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378 of 393 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great translation...
I have approximately six different translations at home, including translations from Dawood (biased), Pickthall (a bit antiquated), Asad (great translation, a bit too rationalist) and one from Riyadh (not bad but definitely Wahhabi influenced).

So why another one? I picked it up from my local library and was moved. It is the easiest reading Qur'an I've seen...
Published on July 23, 2005 by A. Ort

versus
93 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, "easy to read," but I have some questions about accuracy
Other reviewers have emphasized the ease of reading Abdel Haleem's translation. I have to agree. But at times the ease of reading seems to come from clarifying passages that are somewhat obscure in the original Arabic. And then there is this: There are four passages in the Qur'an on alcohol (the translation is Arberry's, considered by many to be the best, though the...
Published on October 1, 2009 by groggy in Seattle


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378 of 393 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great translation..., July 23, 2005
By 
A. Ort "aorto" (Youngstown, Ohio) - See all my reviews
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I have approximately six different translations at home, including translations from Dawood (biased), Pickthall (a bit antiquated), Asad (great translation, a bit too rationalist) and one from Riyadh (not bad but definitely Wahhabi influenced).

So why another one? I picked it up from my local library and was moved. It is the easiest reading Qur'an I've seen yet but it does not take away from the impact of what it says. It really flows nicely and I find it reads so much more quickly than some others. I found no struggles to understand old English terms (Pickthall's) and no fighting with bracketed words (Asad and the Riyadh version) whose purpose is to help explain the deeper elements of the original Arabic. While in a few places, I longed for some of the more grand terms found in some of the other translations, on the whole this is a refreshing new translation in plain English.

A few footnotes in some pivotal places keep certain verses in context and help explain certain terms whose force may otherwise be missed. The introduction is brief but informative as the author goes into some detail about the difficulties in translating. My guess is that this is accurate and top notch as it is issued by Oxford and in his acknowledgments it is clear he has had many people ensure his accuracy. This is one to keep and should be one against which others should be measured.
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248 of 260 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars easy to read, April 20, 2006
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I am a non Arab speaking, non-Muslim who decided to read the Koran for myself to try to gain an understanding of what Islam is about. The first Koran translation I bought was the one I heard was the most popular by Abdullah Yusuf Ali. I liked the commentary in this one, but the translation itself put me off because it was done in old "King James style" English. I wanted a translation that was in modern English yet considered to be an accurate translation by actual Muslims. I heard about this translation by Haleem, bought it, and found it to be much, much easier to read and comprehend. I have heard it is accurate and faithful to the original Arabic, but I don't speak Arabic myself, so I hope that this is the case. The commentary in this translation is much less than Ali's and more to the point. If you are curious and don't like olde English, and desire minimal but pertinent commentary, this modern translation is the one to get.
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58 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good all around, August 16, 2006
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I own multiple translations of the Qur'an, including those by N.J. Dawood, J.M. Rodwell, A. Yusuf Ali, Muhammad Asad, and Thomas Cleary. Each has its strong and weak points (for example: Dawood's is clear and readable, but heavily edited and incomplete). This translation strikes a fine balance in terms of both the translated text and the features accompanying it.

Abdel Haleem's translation is, even more than N.J. Dawood's, a preservation of the thunder and power of the original. His work is full of startling immediacy. A large reason for this effect is the language Haleem employs in his translation. Unlike other translations that seek to place the Qur'an in a King James idiom (Rodwell, Ali, Pickthall), Haleem opts for more contemporary usage and sentence structure. This means that, in some part, the poetic feel of the original Arabic is lost. However, as a useful work for study of the text, Haleem's translation is easily accessible.

He provides short introductions for each surah containing information on where that surah was revealed along with key background information on its content. Discreet notes throughout guide the reader through difficult historical allusions and religious concepts.

Haleem also provides a comprehensive introduction that covers the basics: what Islam is and what the Qur'an is, but also finds time to discuss Islamic-Christian relations in the Qur'an and the line of English translations leading up to Haleem's. The introduction also tackles contemporary issues of interpretation, such as the infamous 'Verse of the Sword,' demonstrating how these issues can be resolved in translations.

Haleem's work is a fine all-around volume, suitable for anyone approaching the Qur'an for the first time or continuing a deeper study of the book.
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93 of 98 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Cheap, "easy to read," but I have some questions about accuracy, October 1, 2009
This review is from: The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)
Other reviewers have emphasized the ease of reading Abdel Haleem's translation. I have to agree. But at times the ease of reading seems to come from clarifying passages that are somewhat obscure in the original Arabic. And then there is this: There are four passages in the Qur'an on alcohol (the translation is Arberry's, considered by many to be the best, though the verse numbering follows the Fluegel edition and not the subsequent and now standard Cairo edition and can therefore be frustrating to use as a reference):

16:67 And of the fruits of the palms and the vines, you take therefrom an intoxicant and a provision fair. Surely in that is a sign for a people who understand.

4:43 O believers, draw not near to prayer when you are drunken until you know what you are saying

2:219 They will question thee concerning wine, and arrow-shuffling. Say: `In both is a heinous sin, and uses for men, but the sin in them is more heinous than the usefulness.'

