Thursday, 19 June 2008

Questions on Muslim apologetics : Q 2

Abdullah G said...

They say that keats is the best in the english language, but that doesnt mean that it is divine, so they say that the Qu'ran being the best in arabic doesnt equal divinity, esp for non arabs. Whats the reply?

Adam said...

I have to say that many Muslims don’t do justice to the topic of the “miracle of the Quran.” The above mentioned response from a detractor would be a justified one. The reason that this response has been given is because the advocate of the idea of the Miracle of Quran has not articulated the argument very well.

Firstly, in my humble opinion, the argument for the Miracle of the Quran is not to do with its meaning or eloquence, hence the case for the Quran is not one to do with aesthetic appreciation as such. However, there are scholars that have argued from this point of view. I on the other hand, believe it is too susceptible to refutation, i.e: it raises more issues than it resolves, notably in relation to the meaning and quantification of notions such as beauty, meaning, and of course, the issue of subjectivity.

So what then is the miracle of the Quran? The miracle of the Quran has to do with the mode of expression. Currently we have two types, prose and poetry and within these categories, there are sub-categorises (please see my debate on 18th April 08). The Quran does not fall into any of these categories. Basically, it is in a category, or ‘mode of expression’ of its own. Is this argument subjective? No, as objective measurements are required to identify the difference between prose and poetry. With that in mind, the Quran is established as a miracle, as the challenge to produce another piece with the same mode of expression has not been meet.

I have piece on the miracle of the Quran coming soon i.A, I hope this will suffice for the time being.


Anonymous said...

Arabic is a rather vague language, which is why translations of the Quran into English vary so much.

Arabic had only just started to be written when the recitations commenced - like many other languages, including the precursors of English, it had no written form (until maybe 400 CE).

The Dialect of the Banu Hashim gives us the Quranic Arabic which became standard Arabic for obvious reasons, and so must by definition be perfect Arabic.

However deciding if one poet is greater than another is a fool's errand. Like all other forms of Art criticism, opinion is utterly subjective.

The question re the divinity of the Quran very simply cannot be answered objectively. If you think it is divine, present your evidence.

Neither can we be certain of the sequence of the sura, which is vital because of the abrogations.

At least with Keats we do not risk being murdered for criticising.... and our first copy of his works is earlier than 200 years after his death....

What really irritates me are the deliberate mistranslations of the Quran to justify cultural (or cult) customs such as "covering".



Adam Deen said...

To the anonymous brother who objected to me answer -
May be we can meet to discuss your points?
I can put forward my philosophical considerations to you.
I’m yet to meet someone to explain the miracle of the Quran to me in a coherent manner, maybe you can be the first?

Anonymous said...

"Argument by authority. A logical falacy. You dont know Classical Arabic - is not an assumption but it is based upon your presentation where you cant event pronounce Arabic words properly."

Argument by authority is not always wrong. If we lack the expertise and the know how and then what do we do? We consider the verdict of those who know the know how and possess expertise in the given field. It is absolutely reasonable for a non-expert to suppose that the experts, particularly when many agree (ad populum), are likely to be correct.

So I see nothing wrong with Adam's appeal to authority in this instance.

But true, it would be good of Adam, and all us, learn Arabic to be better able to understand the Quran and argue our points. Your arrogant manner and tone of suggesting others learn Arabic, of course, is unlikely to encourage many people.

Anonymous said...

the true meaning if the quran in english or arabic or urdu is the same, subject only to relatively minor differences of opinion about the translation of some words or phrases. because of the structure of arabic and its innate vagueness there is room for different opinions, just as there are with hebrew or greek texts.

tribal advocates of "covering" - usually pakistani but always fundi - give false translations of "juyubihinna" (the dreaded "interpretation of meaning") - but that is deliberate misleading, rather than a difference of opinion. The word means "bosoms", not hair, head, arms etc, as is often claimed but never refuted.

its the actual meaning of the content that counts not the music of the words or some fundi's "interpretation" of what he wishes had been said. Words mean what I say they mean, said the Imam (aka "mad hatter") in wonderland.

what is remarkable about the quran's content, alleged literary/poetic merits aside??

what is the essence of the message?