Emphasis in the Quran


Allah (swt) says:

وَمَا أُبَرِّئُ نَفْسِي إِنَّ النَّفْسَ لأمَّارَةٌ بِالسُّوءِ إِلا مَا رَحِمَ رَبِّي إِنَّ رَبِّي غَفُورٌ

“Nor do I absolve my own self (of blame): the (human) soul is certainly prone to evil, unless my Lord do bestow His Mercy: but surely my Lord is Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful.”
(12: 53)

In the Quran a lot of emphasis is used in certain ayat and there are different words and devices which are used to convey this emphasis. For example in the ayah above, the word “inna” is used to convey emphasis and it is usually translated as “Verily”. Other devices used for emphasis in this ayah are the definite article “al” which is connected to the word “nafs” as well as the letter “laam” which is connected to the word “ammarah“. The word “ammarah” itself gives emphasis to what is being said since it has been mentioned in the form of “seeghah al-mubalaghah“. So in this one short ayah, four instances of emphasis can be found, and this illustrates the richness of the Arabic language:

1) The word “inna
2) The definite article “al
3) The letter “laam
4) The word “ammarah

And all of this cannot be properly conveyed in English. In the translation given above there is only word which is used to give emphasis and that is “certainly.” How could the translator really capture all that is said in the Arabic? By repeating “certainly” four times? That would have just been a little stupid really. So to really appreciate the beauty of the Quran, one needs to have at least a basic grasp of Arabic.

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