Quran and Textual Analysis

Via Ideofact, I see that Tacitus has linked to an article in Newsweek about Christoph Luxenberg (a pseudonym) who claims that some of the words in the Quran should be considered to be in Syriac rather than Arabic.

In a note of encouragement to his fellow hijackers, September 11 ringleader Muhammad Atta cheered their impending “marriage in Paradise” to the 72 wide-eyed virgins the Qur’an promises to the departed faithful. Palestinian newspapers have been known to describe the death of a suicide bomber as a “wedding to the black-eyed in eternal Paradise.” But if a German expert on Middle Eastern languages is correct, these hopes of sexual reward in the afterlife are based on a terrible misunderstanding.

Arguing that today’s version of the Qur’an has been mistranscribed from the original text, scholar Christoph Luxenberg says that what are described as “houris” with “swelling breasts” refer to nothing more than “white raisins” and “juicy fruits.”

Amber will be very happy to hear this, since she always gets mad about men getting virgins while she would have to make do with only me.

All kidding aside, I was surprised about this article. This is after all old news, work that was published years ago even in the popular press (as I mentioned in a previous post). Then I read the following line:

Luxenberg —- a pseudonym —- is one of a small but growing group of scholars, most of them working in non-Muslim countries, studying the language and history of the Qur’an. When his new book is published this fall, it’s likely to be the most far-reaching scholarly commentary on the Qur’an’s early genesis, taking this infant discipline far into uncharted —- and highly controversial —- territory.

So it’s actually about publicity for his book then.

Regarding his claims, I can’t really make much sense out of the ones given in the Newsweek article since they all seem to have been picked based on an agenda rather than scholarly textual analysis (no houris in heaven, no hijab/covering for women, Muhammad as witness to the prophets rather than last prophet, Quran as teaching rather than revelation). I am not competent to judge his claim about Aramaic being the language of the Arabs at the time. I would need a lot more information about his analysis to come to any conclusions. Unfortunately Luxenberg’s book is only available in German (I don’t think I can ask my Dad to use his German skills on this book.)

Via ParaPundit, I saw this comment in the Forward which states some of my own objections as well:

Moreover, inasmuch as h.oura’u is an attested Arabic word that really does denote a fair-eyed woman, it is not clear what makes the pseudonymous Mr. Luxenberg so sure that the h.uru of the Koran are white raisins. Perhaps the many alimentary images in Sura 56 —- the pure spring waters and the fruit and the “flesh of fowls” —- have convinced him that the word h.uru should also refer to food. But since there are “immortal youths” who bring this food to the saints in heaven, why not fair-eyed women? In principle, the justification for emending an ancient text, or for interpreting it in a brand-new way, should be a basic problem with the traditional interpretation that calls for an innovative approach. In this case, it is hard to see what that is.

ParaPundit quotes this from the Forward article:

That Western scholars discussing Islam and the Koran have to publish under pseudonyms to ensure their physical safety is, of course, a sad commentary not only on the intolerance of the Islamic world, but —- even after the American action in Afghanistan —- on the West’s weak posture in the face of this.

Now I have heard about Luxenberg and Ibn Warraq (who I don’t necessarily consider a scholar) using pseudonyms. Most of the other scholars working on the Quran do use real names. Regarding Luxenberg, I would be interested in finding out how he publishes in scholarly journals or presents his work in conferences etc. (I am completely ignorant of humanities/social sciences in this respect. May be Brian Ulrich can correct me here. I have also no idea where to look for his articles.)

On the other hand, quite a few Muslims need a large dose of tolerance for views they disagree with. Pakistan government has banned the latest issue of Newsweek because of this article.

Government has banned the latest edition of US weekly magazine Newsweek because it carries material likely to incite Muslim religious sentiments, information minister said today. Shaikh Rashid told AFP that all copies of the weekly’s July 28 edition would be confiscated. “We have ordered the customs authorities to seize all copies of the Newsweek issue as it contains material which can incite religious sentiments,” Rashid said, adding that the objectionable article on page 40 was about the Holy Quran. He said there was freedom of expression in Pakistan but the government expected the media to be careful about the religious sensitivities of the Muslim people.

