- Professor Alan Jones is Emeritus Professor of Classical Arabic at the University of Oxford and has taught the subject for over forty years. He has translated the Qur'an and is also the author of numerous publications on Arabic literature. His many years teaching experience has gone into Arabic through the Qur'an which is a concise grammar in forty easy-to-follow lessons suited to all those wishing to learn Arabic whether on their own or as part of a university course.
- Aside from being the very latest Arabic grammar written by an academic, one of the special features of Arabic through the Qur'an is its exclusive use in its vocabulary of Qur'anic rather than modern Arabic. This is an asset in a number of ways. Firstly, the language of the Qur'an has infiltrated the whole of Arabic and Islamic literature and it is not possible to really understand the extensive literary heritage of Islam without some knowledge of the terminology of the Qur'an. Secondly, the majority of Muslims today do not speak Arabic, and yet Arabic is the language of their daily prayers. Arabic through the Qur'an is ideally suited for those Muslims who wish to learn Arabic exclusively for use in their religious and spiritual lives. And thirdly, familiarity with the language of the Qur'an is essential to all those who wish to pursue research in Islamic studies.
- Each of the forty lessons of Arabic through the Qur'an explains in detail and with examples a different topic of grammar: this is followed by a vocabulary of new words, and then a translation exercise. There is also a key to the exercises, a general vocabulary, and a glossary of technical terms.
Aknowledgement – xi
Introductory Note – xii
The Arabic Alphabet – 1
- Nouns and Adjectives – 7
- Plurals – 16
- The Declension of Nouns – 22
- Prepositions – 30
- The First Person Singular Genitive Suffix and the Pronoun of Separation – 35
- Demonstratives – 39
- Idafa – 44
- The Perfect Tense – 50
- Pronominal suffixes – 57
- The particle ma – 63
- Kull; ba’d; the accusative of time – 70
- Kana; qala; lamma – 75
- The Dual – 82
- Cardinal Numbers – 86
- Derived Forms of the Verb – 93
- The Imperfect – 99
- Interrogatives – 105
- The Subjunctive – 112
- Inna – 121
- The Jussive – 127
- Laysa; idh; idha; man – 132
- Verbs with a hamza as one of their Radicals – 139
- Relative Sentences – 144
- Assimilated Verbs – 151
- The Elative – 15 5
- Doubled Verbs – 163
- Exceptive Sentences with illa – 167
- Hollow Verbs – 172
- The Vocative – 180
- Defective Verbs – 185
- Ordinal and Other Numbers – 194
- The Imperative – 199
- The Passive – 204
- More about Nouns – 210
- More on the Accusative – 218
- Conditional Sentences – 227
- More about an; ‘asa and la’alla – 240
- Special verbs; law-la – 248
- The Energetic; Oaths and Exclamations – 255
- Special Uses of ma kana; Verbs of Wonder, Praise and Blame – 264
Key to the Exercises – 270
Technical Terms – 290
General Vocabulary – 296
Heythrop Qur'anic Arabic set text. The Islamic Texts Society; Bilingual edition (29 Sep 2005)
"Jones (Alan), Qur'an - Arabic Through the Qur'an"
Source: Jones (Alan) - Arabic Through the Qur'an
Introductory Note (Full Text)
- Over the years it has often been suggested to me that there is a need for an Arabic grammar that will enable readers of English to learn enough Arabic to be able to read the Qur'an in its original language. This book attempts to fill that gap.
- In its 40 lessons the book covers all the important points of the grammar of Quranic Arabic—though not every point, as there are some problems of Qur'anic grammar that the grammarians, Arab and non-Arab alike, have never solved. Like grammarians in the past, I have occasionally taken a sentence somewhat out of context or changed a case-ending so that a phrase can stand alone. Without these minor and traditional pedagogic liberties, examples of some grammatical points would be very scarce. This is hardly surprising, given the relatively small size of the text of the Qur'an. Nevertheless, Quranic examples are used in most places in the explanatory material, and all the exercises consist of Quranic quotations. The three topics in which I had to use most non-Quranic examples were the numerals, relative sentences and exceptive sentences. Here I have used a number of non-Quranic examples to help me to provide a full explanation. Elsewhere such examples are rare.
- I have tried, wherever possible, to show the grammar of the Qur'an within the broader framework of Arabic as defined by the classical grammarians and also that of later Arabic. For most of the book this is a relatively straightforward task, even though the language of the Qur'an predates that of classical Arabic and though it contains a range of expressions and constructions that are not normally found in later texts (unless, of course, they crop up in a Qur'anic quotation). For the greater part of the book the reader may be assured that there is relatively little difference between Qur'anic and later Arabic, except in vocabulary. However, the topics covered in the last five lessons show greater or lesser variation from later developments. In particular, conditional sentences became, for a time at least, more uniform than those we find in the Qur'an—and more recently they have become less so.
- Though some of those who use this book will be familiar with Arabic script, many others will not be. For the latter the exercises of the first five lessons have transliterations to help them to master Arabic script thoroughly. A certain amount of transliteration is used throughout the rest of the book, particularly when it helps the grammatical explanations to run smoothly.
- The text of the Qur'an referred to throughout this book is that of the Egyptian standard edition, first issued in 1342/1923 and revised in 1381/1960 and subsequently. There are, however, certain problems. First, the style of writing used in the standard edition is somewhat ornate, and it also looks decidedly archaic in comparison with the printing norms of the period when it first appeared. Secondly, in more recent times the move to computer type-setting of Arabic has somewhat reduced the options that used to be available with hot metal type-setting. The result is that the Arabic printed in this book lacks the ornate and calligraphic touches of the standard edition, though there is the consolation that it is slightly easier to read. However, two attempts have been made to provide something of the feel of the standard edition. The first is the intermittent use of short alif (see p. 3), and the second is the use of the archaic spellings of a handful of common words (see p. 4).
- Grammatical terms, largely English but sometimes Arabic, are used throughout the book. For those not familiar with grammatical terminology there is a glossary of technical terms (pp. 290-295), which may be of some help, even though explanations of grammatical terms are always turgid.
- It is assumed that most readers will be studying alone, and it is to them that the following remarks are addressed. (Those fortunate enough to have teachers will find that the teachers will have plenty of their own guidance to offer.) Each lesson consists of three parts: (a) exposition of a number of grammatical topics. Each piece of grammar should be mastered before moving on to the next. Particular attention should be paid to understanding the examples given in a section. The grammatical sections are followed by (b) the Vocabulary for that lesson. The vocabularies are intended to be read from right to left. In the first 7 lessons the first column contains the singular form of nouns, together with pronouns, adverbs, prepositions, etc.; the second column contains such plurals as are needed; and the third column has the English translation. From Lesson 8 onwards there is a further column of Arabic to allow the Perfect, Imperfect and Verbal Noun (masdar) forms to be printed together. In Vocabularies 15-40 the Perfects of derived forms are preceded by a number (e.g. 2) to show which derived form is involved. There is also a General Vocabulary, which puts together all the words in Vocabularies 1-40 in Arabic alphabetical order. This is to enable a reader who has forgotten a word to look it up without having to remember which lesson it was first used in.
- Every attempt should be made to become familiar with the words in a lesson's vocabulary before the reader moves on to (c) the exercise for that lesson. One can then test one's absorption of the lesson by tackling the exercise. Some of the sentences will turn out to be less straightforward than they might at first appear. This is often because they are without a wider context. Each exercise should be attempted in the first place without reference to the Key. If readers find that they still have problems, they should turn to the Key, and look at the sentence and its translation together. Once the sentences in an exercise are understood, the vocabulary should be revised and fully mastered.
- At various points there are exhortations to the reader to learn the vocabulary and to learn it in a certain way. These are based on experience with students over a nearly half a century and are a reminder of how readers might help themselves. The same applies to exhortations to learn declensions and conjugations. Effort put in at an early stage has real rewards.
- Let me stress again that this book's basic aim is to help the reader to learn to read the Qur'an. To go beyond the texts referred to in this work, the reader will need a text, a translation, such as my own, and a dictionary. Dictionaries are a problem. Hava's Arabic Dictionary is quite helpful, but it has long been out of print and it is difficult to find. Penrice's Dictionary and Glossary of the Qur'an was hardly at the cutting edge of scholarship when it was first printed in 1873. However, it was reprinted by the Curzon Press in 1971 and is sometimes available. It should be noted that Wehr's Arabic Dictionary, whether in the original German or in Milton Cowan's English translation, is a dictionary of modern Arabic. For the Qur'an it is largely useless. However, it is an excellent work, and those readers of this book who go on to modern Arabic (and I hope that most of them will do) will find it indispensable. The great reference grammar for early and classical Arabic is Wright's Arabic Grammar, still being issued by the Cambridge University Press. However, the first edition was published in 1859/1862, and thus it does not cover modern Arabic.
- This book is largely concerned with reading the Qur'an. However, it is essential to remember that al-Qur'an means ‘the Recitation', that the Prophet delivered the Qur'an orally, and that its oral dimension is crucial. With the knowledge that the reader has acquired, I hope that he or she will learn to understand the text both in written and recited form.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2023
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)