[Foundation-l] Wikimania and the Muhammad pix

Mark Williamson node.ue at gmail.com
Sun Feb 24 14:40:56 UTC 2008

Yes, but the Qur'an is written in Classical Arabic, a language that is
only easily mutually intelligible with a certain number of modern
varieties of Arabic.

If you read out "qaalat anaa yakuunu lii ghula'mun, walam yamsasnii
basharun, walam aku baghii'aan", Arabs in many parts of North Africa
may not know what this means because this means nothing in their
dialect/language. If they are literate, they will surely understand,
but if they are not, they will probably recognize it as a reading from
the Qur'aan but may not understand the true meaning. In fact, they may
even be able to tell you the exact verse it is in the Qur'aan but they
will not know what the words mean.


On 21/02/2008, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com> wrote:
> > While it may not be educationally necessary in a literate society, in a
>  >  pre-literate society representational images can be very powerful.  In
>  >  illustrating some activity of Muhammed some representation of that
>  >  activity can be a powerful educational tool for those who cannot read.
>  >  Unfortunately, the power of abstraction comes from reading.  The Qur'an
>  >  certainly speaks of Muhammed, and thus creates pictures of him in
>  >  words.  Logical consistency would suggest the absurdity that these word
>  >  pictures should also be forbidden.  Abstract reasoning allows readers to
>  >  understand that any representations of Muhammed or Jesus are not based
>  >  on original photographs.
>  >
>  >  We cannot underestimate the power of images, symbols and myths as
>  >  entities in their own right.  These powers make no scientific sense at
>  >  all, but that does not diminish their influence.  Many Americans can be
>  >  very upset when they see their flag being abused, yet to the strictly
>  >  logical mind it is just a piece of cloth.
> I think you're putting too much sway on *reading* the Qur'an. The
>  Qur'an is often spoken aloud (and even memorised), so illiterate
>  people can get just as much from the words as literate people can.
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