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Frank

Writing The Koran

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If had to use google, then I wouldn't have been wrong, now would I?

 

However, it seems you fail at correcting me. James Joyce lived from 1882-1941. For him to write the book later than the early 1900s, he would have to be doing so as a ghost. The book was published in the 1920s.

 

Layna, you had obviously never heard of 'Ulysses' until I mentioned it. No fault of yours, so please don't be so evasive about it.

 

Orientalists are people who study and learn oriental languages or religions. Therefore, you are asking for someone who has good grasp of both the English and Arabic languages.

 

Now, why doesn't someone like Neal Robinson, a professor of Theology and Religious Studies, qualify as a good source for commentary on the Qur'an?

 

I'm just not getting through, am I? I'll try again. I see the Koran as a work of art. I'm interested in reading a critique of it as a work of art, in terms with which I am familiar. I don't know anything about Arabic poetry. I do know a lot about secular literature. So for me, the ideal person to critique the Koran as a work of art would be someone who was both a literary critic (with academic wualifications) and was also an Arabic speaker.

 

Neal Robinson doesn't meet those criteria because he's (as you said) a professor of Theology and Religious Studies, not a Professor of English Lit.

 

Can I give you an analogy? I'm not a Hindu, so I don't believe in the Hindu pantheon. But I am interested in the Mahabharata, and I have enjoyed the various snippets of it I have encountered, in translation, as Balinese puppetry, in Bollywood films and so on. My interest in it is as a work of art. The peopple who can explain it to me in those terms are people whose expertise is in understanding and explaining works of art. There are Indian authors who write secular works who are qualified and able to talk about the Mahabharata in terms I understand. RK Narayan springs to mind but there are others.

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Layna, you had obviously never heard of 'Ulysses' until I mentioned it. No fault of yours, so please don't be so evasive about it.

 

Franky dear, I thought we agreed you wouldn't be so presumptous. It makes you look rather pathetic.

 

Ulysses means Odysseus, a character created by Homer.

Ulysses is a poem written by Lord Alfred Tennyson.

Ulysses is a book by James Joyce.

 

For me not to know any of these, I would have to be either 1) a high school dropout or 2) have slept through a good part of my high school Lit classes. Now, are you implying something here?

 

Accept it already instead of using a weak argument like "you dun know ulyssesss!" Because I was right from the beginning whereas you were wrong, and a quick "Googling" still proved me right.

 

Neal Robinson doesn't meet those criteria because he's (as you said) a professor of Theology and Religious Studies, not a Professor of English Lit.
You are asking for someone who has a degree in English Literature and not only knows Arabic extensively (which they would have to, since the Qu'ran is written in an older and more complex Arabic), but also be able understand and critique the writing style of the Qur'an. Do I have this right?

 

There are Indian authors who write secular works who are qualified and able to talk about the Mahabharata in terms I understand. RK Narayan springs to mind but there are others.

 

Do those Indian authors have a degree in English Lit?

 

Salam.

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Do those Indian authors have a degree in English Lit?

 

Many of them, yes. And most if not all would have a degree in some sort of lit.

 

Actually (and yes, this is provocative, I know) it occurs to me that a person who meets the criteria would be Salman Rushdie. I have read 'The Satanic Verses' and he gves a plausible rendering of what happened. Of course it's obscured in the poetry of magic realism, but having read his books about subjects I do have knowledge of, I trust him.

 

I'll repeat myself. I'm interested in the Koran as a work of art. If (as has been claimed) the Koran is a work of art so good that it must have divine origin, I'd like to see the claim tested. Obviously someone who approaches the Koran as a theological text (whether as a believer or a non-believer) is not going to be much use to me. Nor do I place much credence in the opinions of people who haven't read widely and critically in secular literatures. If you only know one book you are hardly in a position to say that it's the greatest work of art.

Edited by Frank

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PS I'd be very surprised if 'Ulysses' was covered in a high school lit class.

