1. Introduction
  2. Quick Tutorial
  3. Viewing
  4. Searching
  5. Printing or Saving
  6. Exiting


The Alim is one of LETRS's two major Islamic resources; the other one is the Islamic Computing Centre (ICC) databases. The Alim provides a DOS interface for al-Qur'an (in Arabic, in transliteration, Yusuf Ali translation and commentary, Pickthall translation); al-Hadith and Fiqh us-Sunnah, or Islamic Law texts (in English translation); Islamic Terms Dictionary; al-Qur'an concordances; and other texts. In comparison, the Islamic Computing Centre databases include the texts of al-Qur'an, al-Hadith, and Fiqh us-Sunnah in English translation only (accessed through the Idealist database program for Windows). Both databases allow parallel display, searching, saving and printing of the texts.

The main differences between the databases are as follows: 1) The Alim contains more text collections, including al-Qur'an in Arabic; 2) the ICC's collection of hadith (the Prophet's sayings) is much larger than The Alim's; 3) the ICC interface (Idealist) completes searches faster than The Alim; 4) the advanced search options are quite different, with Idealist having a better capacity for proximity and word group searches, and The Alim offering more regular expressions for word form and word variant searches; 5) Idealist allows more flexibility in saving and printing.

The interface of the ICC databases seems equally suitable for both basic and advanced searching, whereas The Alim appears useful mainly for advanced research, especially involving multiple databases or the Arabic version of al-Qur'an.

For more information on the databases, see manuals available at LETRS.

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Quick Tutorial.

To access The Alim, select first ELECTRONIC TEXTS, then ALIM ISLAMIC TEXTS from the DOS menu of any PC at LETRS.

Suppose you wish to find every place in the Quran where Archangel Gabriel is mentioned, and compare the text of the Yusuf Ali translation with other translations and the original. Choose SELECTED DATABASES from the SEARCH menu. Select the Yusuf Ali translation, then click ADD and DONE. In the SEARCH window that appears, type in Gabriel, and click OK.

When the first reference is found, go to the DISPLAY menu (you don't have to wait until the search is finished). Choose, one by one, the Quran versions that you want to compare with the Yusuf Ali version (e.g., the Arabic Quran and the transliteration). Next, double click on the first reference in the SEARCH RESULTS window. The corresponding text (surah and ayah) will be loaded in a different version in each window.

To print the results, close the SEARCH RESULTS window (by clicking in the left upper corner) and click YES when a dialog box appears. Then select FILE, NEW, and select PASTE from the EDIT menu. If you want to print only the references from the Yusuf Ali translation, select PRINT at this point, adjust the options (i.e., select ALL OBJECTS and PRINT BOOKMARK CONTENTS), and click OK.

You can print some text from other versions as well (except for the Arabic Quran). To do that, first click on the place in your study file (i.e., the file with the search results) where you want this text to go, then click on the text itself. Next, select BROWSE, ADD BOOKMARK, click OK in the dialog window, and select EDIT, PASTE. The reference will appear in the study file. Repeat this for every ayah you want to print. When you are done, select PRINT and click OK.

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To get online help, select HELP, CONTENTS. Use the right mouse button at any point for useful shortcuts (to bring up a list of texts if you have just started; the Arabic keyboard if you are at the search stage; and so on).

To choose a text for viewing, use the DISPLAY menu.

To switch between sections, use the BROWSE menu.

To go to a particular section (i.e., surah, paragraph, etc.), select BROWSE, GO TO..., type in the section number (e.g., 8.1), and press <Enter>. Or, you can type in the section name or its final element preceded by an asterisk, in double quotes (e.g., "*Anfal"). This search doesn't recognize hyphens, so look for "*Anfal", and not "Al-Anfal". This search is case sensitive, so be sure to capitalize the proper letters.

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To search a text or texts, select SEARCH, SELECTED DATABASES, and choose the texts you want to search (by clicking first on the name of the text, and then on the ADD button); when you are finished, click on the DONE button. (This search option is the only one that allows you to save your results conveniently; see the Alim manual for other options). Now type your word or phrase in the dialog box, and press <Enter>. The search will match parts of words as well as whole words; thus, a search for man will find man, woman, and manly. If you want the search to match the whole word only, enclose it in square brackets [ ]. Once a search is completed, you will see a list of references. To go to the full text of a reference, double click on it. This type of search cannot be interrupted, but you can display texts and use other functions while the search is running.

To search the current section of the text (surah, hadith, etc.) for the word under the cursor, select SEARCH, FIND WORD AT CURSOR.

To search for patterns of text, use ? to match a single character and * to match any number of characters (e.g., m?n* matches men, manly, etc.)

To search for word combinations, use and and or. [God] and [Allah]

will find paragraphs where both words occur, [God] or [Allah] will find paragraphs where at least one of them occurs.

To search the Arabic Quran, select SEARCH, SELECTED DATABASES, HOLY QURAN. To switch between English and Arabic input, use the <Scroll Lock> key. To see the Arabic keyboard, press <Ctrl-K> or the right mouse button when you are in the SEARCH window. You can click on the letters with the mouse to insert them in the SEARCH window.

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Printing and Saving.

To print all search results, close the SEARCH RESULTS window (by clicking in the left upper corner) and click YES when a dialog box appears. Then select FILE, NEW, and select PASTE from the EDIT menu. You can delete some of the references at this point by clicking on the reference line and selecting DELETE from the EDIT menu. Now, select FILE, PRINT, and click on the ALL OBJECTS button. To print the references only, click OK. To print the full text of the references, first select WRAP TEXT AT MARGIN and PRINT BOOKMARK CONTENTS, and then click OK.

To save all search results, first choose PAGE SETUP from the FILE menu, select FILE as the printer port, and type in a filename; then do the printing procedure described above.

To print the text in the current window, select FILE, PRINT, adjust the options, and click OK.

To save the text in the current window, first choose PAGE SETUP from the FILE menu, select FILE as the printer port, and type in a filename; then do the printing procedure. You can also use the EXPORT option from the FILE menu.

Unfortunately, the Arabic Quran does not allow printing or saving.

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To exit the program, click on FILE in the menu bar and choose EXIT.

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Last Updated: 09/17/96
Comments: Library Electronic Text Resource Service /
Indiana University