It is an Eastern Aramaic language that was once spoken across much of the Fertile Crescent. It was a major literary language throughout the Middle East from the second to the eighth century AD.

       At its broadest definition, Syriac is often used to refer to all Eastern Aramaic languages spoken by various Christian groups; at its most specific, it refers to the classical language of Edessa, which became the liturgical language of Syriac Christianity.

       It became the vehicle of Christianity and culture, spreading throughout Asia as far as Malabar and Eastern China and was the medium of communication and cultural dissemination for Arabs and, to a lesser extent, Persians.

       Primarily a Christian medium of expression, Syriac had a fundamental cultural and semantical influence on the development of Arabic which replaced it towards the end of the 8th century.

       It was the Syriac language and writing which became the foundation of the Quran. The Kufic script of the Quran was a modification of the Syriac script and it was from there that the system of vowel pointing in Arabic was developed based upon the old Nestorian system. (Arthur Jeffery).

       The Muhammadan exegetes used the term Syriani for any word  in the Quran that they did not know the meaning of and were sure it was ancient. This is the same as saying
"It is all Greek to me" in the present.