In my work I use a particular set of methodologies (that you will find summarised in the Background section to my work – and you can download free at quranite.com). Here I give a taste of an analysis which demonstrates that the Qur’an provides its own answers to frequently asked questions.
Arabic: am. This is the Arabic equivalent of or and, as in English, introduces the second part of an alternative question (e.g. Would you like tea or coffee?). However, here and in many places across the text am exists without a contextual setup or corollary (e.g. Or coffee?). Clearly, this does not fully make sense. The translators wriggle and try to explain, but not convincingly. Sometimes by sticking with or – or by replacing or ignoring it – they stumble upon sense because the surrounding text happens to fall kindly for them. But where they are true to their dominant premises they are left often with an awkward non sequitur. My process was this: I identified all cases of am in the text, placing them in one of two categories: those which perform the standard offices of or (e.g. Would you like tea or coffee?), and those which do not, those which have no natural preceding part (e.g. Or coffee?). This latter category I called the ‘hanging am’. Upon reviewing all cases of the hanging am it became clear that the fact that am exists also in this second state indicates not a deficiency but rather the presence of a separate textual entity. The Traditionalist has failed entirely to understand the point and purpose of the hanging am which is why, in part, his translation reads in such a stalling, faltering way where it occurs. Its function, however, is twofold: rhetorical and logistical. It is rhetorical in that it identifies a key claim or scenario prior to answering or clarifying that claim or scenario, operating like a Q&A sheet. The logistical function provided by the hanging am consists in the fact that it operates as a marker so that all such Q&As may readily be identified and drawn together, thus providing an illuminating study as well as a reference guide for fielding common questions. The entire set is found at 2:108, 2:133, 2:140, 2:214, 4:53, 4:54, 6:143, 6:144, 6:144, 9:16, 10:31, 10:38, 11:13, 11:35, 13:16, 13:33, 13:33, 18:9, 21:21, 21:24, 21:43, 23:68:, 23:69, 23:70, 23:72, 24:50, 25:44, 27:60, 27:61, 27:62, 27:63, 27:64, 29:4, 30:35, 32:3, 34:8, 35:40, 35:40, 37:150, 37:156, 38:9, 38:10, 38:28, 38:28, 39:9, 39:43, 42:9, 42:21, 42:24, 43:16, 43:21, 43:79, 43:80, 45:21, 46:4, 46:8, 47:24, 47:29, 52:30, 52:32, 52:32: 52:33, 52:35, 52:35, 52:36, 52:37, 52:37, 52:38, 52:39, 52:40, 52:41, 52:42, 52:43, 53:24, 53:36, 54:43, 54:44, 67:20, 67:21, 68:37, 68:39, 68:41, 68:46, 68:47, 72:25. All instances are footnoted and reference this verse.
Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUEabyLab6g