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3.6 out of 5 stars
The Qur'an: A New Translation
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65 of 71 people found the following review helpful
on October 18, 2004
Thomas Cleary has done a remarkable job of translating the Qur'an and retaining its lyrical sense. Although no translation can compare to the power and poetry of the original in Arabic, Cleary's effort is one of those that comes close. The one major flaw in this edition is the lack of commentary to place the verses in context. The Qur'an is not linear and jumps back and forth in time and space, which can be confusing to readers unfamiliar with its references. But still a commendable job and a fine translation!

The reviewer from Morocco below who writes a massive diatribe against the Qur'an, and faith in God in general, is clearly a frustrated pseudo-intellectual who thinks he can explain away the wonder and power of faith through a rambling dissertation on cognitive psychology. Considering he has posted EXACTLY the same review, word for word, about every edition of the Qur'an available on Amazon, it is apparent that he is not interested in reviewing individual works, just spewing emotional bile disguised as scholarship.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on September 4, 2004
For those that read 'The Essential Koran' and wished Thomas Cleary would translate the entire Qur'an, it has taken him 10 years but he has done it! The beauty and subtlety of the Arabic original shines through in this amazing book. It is extremely easy to read and understand. Although, a commentary would've completed the package, I highly recommend this translation over any other!

If you'd like a basic though brilliant commentary to use in conjunction with this translation may I suggest the beautifully hardbound, 'THE MAJESTIC QUR'AN- An English Rendition of its Meanings," published by the Nawawi Foundation (CHICAGO) and its sister organization the Ibn Khaldun Foundation (LONDON). Although it has a translation, the commentary is what makes this book magnificent in its practicality. Put together in modern English for the English-speaker, it doesn't offer long-winded explanations. Instead, it has simple easy to understand commentary, particularly for those unfamiliar with the Qur'an, that is extremely valuable in helping to understand and and reflect.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2006
I would just like to add something to the other comments, that is, when they say no annotations, or commentary, they mean NONE. It is the Qu'ran translated into English. No index, footnotes, table of contents, nothing. Not complaining, mind you, and not commenting on the quality of the translation. But be prepared to find additional sources for explanations and commentary.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon August 19, 2006
Thomas Cleary's long-awaited translation of the Qur'an certainly exceeds all expectations. His usage and sentence structure is striking and very much contemporary, leaving behind the obscurities found in most mainstream translations of the Muslim scripture, such as those by Abdullah Y. Ali and Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall.

Cleary uses English very compactly and he has designed the text on the page to resemble a poem, instead of long paragraphed blocks of prose. This feature is certainly more in keeping with the original transmission of the Qur'an - through vocal recitation art.

However, Cleary's work is ultimately for the intermediate and advanced student of the Qur'an. He provides no introduction or footnotes--only a table of contents that leads immediately into the text itself. On a high note, Cleary leaves out the excessive parenthetical entries found in such translations as the "Riyadh" and Muhammad Asad offerings.

This work is an excellent attempt to reproduce the Qur'an's original power and striking poetry. The addition in some future edition of footnotes, introductory material, etc., would make this an even better edition of the Islamic scripture--possibly even the best. For now, Cleary's work will satisfy anyone--Islamic or not--with a desire to dig deeper into the Qur'anic text.
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2004
I would say that this is one of the better translations of the Qur'an for modern readers. The reason I did not give it 5 stars is because 1) There is no tafsir whatsoever, and 2) Cleary's dislike of the pronouns He, We, I, when used by God results in a sometimes redundant and silly-sounding translation: "God commands such and such for you because God knows what you do not know so believe in God, says God, etc...". That is not from the Qur'an, but you can understand what I'm getting at.