In addition, a number of my Muslim friends will say that Luxenberg is obviously wrong. They will give me reasons based on their faith. My reply is simple: True, but only for Muslims. Why should someone who does not believe in Islam accept these arguments? Faith-based reasoning does not work on someone who does not share that belief. We need to analyze Luxenberg’s claim not on the basis of our faith but by using textual analysis, history and rational thought.

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21 Comments.

  1. The Protestantization of Islam???

    This article in Beliefnet strikes me as rather strange. The author is a Muslim who is a medical doctor-not someone who has specialized knowledge in Islam-and his rendering of the faith (all the stuff about God’s forgiveness and ability to…

  2. Textual analysis

    Two good posts on the Newsweek article I linked immediately below — the first from Zack at Procrastination, who concludes: Faith-based reasoning does not work on someone who does not share that belief. We need to analyze Luxenber’s claim not…

  3. All I know of this fellow is the Newsweek
    article. There were a couple of
    oddities—perhaps the reporter screwed up the
    story.

    I’d thought the third Caliph did the collecting
    of reliable versions and then the destruction
    of the corrupt ones, not just a wholesale
    destruction.

    And something about his thesis doesn’t make
    sense: All sources I’ve read say the Koran is
    beautiful Arabic, even if hard to understand in
    places. I’m not at all clear how a crufted-up
    Aramaic text is going to be beautiful in Arabic.

  4. You quote the Forward guy saying “In principle, the justification for emending an ancient text, or for interpreting it in a brand-new way, should be a basic problem with the traditional interpretation that calls for an innovative approach.”

    Well, the Koran has many huge problems. There are sentences that seem entirely out of place and sentence fragments that read like nonsense.

    However, more profoundly: Why should we respect traditional interpretations? What is it about traditional interpretations that make them more likely to be right? I don’t see anything that makes them more accurate. Many traditional interpretations in other religions were found by lots of hard historical scholarship to be wrong.

    We are being asked by the believers in various religions to take their texts as true. Why should we? Especially why should we if the believers in a given religion have a greater tendency to want to engage in terrorism or to oppress women or to have corrupt dictatorships?

    You ought to click thru on my site’s post to the review that I said was the most scholarly review.

  5. Textual analysis

    Two good posts on the Newsweek article I linked immediately below — the first from Zack at Procrastination, who concludes: Faith-based reasoning does not work on someone who does not share that belief. We need to analyze Luxenber’s claim not…

  6. James: The 3rd caliph Uthman (I hate writing it like that; why can’t we just write Usman like normal people) basically made copies of the manuspcript that had been collected during the 1st caliph’s reign and was in possession of Hafsa. I don’t think he formed that version himself. Some Shia views differ.

    Randall: Do you want to talk about terrorism and other “problems” with Islam or about textual analysis? I maintain they have nothing to do with each other. In fact, if we discovered today that Luxenberg was right and all passages related to jihad and women are wrongly interpreted, terrorism and mistreatment of women won’t disappear from the world like magic!

    I don’t think the point is about repsecting traditional interpretations. Those have a long history and body of work behind them. The question is why discard all that in favor of Luxenberg. Can his work and claims be supported historically? Do his interpretations make sense in the overall Quran? What do other scholars think of him? What other body of work has he done? Writing a book is good, but is there work by him that is reviewed by his peers? I think this is where his psedonymity works against him.

    Frankly, I don’t know enough about his work. I also have very minimal knowledge of Arabic (despite it being my mother’s 1st language). So I am not sure I am even qualified to judge him properly. But I am interested in the topic and will probably read his book when it appears in English. I don’t know what the reaction of the scholars will be to his work 20 years on and especially after most of the research on the Sanaa manuscripts has been done.

  7. Islamic terrorism and textual analysis have a lot to do with each other. The reason why textual analysis is so opposed by Islamic fundamentalists is that if different interpretations of the Koran replaced current interpretations that would affect the willingness of Muslims to engage in acts of terrorism.

    The Alexander Stille article made clear that textual analysis has caused huge changes in Christianity and Judaism and potentially could do the same to Islam. Imagine what the effects would be if Luxenberg’s interpretation became widespread. Suddenly suicide terrorists would not expect 72 virgins to be waiting for them in heaven.

  8. Randall

    What do you make of the christian Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda?