Edited by Frank

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PS I'd be very surprised if 'Ulysses' was covered in a high school lit class.

 

I'd be surprised if there wasn't any mention of it when doing the Odyssey. And no, it was never assigned in my class (although I seriously doubt that no high school Lit classes have this book on their list). However, your words again: Layna, you had obviously never heard of 'Ulysses' until I mentioned it. No fault of yours, so please don't be so evasive about it.

 

Because of your poor choice of words, you were wrong. You sound like a pretty intelligent person, which is what makes it incredibly amazing that you seem to assume things left and right.

 

Actually (and yes, this is provocative, I know) it occurs to me that a person who meets the criteria would be Salman Rushdie. I have read 'The Satanic Verses'.
I thought you were interested in art and critique of the writing technique of the Qur'an, not a fictional tale that makes a mockery of prophet Muhammad's revelation and the followers of Islam. I haven't read the book, but (though I didn't know the author's name), I have heard mention of it. And from what I hear, not many Muslims were fond of it.

 

he gves a plausible rendering of what happened.

 

Perhaps you could explain to us, the Muslims, just how plausible his work is and why his accounting of what happened is considered a valid source. Or do you just admire him because he is so anti-Islamic? Because it is very interesting that a person who hasn't done what you've been asking for all along is so high on your list of trustworthy sources.

 

Salam.

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(although I seriously doubt that no high school Lit classes have this book on their list).

 

Really? I can't imagine any education authority getting away with setting 'Ulysses' for school children.

 

 

I thought you were interested in art and critique of the writing technique of the Qur'an, not a fictional tale that makes a mockery of prophet Muhammad's revelation and the followers of Islam. I haven't read the book, but (though I didn't know the author's name), I have heard mention of it. And from what I hear, not many Muslims were fond of it.

Perhaps you could explain to us, the Muslims, just how plausible his work is and why his accounting of what happened is considered a valid source. Or do you just admire him because he is so anti-Islamic? Because it is very interesting that a person who hasn't done what you've been asking for all along is so high on your list of trustworthy sources.

 

Rushdie would probably meet my criteria. I don't know if he reads Arabic, but as a highly educated ex-Muslim I assume he does. Other than that, why do you think he doesn't meet my criteria?

 

I found 'The Satanic Verses' plausible because I repsect Rushdie's artistic truth-telling, I have been able to confirm the factual basis of his work (in other cases, not this one), and because, as an artist he was able to make it seem true. I'm not saying that it IS the truth (it is, as I said, a poetic work using metaphor and analogy and magic realism), I am saying that he is a great enough artists to make it seem plausible. As a work of art I rate it highly.

 

I DON'T regard it as a "valid source". That isn't what I'm talking about. I'm talking about finding someone who I trust who can give me an estimate of the artistic achievement of the Koran.

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I read Satanic Verses. Amazing piece of work thou Id consider it a critizism of what Islam has become as opposed to Islam or the Qur'an in general

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I agree. This is a bit of side-track. All I'm saying is that Rushdie obviously knows the Koran well, has thought deeply about it and is well-placed to offer a critique of its artistic achievement, considering that he is one of the foremost contemporary novelists.

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I agree. This is a bit of side-track. All I'm saying is that Rushdie obviously knows the Koran well, has thought deeply about it and is well-placed to offer a critique of its artistic achievement, considering that he is one of the foremost contemporary novelists.

 

:sl: / Greetings

 

Some refutations against the Satanic Verses...

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetislamic-awareness(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Polemics/sverses.html"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetislamic-awareness(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Polemics/sverses.html[/url]

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Something to ponder on for those who are doubtful...its regarding the prophecies of future events that our Prophet made...

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetislamawareness(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Prophecies/greene.html"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetislamawareness(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Prophecies/greene.html[/url]

 

:sl: / Greetings

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I''ll repeat myself: I have been talking about the sort of person whose views on the Koran-as-literature I would be able to engage with. Roughly, they would be someone who could engage me about ANY literature, so probably a person qualified to critique English (or any other secular) Lit. They would also have to be familiar with the Koran and Arabic literature. Rushdie seems to fit the bill.

