A Semantic Study of the Word “Furqan” in the Holy Quran: A Reply to Doubts Using Paradigmatic and Syntagmatic Axes

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Ph.D. Student in Comparative Interpretation, Faculty of Quranic Qom commentary, University of Science and Education of the Holy Quran, Qom, Iran.

2 Associate Professor, Department of Quranic and Hadith Sciences, Faculty of Quranic Qom commentary, University of Science and Education of the Holy Qur'an, Qom, Iran.

3 Professor, Department of Quran Interpretation and Sciences, Al-Mustafa International Society (A), Qom, Iran.


Semantics is the bridge by which meaning can be studied and texts can be understood and, finally, the intentions and implications of divine revelations can be discovered. The present study makes use of a methodical approach to deal with two essential issues: firstly, the semantic analysis of “furqan” will be carried out in the context of the holy Quran’s verses by way of a semantic study based on the linguistic context and investigation of the paradigmatic and syntagmatic relationships. Secondly, semantics will be deployed in reply to the skepticisms regarding the conceptualization of the word furqan in the Holy Quran as stated in the book Letters for the Prophet Muhammad: A Research on the Roots of the Quran. In line with investigations, it can be said that furqan was syntagmatically used with some words like piety and guidance and it was interchangeably used with words such as scale, Quran and the book. As a final definition of furqan, we suggest that it is not of a lexical character and that it is by exercising the divine teachings that one might gain a “light” by means of which one can distinguish the right from the wrong and easily overcome the calamities and conspiracies of the time. Accordingly, the claim by the author of the book Letters for the Prophet Muhammad to the effect that the term “furqan” refers to a book other than the present Quran is rejected.


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