5:90-91 O believers, wine and arrow shuffling, idols and divining arrows are an abomination, some of Satan's work; so avoid it; haply so you will prosper. Satan only desires to precipitate enmity and hatred between you in regard to wine and arrow-shuffling, and to bar you from the remembrance of God, and from your prayer. Will you then desist?

As we all know, Islamic law forbids drinking alcohol. Verse 5:90-91 is taken to be the final word on the subject and is understood to have abrogated (annulled) previous verses that are more permissive. Clearly the most permissive is 16:67, which unambiguously calls intoxicants derived from grapes and dates one of God's signs. This unambiguously calls alcohol a blessing. Abdel Haleem translates this verse as:

From the fruits of the date palms and grapes you take a *sweet juice* and wholesome provisions. There truly is a sign in this for people who use their reason.

Arberry, Asad, and Qara'i all translate sakar-an as "wine" or "intoxicant." Why "sweet juice" in Abdel Haleem? This strikes me as an editorial intervention out of embarrassment at the clearly positive depiction of alcohol in the verse.

Over all it is a fine translation, but if you are looking for the greatest degree of accuracy without knowing Arabic, stick to Arberry or Asad.

p.s. And why is "`ahd" (2:40 and elsewhere) translated as "pledge" and not "covenant" since it is plainly describing the Biblical Covenant with the Jews? Granted Asad renders it as "promise" (Arberry and Qara'i use "covenant"), and of course no translator should Biblicize the references to Biblical narratives in the Qur'an at the expense of accuracy, but I think using the word "covenant" here would be an accurate rendering and emphasize the fact that, in Sura 2, the Qur'an is declaring that the Covenant with the Jews still stands in a way that would be plain to Jewish and Christian readers, who are probably the main audience for this translation.
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220 of 240 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A breakthrough translation of the Qur'an, September 10, 2004
By 
Kamran Pasha (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
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This is one of the best translations of the Qur'an on the market today. Prof. Abdel Haleem has done a remarkable job of presenting the Qur'an in modern English. His translation is easy to read and has just enough footnotes and commentary to explain context without overwhelming the reader with detail. Abdel Haleem has also avoided the mistake of most translators -- "creative interpretation" of the Qur'an in order to conform its meaning to their own religious beliefs or biases.

The translation also has very useful introductory sections that help non-Muslims understand how the Qur'an is structured. It's not a linear narrative like the Bible, but intentionally jumps around in time and space, like flashes from the facets of a diamond held up to the light.

I believe that this translation will be held as the new standard in Qur'an studies for the 21st century.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read and great translation, October 8, 2005
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This is perhaps the best english translation of the Qur'an out there. The translator shows so much respect and love for the Qur'an throughout. I have quite a few translations, but this is the only one I read. Although not a study Qur'an, there are lots of foot notes and nice succinct intros to each surah. The "less is more" approach works well as I can spend more time reading the Qur'an itself and less time reading the notes about it.

Another great thing is the translator's only agenda is to give the reader a clear translation, there are no non muslim viewpoints, nor even secetarian viewpoints. He isn't trying to impress us with any archaic language and trying to make the King James Version of the Qur'an like a few have done before.

You will not be dissapointed.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best English version of the Qur'an, February 21, 2007
By 
Baern (Austin, TX) - See all my reviews
No other translation of the Qur'an is as accurate, elegant, or readable. Behind this translation, I would choose the Yusuf Ali translation, although the language style is archaic in that it imitates the King James Bible; this makes it rather tough to read through, although it is still pretty accurate and beautiful. This translation, however, is far superior, in my opinion. The notes and introduction are both extremely helpful, although it is not as complete as a full commentary would be. Before I read this translation, I had a strong contempt for Islam and its teachings. But after reading Haleem's English rendition of the religious text, I have developed an understanding and even a respect for Islam that I had not before. I highly recommend this translation to all English speakers who wish to learn about the Qur'an.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like No Other, March 15, 2005
By 
Intelligently interpreted to cut through the otherwise unavoidable problems of translation. Very well structured, it gives a contextual sense to the reader before every chapter -alerts the reader as if to say, "wake up, zoom out for a second," so that we don't lose sight of the forest for the trees. It's an easy-read that breaks the generation-gap, if you will, between those that dare not move away from the Arabic prose at the risk of (perceived) disrespect and those that want to look beyond the literal word and fully understand the meaning.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great edition, December 29, 2004
By 
noneal "noneal" (New York, NY USA) - See all my reviews
The translation is highly readable. The footnotes are unobtrusive and generally always helpful. The translator takes great care to place his translation in the context of other great translations of the Qu'arn. Finally, the edition is great - it's a nice, compact, sturdy hardcover, perfect for taking along to study anywhere.
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34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, January 27, 2006
By 
Hamid Khan (Denver, CO USA) - See all my reviews
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After reviewing nearly 20 different translations of the Islamic holy book, this translation exceeds all others. It's poetry diction, footnotes and sheer brilliance and understanding of the text make this the best hands down.
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The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics)
The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics) by M. A. Abdel Haleem (Paperback - June 15, 2008)
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