The articles on this website may be reproduced freely as long as the following source reference is provided:  Joseph A Islam  www.quransmessage.com

 

 

INTRODUCTION AND METHODOLOGY

 

 

Salamun Alaikum (Peace be upon you)

 

 


 


 

INTRODUCTION

 

This site is dedicated to an ardent study of the Quran with a view to better understand its true message. It is also focused at addressing misconceptions found in Muslim thought and which often pervades Islamic literature.

 

For sake of ease, I have only posited arguments which can be readily verified and cross referenced by use of the internet and public libraries. For this reason, I have restricted myself to tools which readers can easily access for themselves or via the Study Tools section within this site.

 

Much of my personal research work over numerous years relies on resources which are still not readily accessible to the non-scholarship, non-academic community, via the Internet or non-specialist libraries. Much of these resources are still under copyright and remain in non-electronic form. When they are available in electronic form, they are often subscription only for specific academic researchers and institutions (such as JSTOR). If they are available for general download or purchase, they are often quite expensive. For this reason I have declined to make use of such arguments in my articles as many readers will not be able to identify or verify the claims for themselves with any degree of ease from these sources.

 

However the main reason for not using arguments from secondary sources is solely because they are superfluous to the arguments being presented from a Quranic perspective which has been briefly discussed in the section below:

 

Please see section: Islamic secondary sources

 

 

ARABIC LEXICONS - DICTIONARIES

 

From what is readily available, I have made use of some of the earliest and best classical lexicons and dictionaries, classical grammar, root analysis and Quran ontology tools to support my findings and to entice self-verification by the reader.

 

I have also made use of the well esteemed English lexicon by Edward Lanes (1801-1876) which I understand to be in the public domain. The reader will note an array of scans sourced from the lexicon and the reader is strongly encouraged to make use of the source for themselves. Many well known English commentators have made use of this immense resource which draws from the earliest and best Arabic lexicons. Powerful and well attested Arabic authorities are noted in the lexicon. See: Arabic lexicons

 

 

QURAN TRANSLATIONS IN ENGLISH

 

In terms of a basic English translation of the Quranic text and to save considerable time, I have declined to translate all the Arabic text into English myself, but rather I have also made use of different popular Muslim translations which many English readers will be able to identify with.

 

The purpose is to give an 'interpretation' and capture the crux of the Arabic text as being referenced for the purposes of the arguments I have presented. Key and decisive Arabic terms are however considerably more pertinent to the discussion and therefore have been highlighted and often discussed further.

 

Arabic readers of the Quran will no doubt appreciate that a translation can only remain but an attempt to render the original passages of the classical text into another language and can never serve to replace the original. In this way a translation remains only the commentatorís interpretation.

 

It is therefore STRONGLY advised that readers check the rendering of passages in the articles with their own particular (or favourite) translations and conduct their own research and verification.

 

Those not familiar with the Arabic text, it is advised that they consult as many translations as feasibly possible to get as many 'takes' on a particular text or passage. Some of the English tools readily available and linked from this site may prove useful for cross reference purposes. (Useful Resource Sites)

 

Indeed, as with any translation, Muslim translations also suffer from interpretive slant which no doubt is influenced by general Muslim theology. The reader must remain vigilant to this and many of my articles will attempt to highlight this by reverting to the original Arabic. Therefore, the reader will note that where relevant,  I have often differed with a particular rendering or understanding of a term in light of the Quran and or its early classical usage. There are also times where translations unnecessarily restrict the meanings of a word. This too has been highlighted where appropriate.

 

However, this does not necessarily imply that all is lost in translation. The Quran itself provides the primary source of interpretation. The consistency deployed by a particular commentator with regards a particular rendition of a Quranic term can easily be cross referenced with its usage in other parts of the scripture within similar contexts. In fact, this is the methodology that is not only encouraged by the Quran itself but has always been the modus operandi of all good classical and modern commentators. That is, that the best source of interpretation of the Quran is from the Quran itself underscoring the maxim, that different parts of the scripture explain each other.

 

Please see article: How to Study the Quran

 

Therefore, the power to examine, differentiate, accept or reject a particular rendering by a particular commentator still remains firmly within the grasp of the reader. This is also the approach I have taken in my articles and my research generally over many years studying the Quran in depth.

 

For those readers who are research orientated and inclined to deeper analysis, they will find a wealth of resource from earlier Arabic lexicons within the Study Tools section. These are the lexicons that I have made use of in the more deeper areas of my research.

 

Finally, as 'Allah' is simply the Arabic name for God (See article), translations and articles have been rendered to take this into account and have thus been replaced with the English rendering 'God'. The discerning reader will appreciate that many commentators have also made use of the word 'God' as a suitable rendition for the Arabic  'Allah'. This was certainly the case in many original 'popular' translations (such as Yusuf Ali's).

 

 

 

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Joseph Islam

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