Until they do another edition with some tafsir, better word choices in some places and a hardback printing, I will leave my review at 4 stars.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2006
Unlike the translations that were previously available , this one is by a native english speaker , & free from biases that were present in previous translations made by orientialists . People should also try Martin Lings' translation . To answer the accusation made by "See The Truth!!!" , Quran never mentions Alexender , neither does it say anything about the Earth being flat . Muslims were the first ones who used spherical trignometry . Not even the earliest scholars considered this verse as a reference to flat earth ( see ibn kathir ). These accusations were created in recent years by missionaries .
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on November 9, 2012
I was very disappointed, have read and used the previous book "Essential Koran" I was looking forward to having the version of the whole Qur'an translated in such fluent and easy to read language. However omission of words is inexcusable as it changes the meaning.I would strongly advise against using this book as a translation of the Qura'an unless one is able to contrast it with the original Arabic. The translation is incorrect and often misleading.
Let me give two examples: Chapter 23 verse 18 THE PROPHETS:"As we send down water from the sky and store it in the ground" First the verbs "Send and store" are in past tense in the original Arabic, it should read;"Sent and stored". Second; the word " BI_QADAR" بقدر was completely omitted, the verse should read: " As we sent down water in a measured amount from the sky and stored it" I also disagree with changing the last word from stored in the earth to stored in the ground.
The second example Chapter 25 verse 54:" And that is the one who created human beings and made for the relations ..." the word water in the original Arabic was omitted, this verse should read:"And that is the one who created human beings (from water) and made for them relations ..."
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2013
As much as I respect Dr. Cleary for dedicating his life to being a translator of world wisdom literature and operating outside of academia, I was not impressed by this book.

The most important thing prospective purchasers of this translation need to know is that a translation is all that it is. The author and publisher included no preface, introduction, appendix, index, footnotes, bibliography, etc. There is no original Arabic script or transliteration. There is no artistic flourish. It is a translation of al-Qur'an with the suwar (chapters) and ayah (verses) numbered and nothing more. Maybe there is some virtue in that, but I can't imagine who the appropriate audience/market is for such a thing.

I have read eight different English translations of al-Qur'an, and when I find a new one, I often look to see how "controversial" ayah (such as 4:34) or common but important words (like "taqwa") and are translated. Generally speaking, there were no translations that triggered any new perspective or revealed new insight into what I consider a profound text. The translation of al-Kafirun as "The Atheists," is a good example. While atheists is apropo to our contemporary intellectual context, the meaning of the root word, "kafara," is broader and would include polytheists, pantheists, et. al. It has been translated as "Concealers," "Disbelievers," "Rejectors," etc. in other translations, all of which are more accurate by virtue of their breadth.

If you want to read an English translation of al-Qur'an but are in need of further illumination - the kind provided by footnotes, introductory essays, etc. - I recommend Muhammad Asad's The Message of the Qur'an: The full account of the revealed Arabic text accompanied by parallel transliteration (English and Arabic Edition) above all others, and Ahmad Zaki Hammad's The Gracious Quran: Arabic-English Parallel Edition (A Modern Phrased Interpretation in English: Ara is quite good, too.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 16, 2007
This is probably the best modern English translation I've ever come across; The only problem lies in one word--"atheist." I wish he would've used "nonbeliever" instead, because in modern English "atheists" are those who believe in no god, whereas the Quran refers to those who do not believe in One God--most or all of whom were polytheists, not atheists.
I hope that a study edition comes out and hopefully another edition with revisions, but other than that I'm sure this will go down as a classic...
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33 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2006
I started to read this translation with some other Muslims and we didn't get far before we abandoned it. For example, on page 8 it says "They say God has begotten a son. Glory be to Him!" The negation of the blasphemy is missing from the translation. Also on page 10, it says "Here is baptism from God; and who is better at baptism than God?" The original Arabic talks about "color" - "And surely Allah is the best of Colorers". This translation seems to have been prepared with the aim of misleading. There is no baptism in Islam. Don't buy it if you are Muslim or if you want to know about Islam. Intellectually dishonest book, not the Qur'an at all
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