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http://www.radianceweekly.com/232/6361/quran-the-ultimate-guidenceof-mankind/2010-12-05/cover-story/story-detail/a-critical-study-ofgustav-flugels-concordance-of-the-koran.html

A Critical Study of Gustav Flugel's Concordance of the Koran


Cover Story

By SAYED HAMED ABDUL RAHMAN ALKAF It all got started some 52 years ago when I, for the first time, was introduced to the Concordance of the Qurnic words compiled by the late great Islamic scholar of Egypt, Shaikh Fuaad Abdul Baaqi. In the beginning I did not realise the great value of this herculean task accomplished by that dedicated academician, but by the advancement of time and experience and maturity, I came to recognise the real value of this great work. When, I with my family in late 1989 moved to Sanaa, Yemen, from Jeddah and started concentrating my studies on the Holy Qurn and Qurnic Sciences, I began to rely upon this great reference book, day and night, year after year, for each and every work I embarked upon. Some 10/12 years back it suddenly dawned upon me that the table compiled by the late Shaikh Fuaad was actually a reflection of the weakness of Gustav Flugel in the Arabic Grammar or so to say his inability, which could be an inability of any student of the Arabic language, to trace the Qurnic words to their correct roots. I translated the table together with another table compiled by Shaikh Fuaad which appears in his concordance after that table indicating the mistakes committed by Flugel and shows those words in discovering and identifying the roots of the Arabic words wherein people commonly commit mistakes. These two tables with my some small additions were published in the weekly Al-Itesam, Lahore. At the time they were much appreciated. I was told that charts were made out of them and were hanged in the religious schools and seminaries to save students from committing same mistakes. After the death of my wife on December 25, 2005, I became a frequent visitor to my birthplace, Hyderabad, A.P, India. Some young students approached me for learning the Arabic language. Having my seven years experience in teaching English in Aden, a port-province of Yemen, I came to know the importance of making students refer to the dictionary frequently.

Suddenly it flashed before my eyes that why not Shaikh Fuaads concordance be used as the first and foremost dictionary of the Arabic language for knowing whether a word is Qurnic or not. And if it is a Qurnic word, then how and in what styles and contexts it has been used in this Holy Book with all its forms, shades and variants. That is essential for grasping the comprehensive meanings and usages of a Qurnic word for tracing the changes it has gone through the centuries to date in literary circles as well as in the official and public uses in the modern Arab world. In this way one can trace the development of the meanings of an Arabic word and its usages throughout the last fourteen centuries. This fact has been marvellously put by Flugel in the following words: Now the genius of the entire Arabic Language, as found in the writings from the time of Mohammed onwards, has been so much influenced by the power and authority of Koran that its language has itself become, so to speak, the firm base for later eras. (Page 1 of the above book) and The first reason (for producing this concordance) is that in the writings of the Muslims one can hardly find even one page not having the actual holy words of the Koran or without these being referred to: hence a concordance is necessary to determine the precise meaning of these words and to decide whether they are really the words of the Koran or not. (Page 1 of the above book). Readers will be surprised to know that I have received this important book of Flugel just on August 27, 2010, from New Delhi by V.P.P. Hence the similarity of opinions is just incidental. It may be because both of us, through our constant touch with the Holy Qurn, came to form similar impression, about its impact on the Arabic Language and Literature since the revelation of the Qurn to Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be to him). Some two months back, I came across a long and a short papers on translations of the Holy Qurn all over the world since 1600 C.E, so masterfully written by Dr. Abdul Raheem Kidwai, Professor of English in AMU. Those two papers in which many concordances of the Holy Qurn, among them Flugels, were mentioned, reminded me of my close association with Fuaads work and adoption of his concordance as a foremost Arabic Language dictionary in learning and teaching the Arabic Language and Literature. Then I wrote a 3-page small paper about the mistakes committed by Flugel in his concordance and forwarded it to Dr. A. Raheem Kidwai through the good offices of Dr. Mohammed Raziul Islam Nadvi, an eminent Islamic research scholar and sub-editor of the Quarterly Journal, Tahqeeqaat-e-Islami, Aligarh. He acted promptly and an encouraging reply arrived asking me to contribute a full length article on Gustav Flugel work and get it published in a journal on Qurnic or Islamic Studies. This letter is dated August 3, 2010. SEARCH FOR FLUGELS CONCORDANCE

