As I may have mentioned in the past, I have this thing about english translations of the Qur’an. I can’t get enough of them! I’ve always been a person who has loved owning books. If I did well on my report card, my mom would give me $5 to spend on a new book. I had shelves and shelves of books, the entire Baby Sitter’s club and Sweet Valley High collections, and as I grew older, every new Star Wars novel as it was released.
When I started to explore Islam, I picked up my first Qur’an at a local new age store, translated by M.H. Shakir. