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Qur’an translation of the week #188: The first ‘American Qur’an’

In 1985, T.B. (Thomas Ballantyne) Irving, also known as al-Hajj Ta‘lim ‘Ali (1914–2002), published a book entitled The Qur’an: The First American Version. Printed with funding from global donors, including a major halal food business that Levantine Muslim migrants had founded in the American Midwest, its publication was part of a globalizing trend that has […]

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Qur’an translation of the week #173: The Qur’an in Celtic languages

The Qur’an has been translated into dozens of languages, but there are many more languages in which no full translation is available. Examining partial, ongoing, unsuccessful or nonexistent attempts at translating the Qur’an into any given language can shed light on its present-day condition, its status in a specific region or country and the demographics

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Qur’an translation of the week #171: Muhammad Ali’s Urdu Translation: Bayān al-Qurʾān

This week we will take a closer look at Muhammad Ali’s 1923 Urdu translation, Bayān al-Qurʾān. Muhammad Ali, a prominent Ahmadi scholar, ascended to the leadership of the Lahore branch following a schism within the Ahmadiyya movement in 1914. In a previous post, we introduced Muhammad Ali and his influential English Qur’an translation of 1917

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Qur’an translation of the week #130: ‘To every age its book’: An Exiled Post-Ottoman’s The Wisdom of the Qur’an (La sagesse coranique)

In 1935, the Orientalist publishing house Paul Geuthner in Paris published posthumously the last oeuvre of an exiled Turkish Muslim who had only just died of a heart attack en route from Alexandria to Europe. This work, a partial Qur’an translation titled La sagesse coranique (‘The Wisdom of the Qur’an’), was printed at the behest

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Qur’an translation of the week #114: Pioneering or “well-meaning but incompetent”?- Mirza Hairat Dihlavi’s 1916 English Qur’an translation

In 1916, Mirza Hairat Dihlavi (d. 1928), an intellectual and journalist from British India, printed an English Qur’an translation in three volumes. At the time, this was a pioneering endeavor. Mirza Hairat was the editor of a newspaper and had published on a wide range of subjects in Urdu before, including an introduction to Qur’anic

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Qur’an translation of the week #104: Doing away with King James Style- N. J. Dawood’s The Koran

In 1956, Penguin Classics published The Koran by N. J. Dawood (1927–2014), an Iraqi Jew. It stood out by dint of being the very first Qur’an translation into contemporary English, a fact which means it has had a big impact on many later Muslim and non-Muslim translators, whether or not they approved of Dawood’s endeavour.

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Qur’an translation of the week #94: “In the darkest hours of night Thou flashest the light”- Nejmi Sagib Bodamialisade’s “The Gouran Versified” and Muslims in British Cyprus

Qur’an translation as propaganda: war alliances and nation-building (2/3) In the period between the two world wars, Nejmi Sagib Bodamialisade (1897–1964), a Muslim in Cyprus, an oft-forgotten corner of the British Empire, started translating the Qur’an into English verse in order to gain British support for Muslim Cypriot interests. His translations of segments of the

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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 #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 #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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