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Qur’an translation of the week #85: ‘The preeminent reading’ – ‘Lecture par excellence’: The first Muslim Qur’an translation into French

This week, we present the first Muslim Qur’an translation into French, after having discussed its English equivalent last week. Both efforts had their origin in the colonial period, but there were notable differences between the contexts of the French-ruled Maghreb and British India. Before addressing them, let us take a closer look at ‘Le Coran,’ …

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Qur’an translation of the week #84: ‘The Holy Qurʾan with a commentary’ – the first English translation composed by a Muslim

This week we take a close look at Abdul Hakim Khan’s (d. 1917?) ‘The Holy Qurʾan with a commentary’, which was published in 1905 and is the first English translation of the Qurʾan to be authored by a Muslim. As this post coincides with Christmas, we will focus on the way Khan treats the conception …

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Qur’an translation of the week #82: Between slavery and apartheid – an imam in Western Cape and his Afrikaans Qur’an translation

The history of the first Afrikaans Qur’an translation throws a spotlight on the afterlives of slavery and colonialism, the international movement of texts and ideas in the twentieth century, and the disruption of modern South African history. ‘Die Heilige Qur’ān’ by Imam Mohammed Armien Baker (1910–1982) was first published in 1961 by Nasionale Boekhandel, in …

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Qur’an translation of the week #77: A time of experimentation – A chronological Qur’an translation in early twentieth-century British India

In 1911 and 1912, an Indian Muslim academic called Mirza Abu’l-Fadl published a work entitled The Qur’ân: Arabic Text and English Translation: Arranged Chronologically: With an Abstract in his home town of Allahabad. This was only the second Qur’an translation into English, or any other Western European language, by a Muslim. While Qur’an translations into …

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Qur’an translation of the week #63: Word for word translations in English

This week’s post concerns the phenomenon of “word for word” translations in English, with a look at some examples along with the translators’ introductions. Interlinear verbatim translations have a long history, and work more naturally in languages with shared vocabulary and structure with Arabic. A three-volume work first published in 1995 by the Islamic Book …

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Qur’an translation of the week #57: The Qur’an explained to French children: recitation and meaning

Le Coran expliqué aux enfants: Juz ‘Amma is an illustrated French translation and commentary of the Qur’an for children. In many countries, there is a growing market for such books. They may take different forms, ranging from a thematic summary or arrangement of Qur’anic verses to translations of complete suras, often accompanied by additional material. …

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Qur’an translation of the week #52: Friends, helpers, leaders, allies? Muslims, interreligious relations, and the translation of Q 5:51

In celebration of the one-year anniversary of ‘Qur’an Translation of the Week’, the GloQur team today jointly looks at modern translations of a contested verse. We will discuss Q 5:51, a verse that pertains to the relations between Muslims, on the one hand, and Christians and Jews, on the other hand. How is it rendered in …

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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 #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 #34: “The Qurʾān: A Reformist Translation” by Edip Yüksel, Layth Saleh al-Shaiban and Martha Schulte-Nafeh

This week’s thread looks at a translation belonging to a trend broadly known as ‘Quranism’ or ‘Qur’an-only’. Paradoxically, its members often see a need to promote their own ideas and writings, including translations of the scripture. Quranist theory may have had early proponents, but it goes against the epistemic approaches and hermeneutics of mainstream Islamic …

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