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Offline Wakas

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Re: Joseph Islam's article on 4:82
« on: July 06, 2013, 04:29:33 AM »
peace Brother Joseph,

Re: http://quransmessage.com/articles/verse%204-82%20FM3.htm

I think there is an error:

Quote: No matter how accurate a source and indeed the source of the Quran remains 'perfect' (i.e. God), it is the infallible mind which interprets the source which causes the variance. Therefore, verse 4:82 remains more of a function of the 'interpreter' than the Quran itself.

I think you meant fallible.


Whilst I found the article interesting, I'm not sure if I agree with your interpretation. According to corpus.quran.com the word in question in 4:82 http://corpus.quran.com/wordmorphology.jsp?location=(4:82:12) is "accusative masculine indefinite (form VIII) verbal noun" and in this specific form occurs 7 times http://corpus.quran.com/qurandictionary.jsp?q=xlf#(4:82:12)

According to my notes verb form 8 is "generally reflexive and, occasionally, passive in meaning" whereas you seem to have taken it as causative, i.e. "‘a cause for disagreement".

1) Can you clarify why you took it as causative?

2) When I inserted your understanding of this word into it's other 6 occurrences it didn't seem to fit well.

3) I also have another issue: if it does mean what you say then I don't particularly see how it is a statement of strength or uniqueness or demonstrates the grandeur of God's Word etc and it is not reasonably falsifiable, i.e. distinguishing between some and many differences is subjective. Perhaps I have not grasped the point you are making.


Please clarify. Thanks.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Joseph Islam's article on 4:82
« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2013, 02:39:18 AM »
Wa alaikum assalam brother Wakas,

Thank you for your post and highlighting the typo. You are correct, the word was meant to read 'fallible' instead of 'infallible' which sadly was not even picked up in the proof reads. It just proves the fallibility of us humans! The article has now been amended, updated and republished. Jazak Allah Khair  :)

You respectfully asked:

"According to my notes verb form 8 is "generally reflexive and, occasionally, passive in meaning" whereas you seem to have taken it as causative, i.e. "‘a cause for disagreement"."

1) Can you clarify why you took it as causative?

2) When I inserted your understanding of this word into it's other 6 occurrences it didn't seem to fit well.


Sure :) Form VIII verbs can also be causative. For example, the stem verb ‘akhada’ (to take) appears in verse 2:51 in its causative form 'iittakhadhtumu' (you took). There are also other examples of this verb.

In particular, the verbal noun in its form VIII ‘iftiraan’ appears in its causative form in verse 6:140 (the act of forging / inventing).

Verbal nouns as you will know, are derived from a particular verb and convey the 'idea of the action of the verb'. Though basically substantive, it can also be used adjectivally or adverbially.

One verb may give rise to different verbal noun patterns which may produce similar or different meanings.

The verbal noun ‘ikhtilaf’ in verse 4:82 is derived from the verb form VIII (Ikhtalafa) which in my opinion, conveys the action of finding a cause for disagreement, to differ or causes of dispute. This was supported by the examples in verses 11:110 and 41:45 I provided.

However, the other 5 (out of the 6) verbal nouns that you have kindly shared are not from the verb action 'to be at variance / cause for dispute'

Albeit they are from the same verb form, the verb actions that they capture are very different and carry the meaning of 'alternation' implying the action of successive change from one state to another and then back again. This has only been used in relation to the alternation of day and night with regards God's creation.

Therefore, both these verbal nouns take their meaning from different verb actions. One is 'causes of dispute' and the other is 'alternation'.

Hence the comparison in my humble opinion would be tedious and it is wholly understandable why you will not see a common fit when applying one verb action to the context of another.

The only other 6th comparison (out of the 7) would be from verse 30:22 which once again takes its action from a different verb action. (i.e. diversity) in terms of human diversity and not necessarily 'dispute' or 'alternation'.


THE ADJECTIVE KATHEERAN (much)

This adjective introduces a point of comparison. The alternative to 'katheer' (much) is not necessarily 'none' but can also arguably be 'less'.

In other words, if I say, 'if you do this, there can be much delay' the alternative also implies that there can be ‘some’ delay. However, if I say, 'if you do this, there can be delay', the alternative implies that without the action there will be 'no delay'.

Therefore, if we allow for the popular rendition ‘contradiction’ as a substitute for the word ‘ikthilaf’, then the Quran can be deemed to be suggesting that if the Quran was from God (as opposed to anyone else), then instead of ‘many’ (katheer) contradictions, there could also be ‘few’ contradictions.

This would be an extremely problematic insinuation by the Quran as you can imagine.

If the adjective 'kathir' (much) was absent from the verse then one could more forcefully argue that the alternative would be 'none'. However, this is not the case.

At times, the nuance of verbal nouns can be difficult for translators to capture and grammarians generally recognise this.


You further asked:

3) I also have another issue: if it does mean what you say then I don't particularly see how it is a statement of strength or uniqueness or demonstrates the grandeur of God's Word etc and it is not reasonably falsifiable, i.e. distinguishing between some and many differences is subjective.

I do not think the purport of the verse is intending to demonstrate the grandeur of God’s Word in that it has no ‘errors’. The Quran already asserts that it is a Divine revelation and therefore by implication cannot contain errors.

Rather what I feel the Quran is suggesting in this verse is that if its words were from other than God, than there would be even more causes of clear dispute which can be attested by a comparison with other sources which are not from God such as the Ahadith corpus.

Therefore, the thrust of my humble opinion is formed from the following criteria:

  • What 'verb' action (cause for dispute / variance or alternation) does the verbal noun 'Ikhtilaf' best derive from? I find this to be from the verb action which means 'cause for dispute' and hence why I have humbly argued for it.
  • The adjective 'katheeran' introduces a comparison (less as opposed to none) which must be considered in light of its Divine infallible provenance. The Quran would never imply that it has the capacity of 'some contradictions', if the word 'ikthilaaf' is understood in the popular rendition as 'contradictions'.
  • The 'source' of the 'ikthilaaf' is not necessarily the Quran but the fallible individuals which present the intellectual prism of fallibility through which the Quran is interpreted and hence the source of disagreement. This is not a reflection of the Quran, but rather a reflection of the fallible human mind. I feel this is strongly suggested by the phrase 'la'wajadu' which reads 'surely they (would have) found' shifting the emphasis to the human mind.

I hope this helps to clarify, God willing.
Joseph.
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell

Offline Wakas

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Re: Joseph Islam's article on 4:82
« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2013, 04:14:14 AM »
Brother Joseph,
w/salaam,

Thanks for the clarification on verb form 8. It does seem it can indicate reflexive causative, e.g.
http://arabic.tripod.com/VerbForms3.htm

If I have understood correctly what you have said, you are of the opinion the word in question means "causes of dispute" rather than "alternation/variance", but the latter meaning is still possible. If so, I agree that it could theoretically mean either, but I personally think "alternation/variance" makes most sense.

You said:
Quote
Therefore, if we allow for the popular rendition ‘contradiction’ as a substitute for the word ‘ikthilaf’, then the Quran can be deemed to be suggesting that if the Quran was from God (as opposed to anyone else), then instead of ‘many’ (katheer) contradictions, there could also be ‘few’ contradictions.

This would be an extremely problematic insinuation by the Quran as you can imagine.

Whilst I understand the argument you are making, I don't regard it as problematic because I simply take the statement of Quran as is, i.e. based on the size and scope of the Quran IF it were from other than God then they would have found in it much variance/alternation/contradiction. That does not necessarily mean there is some variance/contradiction in it, as you pointed out in the article:

Quote
The possible understanding that results from the above translation is that the Quran has no contradictions or that it may contain 'some' contradictions as opposed to 'many' (kathiran).  The verse arguably makes neither claim.


In any case, it is possible that the author of Quran allows for either rendition.

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Joseph Islam's article on 4:82
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2013, 05:43:48 AM »
Thank you brother Wakas for your comments  :)
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell