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The Qur'an (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – June 15, 2008
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"One of the best [translations] to have appeared in recent times."--Muslim News
"Accessible and compelling... a remarkable achievement."--New Statesman
About the Author
HM. A. S. Abdel Haleem was born in Egypt, and learned the Qur'an by heart from childhood. Educated at al-Azhar, Cairo, and Cambridge Universities, he has taught Arabic and Islamic Studies at Cambridge and London Universities since 1966, including courses in advanced translation and the Qur'an. He is now Professor of Islamic Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. He is also working on An Introduction to the Qur'an and English TranslationLondon Qur'an Studies series.
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Top customer reviews
Ahmad Zaki Hammad:: In the name of God, the All-Merciful, the Mercy-Giving.
MAS Abdel Haleem:: In the name of God, the Lord of Mercy, the Giver of Mercy!
Tarif Khalidi:: In the name of God, Merciful to all, Compassionate to each!
Ahmad Zaki Hammad:: Moreover, do not turn your cheek to people [in contempt]. And do not ever walk upon the earth proudly exultant. Indeed, God loves no one who is swaggering [or] boastful.
MAS Abdel Haleem:: Do not turn your nose up at people, nor walk about the place arrogantly, for God does not love arrogant or boastful people.
Tarif Khalidi:: Do not turn your cheek away from people in contempt, and do not walk merrily upon the earth: God loves not every swaggering snob.
My Opinion:: In regard to walking, Khalidi missed the sense of proudness and only mentions merrily, while Haleem missed the sense of being exultant and only mentions arrogance. Haleem, in addition, does not provide a literal translation, i.e. cheek, rather gives a more well-known idiom in English "turn up nose". Hammad seems to be more accurate.
Ahmad Zaki Hammad:: O humankind! Indeed, We have created [all of] you from a [single] male and female. Moreover, We have made you peoples and tribes, so that you may [come to] know one another. And, indeed, the noblest of you, in the sight of God, is the most God-fearing of you. Indeed God is all-knowing, all-aware.
MAS Abdel Haleem:: People, We created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should get to know one another. In God's eyes, the most honoured of you are the ones most mindful of Him: God is all knowing, all aware.
Tarif Khalidi:: O mankind, We created you male and female, and made you into nations and tribes that you may come to know one another. The nobles among you in God's sight are the most pious. God is All-Knowing, All-Experienced.
My Opinion:: Not sure if Khalidi intentionally omitted the preposition "from", but by saying "created you male and female", withdrawing the preposition (originally in Arabic "min") changes the scope of the verse. Also by saying God is "All-experienced", Khalidi missed the point of God being continuously all-aware. Another important word here is atQaakum, which is related at-Taqwa and Muttaqun, which is usually translated to mean God-fearing or God-conscious. I feel Hammad again captures it better. But "mindful of God" as Haleem presents and "pious" as Khalidi translates are not wrong either.
Ahmad Zaki Hammad:: For very truly, We have adorned the nearest heaven with lights. And we have made [of] them, [as well] projectiles to [pelt] the satans. Moreover, We have prepared for [the satans in the Hereafter] the torment of the Flaming Fire [of Hell].
MAS Abdel Haleem:: We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps and made them [missiles] for stoning devils for whom We have also prepared the torment of a blazing fire.
Tarif Khalidi:: We adorned the lower sky with Lanterns, and made them to be volleys against the demons, for whom We have readied the torment of the Blaze.
My Opinion:: Each of Hammad, Haleem and Khalidi translates "Shayateen" as satans, devils and demons respectively. All conveys the meaning. Hammad uses too many brackets to convey contextual meaning, which sometimes can get mouthful. Heleem seems have done the best here.
Ahmad Zaki Hammad:: About what are they asking one another? About the Great Tiding [of the Afterlife]--
it is about this that they dispute.
MAS Abdel Haleem:: What do they question about the momentous announcement over which they differ?
Tarif Khalidi:: What is it that they question each other about? Is it the Great Proclamation, concerning which they differ?
My Opinion:: Here Haleem does not add "each other" or "one another", which changes the scope of the verse. Are they question directed to God, to the Prophet or to each other?
Ahmad Zaki Hammad:: By the [angelic] pullers, pulling forth violently [the souls of the disbelievers at death]!
MAS Abdel Haleem:: By the forceful chargers
Tarif Khalidi:: By those that dispatch, to the very limit!