As soon as I got the kind desire of Dr. A. Raheem Kidwai, I sent an e-mail to him requesting him to e-mail a copy of that concordance. When I did not receive a reply, I sent an e-mail to my old friends at the office of Tarjumanul Qurn, Lahore asking them to either purchase a copy of the concordance published by Al-Biruni Publishing House, Lahore or e-mail/ scan its copy found in Allama Iqbal Open University, Islamabad. For both they excused. Then I asked my research associate, Mr. Zaeemuddin to search Flugels work. Suddenly, it flashed on the monitor of our computer the name of Kitab Bhavan, New Delhi, which published it sometime in the past. Immediately, I contacted its publisher Mr. Nusrat Ali Nasri who informed me that he could provide a copy of that book, which I got on August 27, 2010 at Hyderabad, A.P, India. This perspective was unavoidable for satisfying my readers that all these efforts are not the product of a sudden upsurge or impulse but a continuous day-to-day activity throughout my career and academic pursuits. MY WORK ON FLUGELS BOOK Shaikh Fuaad Abdul Baaqi and Flugel opened the door for me to write an Introduction to a new concordance compiled by Shaikh Mohd. Saeed Al-Lahham. It is a small paper describing positive and negative aspects of this new venture. That attempt deepened my understanding of the concordance and helped me in undertaking a new task and a new assignment to have a critical view of this abridged edition of his original work. A NEW TABLE OF HIS MISTAKES After I received the abridged English version, I went through it. Then I took pains of searching his mistakes as pointed out by Fuaad one by one. This exercise resulted in the following new table:

The above table contains two columns: one for the numbers of Surah given by him according to his own arrangement of Surahs, the other column contains a number of Ayats assigned by him in each Surah. As far as it is concerned with the numbers of Surahs assigned by Flugel, here in this table, only one different number is appearing at one place which is in Surah Al-Qamar which carries No. 54

in Sh. Fuaads concordance, Mushaf Al-Madina of King Fahd Qurn Printing Press, Madina, Saudi Arabia, and Maududis Tafhim, while Flugel numbered it as 34 (Page 68 of his book). It reveals the difference of not only in the arrangement of Surahs but also in its numbering. Now turning to the numbering of Ayats in each of the relevant Surahs, we find the following: In Surah Al-Kahaf No. 18 for the word wa-istabraq he gave number 30 while Fuaads Mushaf, Mushaf Al Madina and Maududis Tafhim allot it number 31. It means he had decreased one Ayat in this Surah up to this Ayat. How and why he had done that, we can determine when we get hold of his own text of the Qurn. Until then we have to wait. The second difference in Ayat numbering has occurred in Surah Saba wherein all three assign number 13 to the Ayat in which the word kal-jawab has appeared. Contrary to that he numbered it as 12 reducing, thereby, one Ayat. The third place wherein a difference has crept in the numbering of Ayat is Ayat numbers 91 of Surah Al-Tawbah whose Ayat number is agreed upon between the three, while Flugel tells us that its number is 94 (Please see page 83 of his book). By that he increased 3 Ayats up to Ayat 91 in Surah Al-Tawbah. Again in Surah Al-Kahaf (18), he differed with his three counterparts in allotting Ayat number. They say the wordzalaqua appeared in Ayat number 40 and not in Ayat number 38 as Flugel is claiming by decreasing two numbers. Please see page 87 of his book. The fifth difference in Ayat number has been detected in Surah No.5 (Surah Al-Maedah). It is Ayat number 102 as claimed by Flugel while the other three say it carries number 103. He has decreased one Ayat up to Ayat 103. Please see page 98 of his book. As he decreased one Ayat in the previous example, he had decreased one Ayat also in Surah AlAraaf No.7 (in which the word taifun appears) which is Ayat 201 and gave it number 200. Please see page 118 of his book. The seventh occasion in which he differed from the others is by giving a different number to an Ayat is in Surah Al-Furqan in which he numbered Ayat No. 4, increasing, thereby, one number in such a short space. Please see page 135 of his book. In Surah Al-Kahaf for the third time he differed in numbering the Ayat with the three persons when he gave No. 94 to Ayat No. 95. Please refer to page 135 of his book. We seize this opportunity to tabulate his counts of Ayats in Surah Al-kahf (No. 18). In Ayat 31 he decreased one number and made it Ayat 30. In Ayat 40 he decreased two numbers and made it Ayat 38. In Ayat 95 he decreased one number and made it Ayat 94. Total number decreased 4 in Surah Al-Kahaf only. If we presume that there is no change in the remaining numbers, it means Kahafs Ayats should be 110-4=106!!! This unanimity is not accidental. It is the result of steps taken by all Muslims and Muslim countries that ensure the accuracy, similarity and compatibility of all Masahif with the Othmani text in each and every respect.

For this purpose special departments have been created in the Ministries of Islamic Affairs which check, supervise and issue licences for printing the Masahef. From here we know the great wisdom and foresight of the Companions of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) especially Othman (may Allah be pleased with him), who took the far reaching decision to circulate only one officially, authorised and unanimously agreed upon Mushaf (copy) and ordered all other versions to be destroyed. Through this important step, the companions especially Othman united this Ummah and protected it from the unwanted variations and differences. Praise be to Allah alone. On the ninth occasion Flugel went all alone by assigning Ayat 33 of Surah Al-Ahzab Surah No. 38 increasing thereby, five numbers at a stroke! Please see page 151 of his book. This is simply too much of reckless courage! In Surah Al-Araaf, just at its beginning, he decreased the Ayat by one number from four to three, which is very much surprising! Please see page 157 of his book. We have just seen that in case of Ayat 103, he counted it as Ayat 102 and decreased one number. Based on that this Surah should be consisted of 206-2=204 Ayats! He allotted Ayat No. 24 at his whim and wish, No. 26, increasing thereby, two numbers. Please see page 157 of his book. In case of Surah Al-Furqan, he increased the Ayats twice: once in Ayat 4 which he numbered Ayat 5. Now in this case he numbered Ayat 24 as Ayat 26. It means he has increased 3 Ayats from the beginning of Surah up to Ayat 24. If we assume that there is no change up to the end of Surah in the number of Ayats, then this Surah should contain 80 Ayats (77+3=80) which is simply absurd! For the twelfth time, he went all alone and assigned number 274 to the Ayat number 273 in which the word ilhafaahas occurred. By that he increased one Ayat in Surah Al-Baqara whose Ayats according to Masahef, we have in our hands, are 286 but Flugel is telling us they should be at 287 if supposedly all remain as it is, up to the end of this longest Surah of the Qurn. Please see page 172 of his book. It is thirteenth time that he stands all alone while he increases one Ayat in Surah Al-Naml by reading/making its Ayat 49, Ayat 50. If his counting is accepted, then Surah Al-Namls Ayats should be 94 and not 93 as it is in all other editions of the Holy Qurn. Please see page 187 of his book. Flugel increased number of Ayats in Surah Hud by two up to Ayat 91 by reading/making it become 93. If there is no change up to the end of this great Surah takes place, then total number of its Ayats, according to Flugel, should be 122+2=124! Please see page 198 of his book. Now in case of Surah Al-Araaf he demands us to decrease one Ayat up to Ayat 156 which should be read as Ayat 155, if everything remains as it is up to the end of this beautiful Surah, then its Ayats should be 205 instead of 206 as it is printed now. Please see his book (page 203).

Turning to Surah Hud he is counting Ayat 40 as Ayat 42. Please see page 205 of his book. By that he had increased two Ayats more in this Surah. Now we must add 3 ayats to Surah Hud! Two of them by reading Ayat 91 as 93 and one by reading Ayat 40 as 42. It will amount to a total of 122+3=125 Ayats. Moving towards Surah Al-Mominoon, Flugel is counting Ayat 27 as Ayat 28 which means this Surah should be made of 119 Ayats instead of 118 Ayats as written in all other editions. Please see page 205 of his book. In case of Ayat No. 43 of Surah Al-Waaqeah, Flugel says it should be read Ayat 42 by decreasing one number. Hence this Surah must have 95 Ayats and not 96 as mentioned in all other editions. Please see page 217 of his book. Last but not the least. Ayat 17 of Surah Al-Saffat which should be considered Ayat 16 as decided and directed by Flugel. Naturally the number of Ayats of this Surah will go down by one, reading after deduction, 87 instead of 88 Ayats. Please refer to page 217 of his book. That is on the assumption that no change, negative or positive, in the number of Ayats takes place. IMPACT OF THESE MISTAKES ON FLUGELS READERS One can imagine how much confusing and confounding should have been this concordance of the Qurnic words of Flugel whose sole objective was to facilitate its readers in finding out their needed words? If he had done that for his personal use, it was none of anybodys business because his behaviour was based on the following assumptions: The Holy Qurn was owned by him and he was its only proprietor and could handle it at his whims and wills. All his concordance users had a copy of that text of the Qurn as compiled by him. Therefore, they could follow his numbers of the Surahs and Ayats. Did he not know that the world at large would never follow his concordance throwing all those millions and millions of copies of the Holy Qurn which by 1842 have been handwritten as was customary during past ages or printed out by the printing presses? I have pondered a lot about these questions but have failed to find convincing answers to them except one answer: Intentionally or unintentionally Flugels real aim behind compiling his concordance was to deeply confuse and confound his readers for keeping them from the Holy Qurn and its teachings. I am ready to change this opinion of mine if I could get the reactions and comments on his work by his contemporaries, whether laymen or academicians. Flugel has also misled those who were consulting his concordance by giving very wrong meanings, by giving wrong roots of the words which eventually defaced the meaning of Ayats in which the words appeared in addition to adding and deducting Ayats in the Surahs which created imbalance in them defacing their literary beauty and destroying their cohesiveness between the Ayats and cohesiveness between the Surahs when they are arranged not as

directed and instructed by the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be to him) but on the basis of their revelation. In fact he had contributed much to defacing the Qurnic and Islamic teachings by distorting the Surahs and Ayats in numbers and in meanings. Hence todays antagonism of the West towards Islam and Muslims has its roots in Flugels concordance.