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There is no hard and fast way to translate the technical terms but of course, there are some, which may be rendered by obvious equivalents; but for the most part, it is difficult to reflect, in translation, the malleability of the grammatical terminology when used. Indeed, one might ask whether it serves any purpose in translating the grammatical discussions at all. But as these discussions may be of value to those interested in grammar, and particularly, in the grammar employed in the text of the Qur’ān, it has been decided to assist the non-Arabic reader by translating as much of these discussions as is possible. The list always summarises the way, not ideal by any means, in which the ubiquitous grammatical terminology, has been translated. The reader should note that the translations given relate to how they seem to be used by the authors; certain terms may be translated differently in the context of other authors or works.

The honorific for the (Prophet Peace be upon him) is given as ṣ in parentheses (ṣ), for the sake of brevity. The term ḥanīf has not been translated, but it should generally be understood to describe those who had, prior to the advent of Islam, a monotheistic tendency, thought by Muslim tradition to be the remaining followers of the faith of Abraham. The term tawḥīd appears in almost every other verse; it is difficult to translate succinctly in English since it denotes the concept of ‘God being One’, the affirmation of God’s Oneness as well as belief in, or profession of, the statement, ‘there is no god but God’. The term īmān is generally translated as ‘belief’, occasionally, ‘faith’, depending on which of the two nuances the Arabic favors in a given context. The term islām has been translated as ‘submission’.

The reader should also note that kufr (kuffār, kafarū, yakfurūn) has different nuances according to context, and they are: to ‘deny’ or to ‘disbelieve in’, to ‘be a disbeliever’ (a kāfir) or to ‘be ungrateful’ (for God’s blessings). Biblical names that should be familiar are given in their standard form (Noah, Jonah, Zachariah, John, etc.); less well-known ones and non-Biblical names are transliterated. The biographical appendix at the end of the commentary identifies and gives a brief biography of the principal traditionists and compilers that are mentioned repeatedly in the commentary. As regards the sundry figures that appear in verses bearing on the Prophet’s immediate experiences, the best reference would be the Sīra itself, to which the reader is directed.  


A distinctive aspect of the Jalālayn commentary, more so perhaps than any other popular commentary, is the density of the grammatical material interfused with the narrative elements of the commentary. While this is reasonably easy to digest in Arabic, the same concision cannot be reproduced in English without losing the reader totally. Therefore, in order to distinguish between the grammatical discussions and the paraphrased commentary to the verse, parentheses (…) are used. The Qur’ānic text is indicated in bold and italics, but only in italics when it is a reference to some other verse in the Qur’ān not forming the basis of the commentary at that given point. Brackets […] constitute my own insertions or repetitions, and these are used to maintain the flow of the original commentary and to clarify the nature of the paraphrased comments of the authors.

The authors of the commentary, naturally, guide the reader to these variants by commenting on which single letter is changed or inflected differently. Where such instances appear, together with variant inflections of a particular clause, always write these out in transliteration, sometimes giving the original in brackets, in order that the reader might see how the changes relate to one another (for example, writing out the active and the passive of variants, as opposed to merely translating the terms mabnī li’l-fā’il wa’l-maf’ūl). Needless to say, reproducing the Arabic verbatim in such instances would be impractical, if not impossible.


Given the idiosyncrasies of every language, on occasion, the reader not consult the Arabic original will be unaware of instances where the authors use the root of a particular word to explain its derivative, thus creating a play on words of sorts, not for the purposes of humor, but because the Arabic allows for it as an effective way of providing a quick explanation. Here indicated such instances of paronomasia by providing the original term as well as its explanation in parentheses so that the reader will see the affinity between the two, wherein the English there will be two unrelated roots. Where the gloss makes a difference only in Arabic, the gloss is ignored, as it will be reflected in the English translation of the Qur’ān itself (so for instance, alīm is frequently glossed as mu’lim; a’dadnā for a’tadnā [Q. 17:10] is another example). Somewhat similarly, there are numerous cases where the only way to translate the commentary is to incorporate its rendition into the Qur’ānic text (for example ẓillin min yaḥmūm, of Q. 56:43 et passim).


Some meanings of the part are ambiguous: depending on where the reading pauses, ‘those firmly grounded in knowledge’ may or may not be included in the exception to ‘none knows its interpretation’ and thus added the word ‘who’ in brackets to convey this sense. However, the issue is resolved definitively (in favor of ‘those firmly grounded in knowledge’ knowing interpretation) by the next verses quoted above, according to the universally agreed upon cardinal principle attributed. The symbolism seems to us to be quite specially adapted to the needs of human nature, which is not exclusively intellectual but which needs a sensory basis from which to rise to higher levels of social good.… Fundamentally, every expression, every formulation, whatever it may be, is a symbol of the thought that it expresses outwardly. In this sense, language itself is nothing other than symbolism.

Sparrows by morning, live in peaceful nests! Design shouldn’t dominate things, shouldn’t dominate people. It should help people. Don’t spend your time solving your favorite problems, solve problems that need to be solved, generically. A home is a place where you live, and society is a place where your story begins. Honesty shares honesty, as it is honesty’s nature. Stay always in Ablution and get back to the trust you have been, with.

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