Useful Works of Reference

The wide compass of the Qur-ān makes it necessary to consult works of reference on almost every conceivable subject, to enable us to elucidate the various points that arise. To deal adequately with such a Book, the widest reading is necessary as well as the most varied experience in life. But the interests of readers require that a handy Commentary should not roam too far afield. Bearing this in view the three essential kinds of books would be: (a) Previous Commentaries; (b) previous Translations; (c) Dictionaries and General Works of Reference, easily accessible. I have set out (a) and (b) in the previous two Notes. I note a few under (c):—

1. Imām Abul-Qāsim Husain Rāgib’s Mufradāt: a concise Arabic dictionary of words and phrases in the Qur-ān. Already mentioned under Commentaries.

2. The well-known Arabic Dictionary, Qāmūs.

3. The well-known Arabic Dictionary, Lisān-ul-‘Arab.

4. The concise Arabic-Persian Dictionary, Surāh.

5. J. Penrice’s Dictionary & Glossary of the Koran.

6. E. W. Lane: English-Arabic Lexicon.

7. Imām Jalāl-ud-dīn Suyūtī’s Itqān fī ulūm-il-Qur-ān: a veritable encyclopædia of Quranic sciences.

8. Nöldeke and Schwally: Geschichte des Qorans. A German Essay on the Chronology of the Qur-ān. Its criticisms and conclusions are from a non-Muslim point of view and to us not always acceptable, though it is practically the last word of European scholarship on the subject.

9. Encyclopædia Of Islam. Nearly completed. Very unequal in its various parts.

10. Encyclopædia Britannica, 14th edition. A great advance on previous editions, as regards the attention it devotes to Arabic learning.

11. Hughes’s Dictionary of Islam. Out of date, but still useful.

12. Ibn Hishām: Sīrat-ur-Rasūl. A fairly detailed Life of the Apostle.

13. Maulvi Shiblī Nu’māni (d. 1914 = 1334 H.): Sīrat-un-Nabī (an Urdu Life of the Apostle).

14. Fath-ur-Rahmān, an Arabic Concordance to the Qur-ān, by Faidh-ullāh Bik Hasanī, printed in Cairo in 1346 H. Full and well arranged, and easy to use.