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English translations of Qur’an

Printed From: IslamiCity.com
Category: Religion - Islam
Forum Name: Quran & Sunnah
Forum Discription: Understanding Quranic ayat and Sunnah
URL: http://www.IslamiCity.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=336
Printed Date: 25 October 2014 at 2:13pm


Topic: English translations of Qur’an
Posted By: ummziba
Subject: English translations of Qur’an
Date Posted: 31 March 2005 at 5:14am

I see that Yusuf mentions in another place that the Yusuf Ali translation of the Qur'an has been found to have a few errors or at least not so correct passages in it.

I was wondering which english translation of the meaning of the Qur'an do the forum members recommend?  I have already read translations by the following:

Arthur J. Arberrry, N.J.Dawood (not very good), Hashim Amir-Ali, Rashad Khalifa (this guy is obsessed with numerology!), Muhammad Asad, Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali & Muhammad Muhsin Khan (extremely anti-Jewish), and Abdulla Yusuf Ali.

I like Muhammad Asad's translation and commentary, they are easy to understand.

Anyway, there are so many translations out there.  Any suggestions on which are perhaps more accurate than others?

Peace, ummziba.



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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~



Replies:
Posted By: blond
Date Posted: 31 March 2005 at 7:20am
Originally posted by ummziba

Anyway, there are so many translations out there.  Any suggestions on which are perhaps more accurate than others?

I have practiced some disciplines that have opened up worlds of deeper consciousness to me. I cannot tell you by words. It can only be experienced through hard trials.

The Holy Quran says there are sign in the Heavens and the Earth for those who mind. Whole societies revolve around "Signs and Symbols" The deeper esoteric meanings are kept secret and require a strong oath of one's life before they are given. Some people use the deeper aspects of signs and symbols to become great in the land. Others use them to free the oppressed.

Various "translations" are attempts to help others see what Allah has placed before us to nurture our development towards our highest self. Sometimes, there are the "wickly wise", who seek to lead men astray by publishing their own "interpretations" of Allah's revelations. I have learned that there are signs and symbols which manifest inside of us as well. Learning to read the Quran can teach you how to read signs in Nature, internally and externally. When you are able to do that, you can learn to master the self.



Posted By: ummziba
Date Posted: 31 March 2005 at 7:57am

Yes, I have been working at learning Arabic.  However, it is a very difficult task for me as I have a short term memory problem.  So, all the things I learned yesterday are pretty much gone today, and so it goes...

So, I would like to know what is or are the best of the english translations.  Thank you.

Peace, ummziba.



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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~


Posted By: Angel
Date Posted: 31 March 2005 at 6:51pm

Originally posted by blond

Learning to read the Quran can teach you how to read signs in Nature, internally and externally. When you are able to do that, you can learn to master the self.

The qu'ran is not the only way



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~ Our feet are earthbound, but our hearts and our minds have wings ~


Posted By: Yusuf.
Date Posted: 31 March 2005 at 9:31pm

Assalamu alaikum,

I have not had a chance to read it but many are saying that this new translation is the most accurate to date:

http://www.masud.co.uk/shopping/cleary_quran.htm - http://www.masud.co.uk/shopping/cleary_quran.htm



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Yusuf


Posted By: nadir
Date Posted: 01 April 2005 at 3:27pm
Originally posted by blond

Originally posted by ummziba

Anyway, there are so many translations out there.  Any suggestions on which are perhaps more accurate than others?

I have practiced some disciplines that have opened up worlds of deeper consciousness to me. I cannot tell you by words. It can only be experienced through hard trials.

The Holy Quran says there are sign in the Heavens and the Earth for those who mind. Whole societies revolve around "Signs and Symbols" The deeper esoteric meanings are kept secret and require a strong oath of one's life before they are given. Some people use the deeper aspects of signs and symbols to become great in the land. Others use them to free the oppressed.

Various "translations" are attempts to help others see what Allah has placed before us to nurture our development towards our highest self. Sometimes, there are the "wickly wise", who seek to lead men astray by publishing their own "interpretations" of Allah's revelations. I have learned that there are signs and symbols which manifest inside of us as well. Learning to read the Quran can teach you how to read signs in Nature, internally and externally. When you are able to do that, you can learn to master the self.

 

Assalaamu Alaikum

 

 

 

Subhna Allah! I here what you are saying blond, Al-Hamdulilah

 

You are right brother, I have also learned a lot of knowledge through ‘hard trials’, knowledge that is impossible for someone living in a life of luxury to be able to attain (not that ‘they’ would see it that way).

 

You mention mastering the self, I can relate to what you say, I found that to master myself truly (ie not just my own desires), I had to in fact master the society I lived in, & as I mentioned in one of the other posts, this meant that I stumbled across the ability to ‘work sorcery’.

 

I was wondering brother, did you study any religion before you reverted to Islam, or were your blessings purely attained through trial?   

 

Wasalaam

 

nadir 

 

 



Posted By: rami
Date Posted: 02 April 2005 at 2:10am
Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

assalamu alaikum

"Those who strive hard in Us, We shall most surely guide them in our Ways" (29:69)

there is also a hadith which says Allah surrounds all things with knowledge.


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Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.


Posted By: Suleyman
Date Posted: 02 April 2005 at 4:31am
Originally posted by Angel

Originally posted by blond

Learning to read the Quran can teach you how to read signs in Nature, internally and externally. When you are able to do that, you can learn to master the self.

The qu'ran is not the only way

 You are right it is not the only way;also Allah says in Qur'an.The problem is that it is the way goes to His Consent;the way should be;the way has worth;the way makes happy and it is the way of objectivity inside the person's views...take care Surah Al Fatiha:

001.001
YUSUFALI: In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

001.002
YUSUFALI: Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;

001.003
YUSUFALI: Most Gracious, Most Merciful;

001.004
YUSUFALI: Master of the Day of Judgment.

001.005
YUSUFALI: Thee do we worship, and Thine aid we seek.

001.006
YUSUFALI: Show us the straight way,

001.007
YUSUFALI: The way of those on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy Grace, those whose (portion) is not wrath, and who go not astray.



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Posted By: DavidC
Date Posted: 03 April 2005 at 5:57am
My favorite is a PALM copy of the Yusuf Ali translation. The PALM limits
reading to a few verses, which I find better for meditation.

DavidC


Posted By: naveed
Date Posted: 04 April 2005 at 12:03pm

I would recommend the "Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali & Muhammad Muhsin Khan translation". As you probably know, a translation is only someone's understanding of the meaning. And something I recently learnt is that a translation also is limited by time, in the sense that something translation today, will not make too much sense, say a hundred years from now.

Like you, I don't know Arabic and I need to learn. I really wish there were some good free online Arabic teaching sites.



Posted By: Mustafaa
Date Posted: 07 April 2005 at 4:43am
Originally posted by Yusuf.

Assalamu alaikum,

I have not had a chance to read it but many are saying that this new translation is the most accurate to date:

http://www.masud.co.uk/shopping/cleary_quran.htm - http://www.masud.co.uk/shopping/cleary_quran.htm

Wa alaykum as-salaam, brother,

Is Thomas Cleary Muslim? If the translation is good, then there's not much problem. But in my opinion, there's always a bit of difference between translations by Muslims and non-Muslims; I am in favour of Muslim translators.

By the way, I am Mustafa Ugur (Ibn Salim). How are you, brother?



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There is no deity but Allah. Muhammad is the (last) Messenger of Allah.


Posted By: blond
Date Posted: 08 April 2005 at 5:38am
Originally posted by Mustafaa

Originally posted by Yusuf.

Assalamu alaikum,

I have not had a chance to read it but many are saying that this new translation is the most accurate to date:

http://www.masud.co.uk/shopping/cleary_quran.htm - http://www.masud.co.uk/shopping/cleary_quran.htm

Wa alaykum as-salaam, brother,

Is Thomas Cleary Muslim? If the translation is good, then there's not much problem. But in my opinion, there's always a bit of difference between translations by Muslims and non-Muslims; I am in favour of Muslim translators.

By the way, I am Mustafa Ugur (Ibn Salim). How are you, brother?

Mustafa,

I agree with you.

Western translators, even the earlier ones who claimed to be Moslem, altered the meanings drastically in their translations. Some removed the numbering of Ayats.

I believe it is best to learn to read Quran and get away from Tafsir.



Posted By: ummziba
Date Posted: 08 April 2005 at 5:48am

Yes, of course it is BETTER to learn to read the Qur'an in the original Arabic.  But where does that leave those of us with "defective brains" who have far too hard a time learning it?  Are we just left out?  Surely there must be some translation of the meaning that comes at least close to the original.  Really, only those who can read and understand Arabic and English can answer this question.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, but I am still left wondering my original question: which english translation is considered good?

Peace, ummziba.



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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~


Posted By: blond
Date Posted: 08 April 2005 at 6:22am
Originally posted by ummziba

Yes, of course it is BETTER to learn to read the Qur'an in the original Arabic.  But where does that leave those of us with "defective brains" who have far too hard a time learning it?  Are we just left out?  Surely there must be some translation of the meaning that comes at least close to the original.  Really, only those who can read and understand Arabic and English can answer this question.

Thanks for all the suggestions so far, but I am still left wondering my original question: which english translation is considered good?

Peace, ummziba.

You are not defective.

I have not seen a real push to help people learn the Arabic language, as much as the Arab culture.

I began by studying several Tafsir simultaneously, along with several dictionaries; both Arabic and English.

Then, I started learning the Arabic characters.

Then, I learned to put them together.

Then, I studied several courses on the Arabic language.

Then, I studied a course on the Quran.

Now I read it daily in the Arabic and it is far different than just relying on tafsir.

Thank you.



Posted By: ummziba
Date Posted: 09 April 2005 at 5:22am

I am happy for you Blond, that you were able to learn Arabic.  I have studied for years, with a real Arab teacher.  I have a disease that affects my memory.  I'm not lazy or looking for excuses.  I do have a defective brain.  It would be good to know that the english I am reading is at least close to the word of Allah.

Still, I will plug away, Allah willing, I will at least be blessed for trying.

Peace, ummziba.



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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~


Posted By: Nausheen
Date Posted: 09 April 2005 at 9:09am

Auzubillahi minash shaitan ir rajeem,

Bismillah ir rahman ir rahim,

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah

Originally posted by ummziba

Still, I will plug away, Allah willing, I will at least be blessed for trying.

Insha allah sister, it is said in a hadith that one who has a difficulty in reading is rewarded twice as much as one who can read with ease

Rewards are with intentions,  so keep trying, He will make it easy for you insha allah.

I am sorry to learn about your situation. If it is hard for you, stay with the translations. There is a great deal of understanding in these as well. In which case it would be good to follow the tafsir too.

There are some good tafsir translations also available.

May allah help you and reward you for all your intentions and efforts.

Maa salaama,

Nausheen



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Wanu nazzilu minal Qurani ma huwa
Shafaa un wa rahmatun lil mo'mineena
wa la yaziduzzalimeena illa khasara.


Posted By: Yusuf.
Date Posted: 09 April 2005 at 10:07am

Assalamu alaikum,

As far as I know Cleary is not a Muslim, but many Islamic sites I trust have unanimously stated that this translation is the most accurate representation of the original text yet produced. Cleary is an Arabic and Islamic scholar who is widely respected in the Muslim world for his work with Classical Arabic texts. From what little I have read of this translation, I agree that he devoted all his knowledge to producing a clear and accurate English translation.

Akhi Mustafa, so good to hear from you. My life has become very difficult of late, and I am facing perhaps the greatest crisis in my earthly life at the moment. Please offer du'a that I have the strength to endure this time Insha'Allah.



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Yusuf


Posted By: Knowledge01
Date Posted: 09 April 2005 at 7:00pm

I have been reading from Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan's translation with the added commentary and have found it is one of the best when compared to others.  I have also compared it to Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation and have found it's very similiar.  I have heard most muslims, especially Imaams say they prefer Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation over all.

I also read somewhere that Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan's translation is highly used by and considered biased by the shia sect.  I was wondering if anybody could comment on that??



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Posted By: naveed
Date Posted: 09 April 2005 at 7:59pm
Hilali/Muhsin Khan's translation is based on Abdullah Yusuf Ali's. It was written to correct the errors in the Yusuf Ali translation. There is a book documenting most of these errors. I think it was simply called something like "Errors in Yusuf Ali's translation of the Quran".


Posted By: Mustafaa
Date Posted: 10 April 2005 at 3:29am
Originally posted by Yusuf.

Assalamu alaikum,

As far as I know Cleary is not a Muslim, but many Islamic sites I trust have unanimously stated that this translation is the most accurate representation of the original text yet produced. Cleary is an Arabic and Islamic scholar who is widely respected in the Muslim world for his work with Classical Arabic texts. From what little I have read of this translation, I agree that he devoted all his knowledge to producing a clear and accurate English translation.

Akhi Mustafa, so good to hear from you. My life has become very difficult of late, and I am facing perhaps the greatest crisis in my earthly life at the moment. Please offer du'a that I have the strength to endure this time Insha'Allah.

Thank you, brother, for the explanation about the translation. I will advise the library of the university that I attend to get it.

May Allah give you the best help in this time of crisis and give you all the strength that you need so that will you get out of this test in the best way.



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There is no deity but Allah. Muhammad is the (last) Messenger of Allah.


Posted By: ummziba
Date Posted: 10 April 2005 at 3:54am

Thanks so much everyone for all the comments and suggestions!

Yusuf, I will also offer du'a for you.

Peace, ummziba.



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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~


Posted By: Knowledge01
Date Posted: 16 April 2005 at 9:20am

Originally posted by naveed

Hilali/Muhsin Khan's translation is based on Abdullah Yusuf Ali's. It was written to correct the errors in the Yusuf Ali translation. There is a book documenting most of these errors. I think it was simply called something like "Errors in Yusuf Ali's translation of the Quran".

 

There has been several different volumes of Abdullah Yusuf Ali's english Quran.  I would think he would correct mistakes as another volume became published, correct?

He also has, which I have in my possession right now, "The meaning of the Holy Quran" which is different from the other books because it does not provide Ahadith to explain certain verses of the Quran.  There are explanations, but they are in his words, with no proof. 



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Posted By: Yusuf.
Date Posted: 23 April 2005 at 3:40pm
Jazak Allah Khairun for the dua, dear brothers and sisters. Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala has brought me through this crisis and a new phase of my life on this earth has begun.

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Yusuf


Posted By: ummziba
Date Posted: 23 April 2005 at 7:08pm

Yusuf,

Al hamdulillah!

Peace, ummziba.



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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~


Posted By: Alwardah
Date Posted: 10 May 2005 at 5:36am

As Salamu Alaikum

 

It is very difficult to say which is the best translation, I normally refer to a few Yusuf Ali, Muhammad Asad and Muhammad Muhsin Khan but my favorite Tafsir is by ibn Kathir

 

http://www.tafsir.com/default.asp - http://www.tafsir.com/default.asp

Insha Allah brother Yusuf I will also remember you in my duas, May Allah ease your difficulty Ameen!

Salams



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“Verily your Lord is quick in punishment; yet He is indeed Oft-Forgiving Most Merciful (Surah Al-An’am 6:165)
"Indeed, we belong to Allah and to Him is our return" (Surah Baqarah 2: 155)


Posted By: AhmadJoyia
Date Posted: 19 May 2005 at 12:36pm

My dear brothers and sisters,

As some of you have already pointed out that the translation of any thing, may it be a Quran for that matter, would always remain the understanding of the original by its translator. How close can one go to the original may vary from person to person, but fact remain can never reach 100% of the original. Here is a good article about different translations of Quran from an internet site. Hope fully it may give some more insight into the topic. Rest Allah knows the best.

Translating the Untranslatable: A Survey of English Translations of the Quran
by A.R. Kidwai

Despite the historical fact that the early Muslim community's stand on the translation of the Arabic text of the Quran was ambivalent, as indeed, the general Muslim attitude remains so to this day, the act of translation may be logically viewed as a natural part of the Muslim exegetical effort. However, whereas the idea of interpreting the Quran has not been so controversial, the emotional motives behind rendering the Quranic text into languages other than Arabic have always been looked upon with suspicion.

This is obvious as the need for translating the Quran arose in those historic circumstances when a large number of non-Arabic speaking people had embraced Islam, and giving new linguistic orientations to the contents of the revelation - as, for instance, happened in the case of the 'New Testament' - could have led to unforeseeable, and undesirable, developments within the body of the Islamic religion itself. (For a brief, though highly useful, survey of the Muslim attitudes towards the permissibility of translating the text of the revelation to non-Arabic tongues, see M. Ayoub, 'Translating the Meaning of the Quran: Traditional Opinions and Modern Debates', in Afkar Inquiry, Vol. 3, No. 5 (Ramadan 1406/May 1986), pp.34 9).

The Muslim need for translating the Quran into English arose mainly out of the desire to combat the missionary effort. Following a long polemical tradition, part of whose goal was also the production of a - usually erroneous and confounding - European version of the Muslim scripture, Christian missionaries started their offensive against a politically humiliated Islam in the eighteenth century by advancing their own translations of the Quran.

Obviously, Muslims could not allow the missionary effort - invariably confounding the authenticity of the text with a hostile commentary of its own - to go unopposed and unchecked. Hence, the Muslim decision to present a faithful translation of the Quranic text as well as an authentic summary of its teaching to the European world. Later, the Muslim translations were meant to serve even those Muslims whose only access to the Quranic revelation was through the medium of the European languages. Naturally, English was deemed the most important language for the Muslim purpose, not least because of the existence of the British Empire which after the Ottomans had the largest number of Muslim subjects.

The same rationale, however, applies to sectarian movements within Islam or even to renegade groups outside the fold of Islam, such as the Qadiyanis. Their considerable translational activities are motivated by the urge to proclaim their ideological uniqueness.

Although there is a spate of volumes on the multi-faceted dimensions of the Quran, no substantial work has so far been done to critically examine the mass of existing English translations of the Quran.

Even bibliographical material on this subject was quite scant before the fairly recent appearance of World Bibliography of the Translations of the Meanings of the Holy Quran (Istanbul, OIC Research Centre, 1986), which provides authoritative publication details of the translations of the Quran in sixty-five languages.

Some highly useful work in this field had been done earlier by Dr. Hamidullah of Paris. Appended to the Cambridge History of Arabic Literature Volume 1, Arabic Literature to the End of the Umayyad Period (Cambridge university Press, 1983) is a bibliography of the Quran translations into European languages, prepared by J.D. Pearson, as is the latter's article in the Encyclopaedia of Islam. It is, however, of not much use to the Muslim.

Since none of the above-mentioned works is annotated, the reader gets no idea about the translator's mental make-up, his dogmatic presuppositions and his approach to the Quran as well as the quality of the translation.

Similarly the small chapter entitled 'The Qur'an and Occidental Scholarship' in Bell and Watt's Introduction to the Qur'an (Edinburgh, 1970, pp. 173-86), although useful in providing background information to Orientalists' efforts in Quranic studies, and translations, more or less for the same reasons, is of little value to general Muslim readers. Thus, studies which focus on those aspects of each translation of the Quran are urgently needed lest Western scholars misguide the unsuspecting non-Arabic speaking readers of the Quran. An effort has been made in this survey to bring out the hallmarks and shortcomings of the major complete translations of the Quran.

The early English translations of the Quran by Muslims stemmed mainly from the pious enthusiasm on their part to refute the allegations leveled by the Christian missionaries against Islam in general and the Quran in particular.

Illustrative of this trend are the following translations:

(i) Mohammad Abdul Hakim Khan, The Holy Qur'an:'with short notes based on the Holy Qur'an or the authentic traditions of the Prophet, or and New Testaments or scientific truth. All fictitious romance, questionable history and disputed theories have been carefully avoided' (Patiala, 1905);

(ii) Hairat Dehlawi, The Koran Prepared, by various Oriental learned scholars and edited by Mirza Hairat Dehlawi. Intended as 'a complete and exhaustive reply to the manifold criticisms of the Koran by various Christian authors such as Drs. Sale, Rodwell, Palmer and Sir W. Muir' (Delhi, 1912); and

(iii) Mirzal Abu'l Fadl, Qur'an, Arabic Text and English Translation Arranged Chronologically with an Abstract (Allahabad, 1912).

Since none of these early translations was by a reputed Islamic scholar, both the quality of the translation and level of scholarship are not very high and these works are of mere historical interest.

Later works, however, reflect a more mature and scholarly effort.

Muhammad Marmaduke William Pickthall, an English man of letters who embraced Islam, holds the distinction of bringing out a first-rate rendering of the Qur'an in English, The Meaning of the Glorious Qur'an (London, 1930).

It keeps scrupulously close to the original in elegant, though now somewhat archaic, English. However, although it is one of the most widely used English translations, it provides scant explanatory notes and background information. This obviously restricts its usefulness for an uninitiated reader of the Qur'an.

Abdullah Yusuf Ali's The Holy Qur'an: Translation and Commentary (Lahore, 1934 37), perhaps the most popular translation, stands as another major achievement in this field. A civil servant by vocation, Yusuf Ali was not a scholar in the classical Muslim tradition. Small wonder, then, that some of his copious notes, particularly on hell and heaven, angels, jinn and polygamy, etc. are informed with the pseudo-rationalist spirit of his times, as for instance in the works of S. Ahmad and S. Ameer Ali.

His overemphasis on things spiritual also distorts the Qur'anic worldview. Against this is the fact that Yusuf Ali doubtless was one of the few Muslims who enjoyed an excellent command over the English language. It is fully reflected in his translation. Though his is more of a paraphrase than a literal translation, yet it faithfully represents the sense of the original.

Abdul Majid Daryabadi's The Holy Qur'an: with English Translation and Commentary (Lahore, 1941 - 57) is, however, fully cognate with the traditional Muslim viewpoint.

Like PIckthall's earlier attempt, it is a faithful rendering, supplemented with useful notes on historical, geographical and eschatological issues, particularly the illuminating discussions on comparative religion. Though the notes are not always very exhaustive, they help to dispel the doubts in the minds of Westernized readers. However, it too contains inadequate background information about the Suras (chapters of the Quran) and some of his notes need updating.

The Meaning of the Qur'an (Lahore, 1967), the English version of Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdud'i's magnum opus, the Urdu Tafhim al-Quran is an interpretative rendering of the Qur'an which remarkably succeeds in recapturing some of the majesty of the original.

Since Mawdudi, a great thinker, enjoyed rare mastery over both classical and modern scholarship, his work helps one develop an understanding of the Qur'an as a source of guidance. Apart from setting the verses/Suras in the circumstances of its time, the author constantly relates, though exhaustive notes, the universal message of the Qur'an to his own time and its specific problems. His logical line of argument, generous sensibility, judicious use of classical Muslim scholarship and practical solutions to the problems of the day combine to show Islam as a complete way of life and as the Right Path for the whole of mankind. Since the translation of this invaluable work done by Muhammad Akbar is pitiably poor and uninspiring, the much-needed new English translation of the entire work is in progress under the auspices of the Islamic Foundation, Leicester.

The Message of the Quran by Muhammad Asad (Gibraltar, 1980) represents a notable addition to the body of English translations couched in chaste English. This work is nonetheless vitiated by deviation from the viewpoint of the Muslim orthodoxy on many counts. Averse to take some Qur'anic statements literally, Asad denies the occurrence of such events as the throwing of Abraham into the fire, Jesus speaking in the cradle, etc. He also regards Luqman, Khizr and Zulqarnain as 'mythical figures' and holds unorthodox views on the abrogation of verses. These blemishes apart, this highly readable translation contains useful, though sometimes unreliable background information about the Qur'anic Suras and even provides exhaustive notes on various Qur'anic themes.

The fairly recent The Qur'an: The First American Version (Vermont, 1985) by another native Muslim speaker of English, T.B. Irving, marks the appearance of the latest major English translation. Apart from the obnoxious title, the work is bereft of textual and explanatory notes.

Using his own arbitrary judgment, Irving has assigned themes to each Qur'anic Ruku' (section). Although modern and forceful English has been used, it is not altogether free of instances of mistranslation and loose expressions. With American readers in mind, particularly the youth, Irving has employed many American English idioms, which, in places, are not befitting of the dignity of the Qur'anic diction and style.

In addition to the above, there are also a number of other English translations by Muslims, which, however, do not rank as significant ventures in this field.

They may be listed as:

1. Al-Hajj Hafiz Ghulam Sarwar, Translation of the Holy Qur'an (Singapore, 1920)
2. Ali Ahmad Khan Jullundri, Translation of the Glorious Holy Qur'an with commentary (Lahore, 1962)
3.
Abdur Rahman Tariq and Ziauddin Gilani, The Holy Qur'an Rendered into English (Lahore, 1966)
4. Syed Abdul Latif, Al-Qur'an: Rendered into English (Hyderabad, 1969)
5. Hashim Amir Ali, The Message of the Qur'an Presented in Perspective (Tokyo, 1974)
6. Taqui al-Din al-Hilali and Muhammad Muhsin Khan, Explanatory English Translation of the Holy Qur'an: A Summarized Version of Ibn Kathir Supplemented by At-Tabari with Comments from Sahih al-Bukhari (Chicago, 1977)
7. Muhammad Ahmad Mofassir, The Koran: The First Tafsir in English (London, 1979)
8. Mahmud Y. Zayid, The Qur'an: An English Translation of the Meaning of the Qur'an (checked and revised in collaboration with a committee of Muslim scholars) (Beirut, 1980)
9. S.M. Sarwar, The Holy Qur'an: Arab Text and English Translation (Elmhurst, 1981)
10. Ahmed Ali, Al-Qur'an: A Contemporary Translation (Karachi, 1984).

(In view of the blasphemous statements contained in Rashad Khalifa's The Qur'an: The Final Scripture (Authorized English Version) (Tucson, 1978), it has not been included in the translations by Muslims).

Even amongst the Muslim translations, some are representative of the strong sectarian biases of their translators.

For example, the Shia doctrines are fully reflected in accompanying commentaries of the following books: S.V. Mir Ahmad Ali, The Holy Qur'an with English Translation and Commentary, according to the version of the Holy Ahlul Bait includes 'special notes from Hujjatul Islam Ayatullah Haji Mirza Mahdi Pooya Yazdi on the philosophical aspects of the verses' (Karachi, 1964); M.H. Shakir, Holy Qur'an (New York, 1982); Syed Muhammad Hussain at-Tabatabai, al-Mizan: An Exegesis of the Qur'an, translated from Persian into English by Sayyid Saeed Akhtar Rizvi (Tehran, 198~). So far five volumes of this work have been published.

Illustrative of the Barelvi sectarian stance is Holy Qur'an, the English version of Ahmad Raza Khan Brailai's Urdu translation, by Hanif Akhtar Fatmi (Lahore, n.d.).

As pointed out earlier, the Qadiyanis, though having abandoned Islam, have been actively engaged in translating the Qur'an, Apart from English, their translations are available in several European and African languages.

Muhammad Ali's The Holy Qur'an: English Translation (Lahore, 1917) marks the beginning of this effort. This Qadiyani translator is guilty of misinterpreting several Qur'anic verses, particularly those related to the Promised Messiah, his miracles and the Qur'anic angelology.

Similar distortions mar another Qadiyani translation by Sher Ali, The Holy Qur'an: Arabic Text with English Translation (Rabwah, 1955).Published under the auspices of Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, second successor of the "Promised Messiah" and head of the Ahmadiyyas, this oft-reprinted work represents the official Qadiyani version of the Qur'an. Unapologizingly, Sher Sher Ali refers to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the "Promised Messiah" and mistranslates and misinterprets a number of Qur'anic verses.

Zafarullah Khan's The Qur'an: Arabic Text and English Translation (London, 1970) ranks as another notable Qadiyani venture in this field. Like other Qadiyanis, Zafarullah too twists the Qur'anic verses to opine that the door of prophethood was not closed with the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). The obtrusion of similar obnoxious views upon the Qur'anic text is found in the following Qadiyani translations, too:

(i) Kamaluddin and Nazir Ahmad, A Running Commentary of the Holy Qur'an (London, 1948)
(ii) Salahuddin Peer, The Wonderful Koran (Lahore, 1960)
(iii) Malik Ghulam Farid, The Holy Qur'an (Rabwah, 1962)
(iv) Khadim Rahman Nuri, The Running Commentary of the Holy Qur'an with under-bracket comments (Shillong, 1964)
(v) Firozuddin Ruhi, The Qur'an (Karachi, 1965)

Apart from the Qadiyanis, Christian missionaries have been the most active non-Muslim translators of the Qur'an. As already noted, origins of this inglorious tradition may be traced back to the anti-Islamic motives of the missionaries.

Small wonder, then that these ventures are far from being a just translation, replete as they are with frequent transpositions, omissions, unaccountable liberties and unpardonable faults.

A very crude specimen of the Orientalist-missionary approach to the Qur'an is found in Alexander Ross's The Alcoran of Mahomet translated out of Arabique into French, by the Sieur Du Ryer...And newly Englished, for the satisfaction for all that desire to look into the Turkish vanities (London, 1649).

In translating the Qur'an, the intention of Ross, a chaplain of King Charles I, was: 'I thought good to bring it to their colours, that so viewing thine enemies in their full body, thou must the better prepare to encounter...his Alcoran.'

In the same rabidly anti-Islamic vein are the two appendices in the work entitled as (a) 'A Needful Caveat or Admonition, for them who desire to know what use may be made of or if there be danger in reading the Alcoran' (pp. 406 20) and 'The Life and Death of Mahomet: the Prophet of the Turks and author of the Alcoran' (pp. 395-405).

George Sale, a lawyer brought out his The Koran, commonly called The Al Koran of Mohammed (London, 1734), which has been the most popular English translation. Sale's exhaustive 'Preliminary Discourse', dealing mainly with Sira and the Qur'an, betrays his deep hostility towards Islam and his missionary intent in that he suggests the rules to be observed for 'the conversion of Mohammedans' (q.v.).

As to the translation itself, it abounds in numerous instances of omission, distortion and interpolations.

Dissatisfied with Sale's work, J.M. Rodwell, Rector of St. Ethelberga, London, produced his translation entitled The Koran (London, 1861). Apart from hurling all sorts of wild and nasty allegations against the Prophet and the Qur'an in the Preface, Rodwell is guilty of having invented the so-called chronological Sura order of the Qur'an. Nor is his translation free from grave mistakes of translation and his own fanciful interpretations in the notes.

E.H. Palmer, a Cambridge scholar, was entrusted with the preparation of a new translation of the Qur'an for Max Muller's Sacred Books of the East series. Accordingly, his translation, The Qur'an, appeared in London in 1880. As to the worth of Palmer's translation, reference may be made to A. R. Nykl's article, 'Notes on E.H. Palmer's The Qur'an', published in the Journal of the American Oriental Society, 56 (1936) pp. 77-84 in which no less than 65 instances of omission and mistranslation in Palmer's work have been pointed out.

Richard Bell, Reader of Arabic, University of Edinburgh, and an acknowledged Orientalist produced a translation of the Qur'an with special reference to its Sura order, as is evident from the title of his work, The Qur'an translated with a critical rearrangement of the Surahs (Edinburgh, 1937-39). In addition to describing the Prophet as the author of the Qur'an, Bell also believes that the Qur'an in its present form was 'actually written by Muhammad himself' (p. vi). In rearranging the Sura order of the Qur'an, Bell, in fact, makes a thorough mess of the traditional arrangement and tries to point out 'alterations substitutions and derangements in the text.

A.J. Arberry, a renowned Orientalist and Professor of Arabic at the Universities of London and Cambridge, has been, so far, the latest non-Muslim translator of the Qur'an.

Arberry's The Koran Interpreted (London, 1957) no doubt stands out above the other English renderings by non-Muslims in terms of both its approach and quality. Nonetheless, it is not altogether free from mistakes of omission and mistranslation, such as in Al' Imran 111:43, Nisa' IV: 72, 147 and 157, Ma'ida V: 55 and 71, An'am VI: 20, 105, A'raf VII: 157, 158 and 199, Anfal VIII: 17, 29, 41, 59, Yunus X: 88, Hud XI: 30 and 46 and Yusuf XII: 61.

N.J. Dawood is perhaps the only Jew to have translated the Qur'an into English. Available in the Penguin edition, Dawood's translation, The Koran (London, 1956) is perhaps the most widely circulated non-Muslim English translation of the Qur'an. The author's bias against Islam is readily observable in the Introduction. Apart form adopting an unusual Sura order in his translation, Dawood is guilty also of having mistranslated the Qur'an in places such as Baqara II:9 and A'raf VII:31, etc.

No doubt, the peculiar circumstances of history which brought the Qur'an into contact with the English language have left their imprint on the non-Muslim as well as the Muslim bid to translate it. The results and achievements of their efforts leave a lot to be desired.

Unlike, for instance, major Muslim languages such as Persian, Turkish and Urdu, which have thoroughly exhausted indigenous linguistic and literary resources to meet the scholarly and emotional demands of the task, the prolific resources of the universal medium of English have not been fully employed in the service of the Qur'an.

The Muslim Scripture is yet to find a dignified and faithful expression in the English language that matches the majesty and grandeur of the original. The currents of history, however, seem to be in favour of such a development. Even English is acquiring a native Muslim character and it is only a matter of time before we have a worthy translation of the Qur'an in that tongue.

Till them, the Muslim student should judiciously make use of Pickthall, A. Yusuf Ali, Asad and Irving, Even Arberry's stylistic qualities must not be ignored. Ultimately, of course, the Muslim should try to discover the original and not allow himself to be lost in a maze of translations and interpretations.

(Originally printed in The Muslim World Book Review, Vol. 7, No. 4 Summer 1987)



Posted By: ummziba
Date Posted: 19 May 2005 at 3:32pm

Assalamu alaikum,

Al hamdulillah!  Thank you so much, brother Ahmad, for this most informative article on Qur'an translations.  This is what I have been searching for!  May Allah shower you with blessings for passing on this valuable information for all of us to read.

Peace, ummziba.



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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 19 June 2005 at 3:25pm

Bismillah,

Ma'shahAllah Ummzibba, you've read a lot of versions.  I have read quite a few also.  I don't have most of them any longer, so I can't tell you their names.  Well, Pickthall, Irving, one which I liked because it had a transliteration that helped me with pronunciation, and Yusuf 'Ali was my first and favorite, and the Saudi "Corrected" version of 'Ali's.  I dislike that one, and it is the only one I have with English right now.  I'm not using it because of the changes.  I just use the Arabic.

I need to buy Yusuf 'Ali's original, unchanged version.  If you see it available, please tell me.  I read Arabic, but I don't have a lot of the words down, and I prefer to read English and Arabic together.



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Tasneem
Date Posted: 07 July 2005 at 4:49am

Assalam-alaikum!

Thankyou very much Br AhmadJoyia for this most illuminating article on the numerous english translations and the translators. I must admit I have been very ignorant of all that exists. My all time favourite has been Abdullah Yusuf Ali (although in very few instances, I differ on agreeing with his commentary and form my own impressions). I shall print out the article that you have posted for reference.

Sometime back a Christian nun told me that she was reading the Qur'an and mentioned the first chapter which was not Sura Al-Fatiha. It did'nt make sense to me so I asked her to show me the Qur'an she was reading. I was amazed that all the chapters were rearranged. It probably was Bell, I'm not sure. I presented her with a copy of Yusuf Ali's translation and told her to return the old one back to the library where she had borrowed it from.

I'm really shocked at what exists out there! I also was not aware that Shakir was a Shia, I'm sure many don't know this. I am interested in reading Ibn Kathir, any comments/advise?



Posted By: copenhagen
Date Posted: 22 July 2005 at 1:03am
Originally posted by AhmadJoyia

My dear brothers and sisters,


As some of you have already pointed out that the translation of any thing, may it be a Quran for that matter, would always remain the understanding of the original by its translator. How close can one go to the original may vary from person to person, but fact remain can never reach 100% of the original. Here is a good article about different translations of Quran from an internet site. Hope fully it may give some more insight into the topic. Rest Allah knows the best.


[snip]

Till them, the Muslim student should judiciously make use of Pickthall, A. Yusuf Ali, Asad and Irving, Even Arberry's stylistic qualities must not be ignored. Ultimately, of course, the Muslim should try to discover the original and not allow himself to be lost in a maze of translations and interpretations.




Hello All,

What I'm seeing is that it is best for a person to read the Quran in Arabic?

But, when one is not an Arabic speaker, that makes the reader the translator. Does that make sense? (I guess, it's also true that even if one only speaks Arabic, the reader is the translator.)

I would have to fully agree that one must study arabic. But I'd think it would be best to read in ones native language for a good long time. Have a couple of translations, a transliteration, and arabic script all easily accessible. Yes, no, maybe?

Co-mingle listening to arabic and reading in the native language of the surrah or ayat in the same setting?

