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Re: Volunteers, Unicode, previous examples and things

Salaam Abdalla,

I am sorry but I cannot follow you. But our simple difference seems to be that you use the English word scripture to mean something that is constrained to written form whereas I use it to mean it similar to the English word "book" or the Arabic word "kitaab". Both meanings could apply in different contexts. I have seen the word "scripture" used for kitaab in several translations not just Pickthall. Other translations use the word "book". I think both are suitables words to translate kitaab into. In fact the both words have similar meanings in the American Heritage dictionary:

Scrip·ture    Pronunciation Key  (skrpchr)

         1. A sacred writing or book.
         2. A passage from such a writing or book.
   2. The sacred writings of the Bible. Often used in the plural. Also called Holy Scriptures.
   3. scripture A statement regarded as authoritative.

 book    Pronunciation Key  (bk)

   1. A set of written, printed, or blank pages fastened along one side and encased between protective covers.
         1. A printed or written literary work.
         2. A main division of a larger printed or written work: a book of the Old Testament.
         1. A volume in which financial or business transactions are recorded.
         2. books Financial or business records considered as a group: checked the expenditures on the books.
         1. A libretto.
         2. The script of a play.
   5. Book
         1. The Bible.
         2. The Koran.
         1. A set of prescribed standards or rules on which decisions are based: runs the company by the book.
         2. Something regarded as a source of knowledge or understanding.
         3. The total amount of experience, knowledge, understanding, and skill that can be used in solving a problem or performing a task: We used every trick in the book to finish the project on schedule.
         4. Informal. Factual information, especially of a private nature: What's the book on him?
   7. A packet of like or similar items bound together: a book of matches.
   8. A record of bets placed on a race.
   9. Games. The number of card tricks needed before any tricks can have scoring value, as the first six tricks taken by the declaring side in bridge.

But we don't need to delve into a mindless discussion of English words and their meanings right now. I have no problem with you using the word scripture to mean what you understand. In the end this is language, words have multiple meanings.


---------- Original Message ----------------------------------
From: Abdalla Alothman <abdalla at pheye dot net>
Reply-To: General Arabization Discussion <general at arabeyes dot org>
Date:  Thu, 30 Jun 2005 07:41:03 +0300

>On Thursday 30 June 2005 01:12, Mete Kural wrote:
>> Salaamu Alaikum Abdalla,
>Wa alaikum asalam wa rahmatullaah.
>> I don't quite understand what you mean here in trying to distinguish the Quran
>> from being a scripture but only a recital.
>I didn't make the distinction, it's already there before I was born. Hence,
>a written Quran is called a MuS-Haf where as a Tilaawa is not called a MuS-Haf.
>Moreover, I didn't deny that the Quran takes various forms, of which one is the
>written form (MuS-Haf). As for exclusively saying that it is a recital, what can
>I do? It's called Quraan. Insinuating that I deny that the Quran is a kitaab is a
>bit unappropriate. I simply denied that the Quran is a kutbaan (something that is
>only written before it is distributed.) From a developer's perspective, think of it
>as raw text that you can format as HTML, XML, PDF, or pass it to a speech engine to
>be read outloud.
>> A scripture is recited.
>Yes, but it remains a scripture. If you burn all of its copies in the whole
>world, nobody can reproduce it, because it is depended on the written sources.
>This cannot happen to the Quran because it is not a scripture, but a recital.
>Moreover, a scripture is not recited the way the Quran should be recited (wa
>rattil al-qur-aana tarteela. Surat Al-Muzzamil)
>Because the Pentatuech (Torah) is a scripture, it is non-existent today (the
>people of Musa (s) lost it many times before the last time; and whenever they
>lost it they had bad luck in battles. See Albaqrah:248). What exists is what
>it supposedly contained. The Quran, however, is exists.
>In its original format, the scripture has its sources in manuscripts. The sources
>of the Quran are not manuscripts or divine materials.
>> As you know, the second ayah of the second surah start
>> with "dhaalika l-kitaabu laa rayba fiih" translated in many translations similar
>> to  "This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt".
>> Also the third ayah of the third surah mentions "nazzala `alayka l-kitaaba bi-l-haqq"
>> translated in Pickthall as "He hath revealed unto thee the Scripture with truth". In addition, please find:
>> Also the third ayah of the third surah mentions "nazzala `alayka l-kitaaba bi-l-haqq"
>> translated in Pickthall as "He hath revealed unto thee the Scripture with truth".
>Shakir translates  it as:  This Book, there  is no  doubt in it,  is a
>guide to those who guard (against evil).
>Yusuf Ali translates it as: This  is the Book; in it is guidance sure,
>without doubt, to those who fear Allah;
>See: http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/002.qmt.html
>Khan  and Hilali  translate  it as:  This  is the  Book (the  Qur'ân),
>whereof there  is no  doubt, a guidance  to those who  are Al-Muttaqûn
>[the pious and righteous persons who fear Allâh much (abstain from all
>kinds of  sins and evil deeds  which He has forbidden)  and love Allâh
>much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)].
>See: http://quran.nu/en/
>Among the favored  translations by Ahl Al-Sunna, I  only see Pickthall
>using  "scripture."   And  that  might  be related  to  his  pre-Islam
>background or maybe it's his  personal opinion.  Nevertheless, I am by
>no means trying to discredit Pickthall and his fine works. Also, whoever
>wants to refer to the Quran as a "scripture" let them do so, it's not
>really my concern.
>When it comes to the Quran being  a book, nobody is denying that it is
>a "kitaab,"  but the question is  that the "kitab" is  not prepared by
>any human being. It is a  kitab alright, but the question is who wrote
>it? And where is it? And what does it look like? That's why I clarified
>that the book is free format--it has the capability to spread in thin
>air as radio waves, paper and ink, stones, or whatever.
>When it comes to the Pentatauech, those books where sent down on Moses
>in a  physical format. So they  take the word  "scripture;" that's not
>the end  of their  scriptures, though.   The word is  a wrong  word to
>describe the Quran for reasons  that are unsuitable as a discussion in
>this mailing list.
>The summary  of the opinion I  presented is very simple.  The Quran is
>not bound by  any physical format (i.e., paper and  ink, etc.) When we
>hear the Quran in radio, what we are listening to is called "The Noble
>Quran" and so on.
>The idea is  that when an application developer  wishes to develop any
>application related  to the Quran,  she or he  should ask: "What  am I
>trying to present?"  If the content is to present  a "soft" MuS-Haf --
>something that  looks like a  MuS-Haf on a  computer screen --  then I
>guess the  application developer should  comply with what  the Muslims
>have agreed upon on what constitutes a MuS-Haf, visually speaking. But
>if the goal is to do  some operations with the Quran, the text doesn't
>have to look exactly like the MuS-Haf.
>> Even the most traditional accounts record that the transmission was
>> both oral and written.
>Of course,  and nobody is  denying that as  well. And nobody  can deny
>that if  it wasn't for  tawaatur, we would  not have at hand  a single
>authentic qiraa-ah. ;)
>It is not wrong  to write the Quran, but IMHO, I  think it is wrong to
>claim  that the Quran  is a  scripture only.  When preachers  of other
>religions appear  on TV an say, "This  is the word of  God!" They fall
>into numerous  problems that  we Muslims do  not need (e.g.,  in their
>ancient  scriptures, the  word "god"--as  is--is not  there.)  such as
>letting others imagine that the written Quran should only appear as it
>is in the MaSaaHif. As time  passes by, people will tend to ignore the
>rulings related  to the text  of the Quran  if the text does  not look
>like  a MuS-Haf  (e.g., maintaining  a cleanliness  state  and wearing
>appropriate clothing as a means of respect).
>> Remember that surah 85 ayah 21-22 says:
>> "bal huwa qur'anu mujeed. fee lawhum mahfoodh."
>This has  nothing to  do, IMHO, with  constraining the Quran  into its
>written format only,  and can be answered back with  an aya from surat
>Fa itha qar-anahu fattabi' qur-aanah. (Thuma in 'alayna bayanah)
>It doesn't  say fa itha katabnahu for obvious reasons...
>Allah (tt)  did not send down a  book that has a  physical format just
>like what  the Messenger  Musa (a) received  from Allah as  Allah (tt)
>says in many places including surat Al-A'laa:
>Ina hatha lafi al-suHuf al-Uoola, suHufi Ibraheema wa Musa.
>There are  no suHuf or alwaaH  (tablets) that were sent  down by Allah
>(tt), IMHO.  Moreover, looking at various Quran manuscripts throughout
>the Islamic history reveals undeniable facts that:
>1. In  the early stages  of its  writing, the  Quran was  written with
>   plain letters.
>2. Dotting notations was added in more than one stage.
>3. Simple diacritical marks where added in slow steps.
>4. There wasn't any aya numbers or sections
>Yet, what  they held  in their  hands was indeed  called The  Quran. I
>doubt that anyone can deny  that the Sura (Surat Taaha) 'Umar snatched
>from his  sister's hands  before his Islam--that  sura that  caused an
>earthquake in his heart-- looked like  Surat Taaha we see today in the
>MuS-Haf. The same thing applies when we were in highschool and we were
>asked to write down a passage  from the Quran. I doubt anyone can deny
>that  what  we wrote  was  a  Quran (We  even  wrote  it down  without
>diacritical  marks!)  If nobody  doubts,  then  I  ask: Why  then  are
>numerous  Quran  related projects  are  postponed  until  what can  be
>presented will match  the MuS-Haf? I don't know  about the others, but
>I'm not going to wait. :)
>Copying  the Quran  and  inventing  numerous ways  to  present it  and
>simplify its readings was an  amazing process that the SaHaaba and the
>tabi'een overtook and amazed the  world with it [at times when reading
>was a  crime in some  societies]. But those methods are not closed to
>Wishing you and your family peace and good health.
>Abdalla Alothman
>General mailing list
>General at arabeyes dot org

Mete Kural
Touchtone Corporation