OJML  Vol.11 No.4 , August 2021
Lexical Associations of the Word Eden in the Qur’an: A Corpus Linguistics Approach
Abstract: This study investigates the use of the term “” Eden in the Qur’an and its lexical associations following a corpus-based research approach. There is a controversy regarding the exact meaning and subsequently the translation of the term Eden in the Qur’an. While some researchers consider Eden to be a general descriptive term of all heavens, others argue that term is a name of some group of those heavens with specific characteristics. The study examines whether or not there are, in the Qur’an, specific lexical association patterns that recur exclusively with the mentioning of Eden as a hereafter reward and which can point to a special use of the term. Along with that basic purpose, the study provides the frequency of the occurrence of the word Eden in the Qur’an as well as its collocations. The tool implemented to search through the Qur’an corpus is the concordance program aConCorde. Three semantic categories of lexical associations are found. They are grouped into description of the heavens of Eden, description and deeds of the inhabitants of Eden who deserved this reward, and description and deeds of Allah who grants this reward. The results of the study revealed that most of the lexically associated and the collocated words are also available in other contexts describing heavens in general. They do not signal a special use of the term.

1. Introduction

In the Qur’anic text, there is a frequent mentioning of heaven as a hereafter reward, usually with various terms such as Paradise (الفردوس), Heaven of Eternity (جنة الخلد), Home of Peace (دار السلام), and the Heavens of Eden (جنات عدن) to mention but a few. Such terms are by no means completely synonymous. Rather, there is some semantic variation in the denotative meaning of each term. Differences in meaning are also depicted in the divergent methods of employing these terms in the verses of the Qur’an. Eden (or ‘Adn as used less frequently in some English translations of the Qur’an such as in Hilali-Khan, 2021) is one of these terms that are associated with heaven in the Qur’an.

The exact interpretation of the word Eden, and subsequently the translation of the Arabic word “عَدْن” /‘adn/ in the Qur’an is a controversial issue (Ibn Al-Qayyem, 2004; Attabari, 1978). While some interpreters of the Qur’an regard the word Eden as a descriptive term of all heavens with the meaning of eternity (based on the meaning of the root word عَدْن in Arabic), others consider it a given name for a specific group of heavens. On a similar basis, some translators of the Qur’an into English prefer to paraphrase the meaning of the Arabic word “عَدْن”, since in their view it is a descriptive word, using the phrase “heavens/gardens of eternity or perpetuity” (Yusuf Ali, 2002; Shakir, 1999). Other translators use the term Eden as a proper noun considering that the word refers to a specific group of heavens called the “heavens of Eden(Pickthall, 2000; Hilali-Khan, 2021).

The linguistic and statistical analysis of the use of the word Eden “عَدْن” in the Qur’an may reveal significant nuances of its meaning. Specifically, if the word “عَدْن” is employed in the Qur’an with recurrent lexical associations that are uniquely used in the context of the word Eden, this might suggest that it is not a general descriptive term, but rather a proper name of a group of heavens with specific characteristics. A comparison of the contexts and the lexical associations of the general hypernym “جنة”, which stands for heaven/garden and the co-hy- ponym Paradise “الفردوس” (which refers to the highest level of heaven) will help in clarifying the meaning of the term Eden. The study of these lexical associations includes both collocational associations (strictly between two words that always co-occur with each other) and semantic association, which includes a wider span of context of words with some semantic relations and co-occurrences. Automatic approaches that are used to extract association information from a corpus include collocation list extraction through a concordance software (Pecina, 2010). This approach will be followed in the present study to analyze the lexical associations of the word Eden in the Qur’an.

1.1. Research Objective

The intent of the present study is to analyze the lexical associations (i.e., collocational and semantic associations) of the word Eden in the Qur’an in order to identify recurrent contextual lexical patterns, if any. A comparison between these lexical associations and those of the general hypernym heaven “جنة” and the co-hy- ponym Paradise “الفردوس” will be carried out to identify any lexical associations which are special to the word Eden. To attain that objective, a corpus linguistic approach is followed. An automatic collocational extraction from a digital Qur’an corpus will be generated using an Arabic-friendly concordance program, namely, aConCorde® (Roberts et al., 2006).

1.2. Research Questions

The study attempts to answer the following questions:

1) How often does the word Eden appear in the Qur’an?

2) What are the collocations of the word Eden, if any?

3a) What are the lexical association patterns of the word Eden in the Qur’an?

3b) Are these lexical association patterns unique to the context of Eden?

1.3. Background

1.3.1. Meaning of Eden in Arabic and English Dictionaries

In consulting major Arabic dictionaries, all of their authors considered the word “عَدْن” Eden to be Arabic, since it is subject to the Arabic root and pattern system (Ibn Manzour, 2000; Alfayomi, 1990; Alfairouzabady, 1998; Ibn Faris, 1991; Aljawhari, 1982). According to Attabari (1978), the origin of the word comes from Syriac. The meaning of the term “Eden” “عَدْن” revolves around the meaning of residence. It stems from the verb “عَدْن” meaning to reside permanently as in “عدنت البلد: أي توطنته”. Therefore, another important aspect of the meaning of “عَدْن” along with residence is the meaning of permanence. Therefore, the derived word “مَعْدِن” “metal” as in معدن الذهب أو معدن الفضة is based on this aspect, since a metal has a permanent origin or essence that doesn’t change. Accordingly and collectively, Arabic dictionaries render the meaning of “جنات عدن” “heavens of Eden” as جنات خلد وإقامة “heavens of immortal and eternal residence” and “جنات عدن بطنانها وبطنانها وسطها” meaning that they are part of the heaven, mainly its origin and the best area in it (Ibn Manzour, 2000; Alfayomi, 1990; Alfairouzabady, 1998; Ibn Faris, 1991; Aljawhari, 1982).

According to the Oxford English Dictionary (Oxford University Press, 2006), the etymology of the word Eden shows that it has a Hebrew origin. This does not contradict the fact that Arabic dictionaries considered it an originally Arabic word, since Arabic, Hebrew, and Syriac are all Semitic languages belonging to the same historical language family. It has two significant meanings. First, Eden is said to be the place where Adam and Eve lived in the biblical account of the Creation. Second, Eden is a place or state of unspoilt happiness or beauty. The definition of Merriam Websters English Dictionary (Merriam-Webster, 2014) does not vary much. The etymology of the word comes from Late Latin borrowed from Hebrew. The first meaning of Eden is paradise. Second, it is the garden where, according to the account in Genesis, Adam and Eve first lived. Third, Eden is a place of pristine or abundant natural beauty.

1.3.2. Controversy over the Meaning of Eden in the Qur’an

Interpretations of the “heavens of Eden” in the Qur’an vary among different scholars. Their understanding of what Eden stands for can be divided into two principal positions with equally strong evidence. Some believe that it is one of the various heavens, while others argue that it is a general name for all heavens. The latter consider the “heavens of Eden” as synonymous to heavens in general, only with an emphasis on eternity and infinite time of residence (Ibn Ashor, 1984; Ibn Al- Qayyem, 2004). Other famous scholars such as Attabari (1978), on the other hand, consider the heavens of Eden to be a specific place within the heavens whose residents are eternal. They believe that the “heavens of Eden” are the residence of Allah (God), which He chose for Himself and for whoever He allows to reside there.

The pronunciation of the word “عَدْن” in Arabic is /’adn/. However, most translators of the Qur’an from Arabic to English preferred to use Eden instead of “And” (Hilali-Khan, 2021; Khalifa, 2005; Pickthall, 2000; Arberry, 1995; Palmer, 2007; Rodwell, 1974), possibly because the term Eden is known in earlier religious books to refer to heaven, and thus shares many aspects of meaning of the word “عَدْن” in the Qur’an. Accordingly, it is familiar to the English reader of the translation of the Qur’an.

Other translators, nonetheless, did not mention an equivalent to Eden, and translated “جنات عدن” as “gardens of eternity”. Among those are Yusuf Ali (2002); Shakir (1999); and Sher Ali (1997). To mention an example of such inconsistencies in translation, the latest version of the translation of the Qur’an by the Presidency of the Islamic Researchers, Ifta, Call, and Guidance in Saudi Arabiaadopted (Presidency of the Islamic Researchers, Ifta, Call, and Guidance, 1991), Yusuf Ali’s (2002) translation making necessary modifications. As far as the ‘heavens of Eden’ are concerned, that translation version renders “heavens of Eden” as “Gardens of Eternity”. Nevertheless, King Fahads Glorious Qurān Printing Complex in Saudi Arabia adopted Hilali-Khan’s (2021) translation in which the phrase (جنات عدن) is translated as “Gardens of ‘Adn (Eden Paradise)”.

To address that research problem, the present study attempts to linguistically investigate the use of the term Eden in the Qur’an in order to reveal any possible specific use of the term. To the knowledge of the researcher, no previous study has analyzed the linguistic properties of the word Eden in the Qur’an. The study will analyze the lexical association patterns of the word Eden including its collocations and semantic associations. Any specific pattern of use can indicate that Eden carries a special meaning which is different from other terms used to refer to the heavens in general.

2. Methodology

To seek answers for the study's questions, a corpus-based approach was followed.

2.1. Instruments

2.1.1. The Corpus

The Qur’an in a plain-text format was the corpus selected for the research. The corpus was annotated to show the chapters (Suras) and verses (Ayahs) using numbers as shown in Figure 1. Annotation was done in order to reveal the chapter and the verse when reviewing the concordance results. Short vowel diacritics are also included in the text.

Figure 1. Sample of the annotation of the corpus.

2.1.2. The Concordance Software

The concordancer is a software package that extracts concordances which are key words in contexts from a corpus (McEnery et al., 2007). To answer the present study’s questions, aConCorde 0.3 software is employed. It is an opensource, concordance program that was originally developed for native Arabic interfaces by Andrew Roberts et al. (2005). aConCorde allows users to choose how many words precede and follow the target word, a feature that was crucial to display a large context of words including the term Eden in this study.

2.2. Procedures

To search for answers to the present study’s questions, the word Eden in Arabic (عَدْن) has been typed in the word search space. A list of the contexts in which (عَدْن) appears is shown (Figure 2). Since the default number of words preceding and following the word (عَدْن) is not enough (6), a longer right-sorted list was established which composed of 20 words preceding the word and 20 words following it.

After the concordance list of the contexts including the word (عَدْن) was established, other required concordance lists were also extracted for comparison reasons, such as the concordance list of Garden (جَنَّةُ) and Paradise (فِرْدوس).

3. Results

The complete extracted concordance list from the concordance is available in Appendix I. Tokens are ordered in an ascending order as the word Eden first appears in the Qur’an. For reasons of clarity, the title of the Surah “chapter” of each extracted token is added. The word Eden “عدن” is underlined in every extraction. Some contexts are larger than others, because the semantic topic including

Figure 2. The result of the query (عَدْن).

the word Eden in these extracts extends to longer sentences. The list is followed by its English translation. The translation is taken from Hilali-Khan’s (2021) translation of Quran.

Question 1. How often does the word Eden appear in the Qur’an?

As the concordancer shows, the word Eden (عَدْن) is mentioned 11 times in the Qur’an. They appeared in the following chapters respectively التوبة (The Repentance), الرعد (The Thunder), النحل (The Bees), الكهف (The Cave), مريم )Mary), طه (Taha), فاطر (The Originator), ص (Saad), غافر (The Forgiver), الصف (The Row), and البينة (The Clear Evidence). In all the instances, (عَدْن) is composed of three letters (stem) and with the same vowel diacritics. No other morphologically derived words of (عَدْن) are present in the Qur’an. The frequency of (عَدْن) is high when compared, for example, with the hyponym Paradise (الفردوس) which is mentioned twice in the Qur’an. When analyzing the frequency of occurrence of the hypernym (جَنَّة), taking into account all possible derived terms from the stem (جَنَّة) (جَنَّة - الجنات- جَنّات- الجَنَّة) with the same meaning, a total of 81occureneces of the stem in the Qur’an was found. With such a large number as compared to the frequency of Eden, one might expect some special use of Eden in the Qur’an which makes its occurrence much less than “heavens/gardens”. That special use can be hypothesized after analyzing the lexical contexts in which that term appears.

Question 2. What are the collocations of the word Eden, if any?

To analyze the collocations of Eden, a lexical association list was established based on the concordance results as they were examined one by one. Three semantic categories of lexical associations are found. They can be grouped into 1) description of the heavens of Eden, 2) description and deeds of the inhabitants of Eden who deserved this reward and 3) description and deeds of Allah who grants this reward. To answer Question 2, the first group of these lexical association patterns, i.e., the description of heavens of Eden, will be discussed below. Table 1 displays the lexical association patterns related to the description of Eden.

As it is clear in Table 1, in all occurrences of the word Eden (عدن ), in the Qur’an, Eden collocates with “heavens” (جنات). There is always this combination of the two words “جنات عدن” “heavens of Eden”. Thus, the indefinite word (جنات) is made definite and specific by the addition of (عدن) in an annexation structure which is one of the definiteness markers in Arabic. This structure may indicate a specific group of heavens that are the “heavens of Eden”.

When compared to Paradise (الفردوس), paradise is present only two times in the Qur’an, which can indicate a more specialized use of the term. In one occurrence,

Table 1. Lexical associations related to the description of Eden.

it is independent from “heavens” (جنات), while in the other, the word comes after “heavens” (جنات). The most plausible interpretation of such variance is that Paradise is not necessarily a synonym of Eden, since they are used in different ways in the Qur’an. Paradise is more likely to be a name of a specific heaven, and thus it stands alone in one verse in the Qur’an, while Eden may be a description of all heavens, or of a group of them. In addition, the preceding word “heavens”, (جنات) is always in the plural. This may be interpreted literally that Eden is a name of more than one heaven, or symbolically, as some scholars have suggested (Attabari, 1978), that the plural refers to the vastness and grandness of these heavens.

3a). What are the lexical association patterns of the word Eden in the Quran?

As mentioned in the answer to Question 2, three semantic categories of the lexical association patterns are found. They are lexical associations related to:

1) description of the heavens of Eden,

2) description and deeds of the inhabitants of Eden who deserved this reward,

3) description and deeds of Allah who grants this reward.

Regarding the first category, as Table 1 shows, Eden has lexical associations with phrases that generally describe the heavens in other locations. Among these is the phrase “خالدين فيها”, which means “residing eternally there”. It is mentioned three times in the context of Eden. It is also mentioned in the contexts, including the term Paradise. Eden also co-occurs with “تجري من تحتها الأنهار” which means “under which rivers flow” six times in six different contexts. These phrases are used to describe the heavens in general in many other locations in the Qur’anic text. Eden collocates twice with “مساكن طيبة” which means “pleasant dwellings”. Pleasant dwellings are only mentioned when accompanied with Eden in the Qur’an. The semantic reference of Eden in Arabic includes an element of dwelling and residence just as the phrase “مساكن طيبة” which are pleasant dwellings.

As Table 1 shows, there are other general descriptive terms which collocate with “Eden” in the Qur’an. It is described as “excellent” or “splendid” “نِعْمَ” in many locations, as in “نعم الثواب”, “نعم عقبى الدار”, “نعم دار المتقين”, which mean respectively “excellent reward”, “excellent final home”, and “excellent home of the pious”. Another synonym carrying the meaning of excellence is “حسن”, which could be rendered as “very good” or “excellent” as in “حسن مآب”, and “حسنت مرتفقا”, which means “a good final return” and “an excellent dwelling”. Other general descriptive terms are “الفوز العظيم”, “الفضل الكبير”,”دار المقامة”, and “الدرجات العلى”. These refer to “supreme success”, “a great grace”, “a home that will last forever” and “the high ranks”. The last phrase, which literally states the high ranks (of heaven,) is an indicator that Eden refers to specific heavens (with high ranks) within some larger ones. It is the only location in the Qur’an which states “the high ranks” in association with heaven.

In addition to the general description of the heavens of Eden, there are some specific qualities of those heavens which co-occurred with the phrase heavens of Eden in the Qur’an. There is a recurrent mentioning of “سلام” or peace. Angels will enter from every door saying “peace upon you”. Those doors are always open.

Table 2 and Table 3 represent the lexical associations which are extracted from the concordance list and are related to the second group, i.e., the inhabitants of Eden. As it is evident, it is the largest group of lexical associations found in the context of Eden. This group of lexical associations includes the inhabitants’ righteous deeds and their descriptions. Such a type of lexical association implies a cause-and-effect relationship between these righteous deeds (or characteristics) and the reward of entering the heavens of Eden. The righteous deeds of the inhabitants can be grouped into two categories, namely, general deeds and specific ones. General deeds are presented in Table 2 while specific ones are presented in Table 3.

As Table 2 shows, the most frequent description of the inhabitants which recurred with the reward of entering Eden focuses on their belief, e.g., (تؤمنون/آمنوا/المؤمنين). There are nine co-occurrences of the terms “believed” or “believer” on the one hand and Eden on the other. The word “believed” collocates six times with “did righteous deeds” (عملوا الصالحات) in contexts including Eden. It is worth mentioning that these terms co-occurred together in many other contexts in the Qur’an. Doing righteous deeds or acting righteously in this

Table 2. Lexical association related to the general deeds of the inhabitants of Eden.

Table 3. Lexical associations related to specific deeds and description of the inhabitants of Eden.

life is also expressed in other phrases carrying the same meaning as (أحسنوا في هذه الدنيا/أحسن عملا/ سابق للخيرات), which is rendered literally as “did good in this world”, “did his (righteous) deeds in the most perfect manner” and “being foremost in good deeds”. It seems that both belief and acting righteously are accordingly the most important conditions for being deserving of the heavens of Eden as a reward.

A similar general description of the residents of the heavens of Eden is being “pious” (المتقين). This term co-occurred four times in the context of Eden. It also occurred in many other locations in the Qur’an. The same applies to the word (تـابوا) (repent from their sins). It appeared three times as a description of the inhabitants of Eden, and occurs many other times in the Qur’an. A related term in meaning is “purify themselves” (تزكى), which occurred once in the context of Eden.

Other general deeds of the inhabitants of Eden include the act of fear (يخشون ربهم) “fear their Lord” which occurred twice in the context of Eden as well as “dread the terrible reckoning”(يخافون سوء الحساب) . The act of patience (صبروا) was also associated with Eden twice. The act of obedience was also mentioned with the reward of entering Eden “obey Allah and his Messenger” (يطيعون الله ورسوله). None of these terms were used exclusively in the context of Eden, but rather they occurred in many other contexts in the Qur’an.

Specific inhabitants’ deeds that recurred with the heavens of Eden include performing prayers regularly (يقيمون الصلاة), which was mentioned three times in the context of Eden. Similarly, paying money to the needy (annual Zakat and optional charity) is another specific deed which recurred twice with Eden (يؤتون الزكاة). Inhabitants of Eden also “fulfil the Covenant of Allah and never break an agreement or a covenant” (يوفون بعهد الله ولا ينقضون الميثاق). They “join that which Allâh has commanded to be joined” of family relations (يصلون ما أمر الله به أن يوصل) and “defend evil with good” (يدرؤون بالحسنة السيئة). Among their good deeds are that they “enjoin what is best (right) and forbid what is evil (wrong)” (يأمرون بالمعروف وينهون عن المنكر) and they “strive hard in the Cause of Allâh with their wealth and lives” (يجاهدون في سبيل الله بأموالهم وأنفسهم).

The act of entrance recurred four times in the context of Eden with reference to the residents’ reward which is entering the heavens of Eden (ادخلوا الجنة بما كنتم تعملون) where they will be granted all what they wish (لهم فيها ما يشاؤون) and where they will have their sustenance, morning and afternoon (ولهم رزقهم فيها بكرة وعشيا). They will say the will say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allâh” (الحمد لله) and will be “pleased” with Allah (رضوا عنه). There are general descriptive terms of the inhabitants of Eden as the “men of understanding” (أولوا الألباب) and “best of creatures” (خير البرية). Overall, these terms are used in other contexts in the Qur’an and are not specific to the context of Eden.

There are also details regarding the inhabitants’ ornaments and dress. Two occurrences state that they will wear bracelets of gold (يحلون فيها من أساور من ذهب) and pearls and their garments are mentioned twice to be of fine, thick silk (ولباسهم فيها حرير). They recline on raised thrones and are offered fruits and drinks in abundance. They are married to modest wives. Again, all of these descriptions are found in other contexts in the Qur’an describing inhabitants of the heavens in general.

It is worth noting that when compared to the contexts in which the term Paradise appears in the Qur’an, many parallel associations are found. Paradise is associated with many righteous deeds that are similar to those mentioned in the context of Eden, such as believing and doing righteous deeds, performing Salat (prayers), paying Zakat, fulfilling the covenant, etc.

The third group of lexical associations is related to the deeds and description of Allah (God). Table 4 represents these lexical associations.

Regarding the acts of God “Allah” which co-occurred with the reward of Eden, the most frequent lexical item was “promise” (وعد) which occurred four times. The heavens of Eden are the promise Allah made for his obedient creatures. The words “to reward” (يجزي) and “to give as inheritance” (نورث) are also used in the context with the same meaning. Inheritance is also used to describe Paradise in one of its contexts. The act of “mercy” (الرحمة), “forgiveness” (المغفرة), “being pleased” (رضوان), “appreciation” (شكور), and “provision” (رزق), as well as the state of being “all-mighty” (عزيز) and “all-wise” ( (حكيمall occurred in the context in which Eden was mentioned. A few other acts like “admit” believers into Gardens (يدخلكم جنات) and “lodge” them in homes that will last forever (أحلنا دار المقامة), “save” them from the torment of fire (قهم عذاب الجحيم) and “remove”

Table 4. Lexical associations related to the deed’s of Allah.

from them all grief (أذهب عنا الحزن) also co-occurred with Eden. The acts mentioned are also mentioned in other locations in the Qur’an and are not special to the context of Eden.

3b). Are these lexical association patterns unique to the context of Eden?

As the discussion above reveals, most of the collocations and lexical associations of Eden in the Qur’an are not special to its context. There are only two phrases which co-occurred with Eden and are special to its context. One is (الدرجات العلى) which literally states that the heavens of Eden are the highest ranks or levels (of heavens). The other one is (مساكن طيبة), which means “pleasant dwellings” and it shares with the meaning of Eden the semantic element of dwelling and residence. The other lexically associated terms were all searched in the concordance, and the results revealed that they were all used in other locations describing the heavens in general and in the two locations where Paradise was mentioned.

4. Discussion

The semantic analysis of Edens collocations revealed that it appeared 11 times in the Qur’anic text and always collocated with the word “heavens” forming the phrase “heavens of Eden” in an annexation structure. Unlike Paradise or heaven, Eden never occurred without “heavens”. This suggests that Eden is more likely a descriptive word accompanying heaven. Two other terms that frequently co- occurred with Eden are “under which rivers flow” and “residing eternally there”. These two phrases are used in many other contexts in the Qur’an to describe the heavens in general. Furthermore, Eden is frequently described as “excellent”, “splendid” and “very good” final reward. There are only two phrases which co- occurred with Eden and are special to its context. The first is (الدرجات العلى) which states that the heavens of Eden are the highest ranks or levels (of heavens). The other is (مساكن طيبة), which means “pleasant dwellings”. They are not considered as sufficient evidence to indicate that the term Eden is used in a way different from other terms referring to heaven in the Quran.

The lexical association patterns that appeared in the context of Eden can be divided into three groups. These are: lexical associations related to the description of Eden, description of its inhabitants and description of its grantor. The largest group of associations are those related to inhabitants’ descriptions and deeds. The cause-and-effect semantic relationship between specific righteous deeds and the reward of entering and living in Eden is also recurrent in the Qur’an with other terms referring to heaven such as Paradise. The righteous deeds are either general in their denotative meaning or specific to certain acts. The most frequent lexically associated act is to “believe and do righteous deeds”; it is associated with Eden around nine times in the Qur’an. The state of being “pious” and acts of “repentance, “patience”, and “purifying” oneself all recurred in the context of Eden. More specific righteous deeds that are associated with Eden are “performing prayers”, “paying money to the needy”, and “not breaking the covenant” among others. The lexical association patterns also include specific details describing the reward of Eden that awaits its inhabitants such as their ornaments and fine clothes.

The final group of lexical associations is that which is related to Allah (God) who grants this reward. The most frequent lexical item was “promise”, since the “heavens of Eden” are the promise Allah made for those who deserve them and the “inheritance” he shall grant them. The acts of “mercy”, “forgiveness”, “being pleased”, and “appreciation” were all lexically associated with, but not exclusive to, the linguistic context of Eden.

The use of aConCorde to extract the key words in context showed that it takes a full command of Arabic diacritics (short vowels, gemination, and nunnation). However, it does not consider them as components of a secondary sorting system. Rather, it appears that it considers diacritics as isolated letters and thus it correctly differentiates between (مِن) which means “from” and (مَن) which means “who”, but mistakenly differentiates between (جَنَّةً) and (جَنَّةٍ) which are the same word but with different structural case-marking ending diacritics. Moreover, the program considered the Arabic definite article (ال) as a basic component of the word. Thus, in alphabetical ordering, the words which contain the definite article precede others which do not. These findings indicate that the program needs some further developmental fine tuning concerning the type/token frequency results and the morphological stem analysis of Arabic. That is to say, it needs to be given rules regarding what diacritics change the complete word as in (جِنُّةُ) Jinn and (جَنَّةُ) Garden (phonemic/morphemic variance), and what other diacritics do not change the word as in (جَنَّةُ) Garden (nominative) and (جَنَّةَ) (accusative) (allophonic/allomorphic variance).

aConCorde suffers also from some display errors. For no apparent reason, the word (عَدْن) is split into two parts, (عَدْ) and (ن), which are presented vertically (as clear in Figure 2). However, this bifurcation is in a manner that does not affect the result and is completely a display problem. When other words were tried, the same result was acquired. Another display problem is the font size of the words displayed in the corpus and the results. The size, although legible, is very small.

5. Conclusion

The present study intended to analyze the linguistic context and the lexical associations of the word Eden in the Qur’an to reveal any specific patterns that are uniquely used in that context. It followed a corpus linguistics approach and searched through a Qur’an corpus electronically using the concordance software aConCorde. There were 11 occurrences of the word Eden in the Quran and in all occurrences it collocated with heavens in the plural form. It co-occurred with the phrases “under which rivers flow” and “residing eternally there” several times. The most frequent lexically associated act of its inhabitants is to “believe and do righteous deeds”. It is frequently described as the “promise” made by Allah for those who deserve it.

The results revealed that generally, no specific lexical associations and collocations that are uniquely and exclusively used in the context of Eden in the Qur’an are found. Most of the lexically associated terms are used in many other locations in the Qur’an describing heavens in general. This linguistic evidence supports the view that Eden in the Qur’an is most likely a general descriptive term, or name of all heavens rather than a specific group of them. Translating this term accurately can be done either by rendering the word with its equivalent meaning (such as gardens of eternity), or by using the term Eden, which designates all heavens rather than a specific group of them. The result of the linguistic analysis of the context of Eden supports both translation positions. Future studies which can analyze other linguistic aspects of the context of Eden, such as verb tenses or word choices, are recommended and can reveal significant findings about the use of Eden in the Qur’an. In addition, studies of wider scope that include investigating and comparing the lexical associations of all the terms which refer to heaven in the Qur’an are expected to reveal variation in use and to reach important conclusions.

The use of the Arabic-friendly concordance aConCorde was sufficient for the purposes of this study. It takes command of the Arabic language specific features very well. However, there are some aspects of the software which are in need of further developmental final tuning. The most important of these aspects is the need to develop a sophisticated Arabic morphological analysis system (possibly based on the root and pattern system of Arabic), to avoid misleading results in the frequency lists. The search for the stems of words in Arabic needs to be upgraded in a way that allows the program to differentiate between diacritic markers that mark morphemic variation as opposed to those which mark allomorphic variations. Similarly, sorting and alphabetical ordering of words need to disregard prefixes that are not part of the original stem, such as the definite article and the attached coordination markers. In addition, the software needs to overcome its display limitations. Among these is the size of letters in the concordance output which needs to be either easily manipulated or enlarged. It is recommended that the developers of the software take these points into consideration to enhance its performance.

Appendix I

Here is the English translation of those verses. These are taken from the English translation of the Qur’an by Hilali-Khan (2021).

1) At-Tawbah (The repentance):

71. The believers, men and women, are Auliyâ’ (helpers, supporters, friends, protectors) of one another; they enjoin (on the people) Al-Ma‘rûf (i.e. Islâmic Monotheism and all that Islâm orders one to do), and forbid (people) from Al-Munkar (i.e. polytheism and disbelief of all kinds, and all that Islâm has forbidden); they perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and give the Zakât, and obey Allâh and His Messenger. Allâh will have His Mercy on them. Surely Allâh is All-Mighty, All-Wise. 72. Allâh has promised the believers—men and women, Gardens under which rivers flow to dwell therein forever, and beautiful mansions in Gardens of ‘Adn (Eden Paradise). But the greatest bliss is the Good Pleasure of Allâh. That is the supreme success.

2) Ar-Ra‘d (The thunder):

19. Shall he then who knows that what has been revealed unto you (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم) from your Lord is the truth be like him who is blind? But it is only the men of understanding that pay heed. 20. Those who fulfil the Covenant of Allâh and break not the Mîthâq (bond, treaty, covenant). 21. And those who join that which Allâh has commanded to be joined (i.e. they are good to their relatives and do not sever the bond of kinship), and fear their Lord, and dread the terrible reckoning (i.e. abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allâh has forbidden and perform all kinds of good deeds which Allâh has ordained). 22. And those who remain patient, seeking their Lord’s Countenance, perform As-Salât (Iqâmat-as-Salât), and spend out of that which We have bestowed on them, secretly and openly, and defend evil with good, for such there is a good end. 23. ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens), which they shall enter and (also) those who acted righteously from among their fathers, and their wives, and their offspring. And angels shall enter unto them from every gate (saying): 24. “Salâmun ‘Alaikum (peace be upon you) for you persevered in patience! Excellent indeed is the final home!”. 25. And those who break the Covenant of Allâh, after its ratification, and sever that which Allâh has commanded to be joined (i.e. they sever the bond of kinship and are not good to their relatives), and work mischief in the land, on them is the curse (i.e. they will be far away from Allâh’s Mercy), and for them is the unhappy (evil) home (i.e. Hell) [1].

3) An-Nahl (the bees)

30. And (when) it is said to those who are the Muttaqûn (the pious—see V.2:2) “What is it that your Lord has sent down?” They say: “That which is good.” For those who do good in this world, there is good, and the home of the Hereafter will be better. And excellent indeed will be the home (i.e. Paradise) of the Muttaqûn (the pious—see V.2:2). 31. ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (Gardens of Eternity) which they will enter, under which rivers flow, they will have therein all that they wish. Thus Allâh rewards the Muttaqûn (the pious—see V.2:2). 32. Those whose lives the angels take while they are in a pious state (i.e. pure from all evil, and worshipping none but Allâh Alone) saying (to them): Salâmun “Alaikum (peace be on you) enter you Paradise, because of that (the good) which you used to do (in the world).”

4) Al-Kahf (The cave)

30. Verily as for those who believed and did righteous deeds, certainly We shall not make the reward of anyone who does his (righteous) deeds in the most perfect manner to be lost. 31. These! For them will be ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens); wherein rivers flow underneath them; therein they will be adorned with bracelets of gold, and they will wear green garments of fine and thick silk. They will recline therein on raised thrones. How good is the reward, and what an excellent Murtafaq (dwelling, resting place.)!

5) Maryam (Mary)

60. Except those who repent and believe (in the Oneness of Allâh and His Messenger Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم), and work righteousness. [3] Such will enter Paradise and they will not be wronged in aught. 61. (They will enter) ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens), which the Most Gracious (Allâh) has promised to His slaves in the Unseen: Verily His Promise must come to pass. 62. They shall not hear therein (in Paradise) any Laghw (dirty, false, evil vain talk), but only Salâm (salutations of peace). And they will have therein their sustenance, morning and afternoon. 63. Such is the Paradise which We shall give as an inheritance to those of Our slaves who have been Al-Muttaqûn (the pious—see V.2:2).

6) Taha

75. But whoever comes to Him (Allâh) as a believer (in the Oneness of Allâh), and has done righteous good deeds, for such are the high ranks (in the Hereafter), 76. ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens), under which rivers flow, wherein they will abide forever: such is the reward of those who purify themselves (by abstaining from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which Allâh has forbidden and by doing all that Allâh has ordained).

7) Fater (The Originator)

32. Then We gave the Book (the Qur’ân) as inheritance to such of Our slaves whom We chose (the followers of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم). Then of them are some who wrong their ownselves, and of them are some who follow a middle course, and of them are some who are, by Allâh’s Leave, foremost in good deeds. That (inheritance of the Qur’ân) that is indeed a great grace. 33. ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens) will they enter, therein will they be adorned with bracelets of gold and pearls, and their garments therein will be of silk. 34. And they will say: “All the praises and thanks be to Allâh Who has removed from us (all) grief. Verily, our Lord is indeed Oft-Forgiving, Most Ready to appreciate (good deeds and to recompense). 35. Who, out of His Grace, has lodged us in a home that will last forever, where toil will touch us not nor weariness will touch us.”

8) Saad

45. And remember Our slaves, Ibrâhîm (Abraham), Ishâq (Isaac), and Ya‘qûb (Jacob), (all) owners of strength (in worshipping Us) and (also) of religious understanding. 46. Verily, We did choose them by granting them (a good thing, i.e.) the remembrance of the Home [in the Hereafter and they used to make the people remember it, and also they used to invite the people to obey Allâh and to do good deeds for the Hereafter]. 47. And they are with Us, verily, of the chosen and the best! 48. And remember Ismâ‘îl (Ishmael), Alyasa‘ (Elisha), and Dhul-Kifl (Isaiah), all are among the best. 49. This is a Reminder. And verily, for the Muttaqûn (the pious—see V.2:2) is a good final return (Paradise), 50. ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens), whose doors will be opened for them. 51. Therein they will recline; therein they will call for fruits in abundance and drinks; 52. And beside them will be Qâsirât-at-Tarf [chaste females (wives) restraining their glances (desiring none except their husbands)], (and) of equal ages. 53. This it is what you (Al-Muttaqûn—the pious—see V.2:2) are promised for the Day of Reckoning! 54. (It will be said to them)! Verily, this is Our Provision which will never finish.

9) Ghāfir (The Forgiver)

7. Those (angels) who bear the Throne (of Allâh) and those around it glorify the praises of their Lord, and believe in Him, and ask forgiveness for those who believe (in the Oneness of Allâh) (saying): “Our Lord! You comprehend all things in mercy and knowledge, so forgive those who repent and follow Your Way, and save them from the torment of the blazing Fire! 8.” Our Lord! And make them enter the ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (everlasting Gardens) which you have promised them and to the righteous among their fathers, their wives, and their offspring! Verily, You are the All-Mighty, the All-Wise.

10) As-Saff (The Row)

O you who believe! Shall I guide you to a trade that will save you from a painful torment? That you believe in Allâh and His Messenger (Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) and that you strive hard and fight in the Cause of Allâh with your wealth and your lives: that will be better for you, if you but know! 12. (If you do so) He will forgive you your sins, and admit you into Gardens under which rivers flow, and pleasant dwellings in ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise; that is indeed the great success. 13. And also (He will give you) another (blessing) which you love, help from Allâh (against your enemies) and a near victory. And give glad tidings (O Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) to the believers.

11) Al-Bayyinah (The Clear Evidence) 7. Verily, those who believe [in the Oneness of Allâh, and in His Messenger Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم) including all obligations ordered by Islâm] and do righteous good deeds, they are the best of creatures. Their reward with their Lord is ‘Adn (Eden) Paradise (Gardens of Eternity), underneath which rivers flow. They will abide therein forever, Allâh will be pleased with them, and they with Him. That is for him who fears his Lord.

Cite this paper: Almanea, M. (2021) Lexical Associations of the Word Eden in the Qur’an: A Corpus Linguistics Approach. Open Journal of Modern Linguistics, 11, 593-612. doi: 10.4236/ojml.2021.114045.

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