The sentence I mention is from Quran (written at least 14 centuries ago) verse 89:5.

Full phrase is : هل في ذلك قسم لذي حجر

And this is translated as:

  • Sahih International: Is there [not] in [all] that an oath [sufficient] for one of perception?

  • Pickthall: There surely is an oath for thinking man.

  • Yusuf Ali: Is there (not) in these an adjuration (or evidence) for
    those who understand?

  • Shakir: Truly in that there is an oath for those who possess

  • Muhammad Sarwar: Is this not a sufficient oath for intelligent

While "hajar" means stone, "mahjoor" means abandoned, "hijra" means immigraiton, how could "hijr" mean "intellect" or similar in this context? Is there a root word for that meaning and are there derivatives for it? Or it's just a meaning shift throughout centuries.

  • The English words understanding, intellect and perception are near synonyms in this context. Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 11:49

1 Answer 1


You are confusing two different sounds ħ/ح and h/ه.

mahjur, hijra are pronounced with the sound [h].

hajar, hijr are pronounced with the sound [ħ].

Now, why is the root hjr associated with the meanings stone and intellect, it is something cultural, almost arbitrary.

In Riffian, it is the opposite, the word stone is also used to refer to an idiot.

  • 1
    Oh! You are right about confusing ح and ه. Also in Turkish, "stone" is associated to idiocy. It's used as stone-headed. So you say that, "stone" in Arabic, refers to intellect somehow metaphorically. I wonder if it is valid in current modern Arabic (MSA) or in any dialect?
    – mehmetfa
    Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 16:35
  • I don't know. Even in the Arabic classical dictionary this meaning is not attested: archive.org/stream/dictionnairearab01bibeuoft#page/380/mode
    – amegnunsen
    Commented Dec 30, 2018 at 17:35

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