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Review of  Consonance in the Qur’an

Reviewer: Mohammad Rasekh Mahand
Book Title: Consonance in the Qur’an
Book Author: Hussein Abdul-Raof
Publisher: Lincom GmbH
Linguistic Field(s): Ling & Literature
Subject Language(s): Arabic, Standard
Issue Number: 17.1395

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AUTHOR: Abdul-Raof, Hussein
TITLE: Consonance in the Qur'an
SUBTITLE: A conceptual, intertextual and linguistic analysis
SERIES: Languages of the World 34
PUBLISHER: Lincom Europa
YEAR: 2005

Mohammad Rasekh Mahand, Linguistics Department, Bu-Ali Sina
University, Hamedan, Iran.


This book attempts to provide a text linguistic insight into macro level
consonance by investigating the conceptual and intertextual
relatedness between Qur'anic chapters. The investigation of Qur'anic
data used in this book attempts to explicate the concept of
consonance and sequentiality that are established by conceptual and
intertextual chaining in the Qur'anic text. Each two subsequent
chapters are analyzed through a textual analysis which highlights the
intertextual meaning relations. The book looks at the deliberate
linguistic manipulation of grammar, lexis and the phonetic features in
order to achieve the Qur'an-bound conceptual thrust. It also attempts
to provide an in-depth account of micro level consonance by
examining conceptual and intertextual relatedness at inter- and intra-
statement levels. The book deals with the impact of context and cotext
on the lexico-grammatical selections and the selection of formulaic
expressions, and their sounds. Contextual factors explain the
occurrence of parable-specific formulas and expressions. Cotextual
factors, however, are contributing factors in the establishment of
grammatical and lexical congruity.

The major argument of the book is conceptual chaining that leads to
sequentiality in Qur'anic discourse. Consonance and intertextuality
are the characteristic text linguistic features of Qur'anic discourse.

The writer's approach in this book is based on the modern European
theory of text linguistics which provides a comprehensive analysis of
Qur'anic discourse and investigates the textual feature of consonance
more rigorously and completely through the different levels of linguistic
analysis. The Muslim scholars approach, however, provides
exegetical thematic reasons only. Their contribution in the discussion
of the notion of consonance has been referred to in the bibliography.

The book provides a critical and substantiated account of the textual
feature of consonance. It also provides empirical textual, grammatical,
semantic, stylistic, and phonetic account that has not been tackled by
traditional Muslim scholars with regard to this particular notion. In the
light of modern European text linguistic theory, the writer has provided
11 linguistic levels of analysis in addition to 10 sub-levels of language.
The approach is more comprehensive and sheds more light on this
interesting textual feature. The approach provides creative results for
the reader. It is also effectively applied throughout the book which
reflects the writer's argument and the contribution of text linguistics in
the investigation of the consonance.

The writer has employed modern linguistic methods of analysis to
complement the traditional approach to consonance. These modern
methods are the effective tools to uncover the underlying semantic
relations which the traditional method could not achieve in a
comprehensive fashion. The book provides a substantiated argument
through detailed linguistic discussion and explication of grammatical,
semantic, stylistic, and phonetic problems. It also provides a detailed
account of the controversy over the notion of consonance in the
Qur'anic discourse. More argument for the contextual level, in addition
to another one for co-textual level, is provided in the discussion of
consonance at the grammatical, semantic and stylistic levels of
language. The argument is supported by examples and linguistic
discussion. It covers the verb form, the active participle, the passive
participle, the conjunctive element (then/and), the plural form, the
plural of paucity, the plural of multitude, the feminine noun form, and
the phonetic form. On the macro-textual level of language, the book
provides detailed cases of conceptual and intertextual relatedness
and textual progression.

This textual investigation uncovers various types of consonance in
Qur'anic discourse, including consonance between chapters, within a
chapter, at parable level, at inter-ayah (section or sentence) level, at
intra-ayah level, of notions, at co-text level, at context level, at word
level, at phrase level, at letter level, at grammatical-morphological
level, at semantic level and at phonetic level.

The book has seven chapters: the first chapter provides a theoretical
foundation for the notion of consonance. Chapter two introduces an in-
depth analysis of Qur'anic discourse at the macro level. Chapter level
provides another macro level textual analysis. Micro level analysis at
statement level is introduced in chapter four. Chapter five focuses on
the micro level analysis of the notion of consonance within a given
ayah. Chapter six is concerned with the text linguistic notion of co-text.
Chapter seven provides a conclusion about the overall empirical
analysis of Qur'anic text.


The discussion of intertextuality in Qur'anic discourse makes the
present work a useful source for literary semiotics of the Qur'anic text.
This is the first multi-faceted text linguistic account of its kind which
attempts to investigate how a given Qur'anic text is made in relation to
other Qur'anic texts and the intertextual meaning relations among
these texts.

Mohammad Rasekh Mahand is Assistant Professor of Linguistics at
Bu-Ali Sina University, Hamadan, Iran. His research interests include
syntax, the syntax-pragmatics interface and typology.