Professor Jacques Berque has told me of the great importance he attaches to it in comparison with the long gap separating the writing down of the Judeo-Christian revelation from the facts and events which it relates. I shall also mention another fact of great importance. In some cases, these statements were totally incomprehensible. The slightest alteration to the text would have automatically destroyed the remarkable coherence which is characteristic to them. Change in any text would have prevented us from establishing their total conformity with modern knowledge.
It spanned two periods of almost equal length on either side of the Hijrah. In view of this, it was natural for reflections having a scientific aspect to be scattered throughout the Book.
In a study, such as the one we have made, we had to regroup the verses according to subject matter, collecting them chapter by chapter. How should they be classified?
It would seem to me, that the first subject to deal with is Creation. Here it is possible to compare the verses referring to this topic with the general ideas prevalent today on the formation of the Universe. This has been done in the cases of Creation, the Flood and the Exodus. The reason that these topics were chosen is that knowledge acquired today can be used in the interpretation of the texts. This idea contradicts the parallels which are often wrongly drawn by Western authors to emphasize the resemblance between the two texts. To stress only the similarities, while silently ignoring the obvious dissimilarities, is to distort reality.
There is, perhaps, a reason for this. It refers both to the heavens before the earth and the earth before the heavens, when it talks of creation in general, as in this verse of chapter Taa Haa:. As well as descriptions of the elements which, although at first were fused together ratq , they subsequently became separated fatq. These ideas are expressed in chapters Fussilat and al-Anbiyaa:. It would seem that this intermediary creation corresponds to the modern discovery of bridges of matter which are present outside organized astronomical systems.
In contrast, the successive phases of creation mentioned in the Biblical text are totally unacceptable. For example, in Genesis the creation of the earth on the 3rd day is placed before that of the heavens on the 4th day.
The Meaning of the Holy Quran in Today's English (Deluxe Ed) Vol 3 of 3 - Yahiya Emerick (2000)
It is a well known fact that our planet came from its own star, the sun. Such a claim would mean that, of his own accord, he corrected the Biblical text to arrive at the correct concept concerning the formation of the Universe. Yet the correct concept was reached by scientists many centuries after his death. But, this is a mistaken idea resulting from an ignorance of history. The material on this subject is so vast that I can only provide a brief outline of it here.
The moon is an inert body which reflects light, whereas the sun is a celestial body in a state of permanent combustion producing both light and heat. It was much later discovered that stars are heavenly bodies producing their own light like the sun. Today, the laws governing the celestial systems are well known. Galaxies are balanced by the position of stars and planets in well-defined orbits, as well as the interplay of gravitational forces produced by their masses and the speed of their movements.
In chapter al-Ambiyaa we find:. Each one is traveling in an orbit with its own motion. They are well known for the moon, but less widely known for the sun. The original meaning of the verb kis to coil a turban around the head. It is not until man landed on the moon and observed the earth spinning on its axis, that the dark half of the globe appeared to wind itself around the light and the light half appeared to wind itself around the dark.
Modern astronomy confirms that the solar system is indeed moving in space at a rate of 12 miles per second towards a point situated in the constellation of Hercules alpha lyrae whose exact location has been precisely calculated. Astronomers have even give it a name, the solar apex. The expansion of the universe was first suggested by the general theory of relativity and is supported by the calculations of astrophysics. The regular movement of the galactic light towards the red section of the spectrum is explained by the distancing of one galaxy from another.
Thus, the size of the universe appears to be progressively increasing. You will not penetrate them except with authority. Authority to travel in space can only come from the Creator of the laws which govern movement and space. They deal, not only with the physical phenomena observed here on earth, but also with details concerning the living organisms that inhabit it. At this point, we must ask ourselves the following question: How could an uneducated man in the middle of the desert accurately tackle so many and such varied subjects at a time when mythology and superstition reigned supreme?
How could he so skillfully avoid every belief that was proven to be totally inaccurate many centuries later? The verses dealing with the earthly systems are a case in point. This is a topic which is well known today. But if we consider the ideas prevalent at that time, they appear to be based more on myth and philosophical speculation than on observed fact, even though useful practical knowledge on soil irrigation was current at that period.
Such notions seem quite natural to us today, but we should not forget that, not so long ago, they were not prevalent. It was not until the sixteenth century, with Bernard Palissy, that we gained the first coherent description of the water cycle. Prior to this, people believed that the waters of the oceans, under the effect of winds, were thrust towards the interior of the continents.
Top English Translations of the Quran
In the seventeenth century, great thinkers such as Descartes still believed in this myth. Today, we know that it is the infiltration of rain water into the ground that is responsible for this. In geology, modern science has recently discovered the phenomenon of folding which formed the mountain ranges. It has also been discovered that the stability of mountains is linked to the phenomenon of folding.
Stakes awtaad , which are driven into the ground like those used to anchor a tent, are the deep foundations of geological folds. Here, as in the case of all the other topics presented, the objective observer cannot fail to notice the absence of any contradiction to modern knowledge. We should really devote much more time to this subject, but, due to the limited scope of this presentation, I can only give a few examples. It is for this reason that scientists find some of their interpretations unacceptable.
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This is the case of a verse in chapter al-Ambiyaa, a part of which has already been quoted:. This edition is designed for those who want to be able to "read" the Arabic original without having to read Arabic script.
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Each page has the Arabic text, with English translation beside it. The translation is very extensively footnoted.
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Indeed, almost half of each page is devoted to footnotes. The English text of the translation is available free on the internet, but without the footnotes. Until I learned of the Muhammad Asad translation, the Yusuf Ali translation was my first source of reference when I wanted to understand the Quran. When my wife was the headteacher of a Muslim primary school, she used to give a copy at her own expense to each pupil who was graduating from the school.
There are many other translations of the Quran. I recommend readers to read the entire text of the Quran using one of the translations mentioned above, to gain an overall understanding of the text, before going on to look at other translations.
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Using multiple translations becomes very helpful when you want to look at the Quran in greater detail, since the way that different people have translated the same Arabic text can help you to understand it better. That is essential for those, like me, who are not Arabic speakers. However even for speakers of modern Arabic, looking at the work of other translators should be helpful, since the classical Arabic of the Quran is not linguistically identical to the Arabic spoken today in the cities of the Arab world. For someone who cannot read classical Arabic the way to protect oneself against the above risks is to think about the translator's background, as with the questions listed earlier, and also to use multiple translations rather than relying upon one.
Talal Itani published a new translation of the Quran in the period which can be read on the internet and downloaded free. I only became aware of it when he informed me by email in June I have since downloaded the text to my iPad. Talal Itani is an Electronics Engineer. He first read the Quran , in order to discredit it. Since then, Talal has been studying the Quran, researching it, and teaching it to others.
Talal decided to translate the Quran when he gave up all hope of finding an English Translation that is at the same time highly accurate, and very easy to read. The above description indicates that the translator is not an Arabic scholar by background. It also suggests that he is a convert to Islam as was Muhammad Asad mentioned above. However as explained in his Facebook comment much lower down on this page, Talal Itani was born and raised as a Muslim, and he is amending his biography to remove this incorrect implication. I cannot see any footnotes.