India

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 #59: The first complete verbatim Urdu Qur’an translation

In previous posts (QTOTW 39 and 46), we have introduced the Persian Qur’an translation authored by Shāh Walī Allāh Dihlawī (1703–1762), and his son Shāh ʿAbd al-Qādir Dihlawī’s Urdu translation, both of which had a huge impact on subsequent Qur’an translations produced in the Indian subcontinent during the nineteenth century. Father and son both opted …

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Qur’an translation of the week #53: Nazir Ahmad’s Urdu Qur’an translation

In the second half of the nineteenth century, the Indian subcontinent witnessed a significant increase in the production of Qurʾan translations into vernacular languages. The continuing rise in literacy rates, accompanied by falling printing costs, enabled more people to engage with the Qur’an and explore its meanings at an individual level. This, in turn, created …

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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 #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 #12: A Phrase-by-Phrase translation by Ali Quli Qara’i

This week, we consider another choice of formatting Qur’an translation, particularly into the left-to-right script of the English language: the “phrase-by-phrase” approach adopted by Ali Quli Qara’i. Born in Hyderabad, India, Qara’i graduated from Osmania University before doing an MBA at the University of Wisconsin. He edited the Al-Tawhid quarterly on Islamic thought from 1983-1997, …

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Qur’an translation of the week #07: ‘Le Saint Coran‘ and its convoluted publication history

This book, which I purchased in a bookstore in Tunis, was published in Homs, Syria, in 2011 and claims to contain a French Qur’an translation produced by the Mauritanian scholar Mohamed El-Moktar Ould Bah (b. 1924) for the King Fahd Complex in Medina – evidence of the longstanding presence and importance of Mauritanian scholars in …

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