Edited by Frank

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I read Satanic Verses. Amazing piece of work thou Id consider it a critizism of what Islam has become as opposed to Islam or the Qur'an in general

 

(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetislamic-awareness(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Polemics/sverses.html"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetislamic-awareness(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Polemics/sverses.html[/url]

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I''ll repeat myself: I have been talking about the sort of person whose views on the Koran-as-literature I would be able to engage with. Roughly, they would be someone who could engage me about ANY literature, so probably a person qualified to critique English (or any other secular) Lit. They would also have to be familiar with the Koran and Arabic literature. Rushdie seems to fit the bill.

 

Rushie isn't qualified to critique Arabic literature.

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I''ll repeat myself: I have been talking about the sort of person whose views on the Koran-as-literature I would be able to engage with. Roughly, they would be someone who could engage me about ANY literature, so probably a person qualified to critique English (or any other secular) Lit. They would also have to be familiar with the Koran and Arabic literature. Rushdie seems to fit the bill.

 

What exactly are you looking for in terms of literature critique? To start with, the English language is very different from the Arabic language. The whole structure of the language differs so drastically there are very few words that can describe aspects in the two languages that are identical (such as the word "verb", which has an equivalent in Arabic; "fi'l")

 

When critiquing Arabic literature (in Arabic), you have to look at the meaning “ma’na”, the language (technically speaking) “lugha” and also at “balagha”, a word I have yet to find an English equivalent to. When you translate it, you retain only the “ma’na”, whereas the miracle of the Quran as literature (which in itself is wrong, because the Quran is not a book of literature, but nevertheless) lies in the ‘balagha’, which does not even have an equivalent in English! Don’t tell me I don’t know the word because I have studied English formally as well as Arabic and I know that there is no equivalent to it in the study of literature.

 

Hence, not only must I explain what balagha is, I must also use Arabic terms to describe it and its specifics simply because this part of literature does not exist in English. It does not exist in English because the English language is totally differs from Arabic.

 

If, on the other hand, we are going to discuss only the ma’na (meaning); then why on earth do you need someone that is specialized in literature, be it Arabic or English; all you need is someone with a fairly good knowledge in English (to be able to communicate with you) and a very high level of knowledge in the Arabic language as well as has a wide Arabic vocabulary (to know what the Quran is saying as all the translations that I have seen so far are not accurate enough, they are just “as accurate as they possibly can be”). In all cases you would not take his/her word for it because you have no way of looking it up to check whether it is right or wrong.

 

 

P.S. Rushdie is neither Arab, nor does he speak Arabic, nor did he ever learn Arabic. You can discuss translated versions of the Quran with him all you want, it will lead you nowhere because neither of you can actually read the original text.

Edited by Mahawi

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What exactly are you looking for in terms of literature critique? To start with, the English language is very different from the Arabic language. The whole structure of the language differs so drastically there are very few words that can describe aspects in the two languages that are identical (such as the word "verb", which has an equivalent in Arabic; "fi'l")

 

I have been told that the Koran is such a great work of art that it could not have been written by a human. That makes me interested in it - not because of its divine origin, but because it's reputed to be a great work of art. Unfortunately I am not able to juidge it for myself. Nor are judgements by people who know only Arabic literature much good to me, intersting though they may be. I need someone who frame of reference I understand, which would mean someone who is trained in literary criticism in English.

 

I have found such people to help me appreciate Indian and Japanese classical lit. I'm hoping they exist for Arabic lit.

 

Hence, not only must I explain what balagha is, I must also use Arabic terms to describe it and its specifics simply because this part of literature does not exist in English. It does not exist in English because the English language is totally differs from Arabic.
Similar problems rise in Sanskrit and Japanese. Luckily they aren't insurmountable.

