Is each particle in the Qur'a¯n translatable? The case of wa¯w l-isti'na¯f preceding the fawa¯sil

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Abstract

One of the prominent features of the fawa¯sil, i.e., recurrent clauses that occupy the final position of the Qur'a¯nic verse, is that they begin with the particle wa¯w, which is usually identified as wa¯w l-isti'na¯f. In Arabic, this starts a new sentence that is semantically and grammatically independent from the previous sentence. Thus, according to this explanation, there is no logical connection between the fawa¯sil and what precedes it, a fact that may harm the meaning of specific parts of the su¯ra. Because the Arabic sources, such as grammar books, Qur 'a¯nic exegeses and morphosyntactic books analyzing the Qur'a¯nic text (kutub l-'i'ra¯b), do not much contribute to the understanding of the connection between the sentences, the approach adopted refers to different translations of the Qur'a¯n in five languages: Hebrew, English, German, Russian and French. These translations typically refute the lack of connectedness between the sentences because they do identify a semantic relation between the sentences, or a type of dependency between the sentences, a relation that is well-expressed in their translations. This article presents the various translations of this particular particle that indicate the different cohesive ties between the fawa¯sil and what precedes them. It is noteworthy that in some cases there is a uniform translation of wa¯w l-isti'na¯f, while in other cases various translations are to be found, which leads to different meanings of the same sentence. The article thus deals with the question of cohesive ties within the Qur 'a¯n on one hand, and, on the other, examines the differences and variations that exist in the Qur 'a¯nic translations.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)22-42
Number of pages21
JournalBabel
Volume61
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2015

Keywords

  • Al-fawa¯sil ('a¯ya-final words)
  • Equivalence
  • Textual relation

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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