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al-Itqan fi `Ulum al-Qur'an

-Introduction

The work before you, some twenty chapters of excerpts from Jalal ‘l-Din ‘l-Suyuti’s ‘l-Itqan fi `Ulum al-Qur'an, is a translation of what this celebrated polymath considered indispensable linguistic and stylistic tools for comprehending the meanings of the Koran. Whilst the translation itself is to my knowledge unprecedented, the use of Itqan material as such in modern studies of the Koran is not, the most significant being that of Theodore Noldeke’s still invaluable, Geschichte des Qoran

2-Sabab al-Nuzul

The 11th century c.e. is as far back as one can go to find works that dealt exclusively with material said to establish the times, places, and circumstances that prompted the revelation of the Koranic verses. The original Asb~b works as they are sometimes called are perhaps no more than four and it is to them that all subsequent independent works or references within other works may be traced

3-Nasikh and Mansukh

In Arabic litrature abrogation is known as naskh; the abrogating text is called nasikh and the aboragated text, mansukh. In Islamic law and in the exegesis of the Koran much attention is paid to the supersession of one verse by another.

4-The Deflection ( al-Imala) the Opening ( al-Fath) and that which is in between.

A group of Reciters singled out this topic for publication; included among them is Ibn al-Qasih, author of the work Qurrat al-Ain fi al-Fath wa al-Imalah wa ma bayna al-lafzain.

al-Dani said: The Opening and the Declension are two dialects common to the language of those eloquent Arabs in whose dialect the Qur`an was revealed. The Opening is the dialect of the people of Hijaz while Declension is the dialect of the majority of the people of the Najd region, including the Tamim , the Asad, and the Qais tribes. He said: A The authority for this recitation is the marfu' tradition of Huzaifa which states: "recite the Qur`an in the strains and sounds of the Arabs, and avoid the sounds of sinners, and the People of the two Books. He said: A Declension without doubt, belongs to the seven modes of recitation, and to the strains and the sounds of the Arabs.

5-Rhetorical Devices

Rhetorical devices ranging from the Trope all the way to the Elucidation have already been discussed in separate sections. Hereunder, I present the remainder, together with rare supplementary information not found together, in a single work, other than in the one at hand.

6-The Exegetes

Of the Companions, the following ten have gained prominence in Qur`anic exegesis: the 4 Caliphs, `Abd Allah b. Mas`ud, `Abd Allah b. `Abbas, Ubayy b. Ka`b, Zaid b. Thabit, Abu Musa al-Ash`ari and `Abd Allah b. Zubair.

As for the caliphs, the bulk of their transmissions are from `Ali; the others, perhaps because of their early deaths, have not quite made the same contribution. The transmissions from Abu Bakr are so few in number that I am unable to recall more than ten interpretations from him on the Qur'an.

7-The Literal and the Allegorical

God, Almighty has said: "It is He who sent down to you the Book; some of it comprises of the categorical verses (muhkamat)--these are basic to the Book--and others, the allegorical (mutashabihat ).(9:3) Ibn Habib al-Nisapuri reports three definitions of this topic: All of the Quran is muhkam, for the Almighty says: ". . .a book whose verses have been rendered categorical."(11:2) All of the Qur'an is allegorical, for the Almighty says: ". . .An allegorical writ with paired statements.

8-Brevity and Prolixity

Brevity is the art of conveying meaning with fewer words than normal, and prolixity, with more words than normal. Ibn al-Athir and others are of the latter view, and they say: brevity is to convey meaning with an economy of words while prolixity is to use more words than are required. Qazwini said: To be precise it must be said that the acceptable mode of communicating intent is where justice is done to the original idea. This occurs by usage of words equal to the original intent, or less than yet sufficient to convey such intent, or more than but for some specific purpose.

9-Muqaddam and Mu`akhkhar

This, the first of two sections, deals with verses that remain ambiguous on face value. But knowing that they belong to the category known as advancing and retarding (al-taqdim and al-ta`khir) brings clarity to them. Though some of the pious ancestors have made passing references to them, such verses in fact, ought to have been dealt with exclusively in a separate work.

10-The Particles

By particles I refer to the letters and the like that are nouns, verbs and adverbs. Know, that because of their differing occurrences, having knowledge of this material is an important necessity. It is because of such differing occurrences that speech takes on such variations. An example is the verse "wa inna au iyyakum la `ala hudan au fi dalalin mubin(34:24). The particle `ala is used for the truth and fi for misguidance, and it is as if the truthful person is highly placed, with vision that takes in various scenarios whereas the misguided person is submersed in darkness, is lowly placed, and not knowing where to turn.

11-The Etiquettes of Writing

A number of people, both past and present, have compiled separate works on this topic. Abu `Amr al-Dani is among them. Abu al-`Abbas l-Marakishi compiled a work titled `Unwan al-Dala`il fi marsum khatt al-Tanzil in which he addressed the question of the script of the Quran and its differences with the rules of the Arabic script. He explained that the written form of the letters would vary because of variations in the meaning of their words. Hereunder I will, God willing, point to its objectives.

12-Miracles of the Qur`an

Many scholars have dedicated special works to this topic. Among them are: al-Rummani, al-Zamlakana, al-Imam al-Razi, Ibn Suraqa, the judge Abu Bakr al-Baqillani, and Ibn al-`Arabi. And nothing comparable to the latter`s work has been compiled. Know that a miracle is defined as any act that contradicts the laws of nature, is the result of some challenge, and is free of contradiction.

Posted on Thursday, March 27, 2008 at 03:09PM by Registered CommenterMuneer Fareed | Comments15 Comments | References5 References

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Reader Comments (15)

As Salaam Alaikum. What a blessed find! May Allah, swt, continue to bless you. Just thought under 7 above regarding the literal and the allegorical,the citation should be 3:7 rather than 9:3. May Allah, swt, be pleased with this work.

November 10, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSalwa A. Mahmoud

slms, just have to agree with Abdullah on this one, it's because people have limited knowledge on Islam that they are fearful of the Truth. stay well and keep up the good work Insha Allah.

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Tasleem/Salaam ,
love to read the main Original books of all popular Religions. I appreciate whole heartedly this great work (translation of Itqan). I was waiting for this book in electronic format since at least 6 years. I had this book from Deoband 18 years back but lost it (some friend stolen with love and never gave me back).
Thanks again for converting it partially.Hope you will continue and will not reduce its originality. Nowadays you do not get complete translation on any Original work including Tarikh-E-Tabari or Tarikh-e-Ibn Hisham(Sirah)
All English translations nowadays comes from You know .."Mutaffifeen" folks...

Thanks Again
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Mr. Munir,
From the bottom of my heart-"thank you for this translation. May Allah bless you".

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