    Link

  9. Let me fix what I said previously: the reason why textual analysis is opposed by the fundies is rather broader: it would undermine Islam as a whole just as it has undermined Christianity and Judaism. Throw into doubt the correctness of old interpretations and suddenly large doubts will grow about the religion as a whole. This is why it is seen as a danger by devout believers.

    Specific reinterpretations would also have affects specific to what they changed. One affect of Luxenberg’s interpretation in particular would be to reduce the willingness of Muslims to become terrorists because any Muslim who came to agree with Luxenberg would suddenly be denied the prospect the virgins in heaven.

    Libre: Do you think the violence in Uganda is the result of Christianity? I don’t.

  10. Randall: I don’t think the prospect of virgins in heaven is high on the list of motivations for terrorists. So in my opinion, that won’t make a big difference.

    Also, even though I think textual analysis is important and fascinating, I don’t think it figures prominently among the fundamentalists, except as something to oppose. And I believe fundamentalists will reject any interpretation and scholarship that doesn’t coincide with their worldview, sort of like fundamentalist Christians.

  11. married to grapes, and other strange fruit of Quranic analysis

    Newsweek has an article out called Challenging the Quran. The tone of the article leaves much to be desired, such…

  12. The Quraan doesnt say believers will have 72 virgins. That number comes from the hadeeth text. Hadeeths, by the way, are traditions about what the Prophet said. Hadeeths are not considered the inerrant word of God by followers of Islam and are not a part of the Quraan. So, changing the meaning of hur in the Quraan from pure maidens to white raisins will not explain away the Hadeeth that says 72 virgins, in my opinion.

    My personal opinion of the Quraanic verses about virgins in heaven is that it parallels the description of the Temple of Ezekiel in the Bible where priests are suppose to be married to virgins. I am not sure how white raisins parallel anything in the Bible. I understand the Quraan in the context of the Bible. By the way, as far as the young lads serving them in Heaven is concerned, Ezekiel also speaks about the Temple having junior priests i.e. Levites, who will be willing to carry out their responsibilities who were rebellious and didnt want to serve the Aaronite Priesthood, established by Moses.

  13. bob: Thanks for the comparison with the Bible.

  14. 1. The ‘Historian’ Luxenburg makes this drammit announcement without realising that some of the earliest examples of written Arabic have been discovered in Palestine and dating to around 200 A.D.

    2. He claims that Aramaic was the language used by learned men. Mohammed PBUH was illiterate. There is nothing in historical record to suggest that he could read or write.

    3. While the Quran was finalised during the reign of Uthman, the process was begun during the reign of Abu Bakr (the Firs Khaliph) just before his death at the behest of the other hafith al-Quran who were worried that the word could be lost amidst the plethora of fake documents rising up and the fact that many of the hafith al-Quran were being killed off.

    4. Apparently Dr. Luxenburg isn’t privvy to any Arabic poetry because there is plenty dating back to before Mohammed was born. Indeed one of the major factors in convincing some poeple that the Quran was the word of God was the fact that it was completed in the most beautiful poetry. Now it is a fact with languages such as Arabic that if you translate, even into similar semitic languages that you will completely lose the beauty and poetry of the Quran if it was a translation or even, as he seems to suggest, a transliteration.

    5. I’m not fluent in Arameic and I’m not sure that anyone can speak Aramaeic. In fact only two words within the Bible are Aramaic and if we can take those as any idication of pronunciation then we can appreciate just how difficult a task it would have been to convert the Quran from Aramaic to Arabic while maintaining the poetic patter. Allah in Arameic would be Eloi.

    6. Randall Parker claims “There are sentences that seem entirely out of place and sentence fragments that read like nonsense.”

    Maybe that’s because he can’t read Arabic. Being able to speak Arabic fluently I can and have read the entire Quran. While there have been sentences which are difficult to understand without any historical knowledge, I haven’t found anything out of place at all.

    I will end by reading Surat al-Ikhlass and ask anyone who is learned in Arameic would like to translate it for us:

    Bismillah Ar-rahman Ar-Raheem,

    Qul huwallahu Ahad.
    Allahu Samad.
    Lam yeled walem yuled.
    Wa lam yekun lehu kufwan Ahad.