 

If, on the other hand, we are going to discuss only the ma’na (meaning); then why on earth do you need someone that is specialized in literature, be it Arabic or English;

 

No, I know there are plenty of sources for discovering the meaning, and I have read translations. But I'm not especially interested in the theological side of it.

 

P.S. Rushdie is neither Arab, nor does he speak Arabic, nor did he ever learn Arabic.

 

I know that Rushdie isn't an Arab. I was hoping that like so many well-educated Muslims he learned Arabic. Are you sure he didn't?

Edited by Frank

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I know that Rushdie isn't an Arab. I was hoping that like so many well-educated Muslims he learned Arabic. Are you sure he didn't?

 

Rushdie isn't a well-educated Muslim. Hint, you are not a well-educated Muslim after having read through the Qur'an. I bet he didn't consult any scholarly materials, no books of Islamic exegesis, the thing about Satanic Verses casts doubts over his knowledge of Islamic history. Besides, a well-educated Muslim doesn't necessarily translate to a qualified critic of Arabic literature. At tops, his testimony would be on the level of those Orientalists, but I bet those Orientalists knew Arabic a lot better than Rushdie.

Edited by Younes Ibn Abd' al-Aziz

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I'm quite sure Rushdie never leart Arabic. He started his studies in a Christian school in India and then he moved to the UK where he studied history at cambridge.

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Rushdie isn't a well-educated Muslim. Hint, you are not a well-educated Muslim after having read through the Qur'an. I bet he didn't consult any scholarly materials, no books of Islamic exegesis, the thing about Satanic Verses casts doubts over his knowledge of Islamic history. Besides, a well-educated Muslim doesn't necessarily translate to a qualified critic of Arabic literature. At tops, his testimony would be on the level of those Orientalists, but I bet those Orientalists knew Arabic a lot better than Rushdie.

 

I don't know why I'm having such a hard time getting this through ... If I want to see how good a book is, I read it. If it's from a culture I don't know, I read a translation but I also seek the perspective of people whose ability and opinion I trust. Hence my saying that the person would need Lit qualifications, as they would then be talking from the same cultural perspective as me. It's simple.

 

On the side-track of Rushdie, he is a very good writer. It's a bit early for 'great' but that will probably come; he will probably win the Nobel Prize for literature one day. His 'The Satanic Verses' shows that he has thought deeply about the Koran. If he read Arabic (which I'm now assured he doesn't) he would be a perfect person the explain the Koran as a work of art to me. OK?

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I don't know why I'm having such a hard time getting this through ... If I want to see how good a book is, I read it. If it's from a culture I don't know, I read a translation but I also seek the perspective of people whose ability and opinion I trust. Hence my saying that the person would need Lit qualifications, as they would then be talking from the same cultural perspective as me. It's simple.

 

I don't really know why the testimony of the Oritentalists is not good enough for you. Hamilton Gibb taught Arabic as a professor, surely his testimony is sufficient and trustworthy. Really, I don't ask people to have lit. qualifications in the Finnish or Arabic languages to be able to comment on English literature. This is not reasonable.

 

On the side-track of Rushdie, he is a very good writer. It's a bit early for 'great' but that will probably come; he will probably win the Nobel Prize for literature one day. His 'The Satanic Verses' shows that he has thought deeply about the Koran. If he read Arabic (which I'm now assured he doesn't) he would be a perfect person the explain the Koran as a work of art to me. OK?

 

So, now reading the Qur'an in Arabic is sufficient? Reading the Qur'an in Arabic doesn't amount to expertise in the Arabic language. Besides, Rushdie isn't a literary critic.

