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 Post subject: Original meaning of words, e.g., فاز /fæ:zæ/
PostPosted: 05 Sep 2009, 09:08 
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Admin note: This topic was split from the discussion of 3:185 about the verb فاز.

Linguistic wrote:
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{3:185} Every soul will taste death, and you will only be given your [full] compensation on the Day of Resurrection. So he who is drawn away from the Fire and admitted to Paradise has attained [his desire]. And what is the life of this world except the enjoyment of delusion.

In colloquial Arabic, فاز means "won," but the verb actually means to escape unscathed.

This is a pretty serious issue given the extensive use in the Quran and the almost universal understanding of what فاز means. There is a possibility that winning is a secondary meaning of the word. At least the above interpretation of the word needs to be elaborated with references and all.

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 Post subject: Re: Verses 3:185-186
PostPosted: 05 Sep 2009, 13:17 
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Pragmatic wrote:
Linguistic wrote:
In colloquial Arabic, فاز means "won," but the verb actually means to escape unscathed.

This is a pretty serious issue given the extensive use in the Quran and the almost universal understanding of what فاز means. There is a possibility that winning is a secondary meaning of the word. At least the above interpretation of the word needs to be elaborated with references and all.

One good example that jumps to mind comes three verses later,

The Arabic dictionary is clear that فاز means نجا (to escape). The difference is that فاز carries the semantic that the person got something as well, not just escaped. The Arabs call فائزة anything that is pleasing, i.e., a prize ;) That is probably why the semantic of winning has prevailed in colloquial Arabic.

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 Post subject: Re: Verses 3:185-186
PostPosted: 10 Sep 2009, 09:54 
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Linguistic wrote:
The Arabic dictionary is clear that فاز means نجا (to escape). The difference is that فاز carries the semantic that the person got something as well, not just escaped. The Arabs call فائزة anything that is pleasing, i.e., a prize ;) That is probably why the semantic of winning has prevailed in colloquial Arabic.

Let me belabor the point :D. When you win, you escape losing.

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 Post subject: Re: Verses 3:185-186
PostPosted: 13 Sep 2009, 12:17 
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Linguistic wrote:
The Arabic dictionary is clear that فاز means نجا (to escape).

I looked at the 4 other translations and none of them is translating نجا as "escape," including Asad who is particular about digging up the meaning of the words as they stood at the time of the Prophet (PBUH).

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 Post subject: Re: Verses 3:185-186
PostPosted: 14 Sep 2009, 01:22 
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Pragmatic wrote:
Linguistic wrote:
The Arabic dictionary is clear that فاز means نجا (to escape).

I looked at the 4 other translations and none of them is translating نجا as "escape," including Asad who is particular about digging up the meaning of the words as they stood at the time of the Prophet (PBUH).

Ok. What do you say about,

Or,

I clearly see the semantic "to escape" in those two verses.

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 Post subject: Re: Verses 3:185-186
PostPosted: 14 Sep 2009, 06:41 
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Linguistic wrote:
I clearly see the semantic "to escape" in those two verses.

Yes, there is no question that escape is a valid contrast to hellfire, and that the Quran includes explicit reference to that as in the example you gave of النجاة .

I respectfully maintain that this does not make escape the prevailing meaning when the word فاز is used. If we translate فاز with something other than win, we are going against a significant consensus, not only popular consensus, but also scholarly consensus.

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 Post subject: Re: Verses 3:185-186
PostPosted: 14 Sep 2009, 13:58 
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Pragmatic wrote:
Yes, there is no question that escape is a valid contrast to hellfire, and that the Quran includes explicit reference to that as in the example you gave of النجاه.

I respectfully maintain that this does not make escape the prevailing meaning when the word فاز is used. If we translate فاز with something other than win, we are going against a significant consensus, not only popular consensus, but also scholarly consensus.

I thought I'd check the English dictionary to see what "win" means. It means "to gain", "to succeed", "to be victorious", etc. In other words, the emphasized semantic is the positive outcome. The Arabic word stems from the negative starting point. In this project, I want to stick to the meaning of Arabic words as they were understood in the 7th Century, not as they have evolved. Let me give you another example,

Wouldn't you agree that the semantic emphasized over and over in conjunction with the verb فاز is the semantic of escape from a tough spot and coming out ahead?

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 Post subject: Re: Verses 3:185-186
PostPosted: 15 Sep 2009, 20:54 
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Linguistic wrote:
The Arabic word stems from the negative starting point.

In some contexts yes, and in some contexts no. Here is what the Arabic dictionary says:

الفَوْزُ: النَّجاءُ والظَّفَرُ بالأُمْنِيَّة والخيرِ

I don't not see the negative emphasis, much less the mandatory negative interpretation.

Quote:
Wouldn't you agree that the semantic emphasized over and over in conjunction with the verb فاز is the semantic of escape from a tough spot and coming out ahead?

No, I humbly disagree. There are contexts in which the other semantic is emphasized.



Pretty much like the translation of آية as verse versus sign. In some contexts, it is verse; and in others, it is sign.

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 Post subject: Re: Original meaning of words, e.g., فاز /fæ:zæ/
PostPosted: 15 Sep 2009, 22:29 
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We probably will not agree on this anytime soon :) But just to emphasize the point I'm trying to make, here are the details mentioned in the لسان العرب dictionary, emphasis mine.


فوز: الفَوْزُ: النَّجاءُ والظَّفَرُ بالأُمْنِيَّة والخيرِ، فازَ به
فَوْزاً ومَفازاً ومَفازَةَ. وقوله عز وجل: إِن للمتقين مَفازاً حَدائِقَ
وأَعْناباً؛ إِنما أَراد مُوجِبات مَفاوِز ولا يجوز أَن يكون المَفازُ هنا
اسْمَ الموضع لأَن الحدائق والأَعناب لسن مواضع. الليث: الفَوْزُ
الظَّفَرُ بالخير والنَّجاةُ من الشر. يقال: فازَ بالخير وفازَ من العذاب
وأَفازَهُ الله بكذا ففازَ به أَي ذهب به. وفي التنزيل العزيز: فلا
تَحْسَبَنَّهُمْ بِمَفَازةٍ من العذاب؛ قال الفراء: معناه ببعيد من العذاب، وقال
أَبو إِسحق: بمنْجاةٍ من العذاب، قال: وأَصل المَفازَةِ مَهْلَكَةٌ
فتفاءلوا بالسلامة والفَوْزِ. ويقال: فازَ إِذا لَقِيَ ما يُغْتَبَطُ، وتأْويله
التباعد من المكروه


So, we conclude that the verb cannot be used properly unless the action started out with a tough situation or the potential for a tough situation and ended up very pleasantly, with something valuable in hand. Winning is therefore an insufficient translation, IMHO, because winning can be made without having been in a tough spot.

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 Post subject: Re: Original meaning of words, e.g., فاز /fæ:zæ/
PostPosted: 16 Sep 2009, 10:15 
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Linguistic wrote:
We probably will not agree on this anytime soon :)

That we agree on. :D

Quote:
So, we conclude that the verb cannot be used properly unless the action started out with a tough situation or the potential for a tough situation and ended up very pleasantly, with something valuable in hand. Winning is therefore an insufficient translation
(emphasis added)

And escaping is insufficient, too.

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