Chapter published in:Handbook of Terminology: Volume 2. Terminology in the Arab world
Edited by Abied Alsulaiman and Ahmed Allaithy
[Handbook of Terminology 2] 2019
► pp. 156–179
There is nothing like Him
A syntactic, semantic, rhetorical and translational analysis of Qur’anic terminology
This paper provides a syntactic, semantic and rhetorical (balāġi) analysis of the term-statement made in the Holy Qur’an 42:11, namely (لَيْسَ كَمِثْلِهِ شَيْءٌ) ‘laysa ka-mi̱tlihi-šay’un’, which may be loosely translated as ‘There is nothing like Him’ in reference to Allah (God). A method of analysis is established based upon consideration of the syntactic values of the components making up the structure of the term-statement or expression, and how they impact and/or dictate the overall meaning. This method of analysis is aimed to establish a methodology in determining the meaning of Qur’anic terminology in general. Issues involved and therefore, considered, are: the structure and the implications thereof, the concept of God in major religions in general and in Islam as manifested in the Qur’an in particular and the rhetorical aspects involved. Additionally, English translations of this term-statement are contrasted with the Arabic wording in order to determine if a more accurate translation may be reached.The paper reveals that qur’anic term structure – based on analysis of Q42:11 – incorporates an inherent ‘manual’ outlining how the overall meaning should be derived and determined. This study offers in its conclusion two insightful and original contributions that have been completely overlooked by old as well as modern linguists, Qur’anic exegetes and translators alike. The result, in turn, is the provision of a more accurate English rendition of the Arabic term-statement under investigation. Proper understanding of Qur’anic term structure is bound to lead to better understanding of the Qur’anic message, and, in turn, results in improved translation.
Keywords: Qur’an, terminology, Arabic syntax, term translation, semantics, Arabic rhetoric
Published online: 29 January 2019
Cited by other publications
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