I don't know, but I do know I have too many funny personal stories to tell of misunderstandings that resulted from my inability to correctly translate (or, more accurately, my overconfidence in my ability to translate.)   

Take care.



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Some people before you asked questions, and on that account lost their faith.


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 22 July 2005 at 7:37am

Bismillah,

If anyone knows where I can buy Yusuf 'Ali's translation that was not revised by the Saudis, please post a link or write the address of a book store that has it. 

Jazzak Allah Khayr



-------------
Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: AhmadJoyia
Date Posted: 22 July 2005 at 7:59am

Sis herjihad, here is a famous website for three translations of Quran including Yusuf Ali's. Kindly note that website has a seperate link for the corrections and not in the main text, though I don't know if these corrections are originating from as what you say "Saudis".

http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/ - http://www.usc.edu/dept/MSA/quran/

Kindly do let me know if you find them "Saudis" or otherwise. Thanks.



Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 22 July 2005 at 3:44pm

Bismillah,

Ahmad,

It is the commentary that is different in the new version.  I became a muslimah based on his version.  His version and point of view obviously made sense to me then, and I would find comfort in being able to study it again now. 

I have been very busy.  My copy was stolen, (really!), and when I got a new one I disagreed with much of the Saudi commentary which they replaced his with in spots throughout.  It is mysogynistic and therefore not spirtual, but offensive.



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Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: ummziba
Date Posted: 22 July 2005 at 5:05pm

Assalamu alaikum Herjihad,

I have never read Ali's commentary, only his translation.  There are several different versions of his translation with commentary on Amazon but I don't know if any are the original.

Have you read Muhammad Asad's commentary?  I find it makes a lot of sense and is not at all mysogynistic - just very much full of common sense and good reasoning.

If I ever come across Ali's original commentary I will post where it is here.

Peace, ummziba.



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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but your words...they break my soul ~


Posted By: copenhagen
Date Posted: 22 July 2005 at 10:06pm
Originally posted by herjihad

My copy was stolen, (really!)


Ok, so a person steals a copy of the Quran, but is so moved by the words, the person converts/reverts and becomes a fine muslim. Is the stealing judged as a bad thing?


duck and running ....


peace


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Some people before you asked questions, and on that account lost their faith.


Posted By: herjihad
Date Posted: 25 July 2005 at 12:51pm

Bismillah,

Of course they were already muslims... and their first language is Arabic, not English.  I also try to picture that many of these thieves poor relatives benefitted from my clothing, furniture, household goods et cetera.  After all, I got new, old stuff eventually, and maybe they had nothing or no way to get anything.  Allahu 'Alam. (God Knows.)



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Al-Hamdulillah (From a Married Muslimah) La Howla Wa La Quwata Illa BiLLah - There is no Effort or Power except with Allah's Will.


Posted By: Sarkeranwar
Date Posted: 26 July 2005 at 2:29am

In the name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful

Peace and blessings of Allah be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family, his companions and those who follow the guidance

Assalaamu Alakykum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh brothers and sisters

Originally posted by naveed

I really wish there were some good free online Arabic teaching sites.

Brother naveed, here is a website which offers free Arabic reading and language course. You will find it very useful, Insha Allah. 

http://www.madinaharabic.com/ - http://www.madinaharabic.com/

............................................................ .........................

For the translation of the meaning of the Holy Quran:

The Noble Quran In the English Language

A Summarized Version of At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir
with comments from Sahih Al-Bukhari
By
Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali, Ph.D.
Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan

The above translation is the best translation because it is a sumarised version of the Tafsir by At-Tabari, Al-Qurtubi and Ibn Kathir who were amongest the greatest scholars of Islam. Moreover, numerous authentic Ahadith have been referred to in the explanation of noble Verses of the Holy Quran. None of the other English translations offer so comprehensive information as this one. In this translation, many Arabic words were not tanslated directly so that the reader can get the true meaning of those words. The meanings of these words however explained in brackets which one finds very useful!  

If anyone wish to read this translation online it can be found at:

http://www.ummah.net/what-is-islam/quran/neindex.htm - http://www.ummah.net/what-is-islam/quran/neindex.htm - http://www.ummah.net/what-is-islam/quran/neindex.htm   

The translation available in the above link does not inclue the footnotes. To be able to read the footnotes you can do either of the followings:

- buy a hard copy from http://dar-us-salam.com/TheNobleQuran/ - http://dar-us-salam.com/TheNobleQuran/
or
-download from  http://www.fatwa-online.com/downloads/noblequraan/index.htm - http://www.fatwa-online.com/downloads/noblequraan/index.htm - http://www.fatwa-online.com/downloads/noblequraan/index.htm    (download includes the footnotes!)

In case you do not understand or are not clear about the translated meanings of some of the Verses you should read the scholarly tafsir (commentary) to understand them. Tafsir Ibn Kathir is very popular among the scholars and it can be found online at:

http://tafsir.com - http://tafsir.com/ - http://tafsir.com

May Allah guide us to His Straight Way and increase us in knowledge and wisdom. 



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"Our Lord! Give us in this world that which is good and in the Hereafter that which is good, and save us from the torment of the Fire!" Quran 2:201


Posted By: Tasneem
Date Posted: 31 July 2005 at 4:58pm

Wa-alaikumas-Salaam Br Sarkeranwar

JazakAllah-khair for the website link to learn Arabic. InshaAllah I shall make good use of it. You have directed us to some very good sites, May Allah Bless you, Ameen!




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