The Book, the Qur'an, is without a doubt revealed from Allah.

It can be understood in two ways:

  • There's no doubt that Quran is from Allah.
  • Quran doesn't contain any doubt and is revealed from Allah.

Which is the correct meaning? And how would the author have written it if he meant the other meaning?

  • There might be some syntactic justification for your second interpretation, but in practice that would be considered a "perverse" reading - which possibility could have been completely eliminated by using undoubtedly instead of without a doubt. But no native speaker would be likely to see that as an issue worth addressing anyway. – FumbleFingers Jan 8 '19 at 14:29

Let's break apart your sentence:

The Book, the Qur'an, is without a doubt revealed from Allah.

"The Book" is the subject, and "the Qur'an" is an appositive. Now, there are two possibilities either of your interpretations would work:

  • "is revealed" is the verb in the main sentence, and "without a doubt" is a sentence adverbial1, meaning it's a bunch of words that explain the author's opinion on how truthful they believe the sentence is.

    If this is how we analyze the sentence, then your first interpretation would be correct, and more simply put, the sentence would become "Without a doubt, the Qur'an is revealed from Allah." This is the correct interpretation the way the sentence is currently phrased.

  • "is" and "revealed" are different verbs from two separate sentences:

    1. The Book, the Qur'an, is without a doubt.
    2. The Book, the Qur'an, is revealed from Allah.

    If this was the case, it would have meant the author simply did not repeat the parts of (2) that were already in (1). However, to do so, they would need something to connect the two sentences, and there are none in your original sentence. An "and" would do, for example:

    The Book, the Qur'an, is without a doubt and revealed from Allah.

    Your second interpretation would have then been correct, and "without a doubt" would have been a predicative complement; it would have been part of the sentence and not removable. *The Book is and revealed from Allah.

Important note: I erred on the side of the second interpretation actually being used somewhere where it wouldn't be ungrammatical or unnatural. All instances on COCA are the first option, with "without a doubt" functioning as an adverbial. I wouldn't advise anyone to form their sentence the second way.

1: Most of the time, "Adverb" has been some form of a "trash can" category where words that didn't fit in the other distinct categories went. Thankfully, it's usually intuitive for us learners to call something an adverb and move on, not so much if we get into the details.


I believe the first meaning you mention is the intended one, as the second meaning would (in my opinion) be expressed as:

The Book is without doubt, this is revealed from Allah.

Note how the word "doubt" is not qualified by "a", this is how a native speaker would say this.

This may be more clearly shown by rejiggering your original sentence slightly:

The Book is, without a doubt, revealed from Allah.

I believe this meaning is equivalent, and that's what I base my answer on.

  • 1
    I think that you have an interesting point about the use of the article in “without a doubt” but that you might need to explain it a bit more clearly. – ColleenV Jan 7 '19 at 11:25

The Book, the Qur'an, is without a doubt revealed from Allah.

I don't think either of your interpretations are correct. The statement is not talking about the book's origins, which are in the past. This statement uses "is", not "was". It is making a statement of religious belief that Allah reveals the Qur'an, and that the writer does not doubt this.

As I understand it, adherents to Islam believe that the Qur'an was given orally to the prophet Muhammad by Allah and then it was written by his companions, not Allah himself. So, regarding the structure of your sentence, consider this similar statement:

The Book, the Qur'an, was without a doubt written down by companions of the prophet Muhammad.

The structure is much the same but I don't believe one could read this any other way than stating who wrote down the words of the Qur'an. I think this illustrates that your original sentence is making one single statement, not two, but the writer is emphasising his certainty of it.

As to the meaning, I believe the confusion may come from the fact that the words "revealed from" are a little ambiguous unless one is familiar with the religious terminology. I am not a Muslim and so cannot give a deep insight into what "revealed" means in this context, but I understand it to mean the belief that Allah allows people to fully grasp the words of the Qur'an. This is something that believers may state happens on an ongoing basis, not in the past, which is why I say neither of your interpretations are correct because you understood it to be where the book comes from.

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