  15. Just wanted to correct Hamid’s comment that Allah in Aramaic is “Eloi” – actually, it is “Alaha”. “Eloi” is closer to the parent language Hebrew than to true Aramaic. The thing about Aramaic is that it was a transitional language; it developed out of Hebrew and evolved over time into at least a couple of different branches, one of which became Arabic. So, there are different words for the same thing, depending on which branch of Aramaic you use and also whether you are talking about early, middle or late Aramaic. It is much more complex than one ight think. Just look at the history of English, which is truly a mongrel language; Latin, German, French, Arabic, and Celtic/ all fermented into the stew we call English. Single words have gone through enormous changes over a few hundred years: consider that in Old High German, “were” meant man (as in werewolf) and “man” meant woman. In English, somehow, this was utterly altered so that, of course, “man” means man and there is a new, composite word, “woman”, for…uh… woman!
    Things like this are a perfect example of how languages evolve and change. The most changeable part of any language is the vowels. The vowel sounds within any given word in English, for example, are pronounced differently from country to country, and even from district to district within a country! When English was first written down, there was no standardized spelling for vowel representation, and so the oldest documents exhibit an astounding variety of spellings for the same words, sometimes even by the same author! If a modern English-speaker could travel back to the Dark Ages or Medieval England, i doubt he could even understand a word anyone said, despite the fact that it is essentially the same language – simply because of the altered vowel sounds. If this has happened in English, how much greater would be the changes in the pronunciation and understanding of a language which did not record any vowels whatsoever in the written word – such as Hebrew and Arabic. Neitherof these languages used vowels in their written language until much, much later, when they were added to aid in pronunciation and interpretation. By that time, who knows what verbal changes had already occurred? Who’s to say that the Qur’an is not somewhat like the ancient manuscript of “Beowulf”, written in the oldest form of a language that has so much changed, to read it as it was intended requires actual translation into the modern form of the same language – or else one ends up either with complete gibberish or with an entirely different document?
    Just a thought, sorry for my rambling and raving.

    Peace, Neriyah

  16. Thanks for your comment, Neriyah. I think there’s a lot of research from a language and textual perspective that can and should be done on the Quran.

  17. I just want to comment on the misconception that all the people comitting suicides are driven by the thought of 72 virgins, this motivation doesnt even come close to the desperation and humiliation that is the reason pushing some Muslims to give up their lives, although that does not justify terrorism. But also it doesnt mean that its being done for 72 virgins !

  18. saalaam i know that arabic and aramaic are really close i am egyptian born and raised in southern egypt Aswan i went too school in St. Anthony in the egyptian desert and they taught me Arabic with is the language of my household and family i have done some work of my own and i have come too the conclusion that arabic aramaic hebrew and ethiopian languages are very close with one word from any of these languages meaning something else in the other languages i am Muslim but i know that all the words in the Quran are not pure arabic the Quran has many foreign words from Syriac-Aramaic Ethiopic Farsi hebrew surah ikhlaas sounds very similiar in Aramaic u would be very amazed

  19. Wajahat: I agree.

    Alim: All these languages belong to the same family so similarities are expected. Thanks for your comment.

  20. The Quraan is wholly Arabic and completely the Word of God. It is the same now as it was before. If people think it can be changed, why hasnt anyone changed it? I mean its been around for over 1400 years now. For it to be exactly the same as the oldest copy (the one that was being read by Hadrat Uthman ® which is still in Russia) shows that it can NOT be changed.

    There were and are still plenty of enemies of Islam who’d have done anything to change the Quraan if they could, but they can’t because God preserved it. (Its copyrighted!) Noone can change even a single letter.

