Study the Qur’an Word by Word
Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds Who has said in His noble Book,
كِتَابٌ أَنزَلْنَاهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَارَكٌ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوا آيَاتِهِ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُوْلُوا الْأَلْبَابِ
“(This is) a Scripture that We have revealed unto thee, full of blessing, that they may ponder its revelations, and that men of understanding may reflect”
أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَى قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا
“Will they then not meditate on the Qur'an, or are there locks on the hearts?”
[Al-Qur'an 47:24]; and
وَأَنْ أَتْلُوَ الْقُرْآنَ فَمَنِ اهْتَدَى فَإِنَّمَا يَهْتَدِي لِنَفْسِهِ
“And (I am commanded) to convey the Qur'an, so whoever, therefore, chooses to follow the right path, follows it but for his own good…”
And may peace and blessings of Allah be upon the prophet, Muhammad, who said, “The best among you is he who learns the Qur’an and then teaches it (to others)” [Bukhari].
Obligations of the Qur’an on every Muslim
Based on the Qur’an and Hadith, it can be said that every Muslim has the following obligations towards the Qur’an:
To believe in the Qur’an;
To read and recite it daily;
To understand its commandments;
To act upon its teachings; and
To convey its teachings to others.
It is obvious that most of these obligations can not be fully discharged unless the understanding of the Qur’an is acquired! When those who were given the book of Allah could no longer prove themselves to be its worthy bearers, they were described as donkeys laden with books. Allah (SWT) says,
مَثَلُ الَّذِينَ حُمِّلُوا التَّوْرَاةَ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَحْمِلُوهَا كَمَثَلِ الْحِمَارِ يَحْمِلُ أَسْفَارًا
“The likeness of those who are entrusted with the Law of Moses, yet apply it not, is as the likeness of the ass carrying books. Wretched is the likeness of folk who deny the revelations of Allah. And Allah guideth not wrongdoing folk”
On the day of judgment our beloved Prophet (SAW) will say:
وَقَالَ الرَّسُولُ يَا رَبِّ إِنَّ قَوْمِي اتَّخَذُوا هَذَا الْقُرْآنَ مَهْجُورًا
“And the messenger saith: O my Lord! Lo! mine own folk make this Qur'an of no account.”
Most of devote a precious part of our lives to build our careers. We study a number of books, most of them in detail, in our schools, colleges, and universities. All these hardships are made to achieve the worldly gains. Do we devote at least a small percentage of our lifetime to the study of the Qur’an which contains true guidance for achieving the success in this life and in the eternal life hereafter?
We want newspaper as soon as we get up in the morning and we read books and magazines of our fancy. It is indeed very sad that we have plenty of time at our disposal for everything except for studying of the Qur’an.
Importance of Understanding the Qur’an via the Arabic Text
The Qur’an is revealed in Arabic. It is neither prose nor poetry but a unique combination of both. It is simply inimitable and untranslatable. However, in spite of the limitations of translation, a sincere reader of the Qur’an will not be deprived of guidance. The message of the Qur’an is so powerful that it will have its due effect on the reader even if one reads the ‘translation’ only. But to feel the real charm of its originality by one's heart, mind, and reason, and ultimately by the soul, one should understand the Qur’an via the Arabic text.
We are linked with the Qur’an through one or all of the following sources: one's own recitation, listening to it in individual/congregational prayers, and audio and video channels. However, it is essential that we understand the full message of our Creator.
Easy to learn
It may be emphasized here that there are around 80,000 words in the Qur’an but the actual words are only around 2000!!! This could also be termed as one of the many miracles of the Qur’an. Accordingly, if a reader decides to learn only 10 new words everyday, he can understand the basic message of the Qur’an within a period of seven months! So it is indeed very easy to understand the Qur’an, provided one is willing to learn it.
وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ
We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there
any that will receive admonition?”
[Al-Qur’an 54:17, 22, 32, 40].
This present work is not an addition to the existing translations, but an attempt to equip the reader to understand the revelation directly from the text; thus it will Insha-Allah be a very useful tool for those who are willing to study the Qur'an and try to understand it. A beginner can bear in mind the meanings of each Arabic word provided right below it. Since many words are repeated in the Qur’an, the student will find for himself that within a few months of regular study, he is indeed able to understand the Qur’an through the text itself. In appendix D, we have provided methodologies for individual, group, and teacher-aided studies.
It may also be pointed out that a beginner does not have to, in the start itself, be worried about learning extensive grammar or how to speak the Arabic language. In fact, one has to develop vocabulary before learning grammar for the following reasons:
A child first learns words and then starts linking them together. We speak our mother tongue fluently without ever learning the grammatical rules. That is to say, we learn it by repeatedly listening to the words.
Learning extensive grammar before improving vocabulary is like putting the cart before the horse. Or it is like learning different styles of swimming by moving hands in the air inside a swimming pool without water. One has to fill the swimming pool with water (i.e., increase word power) and then learn to swim (i.e., to connect the words with grammatical rules).
Importance of daily recitation
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَتْلُونَ كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَنفَقُوا مِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ سِرًّا وَعَلَانِيَةً يَرْجُونَ تِجَارَةً لَّن تَبُورَ
“Lo! those who read the Scripture of Allah, and establish worship, and spend of that which We have bestowed on them secretly and openly, they look forward to imperishable gain.”
We should therefore make it binding upon ourselves, among others, to recite the Qur’an everyday. along with an effort to understand it via the Arabic text. If we recite one Juz (para) everyday, we can complete the Qur’an once every month. This will not only strengthen our faith but also revolutionize our relationship with Allah.
Some features of this work
Even though there are many translations of the meanings of the Qur’an, they do not help the reader in linking the Arabic words to their meanings. The only purpose of this word-for-word translation is to facilitate learning the language of the Qur’an. Even though a few word-for-word translations exist but the format of the present work is different from them.
The meaning of each word is given right below it.
The translation provided in the left column is kept close to the Arabic and not literal. The objective of the whole exercise is to enable the reader understand directly from Arabic.
In the box provided at the bottom of each page, meanings of those words are provided which may appear difficult to understand or which has other familiar or useful forms. In essence the box is there to help the reader equip the new Arabic word easily and establish its link with those words with which he is familiar. A small number is placed in the English cell (i.e., the small boxes containing English translations of each Arabic word) of those words for which explanation is provided at the bottom.
Last, but not the least, the layout is such that it can also be used for regular recitation enabling constant revision.
In translating the words, every effort is made to choose the English word from the existing authentic Qur’an translations only. Among others, we have benefited from the translations of Saheeh International, Al-Hilali and Muhsin Khan, and Pickthall extensively. A complete list of references is also provided at the end of this book. Every effort is made to stick to the translation of the Arabic words provided by authentic Muslim translators only. The compilers will be grateful to those who can spare some time and communicate the errors, if any, to them. InshaAllah, they will be corrected in future editions of this work.
A number of our colleagues have helped in accomplishing this huge task. We are indebted to them for all their help. May Allah reward them abundantly, specially, Ms. Kauthar Ahmed Khatri for her expert typesetting and help during the compilation; Dr. Mohammed Rafiqul Awal (Ph.D.) and Mr. Faisal Mujtaba Ahmed (M.S.) for developing macros and other programs for facilitating this work; Mr. Nazeeruddin (M.S.), Mr. Raziuddin (M.S.), Mr. Tariq Maghrabi (M.S.) Mr. Jehangir Pasha (M.S.), Mr. Mir Ali Shajee (M.S.), Mr. Mujtaba Shareef (M.S.), Mr. Arifus Salam Shaikh (M.S.), and Mr. Abul Bashar (M.S.) for their help in providing different translations in a format that was easily accessible for cross checking.