Gharib Al-Qur’an: False Accusation and Reality

Sherine Abd El-Gelil Emara


This paper sheds light on the nature of the so-called Gharib Al-Qur’an (the extraordinary vocabulary of the Qur’an). It reviews some of the false accusations by Non-Muslims against the phenomenon of Gharib Al-Qur’an, and attempts to refute them. The study shows that obscurity (obscure is the literal widely-used translation equivalent of Gharib) is not inherent in the vocabulary itself (a linguistic dimension). It is something related to the readers’ language competence that is weakened by temporal remoteness from language, or by its being a foreign or a non-native language belonging to a different culture (a cultural dimension). The readers’ unfamiliarity with the vocabulary of the Arabic language, and their unawareness of the cultural differences between their native language and the TT language are among the important factors that seem to be involved in their inability to get the meanings of the words belonging to the class of Gharib Al-Qur’an. This being the case, words belonging to Gharib Al-Qur’an are not a deviation from typical proper discourse, and can never be considered a fault or an error in the Qur’an as Islam enemies claim. Severe attacks against this class of words stem from the accusers’ inability as non-Arabic and non-Muslim speakers to fully appreciate the eloquence and power of the Qur’an.

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International Journal of Linguistics  ISSN 1948-5425  Email:

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