The Acceptance of an Alternative Literary Text

Short stories, poetry, esssays

Moderators: nihadsirees, Jihan, sahartawfiq, weamnamou

The Acceptance of an Alternative Literary Text

Postby dralmenoar2006 » Tue Oct 27, 2009 2:13 pm

ABSTRACT

Selected verses from Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English language translation of the meaning of the Quran have been used as literary texts to teach both descriptive and figurative imagery (including similes, metaphors and symbols) to undergraduate students at an Islamic institution. The students were taught imagery using one technique covering two class sessions. Questionnaires were distributed to the students after the two class sessions to evaluate the acceptance of the text and understanding of imagery through the use of the text. An analysis of the data from the questionnaires shows a significant level of acceptance of the text.

INTRODUCTION

Quranic images of Heaven and Hell are appropriate vehicles for teaching imagery to students because these images are represented vividly in the Quran. The passages referring to Heaven and Hell usually appear one after another in the Quran. Pedagogically, images of Heaven and Hell are particularly beneficial in the teaching of imagery since they focus the students’ minds on the ultimate consequences of behaviour. Comparing and contrasting images of Heaven and Hell help to highlight these consequences. Visualizing, discussing and writing about and drawing images of Heaven and Hell can help students develop morally and ethically. In this way, Islamic values are reinforced in the classroom. Students are reminded of the rewards for preserving good and the punishment for doing evil. The Islamic values ingrained through the Quranic imagery lessons can be used by the students later as yardsticks for critiquing the moral/ethical perspective embedded in other texts.
The Quran is a literary miracle and it is a rich source of language and content whether it be in the original text or through carefully rendered translations of the meaning of the Quran in other languages. They indeed provide a suitable text for introducing the literary aspects of the Quran to Muslims as well as non-Muslim.
This is not to suggest that the English language translations of the meaning of the Quran should be the sole text for the teaching of imagery to students because there are certainly other useful texts or materials for example, poems, fiction, plays, newspapers, photographs, etc. However, the English language translations of the meaning of the Quran do make especially suitable texts for students learning imagery at Islamic tertiary level institutions. These texts can aid lecturers seeking to deepen the Islamic orientation of their course.
Two lessons on Imagery were taught using Quranic images selected from Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English language translation of the meaning of the Quran. Not only did most of the students do well in the exercises given to them, the students also showed a positive interest in the lesson taught and the text which was used.
Although an expressed purpose of this study is to establish Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English language translation of the meaning of the Quran as a literary text for the teaching of imagery, other lecturers may differ in their opinions and find other versions more suitable.

THE QUESTIONNAIRE

Objective: To test the acceptance of the English language translation of the meaning of the Quran as a literary text for the teaching of imagery.
The questionnaire comprises of 11 questions. An analysis and calculation of percentages of the responses to each question of each sample questionnaire is provided below. The comments given by the students in some of the questions will also be highlighted. A total of 83 students participated in the questionnaire for an evaluation.

QUESTIONNAIRE

Name: (optional)
Faculty & Dept.:
English Course Code:
English Course Level:

Please circle the answer of your choice:
Q1:
Have you ever read the Quran in Arabic? Yes No
If yes, can you understand the Quran in Arabic?Yes No

Q2:
Have you ever read the translations of the meaning of the Quran in any other language? Yes No
If yes, in what language?..........
Q3:
Have you ever read Abdullah Yusuf Ali's English language translation of the meaning of the Quran? Yes No

Q4:
Have you ever thought of the Quran as a text possessing any literary value? Yes No
Comments (if any) :

Q5:
Do you think that Abdullah Yusuf Ali's English language translation of the meaning of the Quran is a suitable literary text for the teaching of figurative language, specifically, imagery? Yes No
Comments (if any) :

Q6:
How would you compare the use of the English language trans¬lation of the meaning of the Quran as a literary text with the use of any other literary text?

A) It is better to use the English language translation of the meaning of the Quran as a literary text.

B) It is good to use the English language translation of the meaning of the Quran along with other texts rather than using it alone.

C) It makes no difference whether one uses the English language translation of the meaning of the Quran or another text.

D) It is worse to use the English language translation of the meaning of the Quran as a literary text than to use a different text.
A B C D
Comments (if any):


Q7:
Is the English language used in Abdullah Yusuf Ali's English language translation of the meaning of the Quran easy to understand judging from the verses chosen for the lesson? Yes No
Comments (if any) :


Q8:
What do you think of increasing the use of Abdullah Yusuf Ali's English language translations of the meaning of the Quran for the teaching of other aspects or areas of litera¬ture?
A) Yes, definitely
B) Probably
C) Probably not
D) Definitely not
Comments (if any):


Q9:
Which aspects or areas of literature would you recommend to be taught through the use of the English language transla¬tion of the meaning of the Quran? You can choose more than one.
A) short stories
B) drama
C) poetry and prose
D) others (please specify)
A B C D

Q10:
Do you think that an English language translation of the meaning of the Quran would be a suitable text for language proficiency courses and that this text should be incorporat¬ed to a large extent in the English language curriculum at International Islamic University Malaysia? Yes No
Comments (if any):


Q11:
Do you think that an English language translation of the meaning of the Quran would be a suitable and useful text for the teaching of academic subjects (eg. History, Sociology, Anthropology)? Yes No
Comments (if any):



Response to Q1:
Yes No
Q1:
Have you ever read the Quran in Arabic? 83(100%) 0(0%)
If yes, can you understand the Quran in Arabic? 41(49%) 42(51%)

Response to Q2:
Yes No
Q2:
Have you ever read the translations of the
meaning of the Quran in any other language? 80(96%) 3(4%)
If yes, in what language? ………………….
English 56(67%)
Other Languages: French, Turkish, Urdu, Persian, Malay, Bengali

Response to Q3:

Q3: Yes No
Have you ever read Abdullah Yusuf Ali's English
language translation of the meaning of the Quran? 62(75%) 21(25%)

Response to Q4:

Q4: Yes No
Have you ever thought of the Quran as
a text possessing any literary value? 75(90%) 8(10%)

Response to Q5:

Q5: Yes No
Do you think that Abdullah Yusuf Ali's
English language translation of the meaning
of the Quran is a suitable literary text for the
teaching of figurative language, specifically, imagery? 77(93%) 6(7%)

Response to Q6:

Q6:
How would you compare the use of the English language translation of the meaning of the Quran as a literary text with the use of any other literary text?

A)
A)It is better to use the English language translation
of the meaning of the Quran as a literary text. 23(28%)

B)
B)It is good to use the English language translation
of the meaning of the Quran along with other texts
rather than using it alone. 53(64%)

C)
C) It makes no difference whether one uses the
English language translation of the meaning of the
Quran or another text. 5(6%)


D)
D) It is worse to use the English language
translation of the meaning of the Quran as a
literary text than to use a different text. 5(6%)


Response to Q7:

Q7: Yes No
Is the English language used in Abdullah Yusuf
Ali's English language translation of the meaning
of the Quran easy to understand judging from the
verses chosen for the lesson? 69(83%) 14(17%)

Response to Q8:

Q8:
What do you think of increasing the use of Abdullah
Yusuf Ali's English language translations of the
meaning of the Quran for the teaching of other
aspects or areas of literature?

A)Yes, definitely 53(64%)
B)Probably 30(36%)
C)Probably not 0(0%)
D)Definitely not 0(0%)

Response to Q9:

Q9:
Which aspects or areas of literature would you
recommend to be taught through the use of the
English language transla¬tion of the meaning of the Quran?

A)short stories 63(76%)
B)drama 25(30%)
C)poetry and prose 58(70%)
D)others (please specify)2(2%)
novels, moral values

Response to Q10:

Q10: Yes No
Do you think that an English language
translation of the meaning of the Quran
would be a suitable text for language
proficiency courses and that this text should
be incorporated to a large extent in the English
language curriculum at International
Islamic University? 78(94%) 5(6%)

Response to Q11:

Q11: Yes No
Do you think that an English language
translation of the meaning of the Quran
would be a suitable and useful text for the
teaching of academic subjects (eg. History,
Sociology, Anthropology)? 81(98%) 2(2%)

COMMENTS AND EVALUATION

Eighty-three participants attempted the questionnaire. All the participants were ESL students of various levels in an English course. These students have undergone two class sessions of Quranic imagery using a technique suitable for each particular level. At the end of the second class session, these questionnaires were distributed and collected for an evaluation.
The response to Q1 of the questionnaire sets us off knowing that all 83(100%) participants have read the Quran in its original language, Arabic. These students were most likely all Muslims. As this is an Islamic institution, it is a fact that the majority of the students are Muslims. However, the ESL Department has the most diverse variety or mix of international backgrounds because of the compulsory English language courses for all students in the whole university. The response to the second part of Q1tells us that almost half 42(51%) of the participants do not understand the Quran in Arabic. These responses give us some insight into the level of religiosity, piety or commitment to Islam of the students as 42(51%) have read the Quran in Arabic without understanding it in Arabic.
The response to Q2 of the questionnaire tells us that a significant majority 77(93%) sought the translated versions of the Quran in other languages of which 56(67%) have read it in the English language to facilitate more clarity in understanding. The response to the second part of Q2 gives us the information that there is a good mix of internationalism in the participants’ backgrounds as the students were asked to mention the other languages of the translated versions that they have read. Some of their responses were French, Urdu, Malay, Bengali, Persian, Turkish.
Q3 narrowed in to make the question and response more specific. The question is more directed towards those who have read the English translated versions of the Quran, whether they have read the English language translations of the Quran by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. The response to that question was 62(75%) of the participants have read it by Abdullah Yusuf Ali although only 56(67%) of the participants have read the Quran translated into the English language. There are 6(8%) participants who claimed to have not read the translated versions of the Quran in the English language but later changed and went on to say that they have read Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English language translations of the Quran. It could be that the name, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, had sparked their memory of the two previous class sessions.
A significant majority 75(90%) of the participants were already aware of the Quran having literary value apart from its more obvious religious value. This awareness can facilitate and contribute to their firm acceptance of the English translated versions of the Quran as a literary text.
To keep this exercise in perspective, it is useful if the objective of the questionnaire meaning of the Quran as a literary text for the teaching of figurative language, specifically, imagery. Bearing this in mind, I refer to Q5 of the questionnaire which is the core question. Q5 reads as follows: Do you think that Abdullah Yusuf Ali's English language translation of the meaning of the Quran is a suitable literary text for the teaching of figurative language, specifically, imagery?
There were a total of eighty-three participants who attempted this questionnaire. Seventy-seven (93%) out of 83 participants fully support this use of the text. Many participants in fact volunteered further comments after answering positively to Q5. These partici¬pants were of the opinion that Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation of the meaning of the Quran is a suitable text to be used in this instance because it contains ample material for the teaching of figurative language, specifically, imagery. Simultaneously, they felt that the use of such a text would inevitably enhance their knowledge of Islam (a purpose which these participants seem to think is equally important).
When the participants were asked how they would compare the use of the English language translation of the mean¬ing of the Quran with the use of other literary texts, (refer to Q6 of the questionnaire),the majority of the participants 53(64%) were of the view that it is good to use other texts along with the said translation of the meaning of the Quran. As for the minority who were opposed to the use of Abdullah Yusuf Ali's English language translation of the meaning of the Quran in this manner, there are two conclusions that can be drawn from their an¬swers.
There were only 6 out of the 83(7%) participants who answered negatively to Q5. By the figures alone, one can see overwhelming support for the object of this exercise. The second conclusion or deduction is that despite their opposition, almost every one of the 6 participants seems to have contradicted his/her stand in subsequent questions. For example, after having given a firm "No" to Q4 and/or Q5, the said participant would, however, proceed to support the use of the English language translation of the meaning of the Quran as a literary text in Q6 in varying degrees. Most of the minority 6 opted for the use of the English language translation of the meaning of the Quran along with other texts. Thus, one can see that the said minority are not unequivocal about their opposition. Their answers or responses seem to indicate that their objections were taken due to some reservations which required clarification. Only one of the minority actually aired this reservation as being the fear that the English language translation of the meaning of the Quran would contain inaccuracies. However, that very same participant supported the use of the English language translation of the meaning of the Quran in other aspects or areas of literature, in language proficiency courses and other academic subjects.
From the overall response received, it is clear that the participants reflect the view of a mixture of students and that their responses indicate substantial support for the utilization of the English language translation of the meaning of the Quran as a literary text for the purposes of teaching figurative lan¬guage, specifically, imagery. The participants went through an introductory lesson in class on this subject before answering the questionnaire. In answer to Q7 which asked whether the language used in Abdullah Yusuf Ali's English language translation of the meaning of the Quran was easy to understand judging from the verses chosen for the lesson, many (including those from the minority of 6) answered that the lesson was well understood, but more significantly, their comments indicated a positive interest in the subject taught. Indeed, being able to understand the text is half the battle won.
The participants responded positively to Q8 for the increase of Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s English translated version of the Quran as literary texts for the teaching of other areas of literature. A majority 53(64%) confirmed “Yes, definitely”. The rest 30(36%) opted to respond with a “Probably”. This response clarifies their positive interest and acceptance because there was zero response to the next two response options of “Probably not” and
“Definitely, not”.
In Q9, the majority 63(76%) recommended the use of English language translations of the Quran as literary texts for the teaching of short stories. Then 58(70%) recommended them for the teaching of poetry and prose. The participants were not exposed to the works of other translators of the English language translated versions of the Quran. Upon further research work in this area, there are indeed numerous works of other translators suitable for each component of a literature course. For example, the English language translations o the Quran by Muhammad Asad has been found a suitable text for short stories because of the narrative, prosaic English language used in his book.
There was a positive interest, firm acceptance and overwhelming support spilled over in their responses to Q10 and Q11. For Q10, 78(94%) were for the use of the English language translations of the Quran as texts for other English courses in the English language curriculum of the Faculty of English Language and Literature. For Q11, 81(98%) were for the use of the English language translations of the Quran for other academic subjects or courses in other faculties of the University.
There was an explicit, positive interest in and substantial, strong support for this exercise as a whole. Some of the participants' comments were as follows: "We as Muslims should agree "[ that is, to increase the use of this text] " because it can make our University be respected by others." "Through the teaching process" [that is, of using this text,]"the student will be excellent in Literature and it also will increase our knowledge about the Quran and Islam." "We should not learn only Western Literature, we should know something about our own (Islamic) culture." "From what I had learnt in the class before, the language in the Quran is so wonderful, therefore, I think using that translation is suitable for the teaching of figurative language because it will make us understand more." "Al-Quran (Islam) is shamil (complete). So why not we try to make the Quran as a text to use its literary value." "We have to Islamize our knowledge especially in Literature and not only depend on Western Literature." "This is one way for the Islamization of Knowledge." One participant commented in the questionnaire,".... this is a new experience to me....". Again , how aptly said.

CONCLUSION

The objective of this exercise to test the acceptance of using the English translated versions of the Quran for the teaching of imagery through a questionnaire. Q5 particularly questioned the use of Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s translated version o the Quran for the teaching of imagery. The response was very encouraging whereby 77 out of 83 (93%) answered positively.
Q10 suggests the use of the English translated versions of the Quran as texts for other courses in particularly the English language curriculum. The response was again very encouraging whereby 78 out of 83 (94%) answered positively.
Q11 suggests the incorporation of the English translated versions of the Quran as texts for other courses in other faculties. A significant majority yet again answered positively whereby 81 out of 83 (98%) were of the view that the English language translations of the meaning of the Quran would also be appropriate texts for the teaching of academic subjects such as History, Sociology, Anthropology, etc.
This receptiveness on the part of Muslim students to the use of the Quran heralds well for facilitating and broadening the scope of Islamically-oriented education.

REFERENCES

Abdullah Yusuf Ali. The Holy Quran. Brentwood, Maryland:Amana Corp., 1983.

Adeyanju, Thomas K. “Teaching Literature and Human Values in ESL: Objective and Selection”. English Language Teaching Journal. 32.2 (1978): 113 – 8.

Al Ghazali, Muhammad and Hasanah, Umar Ubayd. Kayfa Nata’amalu Ma’al Quran : Mudarasah Bayna Alshaykh. Virginia: International Institute of Islamic Thought, 1991.

Allison, D. & Carey, J. “What do university language teachers say about language teaching research?”. TESL Canada Journal. 24(2007):61-81.

Al-Sha’rawi, Syaykh Muhammad Mitwalli. The Miracles of the Quran. Baker Street, London: Dar Al-Taqwa Ltd., 1980.

Asad, Muhammad. The Message of the Quran. Gibraltar: Dar al-Andalus Limited, 1980.

Borj, S. “Conditions for teacher research.” English Teaching Forum. 44(2006):22-27.

Bowen, T. & Marks, J. Inside Teaching. Oxford: Macmillan, 1994.

Carter, R. & Long, M. Teaching Literature. London: Longman, 1991.

Duff, Alan and Alan Maley. The Inward Ear. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1989.

Frye, Northrop, Sheridan Warner Baker and Geroge B. Perkins. The Harper Handbook to Literature. New York: Harper & Row, 1985.

Khalifa, Mohammad. The Sublime Qur’an and Orientalism. Essex, England: Longman Group Ltd., 1983.

Kramsch, C. Context and Culture in Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

Labom, Jol. Tafsil Ayat AlQuran AlHakim. Lebanon: Dar Alkitab Alarabi, 1963.

Larsen, F.D. Techniques and Principles in Language Teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Lazar, G. Literature and Language Teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Mawdudi, Abul A’la. Toward Understanding Islam. Leicester: Islamic Foundations, 1980.

Montet, Edward. AlMustadrak. Lebanon: Dar Alkitab Alarabi, 1963.

O’Malley, J.M. & Valdez, P.L. Authentic Assessment for English Language Learners: Practical Approaches for Teachers. New York: Addison Wesley, 1996.

Oxford, R. Language Learning Strategies around the World: Cross-cultural Perspectives. Manoa: University of Hawaii Press, 1996.

Peregov, S.F. & Boyle, O.F. Reading, Writing, and Learning in ESL. New York: Addison Wesley Longman, 2001.

Perrine, Laurence. Literature – Structure, Sound and Sense – 4th Edition. New York: Hartcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1983.

Pickthall, M. Marmaduke. The Meaning of the Glorious Koran. New York: Mentor Books, 1963.

Richards, J.C. & Nunan, D. Second Language Teacher Education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Richards, J. & Rodgers, T.S. Approaches and Methods in Language Teaching: A Description and Analysis. (2nd ed.). New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

Stevick, Earl W. Images and Options in the Language Classroom. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Von Denffer, Ahmad. Ulum Al-Quran, An Introduction to the Sciences of the Quran. Leicester: The Islamic Foundation, 1985.

Wallace, M. J. Training Foreign Language Teachers: A Reflective Approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Wilkins, D.A. [David Arthur] Second Language Learning and Teaching. London: Edward Arnold, 1974.

Woodward, T. Models and Metaphors in Language Teacher Training. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Wright, Andrew. Pictures for Language Learning. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1989.
dralmenoar2006
 
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Oct 26, 2009 3:59 am


Return to Literature / ركن الأدب

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron