds but when he is talking about heavenly retribution, he uses harsh and bitter sounds in a manner that
one cannot replace one with another. The sounds have such an effect on the text that we can appreciate
their meanings by merely listening to them.
Keywords: Implication; Phoneme; Psalm Analysis; Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya
Each effect in nature is a sign for the existence of another
being. This phenomenon is also tangible in the world of words
and sentences which is called linguistic signs. Each word which
flows over the tongue or is engraved upon a tablet through in-
scription, both orally and in the written form, is a sign for the
meaning which is hidden behind these two forms and this phe-
nomenon includes different categories of meanings. Sometimes
one gets the meaning through the tone and manner of the
speaker articulating the words; sometimes the word itself im-
plicates a specific meaning, and in some cases the root structure
of the word is representative of a particular meaning.
This article seeks to investigate the role and importance of
the implication of phonemes and sounds in a sentence, an im-
plication which is known as the study of the implication of
speech sounds or phonetics. In this supplication, when a word
refers to smooth meanings and love or kindness and affection,
sounds are also used in a smooth and easy manner which is free
from any roughness. But when a word refers back to rage and
fury, rough and bitter sounds are used.
Due to the necessity and importance of phonetics in the
analysis of meanings, literary figures and scientists for a long
time have paid attention to this issue, and works such as The
Holy Qurān have been investigated from this perspective.
Khalil ebn-Ahmad in the introduction of the book Al-ᶜayn and
Sibawayh inAl-Kitāb, in some issues related to merging, talk in
depth about phonemes, their places of articulation, analysis of
human’s vocal apparatus and the related features. Similarly,
Aboo Omar Alsheibani in his Dictionary of Aljīm, Ebn Darid in
The Assembly of the Words and Ebn Jani in The Arabs’ Literary
Devices have continued and completed the former scientists’
studies on phonetic issues, and they have added new topics to
the above-mentioned issue. Among contemporary scientists,
also, Sayyed Ghotb in his exegesis entitled On the Shades of
Quran and Aesheh Bent Al-Shati in explanatory exegesis of
The Holy Qurān have used phonemic and phonetic methods.
Mohammad Ali Saghir has devoted the sixth chapter of the
book Word Sounds in Qurān to phonological implications in
the Holy Qurān and has talked about this issue in length.
Among other scientists who have talked about this subject we
could refer to Mohammad Farid Abdullah in his Word Sounds
and Implications in the Holy Qurān and Mohammad Mani Aref
Abed in his thesis entitled Word Origins in Al-Baqarah and
Al-šoarāh Chapter. The question for which this article seeks to
provide an answer is whether phonemes influence words’
meanings, whether features of every phoneme affect meanings
of words, whether one can replace any phoneme or any word in
psalms of Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya with another phoneme or
word respectively while having the same phonetic features as
the previous one.
The present research, trying to answer these questions, first
starts with defining “implication” and its different types as well
as defining features of different phonemes .Then it gives a short
introduction to Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya and goes on to give a
phonological analysis of the eighth psalm in Al-ṣaḥifa, that is,
“Fī Al-isteāḍe Supplication “and finally gives an account of the
style of psalm in the family and descendants of prophet
Mohammad, peace be upon him and his progeny.
A. ZARE, L. DIANAT
Implication in the literal sense:
“Implication” in Arabic Language Dictionary under the en-
try of “implication” is defined as: directing and guiding some-
one to something (Ibn Manzoor, p. 1410). Also, there is an-
other meaning which states that “implication” is something
through which guidance is sought (Aljavaheri, 2008). Dalīl
means Ildāl, that is guide and Dallah means “he guided him”.
Implication in the technical sense:
Implication as a science is a field which investigates meaning
and the ways of attaining it. (Ghairoo, 1986) Sharif Jorjani (816 -
740) defines it as: when something leads to knowledge and
awareness of something else, the first thing is called “implica-
tion” and the second thing is called the “implicated”. So the
way that the word implicates the meaning depends on the sen-
tence, the direction of the text, and the special occasion to
which the text refers (Al-Sharif Al-Jorjani, 1985: p. 215). Each
phenomenon in the nature directs the human mind to something
beyond itself; in the same way that smoke leads us to the rec-
ognition of fire, words also lead us to a hidden meaning beyond
the word itself. Words implicate a special meaning and this
implication differs in different occasions, based on the way of
pronouncing the word, the style of saying it, and the grammati-
cal structure and special features of the word when it stands by
itself or in word combinations. “The effects or meanings of
words, the words or their written forms are all considered as
different means of implication. What comes out of man’s oral
system, is a sign of what inside one’s mind is. “Implication of a
word” means: whenever something is visualized in one’s mind,
the mind imagines a meaning related to that noun and immedi-
ately grabs its meaning” (Daye, 1996: p. 15).
Types of Implication
Implication has different types. This division depends on
one’s attitude towards words. Sometimes one thinks of words
by themselves and without any combinations and looks up their
meanings in a dictionary and sometimes one looks at words
based on their structures and looks up their meanings in their
specific structural and conjugational forms; sometimes we pay
attention to the style of the sentence or clause and its special
occasion and interpret its meaning based on the manner it is
said; sometimes we put words in sentences and analyze their
relationships in comparison with other words. So this way we
understand their roles and then analyze their meanings. Also,
sometimes phonemes, their special features, manner of pro-
nouncing them and their meanings are investigated and their
meanings are understood using this method.
Implication of Morphology
Morpheme is the smallest meaningful unit in a language
(Richards & Schmidt, 2002: p. 341). Morphemes can be classi-
fied as bound vs. free. A free morpheme can stand alone; bound
morpheme like prefixes and suffixes are those which must be
used with another morpheme.
The implication of morphology is an implication which
arises out of the structure of the word and its special structural
features which are also called structural usages (Motahari, 2003:
p. 31). Analyzing conjugational implication, scientists believe
that the root of the word, which is the basic phonemes of that
word, is the nature implication, and the redundant phonemes of
the word are relational implication; like words such as (ᶜālimah,
ᶜālimūn, ᶜālim, ᶜalama) in which (ᶜalama) is the nature implica-
tion and the additional phonemes (ā,ūn)are the relational im-
plication (Al-Rakein, 1993: pp. 97-98). Scientists have made
connections between the root of the word and its implication in
Arabic language and believe that each root has a special impli-
cation. As an example, the meter faᶜalān implicates action and
excitement, and the meter fiᶜālih implicates a special profes-
Combinational implication means the relations which exist
among position of words in a sentence, and its purpose is not to
express the meaning of the word itself but its purpose is to
communicate the meaning of the word combination and to
specify the subject, object, etc. (Jorjes, pp. 197-198). It is as if
words before entering word combinations in a sentence are like
phonemes which do not have any meaning, and expressing their
meaning is possible only through their combinations. “When a
word is put in a sentence in a syntactic position, it becomes part
of the social and intellectual life” (Aldayeh, 1996: p. 23).
Contextual implications are those concepts which are in-
tended by the speaker and the audience will understand them,
based on the special situation, while the speaker is speaking. In
other words, the contextual manner of the speaker’s language
will determine the intended meaning (Abdoljalil, 2002: p. 540).
Some linguists believe that language is not considered as lan-
guage based on what is written in books, rather it is considered
language based on the way it is articulated and the way it flows
over one’s tongue. They consider oral, syntactic, and lexical
implications in service of stylistic implication. So the contex-
tual manner of articulating a language is part of the speaker’s
culture, and the atmosphere in which a word is articulated de-
termines the intention of the speaker (refer to Alrakein, 1993: p.
102). Although a word may have a specific meaning in a dic-
tionary, its meanings may change based on what we are saying.
Sometimes by changing the tone when pronouncing a word, we
may come up with a surprise, a question, a sense of hatred, or
contempt. We can understand all these through the speaker’s
Lexical implication is the direct meaning and common es-
sence of a word in all of its derivations and its different conju-
gational structures (Abdoljalil, 2001: p 64). As a matter of fact,
lexical implication means those different meanings which have
been provided for a word in a dictionary. So some linguists
have started collecting words in a specific field and created
topical dictionaries. As a result of such works, some dictionar-
ies were written on unfamiliar words of Holy Qurān. Then,
Khalil ebn Ahmad wrote a comprehensive dictionary based on
the articulation of phonemes called Moᶜjam al-ᶜayn (Alrakein,
1993: p. 103).
Phonetic Implication is an implication which comes out of
the nature of some sounds and the relationships among these
sounds with particular meanings. So each sound associates a
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
A. ZARE, L. DIANAT
special meaning in one’s mind. “Such an implication is in close
contact with one of the linguistic theories; that implication is
the natural relationship between the word and its meaning. Ebn
Jenni in his xaṣāiṣ calls it textual implication (ibid 96).” Pho-
netic implication is quite evident in such words as “qazm” and
“xazm” in Arabic. “Xazm” in Arabic is the sound for soft and
smooth food, and “qazm” is the sound for tough food. This
implication is the result of the sounds /q/ and /x/ in these two
words. When we listen to some words with special sounds, we
expect particular meanings appropriate to those sounds.
In the dictionary of Arabic Language the explanations for the
entry “sound” appear as such: “Sound literally means music of
the word which includes the voice of humans and nonhumans”
means a person who shouts. Phone or sound is
produced by the vibration air molecules. Vibration means the
movement of molecules from a specific point in a specific way
and then returning to that specific place. This is physical phe-
nomenon is called vibration cycle. If the vibration of air mole-
cules is repeated more than 16 times in a second, the kinetic
energy changes into acoustic energy and, consequently, sound
is produced. “All the sounds we make when we speak are the
result of muscles contracting. The muscles in the chest that we
use for breathing produce the flow of air that is needed for al-
most all speech sounds.” (Roach, 1998: p. 8).
Sound, literally, means rhythm and it is a kind of wave which
is produced by the collision of two objects and is scattered in
the atmosphere so that it comes to the human beings’ oral re-
ceiver or acoustic apparatus and is heard by the ears. In other
words, “sound is the audio effect of the alternating and con-
secutive movements the source of which is either the vocal
apparatus of a living organism or some sort of particular move-
ments” (Jom’e, 2008: p. 24).
Kinds of Phonetic Implication
Phonetic implication is divided into two kinds of natural
phonetic implication and analytical phonetic implication. Natu-
ral phonetic implication talks about coordination of phonemes
and meanings related to them, but analytical phonetic implica-
tion talks about the change in phonetic units and; consequently,
the change made in meaning which in, per se, is divided into
two parts, stress and intonation (refer to Alrakein, 1993: p. 96).
That is, sometimes we communicate a special meaning by
stressing a special part of the word. Also, sometimes the tone
and the context of the utterance express the intended meaning
of the speaker like cases such as surprise, interrogation, con-
tempt, reprimand and so on, which are all understood by the
Stress is an increase in the flow of air out of the lunges. A
stressed syllable is usually produced by pushing more air out of
the lunges in one syllable relative to others. A stressed syllable
has greater respiratory energy than neighboring unstressed syl-
lables (Ladefoged, 2006: p. 110)”. Language is made up of
words and each word is made up of successive and related
sounds each of which guides us to the other one. Phonemes, per
se, do not have any meanings, but their importance depends on
the situation in which they are put. When a person talks in their
own language, they habitually stress a particular part of the
word so that they could make it outstanding with respect to
other parts; this is called stress” (Mohammad, 1998: p. 125).
Therefore, stress is the force and energy we put to pronounce a
special part of a word in comparison to its other parts. We men-
tion intensity, intonation, length and tone of sound as different
ways of creating stress in a word (Kakol Aziz, 2009: p. 43).
Pitch is a physical phenomenon (Ladefoged, 2006: p. 291),
and intonation is a pitch pattern in a sentence. In an intonation
language like Arabic, pitch conveys abstract meanings of its
own, usually related to the information structure of the utter-
ance. Mario Bye defines intonation as: the successive coming
together of different musical tunes and rhythms in saying a
specific sentence (Mohammad, 1998: p. 134). Languages like
Arabic in which the rising and falling intonation is at a senten-
tial level are called intonation languages, but languages like
Chinese in which the intonation is at the level of words or syl-
lables are called tone languages.
This means that there is a special phoneme or tone for each
particular purpose which affects the manner of articulating a
sentence. We get the purpose of a sentence through its intona-
tion; whether, for instance, it is used to ask a question or it is
written to communicate surprise, denial, contempt, or reproach.
Using intonation, we could also find out on which part of
speech, like subject, object, and verb, the emphasis is put.
When we read the verse number four of Surah Nahl in The
Holy Qurān, for instance, )
( we can
understand that this verse refers to Allh’s surprise at man’s
feud to Allh; we could also understand meanings such as sur-
prise, blame, and order to do something through the tone of the
verse number seventy-five in Surah Nesā in The Holy Qurān
)(. These concepts are not understood by the
translation of the verses, but they are all understood through the
intonation of the verses.
Description of Speech Sounds
Those sounds in the production of which the airstream must
be obstructed in some way are called consonant. In describing
each consonant, three features must be taken into consideration:
place of articulation, manner of articulation and being voiced or
Classification of consonants based on the place of articula-
tion: Bilabials like /b/, labiodentals like /f/, dentals like //,
alveolars like /n/, velars like /g/, glottals like /h/.
Classification of sounds based on manner of articulation:
Stop: In these sounds complete closure of the articulators are
involved so that the airstream cannot escape through the mouth
like: /b, t, d, k/.
Fricative: There is close approximation of articulators so that
the airstream is partially obstructed and turbulent air flow is
produced like: /f, v, h, š/. In the production of some fricatives a
hissing sound is heard, that is why these sounds are called sibi-
lants like /s, z/. There are some other fricatives in the produc-
tion of which a sound like the flow of water or the spread of
water is heard. These sounds are called shibilant like /š/.
Affricate: in these consonants, a brief stopping of the air-
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 191
A. ZARE, L. DIANAT
stream with an obstructed release which causes some friction
are combined like //.
Nasal: when the velum is lowered and the airstream is allow-
ed to flow out through the nose, nasals are produced like /m, n/.
Glides: these sounds are typically produced with the tongue
in motion to or from the position of a vowel and they are some-
times called semi-vowels like /w, j/.
Liquid: this sound is formed by letting the airstream flow
around the sides of the tongue as the tip of the tongue makes
contact with the middle of the alveolar ridge like /l/.
Glottal: These sounds are produced when the space between
the vocal folds is closed completely, then released like //.
(Yule, 2010: pp. 32-33).
Sounds are also divided into two categories based on the po-
sition of vocal cords in the pharynx: voiced and voiceless.
Sounds produced when the vocal folds are vibrating are said to
be voiced, as opposed to those in which the vocal folds are
apart, which are said to be voiceless (Ladefoged, 2006: p. 3).
Vowels are phonemes which are produced by the vibration of
vocal folds without the existence of any obstruction. So, all the
vowels are voiced. In describing vowels, three features must be
taken into consideration:
1) Tongue height: According to the distance of the tongue
from the palate, the height of the tongue is divided into three
parts: open like /i, u/, mid like /o, e/ and close like /a, /.
2) Position of the tongue: While pronouncing a vowel, if the
tongue is close to the front of the mouth, the produced vowel is
called a front vowel like /i/ but if the tongue is close to the back
of the mouth, the produced vowel is called a back vowel like
3) The degree being rounded while producing vowels.
Common Features among Vowels and Consonants
Vowels and consonants have three features in common: du-
ration, being tense and being lax.
Duration: A period of time that the vibration of a phoneme
continues is called duration.
Tense: In vowels, the closer the vowel, the tenser it will be.
In consonants, the degree of being tense has a direct relation-
ship with being voiceless.
Laxness: In vowels, the opener the vowel, the softer it will be.
In consonants, if the consonant is voiced, it is soft.
Some Parts of Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya
After ᶜāšūrā, (an occasion for the death of Mohammad’s
grandson, Hussein, the tenth day of Moharram,) there would be
a lot of pressure on the Islamic society and its people. This, by
itself, intensifies Imām Sajjād’s, Hussein’s son, responsibility
in retaining the Karbal Revolution and pure Islamic attitudes
among members of society. Imām Sajjād chooses this frame-
work to teach Islamic knowledge and, thus, leaves a collection
composed of 54 prayers called Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya which
consists of different Islamic notions and teaches religion and
ethics through the veil of prayers. This book is so valuable that
it is known as the most valuable written work after The Holy
Qurān and Nahjolbalāqa and it is called friend of Qurān, Bible
of Mohammad’s family, Zabur (Prophet David’s holy book) of
Muhammad’s Family and ascending Qurān. Human beings get
acquainted with different kinds of things when pondering over
such meaningful issues. It sometimes talks about monotheism
and uniqueness of Allh, sometimes about resurrection and
return to Allah after death, sometimes about taking refuge to
Allh from the Satan and other people’s deceits, sometimes it
asks Allah not to unravel secrets and sometimes chooses pure
knowledge from the source of knowledge, that is, The Holy
Qurān, and reaches its end. He speaks with a heart full of
knowledge of Allh and, thus, offers many thoughts to his
readers. Those who ponder over this wonderful literary piece
will be astonished at which parts to choose and study. Besides
containing rich Islamic concepts, Ṣahifah has a rhetorical and
eloquent diction. Imām Sajjād’s language is eloquent and free
from any sort of lexical or conceptual complexity. Imm’s lan-
guage is appropriate to the context; when he talks about hope
and desire, his word takes such a color as hope. When he talks
about heavenly retribution, the signs of such an attitude are
clearly evident in his words. In terms of expression, all the
words of ṣaḥifa are used in their own right places in a way that
we can consider Ṣahifah as a Dictionary in which the appropri-
ate use of words is clearly evident. Language of Ṣahifah is easy
and its style is without any complexity or strain. Its words have
a clear structure, i.e. easy to understand, and have a familiar
usage in a way that one does not get bored of hearing them. The
words and Imam’s diction are eloquent and Imam himself is
one of the most eloquent people of his time. A researcher will
understand that the spaces between clauses are in harmony with
each other and the structural varieties are surprising and ex-
hilarating, full of different kinds of inversion, omission, refer-
ence, brevity and verbiage (Moghe noor-Ali).
Phonological Analysis of “Fī Al-isteāḍe Supplication”
(the prayer number 8)
(Allhomma inn ao bika min hayajn elir wa sawrat
ilaab wa alabat ilasad, wa af ilabr, wa qillat ilqanah
wa šikasat ilxolq, wa il ilššahwah wa malakat ilamyyah
wa motbiat ilhaw wa moxlifat ilhod wa sinat ilaflah, wa
ta ilkolfah wa r ilbil al alqi wa alirri al almaam, wa
istir ilmaiyyah wa istikbr ilah wa mobht ilmokirn
wa alizri bilmoqilln, wa s ilwilyati liman tata ayiya n
wa tark ilššakki liman iani alrifata indan)
“O God, I seek refuge in Thee/from the agitation of craving,
/the violence of wrath, /the domination of envy, /the frailty of
patience, /the lack of contentment, /surliness of character,
/urgency of passion, /the disposition to vehemence, /following
caprice, /opposing guidance, /the sleep of heedlessness, /un-
dertaking the toilsome, /preferring falsehood over truth,
/persisting in sin, /making little of disobedience, /making much
of obedience, /vying with the wealthy, /disparaging the poor,
/guarding badly over those in our hands, /failing to thank those
who have done good to us.”
Imm Sajjd, in this oath, beseeches Allh anxiously and
takes refuge to Allh from any sort of evil and its different em-
bodiments having stuck to the hidden parts of one’s self since
man’s self, by nature, orders him towards evil. This request
comes from human’s self who feels weak in front of Allh;
accordingly, all the words show a kind of softness far from any
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
A. ZARE, L. DIANAT
toughness and intensity. That is, the sounds are all appropriate
to the context, since when human beings believe in something
deeply and feel that thing from depths of their hearts, effects of
such a belief can clearly be traced in their words and voices
which come out of the hidden parts of man’s self. One the other
hand, there is an organic lexical and semantic relationship be-
tween mind and language. So, subtle linguistic variables are an
aspect of subtle semantic variables and vice versa (Seidi-Abdi,
1384: p. 61). A small change in meaning shows itself in struc-
ture and form, and so is the relationship between form and
(Allhomma inn ao bika min hayajn elir)
“O God, I seek refuge in Thee/ from the agitation of crav-
ing.”In Arabic language phonemes such as ( , , ,h ) are pha-
ryngeal, that is they are produced from the depth of throat in a
weak manner without tension and this implicates that these
phonemes come out of the depths of the hidden parts of man’s
heart. Pharyngeal phonemes have a deep and close relationship
with the consistency of one’s belief in Allh. Therefore, prayers
originate from depths of one’s submission to Allh and their
beliefs in Him, a belief on which the changes do not have any
effect (Abdollah, 2008: p. 94). Truly, words and sentences are
reflective of one’s thought. When one uses fluent clauses or
words, this implicates the fluency of thought and mind. And
when one uses rough sounds and words, this phenomenon
shows some kind of roughness in meaning. In ṣaḥifa words
have been chosen with such care, (in terms of implication to
meaning and appropriateness of these meanings to sounds and
their roughness, fluency, strain or whisper, and their other
characteristics) that any small change in the order of the words
or sounds leads to a change in the rhythm of clauses and in
understanding their meanings and concepts.