    As far as suicide bombers are concerned, they are either ignorant muslims led by anti-islamic persons pretending to be great muslims or they are anti-islamic persons trying to defame islam and cause trouble for muslims. Real muslims do not go around killing innocent people because they know that God will ask them why they killed someone innocent. that is why when so many muslims were killed and so many muslim countries were bombed by the nonmuslims/westerns/America, westerners and americans were living and working safely in muslim and middle eastern countries . noone killed any westerners/kafirs in these countries. When Indian Hindus burned and killed thousands of muslims in India in 2002, noone killed or burned the indian hindus living in muslim countries.
    but when people blamed the september 11 attacks on the muslims, innocent muslims were killed in various western coutries including America and Britian. In fact, even persons resembling muslims , for example men with beards who werent even muslims, were killed out of revenge. this is because the nonmuslims don’t believe that God is watching them and will judge them (even if they claim to). they do what they like. but muslims believe God watches them and will ask them about their actions. so the muslims dont go around killing innocent people for the things that others did.
    So , if muslims dont take revenge on innocent nonmuslims for the actions of other nonmuslims, how can you believe that muslims will go and kill innocent people? how can you believe that muslims will bomb bus stops and kill innocent people? how can you believe that muslims will hijack planes and crash them into buildings and kill innocent people?
    it is obvious from all this that the people who do such things are not muslims. they are people who only want to defame islam and muslims and cause problems for muslims. they are not muslims. they dont believe that God is watching them. they dont believe in the Quraan. they are not acting because islam tells them to.
    so dont blame islam for the actions of terrorists who are actually nonmuslims/hypocrites.

  21. Textual Analysis of the Qur’an:
    Progress, Needs & Opportunities
    Ehsan Butt, PhD*, President Daira Tadabbur Canada

    Introduction
    Arthur John Arberry (1905–1969) a respected and one of the most prolific scholars of Arabic, and Islamic studies, Head of the Department of Classics at Cairo University in Egypt and Sir Thomas Adams’s Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University was unique in his realization of a textual harmony in the Qur’an. He stated that he is “wishing to show each Sura(chapter) as an artistic whole, its often incongruous parts constituting a rich and admirable pattern”1. Arberry pointed out the weaknesses in the method and general approach of western scholars towards understanding the Qur’an. He wrote “the disciples of the Higher Criticism, having watched with fascinated admiration how their masters played havoc with the traditional sacrosanctity of the Bible, threw themselves with brisk enthusiasm into the congenial task of demolishing the Koran”. Arberry then gives some examples of the inconclusive work of the prominent western Quranic scholars and comments “Such is the position which champions of the Higher Criticism of the Koran eventually reach. It is against this excess of anatomical mincing that I argue the unity of the sura and the Koran;” ibid. Vol. 2, p 10, 12.

    Thematic coherence and unity of the Quran has recently become more recognized after a number of studies positively identified it at almost all places where focus happened to fall. A search for coherence takes direct analytical and open deliberation approach that initially assumes that it was the same text that spellbound all Arabia and its scholar’s contemporary to Prophet Mohammad, why not? All earliest to modern Muslim Quranic exegetes believe in an inherent thematic unity and deeper organization, they call, Nazm. However it has been scarcely explicitly explained in the Muslim literature if ever to any satisfactory level. Modern scholars of Quranic textual studies focused on its explory and were very successful. Numerous studies describe a design in Quran that how every word, verse and sura seems to be embedded in a meaningful structure e.g. series of minor topics develop into a compelling major theme which makes a perfect match with other local and global major themes. The Nazm, can thus be taken as the context and relationship among topics of different parts which highlights several aspects of the meaning of a part with the help of another. Muslim scholars of all ages have been unanimous that the true meaning of the Quranic text must be completely consistent with not only the local context but also the Qurán as a whole. Incidentally the Nazm, which helps determine the true meaning, also unravels the beauties of expression concealed in the text.

