- Paperback: 605 pages
- Publisher: Tahrike Tarsile Quran; Revised edition (January 1, 1999)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1879402521
- ISBN-13: 978-1879402522
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1.5 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,698,560 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Meaning of the Glorious Qur'an Revised Edition
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However, it is somewhat uneven in accuracy it seems. See my comments on 2.263. Both Shakir an Ahmad Ali's translation of this Ayah seem more accurate.
I now wish for an edition with parallel Arabic text.
Such an edition should be rendered efficiently from a user interface perspective.
This is really a comment or a challenge for the Kindle development team to consider. I would be willing to work with them to solve this problem in a way that is suitable.
Now the bad news: the translation overall has serious problems and some of Mr. Pickthall's commentary on Islam is laughable. The most glaring problem is his insistence on using archaic grammar forms, such as "thee," "thou," "ye" and so forth in the text, as well as uncommon or archaic words -- such as "troth" and "aught" -- when modern and normal ones like "faithfulness" and "anything" would have been appropriate. A few years ago I read a modern English translation of the Apocrypha, and found it significantly easier to read than my trusty King James translation of the Bible. I think I would have had a similarly easier experience if Mr. Pickthall had provided a modern version of the Koran.
Mr. Pickthall also has an annoying habit of translating the past participle as "used to," instead of using the straight past tense or the pluperfect. So, where a normal translation might read: "We make them taste a dreadful doom because they disbelieved" or "had disbelieved," Mr. Pickthall renders it "We make them taste a dreadful doom because they used to disbelieve." That may be a literal translation from the Arabic, but in English it's jarring, and after seeing this oddball verb form dozens if not hundreds of times, it really grates.
The revisionism. I actually laughed out loud at Mr. Pickthall's statement that Mohammed "raised women from the status of chattel to complete legal equality with man" (p. xxvi). That's nonsense. For crying out loud, in the birthplace of Mohammed, women aren't even allowed to drive cars. And the Koran itself doesn't place women on anywhere near an equal level to men. For example, men can divorce their wives by saying "I divorce you" three times, but women have no such equal right (Surah 2:229). Men also receive greater inheritances than women. Surah 4:177. See also generally Surah 2:226-7; 4:34. Mohammed gets props for condemning female infanticide (Surah 16:58-9) but that's hardly the same thing as gender equality, I think you'd agree.
As for the Koran itself -- well, it has an intellectual consistency and vigor that Christians are unaccustomed to, since the Bible has numerous authors and styles, and clashing views of comportment, nature of God, justice, duty, salvation and mercy. The biblical author that comes closet to style and substance to Mohammed is probably Jeremiah. The Koran is fanatically monotheistic in its outlook, and the book's requirements to worship Allah could best be summarized as carrot-and-stick: worship Allah and follow His directions and be rewarded; if you don't, you'll be severely punished. The book is moreover extremely repetitive, dour, utterly humorless and, despite its energy, much more tedious than other scriptures I have read.
One more thing. Let's dispense with the political correctness and admit that the truth: the Koran provides ample justification for and/or endorsement of those who perpetrated the atrocities of 9-11. But you don't need to believe me. Read the Koran and believe it for yourself. See, e.g., Surahs 2:190-1, 193, 246; 3:157-8, 169, 195; 4:74, 76-7; 8:39, 65; 9:5, 29, 36, 111, 123; 22:39; 47:4; 61:4.