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The Koran Interpreted: A Translation Paperback – December 11, 1996
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Top Customer Reviews
Arberry's work, however, is simple, direct, formal and hits a mid-point between poetry and prose; in other words, tries as much as possible to present the Koran for English speakers the way the Koran would have functioned for listeners of Arabic.
To enhance the clarity of the translation, Arberry distinguishes between the second person plural and second person singular by making use of the word 'thou' and its accompanying grammar for the singular. This distinction is critical for determining when God is speaking about others and when He is speaking to the Prophet directly. This is surely the only sensible way to render the distinction, in a translation that wishes itself to be readable. Arberry does not use any other archaic words, such as 'ye' or archaic grammar such as 'he hath', but uses fully modern English throughout.
It should be noted that people who are bilingual and have actually taken the time to read through Arberry's translation have found it to be very accurate.Read more ›
Unlike any other translation before or since, Arberry's work adheres closely to the original Arabic syntax, meaning that this translation can easily be used in tandem with a recitation in Arabic of the Koran. Arberry's language is striking and beautiful, comparable to more recent offerings from N.J. Dawood and Thomas Cleary. Note, for example, the striking immediacy and rhythmic flow of this passage:
"He is God;
the Creator, the Maker, the Shaper.
To Him belong the Names Most Beautiful.
All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies Him;
He is the All-mighty, the All-wise."
(Surah 59 'Hashr' v. 24)
Arberry eschews the Elizabethan intricacies of Abdullah Y. Ali and the reader will not find themselves fighting a river of parenthetical entries, as are found in Muhammad Asad and the infamous "Wahhabi Koran" of Muhammad Muhsin Khan.
All that being said, there are problems with the presentation of the translation. The verses are not numbered individually, although the paragraphing on each page helps in determining where verse divisions are. Arberry opts to adjust the layout of the text in accordance with the action or commands in the words themselves. This is a unique approach, but does tend to make difficulties for the reader hunting down a particular verse.Read more ›
If you want to just get a flavor for what the Qur'an reads like, this is good, and the preface is enlightening. ...For sheer poetry, Arberry's text gets five stars, but I gave it four because of the total lack of explanation.
By the night enshrouding and the day in splendour
and That which created the male and the female,
surely your striving is to diverse ends.
As for him who gives and is godfearing
and confirms the reward most fair,
We shall surely ease him to the Easing.
But as for him who is a miser, and self-sufficient,
and cries lies to the reward most fair,
We shall surely ease him to the Hardship;
his wealth shall not avail him when he perishes.
Also consider 57:1-3
All that is in the heavens and the earth magnifies God; He is the
All-mighty, the All-wise. To Him belongs the Kingdom of the heavens
and the earth; He gives life, and He makes to die, and He is powerful
He is the First and the Last, the Outward and the Inward; He has
knowledge of everything. It is He that created the heavens and the
earth in six days then seated Himself upon the Throne.
In addition to eloquent passages that capture the vaunted immediacy of the original Arabic, Arberry is for the most part consistent when rendering central theological concepts and repeated Quranic phrases. In rendering recurring phrases, he allows for slight variations that reflect the varying contexts while maintaining the same basic rendition.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have been told that westerners cannot read the Koran. I now agree. It has to be read in Arabic or taught in a course with a guide.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Why, this dribble is straight from the mouth of the eternal dragon himself. <smh>Published 5 months ago by Erik Shold
This doesn't have lengthy footnotes, introductions and the like. It doesn't necessarily aim to be the most literal translation. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Karl Weaver
I understood the word "interpreted" in the title to mean this edition would include some notes--Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
We were not satisfied because it arrived worn and used. We returned it. We bought a beautiful Koran from Barnes and Noble instead.Published 7 months ago by Amazon Customer
This translation is well regarded and is easy to read and understand.Published 7 months ago by Cicerosecundus