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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Lexical research into the word istighathah

The etymological composition of the word istighathah is based on the three letters: ghayn, waw and tha (ghawth), which means help. Istighathah means "to seek help". Imam Raghib Asfahani explains its meaning in these words:
Ghawth means help and ghayth means rain, and istighathah means to call someone for help or to request (Allah) for rain.[4]
The word istighathah has been used in the holy Qur’an in various contexts. During the battle of Badr the Companions beseeched Allah’s help which is explicitly referred to in surah al-Anfal:
When you were beseeching your Lord (for help).[5]
A follower of Musa (as) asked him for help and the help he extended to him is also explained in the holy Qur’an in conjunction with the word istighathah. Allah says in surah al-Qasas:
So the person who was of his very community sought his help against another person who was from among his foes.[6]
The lexicologists believe that the words istighathah and isti‘anat both mean “to seek help”. Imam Raghib Asfahani says:
The meaning of "isti‘anat" is to seek help.[7]
The word isti‘anat is also used in the holy Qur’an in a similar sense, that is, to seek help. In surah al-Fatihah, the Qur’an declares while grooming the followers in the etiquette of supplication:
We seek help only from You.[8] 

[4]. Raghib Asfahani, Mufradat alfaz al-Qur’an (p.617).
[5]. Qur’an (al-Anfal, Spoils of war) 8:9.
[6]. Qur’an (al-Qasas, the Narratives) 28:15.
[7]. Raghib Asfahani, Mufradat alfaz al-Qur’an (p.598).
[8]. Qur’an (al-Fatihah, the Opening) 1:4.