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Department of the Languages and Cultures of the Near and Middle East

Advanced Qur'anic Arabic

Course Code:
Course Not Running 2014/2015
Unit value:
Year of study:
Year 3 of 3
Taught in:
Full Year


Intermediate Qur’anic Arabic 155901374 (or equivalent)

Objectives and learning outcomes of the course

By the end of the course, students will have acquired knowledge of the rhetorical devices in the Qur'anic language that would enable them to understand and appreciate the literary dimensions of the Qur’an.  This course equips students with the necessary tools to understand the metaphors, imagery, and instances of unconventional grammar found in Classical Arabic, and to resolve the ambiguities inherent in the language and style of the Qur’an. It also provides them with the foundational skills for comprehending classical Arabic writing about Qur’anic grammar, syntax, style and figures of speech.


Total of 22 weeks teaching with 4 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

This is an advanced course in Qur’anic Arabic.  It provides additional training in Arabic grammar and syntax and Qur’anic vocabulary. It introduces students to rhetorical devices used in the Qur’an in the context of the three areas of Arabic Rhetoric (al-balāgha) known as the sciences (‘ulūm) of al-ma‘ānī, al-bayān and al-badī‘. The explanations of the rhetorical devices will be complemented by reading selections from the Qur’an and exegetic literature (tafsīr). Term 1 will focus on the ways in which rhetorical devices function in the production of meaning, and term 2 will examine the discussion of these advanced features of the Qur’an in tafsīr concerned with language. The foundation of rhetoric in term 1 enables the students to fully understand the material that should be covered in term 2. This will enhance and develop students’ previously acquired skills in reading, comprehending and appreciating the language and style of Qur’anic Arabic.

Method of assessment

One three-hour written examination taken in May/June (70%); an essay of 2,500-3,000 words to be submitted on day 1, week 1, term 3 (15%); a two-hour mid term written test taken at the beginning of term 2 (15%).

Suggested reading

Textbooks and Reference Works:

  • Arabic rhetoric: a pragmatic analysis , Hussein Abdul-Raof, London; New York: Routledge, 2006
  • Qur’anic stylistics: a linguistic analysis, Hussein Abdul-Raof, München: Lincom Europa, 2004.
  • Arabic rhetoric: the pragmatics of deviation from linguistic norms, Basil Hatim, München:Lincom Europa, 2010.
  • Logic, rhetoric and legal reasoning in the Qur’an : God's arguments, Rosalind Ward Gwynne, New York : Routledge Curzon, 2004
  • Repetition in Arabic discourse: paradigms, syntagms, and the ecology of language, Amsterdam : John Benjamins, 1991
  • Coherence in the Qur'an: a study of Is{la>h}i>'s concept of naz{m in Tadabbur-i Qur'{an, Mir Mustansir, Indianapolis : American Trust Publications, 1986.
  • Al-Ghazali and the Qur'an : one book, many meanings, Martin Whittingham. London : Routledge, 2007
  • God and Man in the Koran, God and man in the Qur’an: semantics of the Qur’anic Weltanschauung , Toshihiko Izutsu. New ed.Kuala Lumpur : Islamic Book Trust, 2002
  • An Introduction to Classical and Koranic Arabic, Wheeler Thackston, Iranbooks, Bethesda, 1994.
  • Access to Qur’anic Arabic, Abdul Wahid Hamid, published by MELS (Revised Edition 2003) Textbook, Workbook, and Selections from the Qur’an.
  • Arabic Through the Qur’an, Alan Jones, Islamic Texts Society, Cambridge 2005.
  • Towards Understanding Qur’anic Arabic, M. I. Surty, Qur’anic Arabic Foundation, 2008, (plus 2 audio CDs).
  • Arabic-English Dictionary of Qur’anic Usage, M.A.S. Abdel Haleem and S. Badawi, Brill, Leiden, 2008.
  • Al-Mu’jam al-Mufahras li-Alfaz al-Qur’an al-Karim, M. F. Abd al-Baqi, Cairo, 1945.