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Shadow is not an Object

Shadow is not an object, but the shadow is produced by the object, and shadow contains information that can be used to study the object.

Actually, there are four ways of researching the object or idea: (1) shadow, contour, outline, (2) photo, diagram, map, (3) video, hologram, CAT scan, (4) 3D-model, globe, and mannequin. Each of them contains more or less information about the object, but they are not replacements for the object.
For example, the shadow, outline, and contour of a tree do not contain information about the color, smell, sound, taste, surface, past, present, and future of a tree. Shadow, outline, and contour do not capture the information about the birth, growth, and death of a tree. Shadow, outline, and contour contain a minimum of information about the tree: monochromatic and one- dimensional information about the tree. In my understanding, Quran is like a tree, and the translation of the Quran is like a shadow, outline, and contour of a tree.[i]


Photos, diagrams, and maps contain more information about the tree: more colors in a two-dimensional representation. Diagrams and maps necessarily present less information than photos because their goal is concentration and emphasis by simplification and omission of some characteristics and details. According to Taleb, good maps do not have a lot of features: “the key to good mapmaking is precisely the info you choose to leave out.” [ii] Similarly, good diagrams
must be simple. In the case of the Quran, interpretation of meaning is like a photo and diagram of the tree.[iii] [iv]

A computed axial tomography scan (CAT scan) is a three-dimensional combination of two-dimensional images that contain information about the internal structure of the object. Video is a collection of two-dimensional images that contain temporal information about the birth, growth, and death of a tree. A hologram is a two-dimensional structure that contains information about the three-dimensional properties of the object. CAT scan, video, and hologram contain much more information about the object than photos and shadows. In the case of the Quran, exegesis (tafsir) is like CAT scan, video, and hologram because they provide information about the internal structure, historical context, timeline development and adaptations, perspectives from various vantage points.[v] [vi]

Finally, there are three-dimensional models, replicas, mannequins, small-scale copies, wax sculptures, etc. They contain the highest possible information about the object. For example, the globe model of the planet Earth contains information about shape, terrain, water reserves, the height of mountains, depth of oceans, political boundaries, etc. Mannequins and wax sculptures contain information about the person in deeper and wider ways than photos and paintings. In the case of the Quran, hadith[vii] are like 3D models and replicas that help to understand (Nursi, Fourteenth Word).[viii] For example, due to limitations of the size of the human body and brain, some humans have difficulty understanding that the shape of the planet Earth can be approximated as ellipsoid, and some people think that Earth is flat. That is why the globe model of Earth is useful and necessary.


Shadows, photos, videos, models do not replace objects. Similarly, translations, interpretations, exegesis, and hadith do not replace Quran. As Nursi wrote in Gleams: “Hadiths Say to The Qur’an’s Verses: It’s Impossible to Reach You!” [ix]

Shadows, photos, videos, models are used to study the object. For example, most people never will visit Big Hadron Collider in CERN. However, they can study outlines, photos, videos, and models of colliders and get meaning from them. Most people will never see, smell, and touch the living, bleeding, and beating human heart because they are not surgeons. However, they can study pictures, diagrams, photos, videos, CAT scans, MRI scans, plastic models of the heart and get knowledge about the heart. Most people will never go to Moon or the 15th century. However, they can use different sources of information about the Moon, and they can visit museums that have exhibitions about the 15th century.
In the same way, translations, interpretations, books of exegesis, and hadith are used to study Quran, and they are tools (not goals) and instruments that help people to understand, comprehend, compare, and contrast various aspects and different dimensions of the Quran.

Translations, interpretations, books of exegesis, and hadith do have value and place in the study of the Quran. They are like “scaffolding” in the educational theory of constructivism, and they help to build knowledge.[x]

Translation of the Quran is not equal to Quran. Interpretation of Quran is not equal to Quran. Exegesis of Quran is not equal to Quran. Hadith is not equal to Quran. Why? Because shadows, photos, videos, models of the tree do not capture and convey all visual, auditory, olfactory, tactile, gustatory, temporal, spatial stimuli that the tree provides, and they do not reflect the dynamic and organic essence of the tree, and they do not show all photochemical processes and reactions in the tree, and they do not express intricacies of the cellular structure of the tree, and they do not explain connections of the tree to flora, fauna, and climate, etc. That is why translations, interpretations, exegesis, and hadith cannot replace Quran. However, they present necessary and temporary simplifications and omissions for the differentiation of instruction.[xi]

For example, number theory is not taught to first-graders in elementary school, but simple and basic arithmetic is taught to them. Similarly, translations, interpretations, exegesis, and hadith comprise the system of understanding the Quran, from simple to complex.

Shadow is not the object. However, the shadow is proof of the existence of the object, and shadow is the source of information about the object (13:15).[xii]

Shadow is the offspring of the marriage of object and light; therefore, the shadow is the proof of the existence of both light, object, and observer. Those who want light and real objects should use shadows as the first steps of the quest for reality, and shadows should not be goals and destinations by themselves (Plato’s Cave).[xiii]

I chose, and I am choosing, light and real objects, not shadows.

2:111 … Say: “Produce your proof if you are truthful!” [xiv]

25:30. And the Messenger says: “My Lord! Surely my people have made this Qur’an something worthy of no attention.” [xv] [xvi]

-İman isteyen münafık


[i] Wikipedia, “Quran Translations,” in Wikipedia, May 27, 2021,

[ii] Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder, 1st ed (New York:
Random House, 2012).

[iii] Ali Ünal, The Qur’an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English, n.d.,
www.mquran.org www.theholybook.org.

[iv] Wikipedia, “Interpretation (Logic),” in Wikipedia, April 28, 2021,

[v] Wikipedia, “Exegesis,” in Wikipedia, January 10, 2021,

[vi] Wikipedia, “Tafsir,” in Wikipedia, April 29, 2021,

[vii] Wikipedia, “Hadith,” in Wikipedia, June 9, 2021,

[viii] Said Bediuzzaman Nursi, The Words: On the Nature and Purposes of Man, Life, and All
Things, trans. Şükran Vahide, vol. 1, Risale-i Nur Collection, 2008, http://www.sozler.com.tr.
[ix] Nursi.

[x] Alan Pritchard and John Woollard, Psychology for the Classroom: Constructivism and Social
Learning, Psychology for the Classroom Series (London ; New York: Routledge, 2010).

[xi] Carol Ann Tomlinson, The Differentiated Classroom : Responding to the Needs of All
Learners (Alexandria, UNITED STATES: Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development, 2014).

[xii] Ünal, The Qur’an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English.

[xiii] Wikipedia, “Allegory of the Cave,” in Wikipedia, May 26, 2021,

[xiv] Ünal, The Qur’an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English.

[xv] Ünal.

[xvi] hypocritewhowa1 hypocritewhowa1, Newspaper or Quran? (Turkish Language), 2021,


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