Qur’an translation of the week

Qur’an translation of the week #47: Chain Translations from Urdu to English

Unlike Arabic works, Qur’an commentaries in other languages have to involve or incorporate translation of the scriptural text. When those works are translated, the Qur’an translation itself may have to be rendered in the new language. Before looking at a few examples, particularly noting how this process can go wrong, let’s appreciate the value of …

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Qur’an translation of the week #46: Revolutionizing the genre of Qurʾan translation

‘Fatḥ al-Raḥmān bi-tarjamat al-Qurʾan’, the Persian Qur’an translation authored by the famous Indian scholar Shāh Walī Allāh Dihlawī (1703–1762), was the first translation to have a substantial influence on the genre of Qurʾan translation in the Indian subcontinent. Shāh Walī Allāh was born into a religous family who lived near Delhi. He began learning the …

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Qur’an translation of the week #45: Qur’an Translation as an Identity Marker: ‘Sviashchennyi Qur’an: Perevod i Kommentariii’, A Shiite Translation by Nazim Zeynalov

This week’s thread focuses on a Shiite foray into Qur’an translation into the Russian language. While the overwhelming majority of Muslims in Russia are Sunnis, there is also a sizeable number of Shiite Muslim communities scattered across the Russian Federation. These communities are mostly made up of ethnic Azerbaijanis and Lezgins and are scattered in …

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Qur’an translation of the week #44: “Το Ιερό Κοράνιο”: The “Al-Azhar” translation of the Qur’an into Greek

There has been a history of close interaction between the Byzantine and Arab cultures in the Mediterranean and Middle East ever since the Arab conquests in the seventh century CE. This, and the concomitant rise of Christian-Muslim polemics, resulted in the production of the first complete translation of the Qur’an into Greek before the end …

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Qur’an translation of the week #43: A French Salafi Qur’an translation based on Ibn Kathīr’s tafsīr

This week, we discuss a recent, all-out Salafi rendition of the Qur’an into French that claims to follow the only valid methodology for translating the Qur’an: condensing Ibn Kathir’s (d. 1373 CE) Qur’an commentary into one volume. Nabil Aliouane’s “Le Coran et la traduction du sens de ses versets” (Marrakesh: Éditions Tawbah, 2020) or “The …

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Qur’an translation of the week #42: The Bhâsa Madhurâ Translation of the Qur’an

A guest contribution by Ulya Fikriyati, Institut Ilmu Keislaman Annuqayah (INSTIKA) Guluk-Guluk Sumenep, Indonesia The “Bhâsa Madhurâ” (Madurese) translation of the Qur’an is one of many vernacular translations of the Qur’an available in Indonesia. The Madurese (after whom the Madurese language is named) hail from the island of Madura, which is located immediately to the …

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Qur’an translation of the week #41: The Rhyming Cadences of Shawkat Toorawa

The Qur’an is “not the word of a poet” but aspects of structure, rhythm and rhyme certainly evoke aspects of Arabic poetry. Can any of that carry over into translation? Should it? Shawkat Toorawa is Professor of Arabic at Yale, and his approach to teaching and translating the Qur’an draws from his broader interests in …

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Qur’an translation of the week #40: “Prevod na Sveshtenia Koran” by Tsvetan Teofanov into Bulgarian

The Bulgarian language is spoken by at least eight million people (including more than half a million Muslim speakers) and has played an especially interesting role in the history of Qur’an translation in the Balkan area. As the Balkans have historically been a space where Slavic culture encounters Turkish influence, the “Bulgarization” of the Qur’an …

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Qur’an translation of the week #39: “Mūḍiḥ al-Qurʼān”- The first Urdu Qur’an translation in idiomatic Urdu

South Asian Muslims have been translating the Qur’an into Urdu for over two centuries. The first complete Urdu translations emerged at the end of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries. “Mūḍiḥ al-Qurʼān”, which is arguably the first full Qur’an translation to be written in idiomatic Urdu, was authored by Shāh ʿAbd al-Qādir …

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Qur’an translation of the week #38: The Translation of Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s “The Holy Qur’an” from English into Russian

While it might seem that translating the Qur’an from one European language into another is an archaic process that has been widely replaced today by the work of Arabic-speaking specialists who engage with the original Arabic, occasionally translating the translation can still be an end in itself. This is precisely the case with the Russian …

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