In “O Allah: “h” is a voiceless pharyngeal fricative phoneme
through which the affinity of the prayer to the speaker’s soul
and the feeling of weakness and inability in front of Allah is
quite evident. This phoneme implicates collapse, that is, de-
struction and absorption and this is what comes out of prayers,
since human beings find themselves as weak creatures and that
is why they return to Allah and are attracted towards Him and
ask Him to satisfy their wishes.
The phoneme /m/, which is a voiced bilabial nasal consonant,
implicates the entrance to something or the ability to reveal the
hidden mental sides of a person. So, prayer is the needs and
requests of human beings from Allah which are expressed in
this manner. The geminate /n/, which is voiced alveolar nasal
consonant, in “inn” and //, which is an unround high vowel,
implicate such effects.
(o): this word is repeated seven times throughout the
supplication in different forms such as (o, nao, on).
Repetition of a word means excess in structure and, thus, excess
in meaning. The purpose of such a repetition is lexical empha-
sis so that the meaning is digested by the audience and leads to
an increase in one’s belief in that repeated idea. Repetition
leads to the sticking of a concept in one’s mind; this changes to
a habit and after some time it becomes part of one’s mind and
its separation from thought and belief is almost impossible.
Repetition removes all doubts from one’s mind and brings him
satiation. It is due to such a characteristic of repetition that it is
considered as one of the styles of putting emphasis on some-
thing. Human beings take pleasure from repeating a word in
front of their beloved and begging Him for something; conse-
quently, repetition will redouble this pleasure. The existence of
stress in //in (o) which shows its sharpness and toughness
when being articulated, reveals its superiority and dominance.
Using this phoneme in a word, Imm Sajjd shows that we
should take refuge from greed, envy, wrath and all kinds of evil
deeds to such a power over which there is no other power.
(hayan)(agitation): /h/ in this free morpheme is a voiceless
pharyngeal fricative phoneme;//, which is an alveo-palatal
affricate phoneme absolutely refers to one’s greatness and
grandeur and is among voiced phonemes, also there is a kind of
power in it and this implicates the intensity of agitation in greed.
The coming together of the pharyngeal /h/, and // whose main
characteristic is its intensity, and also /a/, an unround low front
vowel, which has a kind of phonological salience implicates the
depth of this agitation and its dependency on man’s soul. This
feature is also seen in the word /ir/ which means greed.
/ir/ (greed): In this word/r/, which is a voiced alveolar liq-
uid consonant implicates firmness and pervasiveness of a fea-
ture, and is considered as the phoneme of repetition in phoneme
divisions. //is voiceless alveolar sibilant phoneme. This feature
along with the pharyngeal // implicate the depth of greed and
its existence in the depth of one’s soul and self in a way that
giving up greed is not that simple. /r/, which implicates firm-
ness and stability, proves the afore-mentioned issue.
(wa sawrat ilaab wa alabat ilasad, wa af ilabr, wa
qillat ilqanah wa šikasat ilxolq, wa il ilššahwah wa
Meaning: the violence of wrath, /the domination of envy, /the
frailty of patience, /the lack of contentment, / surliness of char-
acter, /urgency of passion, /the disposition to vehemence.
/Al-aab/ composed of two morphemes: a bound morpheme
(Al) and a free morpheme (aab). It means wrath and anger
and also connotes a kind of power far from laxity and lassitude.
So, this meaning is appropriate for phonemes of this word like
//and // which are both voiced consonants, and there is a kind
of domination and power in both of them. Moreover, the word
sawrah which means violence and intensity has added to the
dominance and intensity of anger in the word. It is here that we
understand the power of diction, supereminence of rhetoric and
eloquence in Imm Sajjd’s words. If we consider just this
clause, we will find it in the best order in a way that we cannot
move one consonant to another part or replace it with another
consonant. Sounds are mixed in such a manner that even if one
does not know their Arabic meanings, one can understand their
meaning through listening to the sounds.
(Al-asad) meaning (envy) is one of evil characteristics of
man; it means one’s dissatisfaction of what others possess,
whether worldly or spiritual. Envy means that someone gets
upset due to good characteristics of others and wishes their
extirpation. On the contrary, there is an envy that one wishes to
have other people’s good characteristics. The pharyngeal //in
the word /asad/ (envy) is a sign to implicate the attachment of
this feature to the depths of one’s soul whose separation is not
that easy. /s/ implicates extensiveness and simplicity and is
among voiceless phonemes; it is as if envy gradually enters
one’s soul without being noticed like a black ant which runs
over a black rock in the dark night without being noticed. The
extensiveness of /s/, a voiceless alveolar fricative phoneme,
which is its implication, is such that it is as if it throws itself on
one’s soul and the separation from that is almost impossible.
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A. ZARE, L. DIANAT
This attachment of envy and its extensiveness comes with a sort
of intensity that is tangible through the sound /d/ which is one
of the voiced and intense phonemes.
(il al-ššahwah): //, as it was mentioned earlier, is a pha-
ryngeal and voiceless sound which implicates a high attachment
particularly to the internal and hidden matters. Imam does not
mention (irr al-ššahwah) but (il al-ššahwah) since // has a
whistling sound and is related to external and superficial mat-
ters. On the contrary, // is a pharyngeal sound which is pro-
duced through the vocal apparatus without any blockage in
sound production and, thus, it is more related to one’s soul than
//. On the other hand, the situation based on which this prayer
is articulated necessitates a person to use less whistling, tough
and hoarse sounds in front of Allah. The place of articulation
of/ / as a sound is very tight and at this time a long whistling
sound is created and this is not appropriate for the dignity of the
prayer. Repetition of the sound //is to emphasize its attach-
ment to self.
(al-ššahwah): (lust) /s/ is a shibilant sound which involves
width of the tongue and creates a complex stricture” (Alsigh,
2000: p. 180). /š/ which is a voiceless alveopalatal affricative
phoneme is a sign of its extension and this extension implicates
the unlimited extension of lust. /h/ which is one of the pharyn-
geal phonemes implicates absorption in another matter and
extension in different kinds which is an emphasis on what was
(noo bika min alasrat ilom wa almobat ilkobr wa
ašq ilššiq wa s ilmab, wa irmn ilawb wa oll
Meaning: We seek refuge in Thee from /the most dreadful
remorse, /the greatest affliction, /the most wretched wretched-
ness, / the evil end to the journey, /the deprivation of reward,
/and the advent of punishment.
“ausing in pronouncing some parts of words, as a phenome-
non, adds to the phonological beauty of the language and
sketches some picture for the auditory sense of human beings.
The human mind deals with them in away as if these pictures
were real and we were looking at them through our own phe-
nomena” (Abdollah, 2008: p. 58). Beautiful pictures composed
of different meanings and different tableaus composed of dif-
ferent colors. All these pictures and tableaus with all their dif-
ferences are finally after sketching a specific scene and that is
the beautiful scene of saying prayers to Allah. We can find
words in different parts of the prayer with a kind of phonologi-
cal coordination which associate a special beat in the rhythm of
the prayer and this is repeated every once in a while like:
(Al-asrah) (remorse): // is a pharyngeal phoneme and im-
plicates a very intense affinity with man’s soul and mind since
its place of articulation is at the end of the pharynx. A person
who is afflicted with such a remorse feels this sensation from
depth of their hearts and this is equal to the sigh which comes
out of one’s mouth when one is feeling that sense of remorse.
/r/, which is a voiced alveolar liquid consonant, implicates
repetition of the feeling of remorse since a human being who is
suffering from a great sense of remorse, carries this feeling
forever. /h/implicates constraint and lack of stability and this
meaning is related to lack of tranquility and safety for a human
being who is desperately suffering from a sense of remorse.
(Al-om) (great): // is a voiced alveolar fricative phoneme
which implicates intensity and extension in the sense of re-
morse. //, a round low back vowel, is a continuant sound in the
articulation of which the sound continues when comes out of
one’s mouth and it is not stopped by any blockages. The exis-
tence of such a phoneme in the word (Al_om) is itself an
emphasis on its intensity and power. This sound has also been
repeated in the word (kobrā) and has created a musical sym-
phony which affects one’s ears and has a deep effect on the
( ) ilmab, wa irmn
ilawb wa oll iliqb)
Meaning: the evil end to the journey, /the deprivation of re-
ward, /and the advent of punishment.
Language has a trace of meaning in it. When one talks about
happiness, its signs are totally evident in his words and when he
talks about sadness and fear from heavenly retribution, this fear
reveals itself. The same as holding your breath, words become
vowelless and a kind of solidity appears between interval of
words. Then, velarized phonemes are moved down so as to stop
in one point and that is the place of being vowelless; here is an
((s ilmab, wa
irmn ilaw wa oll iliqb)).
/b/which is a voiced bilabial stop consonant with its intensity
implicates the hardness of being deprived from reward, and the
difficulty of the demanding punishment. Repetition of/b/in this
part of the supplication is a kind of lexical emphasis and allit-
eration both of which lead to a kind of effectiveness and pene-
tration of the word in the reader’ heart. This kind of repetition
is found abundantly in ṣaḥifah such as:
/l/ is a voiced liquid consonant. Repetition of the phoneme/l/
( (allhomma alli al moammad wa
li moammad)(meaning: O God, bless Muhammad and his
/r/ is voiced alveolar liquid consonant. Repetition of the
phoneme/ r /in )
min s ilssarrah wa itiqr ilarah)
(meaning: We seek refuge in Thee from/ill-mindedness,
looking down on the small.)
/f/ is voiceless labiodental fricative consonant. Repetition of
the phoneme/ f /in: )
min tanwol ilisrf, wa min fiqdn il kaff).
Meaning: We seek refuge in Thee from/ acting with prodi-
gality/and not having sufficiency.
(wa motbiat ilhaw wa moxlifat ilhod wa sinat ilaflah,
wa ta ilkolfah wa r ilbil al alqi wa alirri al almaam,
wa istir ilmaiyyah wa istikbr ilah wa mobht
ilmokirn wa alizri bilmoqilln…)
Meaning: following caprice, /opposing guidance, /the sleep
of heedlessness, /undertaking the toilsome, /preferring false-
hood over truth, /persisting in sin, /making little of disobedi-
ence, /making much of obedience, /vying with the wealthy,
/disparaging the poor, as we can see, there is a kind of phono-
logical coordination between the words in this part of prayer
like: (almokirn-almoqilln) (r-irr)(alkolfah-alaflah)
(alhaw-alhod) (motbia-moxalifah) and many other words
like these among which there is sound coordination which are
found abundantly in Ṣahifah.
Copyright © 2012 SciRes.
A. ZARE, L. DIANAT
This phonological coordination which is seen at the end of
clauses is very much effective in articulating the real mission of
this prayer, that is, influencing the soul and mind of human
beings. This music, which consists of rhythmic words with the
same rhymes and equal measures, has a great effect on the in-
ternal music of the lines which consists of pure heavenly
thoughts. Coordination of sounds sometimes comes in a parallel
manner like (alhaw-alhod) and sometimes this coordination is
seen at the end part of words like (almaiyah-al a).
One of other important points which is worth mentioning in
this coordination is the contrast of meaning in two words in a
way that the first one is considered as the opposing point with
regard to the first one like: (motbia- moxalifah), (mokirn-
moqilln) (istir- istikbr) and it sometimes comes with two
words both of which have a common meaning like: (alom-
alkobr) (both mean great).
A comparison between sonnet number 206 written by
Hafez and the eighth supplication in Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya:
Sonnet 206 by Hfez:
Piš az inat biš az in andishe-e oššq bood,
Mehrvarzi-e to b m šohre-e fq bood.
Yd bd n sohbat-e šabh ke b zolf-e toam,
Bahs-e serr-e ešq-o zekr-e halqe-e fq bood.
Hosn-e mahrooyn-e madles gar che del mibord-o din,
Bahs-e m dar lotf-e tab-o khoobi-e akhlq bood.
Piš z n kin saqf-e sabz-o tq-e min barkašand,
Manzar-e chašm-e mar abrooy-e dnn tq bood.
az dam-e sobh-e azal t khar-e šm-e abad,
Doosti-o mehr bar yek ahd-o yek misq bood.
Sye-e mašooq agar oftd bar šeq che šod,
M be oo mohtd boodim oo be m moštq bood.
Bar dar-e šham gadi noktei dar kr kard,
Goft bar har khn ke benšastam khod razzq bood.
Rešte-e tasbih agar bogsast mazooram bedr,
Dastam andar dman-e sqi-e simin sq bood.
Dar šab-e qadr ar saboohi kardeam eibam makon,
Sar khoš mad yar-o dmi bar kenr-e tq bood.
šer-e Hfez dar zamn-e dam andar b-e khold,
daftar-e nasrin-o gol r zinat-e orq bood
Khajeh Shams Al-ddin Mohammad Bah Al-ddin known as
Hfez is the great Iranian poet who used to live in 14th century
A.D. He was called Hfez because he knew the holy Quran by
heart. Traces of the holy Quran in his theosophical poems are
evident, so that is why we have chosen one of his sonnets
(number 206) to make a comparison between Hfez’s poem and
the eighth supplication in Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya. Without
considering the inspired language in the both texts, the reason
why these two texts are compared, despite their different liter-
ary genres, is that: first of all both the phonemes employed in
these two texts and the phonetic analysis of them are somehow
similar. Secondly, the literature and language of the both texts
are really rich and this shows the authors’ level of knowledge.
Thirdly, in this sonnet there is a couplet, like the eighth suppli-
cation in Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya, in which form and content are
so interrelated and intertwined that it is not possible to replace
one phoneme with another, because if one phoneme is replaced
by another one, conveying concepts which are expressed
through linguistic signs will be impossible.
This is the eighth couplet of this sonnet:
Rešte-e tasbih agar bogsast mazooram bedr,
Dastam andar dmane sqi-e simin sq bood.
In the first hemistich of the eighth couplet, a person apolo-
gizes for what has happened. In the second hemistich, this per-
son by expressing the cause of this happening calms the other
person and with the nearest approach to an apology and by
using words such as /sqi/, /simin/ and /sq/, beginning with the
consonant /s/, pacifies the person. In Persian the consonant /s/
is a linguistic sign used to calm down a person. In other words,
in this hemistich both form and content are used to soothe the
other person. It is obvious that form are content are totally in-
terrelated, so if a word is replaced by one of its synonyms or
translated into another language, the aesthetic value of this
literary piece will be downgraded and some concepts may be
misunderstood. However, this feature, that is the interrelated-
ness of form and content are rarely seen in Hfez’s sonnets. In
fact, in the majority of Hfez’s sonnets it is possible to replace
one phoneme or one word with its synonym which does not
affect the conveyance of the targeted meaning and content.
Proving this claim, some cases are discussed below.
Example 1: In the second hemistich of the first couplet in-
stead of the word /mehrvarzi/ the word /ešqvarzi/ could be used.
These two words are composed of three morphemes: two free
morphemes and one bound morpheme. In these two words, the
second morpheme (varz) and bound morpheme (i) are the same
but they are different with regard to just three phonemes in the
first morpheme. In the word /mehrvarzi/ the three phonemes/m,
h, r/, that is the voiced bilabial nasal consonant/m/, the voiced
glottal fricative consonant/h/ and the post-alveolar approximant
consonant /r/, are different from the three phonemes /, š, q/,
that is the glottal stop consonant//, the post-alveolar fricative
consonant/š/ and the uvular stop consonant/q/ in the word
/ešqvarzi/. Despite this fact, we could replace these phonemes
with each other.
Example 2: In the second hemistich of the third couplet the
word /hosn/ could be used instead of the word/lotf/. This mor-
pheme which contains the voiceless glottal fricative consonant
/h/, the mid back vowel /o/, the voiceless alveolar fricative
consonant /s/ and the voiced alveolar nasal consonant /n/ re-
spectively could be replaced by its synonym, that is the word
/lotf/ which contains the voiced alveolar lateral-approximant
consonant /l/, the mid back vowel /o/, the voiceless alveolar
stop consonant /t/ and the voiceless labiodentals fricative con-
sonant /f/ respectively.
Example 3: In the second hemistich of the fourth couplet, in-
stead of the word /nn/ its synonym /yrn/ could be used. In
the word /nn/, the two phonemes /, n/, that is the voiced
post-alveolar affricate consonant // and the voiced alveolar
nasal consonant /n/ are different from the phonemes /y, r/, that
is the voiced palatal approximant consonant /y/ and the
post-alveolar approximant consonant /r/ in the word /yrn/.
Example 4: In the first hemistich of the ninth couplet, instead
of /ar/ the word /gar/ could be used. In the word /gar/, /g/
which is a voiced velar stop consonant could be used instead of
// which is a voiceless glottal stop consonant. There are a lot of
examples which could be discussed here, because the main
issue in this article is not directly related to this topic I ignore
In addition to phonemic and phonetic features of languages,
choosing meaningful words with a beautiful alliteration, putting
these words in their right places and somewhat the interrelat-
edness of form and content are influential in the formation of a
text. Unlike Hfez’s sonnets, the interrelatedness of form and
content is obviously seen in all the supplications of Al-ṣaḥifa
Al-Sajjādiyya. For instance, this phenomenon is frequent
Copyright © 2012 SciRes. 195
A. ZARE, L. DIANAT
throughout Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya and specifically in the
eighth supplication. In fact, if one word or phoneme is replaced
by another one in Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya, the text loses its
aesthetic values and the meaningful concepts are not conveyed
as they should be.
Despite the fact that Hfez was a theosophist and his spiritual
and theosophical states, which have been under the influence of
Quranic verses, abound in his poems, but what we feel or un-
derstand out of Al-ṣaḥifa Al-Sajjādiyya, because of its phonetic
and morphological features, is much greater than what we get
out of Hfez’s sonnets. Using rhythmic and meaningful words
with a beautiful alliteration and profound linguistic signs causes
a spiritual state in human beings which finally leads human
beings toward Allāh.
Stylistics of the Supplication
Stylistics is a unity which can be seen through the style and
atmosphere of a text. Sometimes stylistics is the result of a
particular choice of words and ordering them beside one an-
other. Sometimes stylistics is created through a special kind of
thought and attitude dominant in different works of art. Every
thought and attitude can be seen in particular words. This
means that every particular attitude finds its expression in a
particular language. The same way that a philosopher uses spe-
cial words or expressions when speaking, a theosophist and a
Sufi also have their own words and expressions. Therefore,
Al-ṣaḥifah Al-Sajjādiyya, which is an embodiment of pure the-
osophical thoughts of Imam, has its own style. “The style of
Ṣahifah is the result of the special attitude of Imam Sajjd both
towards the internal and external world which has been neces-
sarily manifested through a particular kind of word and manner
of articulation. (Sajjadi, www.rasekhoon.com). In other words,
Imam's particular style in Ṣahifah has three levels: thought and
mentality, language and appearance, and literature and elo-
quence. Prose of Qurān’s Sister is rhythmic in which many of
the words have the same rhythm. This rhythm is seen in initial
phonemes of clauses like
(motbiat ilhaw wa moxlifat ilhod )and sometimes in fi-
nal part of words like(alšayn-alsoln-alzamn) in the sen-
( ) (wa an
yastao alayn alšayno, aw yankoban alzamno, aw
yatahaaman alsolno) and (–– ) (almab-
alawb-aliqb) in the clause:
)( (wa s ilmab, wa irmn
ilawb wa oll iliqb)
Ṣahifah, based on looking at its audience or readers, is a
general book which has not been written for a specific individ-
ual or group. Every Unitarian person, in any place or era, will
find their truth-demanding ideas in Ṣahifah. Ṣahifah, putting
Imam Sajjd’s theosophical words aside, is a book which has
been devoted to teaching pure Islamic thoughts and orders. It is
as if its sentences are written for teaching. That is why some-
times a particular thought is repeated during the prayer or
sometimes a special thought is portrayed through eloquence and
rhetoric. The addressee in Ṣahifah is Allh; so that is why
Imam has used rhetorical and eloquent expressions which are
far from strangeness and heaviness in a way that we can say
sentences in Ṣahifah are made up of the best words to convey
meanings. Thus, it would be natural for the style of the prayer
to be appropriate to the present situation. “Accordingly, sen-
tences of this prayer and supplication have been written in the
form of a composition, since these sentences express the des-
perate need of human beings to Allah up to the point that even
statements are not absolutely declarative. Ṣahifah is full of un-
equivocal prayers, explicit demands, internal needs, and man’s
hopes and desires in a way that they embrace all Ṣahifah
(Alashtar site: Imm Sajjd).
Ṣahifah is full of different and beautiful meanings which
words with their phonological structures have created. Lexical
structures such as having vowels, being vowelless, spaces be-
tween sounds and all the issues related to the spaces, contrast,
and phonological symmetries are all appropriate to the context
of content and meaning in the text. For each meaning or situa-
tion a set of words or sounds have been used that cannot be
replaced with another one. Every word has been put in the text
with its own mental image and auditory implication. So the
whole text, based on its purposes which are prayer and asking
Allah imploringly, moves forward. Prayers originate from the
depths of a religious person’s soul; therefore, we find out that
for the same reason Imam Sajjd uses a lot of pharyngeal pho-
nemes, since these phonemes come out of one’s throat without
any blockage. The coordination between clauses portrays beau-
tiful pictures in the mind of the reader in a way that when these
pictures are put together, they form the ultimate purpose of the
whole text. Therefore, phonological implication is very effec-
tive in communicating the message of the whole text to the
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