    Progress
    Many scholars worked on the ideas similar to Arberry’s and concluded effectiveness of textual analysis in discovering consistent thematic interrelationships. However the two scholars of South East Asia particularly produced most exhaustive works focused on the textual analysis of the Qur’an. They are Farahi(1863-1930) a renowned scholar of Arabic and Islam who promoted similar studies of the text of the Qur’an and his famous student Amin Ahsan Islahi(1904-1997) who continued Farahi’s investigations. Their voluminous works describe how they arrive at their postulates about the precise theme of a particular sura and how the theme beautifully unites all contents of the sura rendering it as a series of well focused literary dialogues. Islahi completed a full commentary of Qur’an explaining the basis of his exegetical principles, methods and results. Many scholars who have reviewed his works agree that he is amazingly successful in exposing the hidden system of themes. He aims to show how every Sura of the Quran is characteristically a focused thesis hammering a point of wisdom with the flavor of some super Arabic Ode(Moallaqa). The work of both scholars covers around 100 years of continuous academic research. Islahi believes that the principles elaborated by him in his commentary are scientific, rational, and based on common sense, without which the true message and beauty of the Qur’an cannot be understood or appreciated. For English readers an introduction to the Farahi and Islahi work is included in the Ph.D. thesis2 of Mustansir Mir with Professor James A. Bellamy at University of Michigan, Ann Arbor as supervisors. The thesis concluded: “Islahi has convincingly shown.., that the Qur’an has design and method. He has shown that individual surahs revolve around specific central themes, an essential complementary nature exists between members of the pairs of surahs, and that larger set of surahs, he calls groups, display identifiable patterns of nazm. A study of Tadabbur-I Qur’an is bound to leave one with the impression that, contrary to the usually held view, the Qur’an is a well ordered book”. Other major sources on contributions of Farahi & Islahi works in English language include Professor Neal Robinson’s work “Discovering The Qurán”3 and a volume of Islahi’s work translated in to English4. However a vast majority of their work still remains un-translated in Urdu or Arabic. Most unfortunately, now after them there seem to be no major initiatives in the academic circles of the world to keep this knowledge alive. Rather there are several examples that due to the all pervasive ignorance about their work some people begin in this field and start reinventing the wheel.

    Needs
    The significance of the textual analysis, that naturally aids building academic consensus on the Quranic interpretations, can not be overestimated.
    An empathetic attention to Qur’anic studies, which is the first principal in Quranic textual studies, in mainstream western educational systems will send clear signals in the media and the hearts of Muslim countries effectively countering notions of the clash of civilizations.
    A wider access to education in the textual analysis of the Qur’an, which in a sense takes it as an important human heritage can also provide an opportunity for an on-going multicultural communication. There is a crucial need for such communications to eliminate countless potential risks of local and global conflicts arising from interpretations of the Qur’an where they originate from circles of vested interests as against scholarly investigations for seeking the truth. Anybody having doubts about the increased multicultural harmony that can be realized from more deeper & coherent understanding of the book must remember two things
    ; One, that it is a consensus view of Muslims that during the time of the past glories of Muslim civilization they had a better awareness of the original message of the Qur’an than they have today. Two, the historical accounts abundantly confirm that the past Muslim civilization with a better mass education on the Qur’an at its zenith demonstrated the highest degree of culture and religious toleration. Recently Gary Brown5 brought to light some peculiar instances. E.g. he mentioned that the Muslim policy of toleration and the persistent intolerance of many Christian factions had important consequences, strikingly illustrated by the words of no less a personage than the Orthodox Patriarch of Constantinople, around 1173. Addressing the Byzantine Mutual Misperceptions: The Historical Context of Muslim-Western Relations Emperor Manuel I, who was contemplating a religious union with the western Church of Rome, the Patriarch said: “Let the Muslim be my master in outward things rather than the Latin dominate me in matters of the spirit. For if I am subject to the Muslim, at least he will not force me to share his faith. But if I have to be … united with the [Latin] Roman Church, I may have to separate myself from my God.”

    Opportunities
    The above provides enough evidence to establish a case for promoting education and studies relating to the textual analysis of the Qur’an. The academic exercise could greatly help answering many questions about how Qurán played its constructive role in the historical development of first Islamic communities and later during global Islamic civilization. In addition such studies can provide some more tangible and current benefits. For instance, a wider access to education about Qur’anic interpretation based on principles of textual coherence and examinations of contexts can provide Muslims quality education about their heritage and an alternative to the separate Islamic institutes that mostly run to perpetuate Muslim sectarian Madrassa beliefs and by the same people.

    Some Activities To Promote Education, Studies and general Awareness about Textual Analysis of the Qur’an

    • Introduction to the textual analysis approach, its methods, results in comparison with traditional and modern modes of Quranic interpretation
    • Critical analysis of Farahi-Islahi works
    • Textual studies focused on legislative Quranic verses
    • Comparative study of Quranic historical accounts with other historical & archeological resources e.g Biblical. The author has been working on the textual analysis of Quranic verses relating to the history of Bani Israel, children of Israel.

