SOAS University of London

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

Qur'anic Arabic

Module Code:
Module Not Running 2020/2021
FHEQ Level:
Year of study:
Year 3 of 3
Taught in:
Full Year

The Qur'anic Arabic module carefully builds on the grounding in grammar provided by the Arabic 100 and 200 modules. The module objectives are to develop higher intermediate levels of competence in consulting, reading and understanding the Qur’anic text in the original language. Focus is on acquiring more complex grammatical structures, which will include syntactical, morphological and phonological analyses, expanding Qur'anic vocabulary, and developing ability in consulting a range of Qur'anic reference works such as translations, dictionaries, commentaries and a concordance. Students will also be introduced to the distinctive features of Qur'anic orthography and samples of manuscripts.


Students who take this module cannot take the module Arabic 300.


155901203: Arabic 200 or Intermediate Qur'anic Arabic 155901374

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

By the end of the module, students will have acquired:

  1. an extended range of key lexical items of the Quranic vocabulary together with their usage within the diction
  2. a general understanding of the historical background to Qur'anic orthography and manuscripts
  3. key concepts and principles of Qur'anic grammar as well as an understanding of Arabic morphology and syntax at a higher intermediate level
  4. an understanding of basic morphological and phonological concepts relative to general Qur'anic vocabulary
  5. the ability to read and grammatically analyse a representative range of Qur'anic verses and key constructions, appreciating the interplay which defines grammatical and semantic nuances specific to the text
  6. a familiarity with fundamental issues of Qur'anic structure and style
  7. an understanding of the concepts behind Qur'anic dictionaries and basic forms of exegesis, and translations


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

Scope and syllabus

The module readings and seminars are broadly structured around the following principal topics and themes:

  1. Introduction to current literature on Qur’anic grammar
  2. Orthography of the Qur’an: conventions and characteristics
  3. Exploring the manuscript tradition
  4. Basic grammatical structures: Qur’anic usage and convention
  5. Grammatical structures: Nouns, verbs and particles
  6. Grammatical structures: Definite articles; adjectives; the simple sentence; and the idea of concord.
  7. Grammatical structures: an Overview of the triliteral root.
  8. Grammatical structures:  The Concept of gender in Arabic: nouns, verbs, and adjectives
  9. Grammatical structures:  Types of genitive constructions
  10. Morphological issues: basic etymology and its forms and patterns.
  11. Grammatical structures: Phonetics and phonology and the Qur’an
  12. Grammatical structures: Constructs of normative grammar and argumentation
  13. Semantics
  14. Rhetorical and stylistic conventions
  15. Translations and commentaries
  16. Dictionaries and exegesis

Method of assessment

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


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules