Beginners Guide to the Quran (part 2 of 3)
- To understand the difference between the text of the Quran and its translation.
- To be aware of the kinds of translations available in the market.
- To understand the importance of the exegesis of the Quran and its specific methodology.
- Salah – the Arabic word to denote a direct connection between the believer and Allah. More specifically, in Islam it refers to the formal five daily prayers and is the most important form of worship.
- Tafseer – exegesis, particularly such commentary on the Quran.
- Sunnah – The word Sunnah has several meanings depending on the area of study however the meaning is generally accepted to be, whatever was reported that the Prophet said, did, or approved.
Translations of Quran
A beginner should know a few points about Quran translations.
First, there is a distinction between the Quran and its translation. In Christian view, the Bible is Bible, no matter what language it may be in. But a translation of the Quran is not the word of Allah, for the Quran is the exact Arabic words spoken by God, revealed to Prophet Muhammad, may the mercy and blessings of Allah be upon him, through Gabriel. The word of God is only the Arabic Quran as Allah says
Exegesis (Tafseer in Arabic)
Although the meanings of the Quran are easy and clear to understand, one must be careful to make assertions about the religion without relying on an authentic commentary. Not only did Prophet Muhammad bring the Quran, he also explained it to his companions, and these sayings have been collected and preserved till this day. Allah, the Exalted, says:
“And We have sent down to you (O Muhammad) the message that you may explain clearly to men what is sent for them.” (Quran 16:44)
In order to understand some of the deeper meanings of the Quran, one should rely upon commentaries which mention these statements of the Prophet as well as his companions, and not upon what they understand from the text, as their understanding of it is limited to their prior knowledge.
A specific methodology exists for exegesis of the Quran in order to extract the proper meaning. The Quranic sciences, as they are called, are an extremely specialized field of Islamic scholarship which requires mastery in multiple disciplines, like exegesis, recitations, script, inimitability, circumstances behind revelation, abrogation, Quranic grammar, unusual terms, jurisprudential rulings, and Arabic language and literature. A person new to the exploration of Quran should approach it with humility.