My Opinion:: Many translate first five verses of this chapter to include interpretations such as "angels", "winds", "stars", "herd of horses" etc. But these interpretations should not be in the body of the actual translation. All of three translators fall short here. Hammad adds angels in the bracket. Haleem, too, falls short here. He, in his footnote, remarks that in his opinion military horses are the most likely interpretation. As such his translation seems to be forced to match the description of a herd of military horses going out. Khalidi follows the logic similar to that of Haleem. Ignoring the brackets, Hammad provides the best translation, IMO.
Ahmad Zaki Hammad::
By [the decline of] Time!
Indeed, humankind is in [a condition of utter] loss--
except for those who believe and do righteous deeds--
and exhort one another to [uphold] the truth, and exhort one another to [persevere in faith with] patience.
MAS Abdel Haleem::
By the fading day, man is [deep] in loss, except for those who believe, do good deeds, urge one another to the truth, and urge one another to steadfastness.
By the afternoon!
Man is surely amiss!
All save those who believe,
Who do righteous deeds,
Who enjoin truth upon one another
Who enjoin patience upon one another.
My Conclusion:: Quran can't be properly translated into any other language to convey 100% of the meaning. In my opinion, Hammad provides the most accurate translation. The brackets can get mouthful, but are very useful in providing context. Haleem's translation flows the best. He does not always provide literal translation but uses excellent uses of footnotes. In some places, his penchant for shorter and friendlier translation, he omits a word or two. Khalidi also falls to some error due to his desire for more poetic presentation. Hammad 5/5. Haleem 5/5. Khalidi 4/5. God knows best.
I respect the opinion of reviewer Basil, review date May 22, 2012. I do not know Arabic and therefore cannot compare this translation to the Arabic Qur'an. His review is based on his knowledge of Arabic and nuances of meaning.
What I also want to add is an aid I located which is the list of suras in chronological order. I have switched to reading the Qur'an in chronological order because it makes more sense that way. Here is the chronological order of the suras: 96, 68, 73, 74, 1, 111, 81, 87, 92, 89, 93, 94, 103, 100, 108, 102, 107, 109, 105, 113, 114, 112, 53, 80, 97, 91, 85, 95, 106, 101, 75, 104, 77, 50, 90, 86, 54, 38, 7, 72, 36, 25, 35, 19, 20, 56, 26, 27, 28, 17, 10, 11, 12, 15, 6, 37, 31, 34, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 51, 88, 18, 16, 71, 14, 21, 23, 32, 52, 67, 69, 70, 78, 79, 82, 84, 30, 29, 83, 2, 8, 3, 33, 60, 4, 99, 57, 47, 13, 55, 76, 65, 98, 59, 24, 22, 63, 58, 49, 66, 64, 61, 62, 48, 5, 9, 110.
This is a neutral Qur'an. Some translators of the Qur'an have agendas. This is the most agenda free English translation I could find.
This is also a complete Qur'an. Some Qur'an editions popular among Westerners are not complete. They are abridged with much of the suras removed which are less acceptable to Westerners. That is not so with this edition. All 114 suras are in this edition. None have been omitted. The suras are ordered in the traditional non-chronological order of an authentic Arabic Qur'an. However, the translator has included in italics before each sura, a short introduction which indicates where the sura would fit in the life of the prophet. He indicates whether it is a Meccan or Medinan sura. This is also important. In Islamic law, when two sura contradict each other (which mainly happen between Mecca and Medina suras) it is the later sura which is correct for Islamic law. The Medina suras supersede the Mecca suras for purposes of law rulings in Islamic courts. So when you read this Qur'an, you know which suras are the more important Medina suras. If you want to study the Qur'an but do not know Arabic, this is a proper and correct edition to use. Even though this edition may require a more careful reading than others, I recommend this edition to get both the taste of Qur'an as read by Muslims in Arabic and the actual context of the Qur'an suras as supplied by the sura intros.
In edition to reading this Qur'an you should also read a biography of the prophet's life that is based on his first biography and a copy of the most commonly used remembered sayings and actions of the prophet called hadith. The Sunnis and the Shias sects prefer different versions of hadith. If you study all three, this Qur'an, the life of the prophet, and the hadith, you will begin to understand the Islamic religion and its political nature properly. With the activities going on in both Muslim majority countries and in non-Muslim countries with sizeable enclaves of Muslim immigrants, it is important for intelligent Westerners to pursue a study of the Qur'an and the other two components that contribute to the rules and laws for both Muslims and the treatment of non-Muslims by Muslims in today's world.