    Education relating to textual analysis of Quran can take different forms:
    • can be included as a part, or a project in the regular courses where relevant
    • At separate regular course level, where opportunities exist
    • As a continuing education course
    • As a masters or PhD studies topic, for some thorough and fresh critical examination of previous works and making further progress

    This author has been delivering 60-90 minutes seminars with Q&A sessions aimed at exposing the coherence, organization of themes discovered in the first sura, Fatiha, of Quran. Intricate textual structures in Fatiha carry themes of higher morals, historical nature, wisdom and philosophical connotations, which are so systematically arranged, that they not only create a literary masterpiece but also a compelling motivational effect.

    References:

    1 The Koran Interpreted, Translation of Qur’an, Touchstone, Rockefeller Center, 1230 Avenue of Americas, New York, NY 10020, ISBN 0-684-8250, Vol.1 p 25 (1996)

    2 Coherence in the Qur’an : A Study of Islahi’s Concept of Nazm in Tadabbur-i Qur’an by Mustansir Mir , American Trust Publications, 125

    3 Discovering the Quran: A Contemporary Approach to a Veiled Text by Neal Robinson, Publisher: Georgetown University Press; 2 edition (February 28, 2004) English, ISBN-13: 978-1589010246

    4 TADABBUR-E-QUR’AN – PONDERING OVER THE QURAN by Amin Ahsan Islahi, translated in English by Mohammad Saleem Kayani http://www.ibtbooks.com/

    5 Mutual Misperceptions: The Historical Context of Muslim-Western Relations, by Gary Brown, Department of the Parliamentary Library, Commonwealth of Australia, Current Issues Brief No. 7 2001–02, Foreign Affairs, ISSN 1440-2009 (http://www.aph.gov.au/library/pubs/CIB/2001-02/02cib07.pdf)

    Profile
    Ehsan Butt, PhD
    President, Daira Tadabbur
    Mississauga, ON L5K 1B5, Canada
    Tel: 905 919 9930, Fax: 905 403 9548
    ehsan.tadabbur@gmail.com
    Ehsan studied at the Idara-i-Tadabbur-i-Qur’an-u-Hadith Lahore, Pakistan which was founded by Amin Ahasan Islahi. The Idara was established to promote awareness about the methods and discoveries related to their beneficial textual investigations. It remained the centre of Islahi’s intellectual activities until his death (15th December 1997).

    Ehsan studied Arabic grammar, literature, styles of Quran, Farahi & Islahi’s discoveries on thematic relationships, Methods of Quranic textual analysis, Interpretation of the Quran using the textual analysis method, Hadith Sahih Muslim, Buthari and Muatta Imam Malik, selected Pre-Islamic poetry: Hamasa Abu-Tamam and critical analysis of the stands of major philosophical schools. Allama Khalid Masud (1935 – 2003) who was Islahi’s most famous student contributed in management of Idara. Khalid relieved Islahi from teaching new students. Ehsan learned most of the subjects from Allama Khalid Masud. Ehsan took special interest in learning the skill of identifying the thematic systems of ayats within Suras and suras within the Quran as a whole.

    He remained a regular participant in lectures, discussions meetings with Amin Ahsan Islahi for several years. Being a founding member he participated in the meetings of Idara-i-Tadabbur-i-Qur’an-u-Hadith. His Urdu language proficiency afforded him the study of almost all Islahi books. Afterwards he:

    • Taught Arabic grammar courses, and selections of Tafseer elucidating methods of identifying thematic systems
    • Offered Seminars on selections of Islahi’s Tafseer, Tadabbur
    • Contributed in the series publication, Tadabbur, Urdu published by Idara Tadabbur-i-Quran o Hadith under the patranage of Amin Ahasan Islahi
    • Translated in English selections from Urdu works of Amin Ahsan Islahi
    • Established Dairatadabbur Canada and currently teaching Arabic grammar and Tafseer, Tadabbabur i Quran based on Coherence in the Quran.

    • Study sessions for Farahi’s Arabic works and Arabic poetry , Moallaqat

    • For two new books “Quranic History and Thematic Structure” and “How Quran Created Our Modern World”continuing to collect material, its study, analysis and draft writing

    • Manager of web group Scientific Religion http://groups.msn.com/scientificreligion which has about 200 members