Ontology of Quranic Concepts

The Quranic Ontology uses knowledge representation to define the key concepts in the Quran, and shows the relationships between these concepts using predicate logic. The fundamental concepts in the ontology are based on the knowledge contained in traditional sources of Quranic analysis, including the hadīth of the prophet muhammad , and the tafsīr (Quranic exegesis) of ibn kathīr. Named entities in verses, such as the names of historic people and places mentioned in the Quran, are linked to concepts in the ontology as part of named entity tagging. The diagram below shows a visual representation of the ontology. The graph is a network of 300 linked concepts with 350 relations.

Fig 1. The Quranic Ontology. Each node in the graph represents a unique concept in the Quran.

As well as listing the major concepts in the Quran, the ontology also defines a set of semantic relations between these concepts. The most important relation is the set membership relation “instance” in which one concept is defined to be an instance or individual member of another group. For example the relation “Satan is a jinn” in the ontology would represent the knowledge contained in the Quran that the individual known as Satan belongs to the set of sentient creations named the jinn. Other concepts in the ontology and grouped into logical categories, according to the properties that they share. For example, the Sun, Earth and Moon are classified under “Astronomical Body“:

Afterlife Event Event Astronomical Body Christianity Religion Cloud Weather Phenomena Constellation Day of Resurrection Earth Islam Judaism Ladder Lightning Moon Noah's Ark Star Sirius Sun Thunder Historic Event

Fig 2. A closer look at the ontology, showing the semantic relations between concepts.

Pronoun Resolution

In the Quranic Arabic Corpus, morphological word segments are linked to concepts in the ontology in order to resolve pronouns. An example can be found in the first verse at the start of chapter 97:

Sahih InternationalIndeed, We sent the Qur’an down during the Night of Decree.

Although the translation correctly reads “We sent down the Quran”, the original Arabic text uses pronouns and does not explicitly mention the Quran in this verse. A more literal translation would be “We sent it down”. Through traditional Quranic exegesis (tafsīr ibn kathīr) we know that this verse refers to Allah revealing the Quran during the Night of Decree.

Translation Arabic word Syntax and morphology
(97:1:1)
innā
Indeed, We

ACC – accusative particle
PRON – 1st person plural object pronoun → Allah

حرف نصب و«نا» ضمير متصل في محل نصب اسم «ان»
(97:1:2)
anzalnāhu
revealed it

V – 1st person plural (form IV) perfect verb
PRON – subject pronoun → Allah
PRON – 3rd person masculine singular object pronoun → Quran

فعل ماض و«نا» ضمير متصل في محل رفع فاعل والهاء ضمير متصل في محل نصب مفعول به