Edited by Younes Ibn Abd' al-Aziz

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(you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetislamic-awareness(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Polemics/sverses.html"]you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_you are not allowed to post links yetislamic-awareness(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/Polemics/sverses.html[/url]

 

Yes, I know all about the real Satanic verses and no, I dont take Rushdie's book as an authentic history of Islam. That was obvious when it said 'fiction' right under the title :sl:

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Yes, I know all about the real Satanic verses and no, I dont take Rushdie's book as an authentic history of Islam. That was obvious when it said 'fiction' right under the title :sl:

 

Ok, my bad.LOL.

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I don't really know why the testimony of the Oritentalists is not good enough for you. Hamilton Gibb taught Arabic as a professor, surely his testimony is sufficient and trustworthy. Really, I don't ask people to have lit. qualifications in the Finnish or Arabic languages to be able to comment on English literature. This is not reasonable.

 

With the greatest of repect, may I say that you are being somewhat offensive here. Just because you do things a certain way does not mean that I am "not resonable" for doing them a different way.

 

Shall I try to explain for the nth time? The "testimony" of the orientalists is interesting, however, as I am interested in a work of literature, why settle for the opinion of people whose field is not literature? To do otherwise is not reasonable, surely.

 

Is that sufficient, or shall I expand?

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Shall I try to explain for the nth time? The "testimony" of the orientalists is interesting, however, as I am interested in a work of literature, why settle for the opinion of people whose field is not literature? To do otherwise is not reasonable, surely.

 

Is that sufficient, or shall I expand?

 

That is sufficient, but I would still maintain, and I agree with brother Younes, that if you want a person's opinion and analysis on the Quran as a literary work, it would have to be someone who has expertise in Arabic literature.

 

I'm sure this has been explained to you the nth time before...translations of the Quran to other languages usually loses its literary touch and appeal...therefore appreciation of it as a literary piece drops...

 

Editted to provide link: (you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_accurapid(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/journal/40quran.htm"]The Loss in the Translation of the Quran - by Mohammad Abdelwali[/url]

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You write as though you sat with him all those years ago

 

It only takes using one's brain to figure that out.

 

If you are constantly "submitting" the "final draft" on every day that you "create" something, there is no way you could use the 23 years before a book is completed to brush up on it. So for anyone to argue that the Qur'an is like any other book in the sense that prophet Muhammad had plenty of time to perfect it would be rather stupid.

 

Really? I can't imagine any education authority getting away with setting 'Ulysses' for school children.

 

I see you're still aren't trying to deny that I'm familiar with Ulysses. :sl:

 

Rushdie would probably meet my criteria. I don't know if he reads Arabic, but as a highly educated ex-Muslim I assume he does. Other than that, why do you think he doesn't meet my criteria?
You were asking for someone who knows Arabic and who can critique the writing style of the Qur'an. As others have pointed out, the book he wrote is fictional. You continue to speak of someone who will assess the Qur'an as a work of Literature yet that is the farthest thing you'd expect in fiction.

 

So why don't you explain how Salman Rushdie meets your criteria?

 

I don't know why I'm having such a hard time getting this through ... If I want to see how good a book is, I read it. If it's from a culture I don't know, I read a translation but I also seek the perspective of people whose ability and opinion I trust. Hence my saying that the person would need Lit qualifications, as they would then be talking from the same cultural perspective as me. It's simple.

 

The perfection of the Qur'an is lost on someone who can't speak the Arabic language.

 

Salam.

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That is sufficient, but I would still maintain, and I agree with brother Younes, that if you want a person's opinion and analysis on the Quran as a literary work, it would have to be someone who has expertise in Arabic literature.

 

I'm sure this has been explained to you the nth time before...translations of the Quran to other languages usually loses its literary touch and appeal...therefore appreciation of it as a literary piece drops...

 

Editted to provide link: (you are not allowed to post links yet)"you can't post links until you reach 50 posts_accurapid(contact admin if its a beneficial link)/journal/40quran.htm"]The Loss in the Translation of the Quran - by Mohammad Abdelwali[/url]

 

So near, yet so far - you've grasped half of what I wrote. The other half was that the person would have to know the Koran in Arabic. Translation doesn't arise.

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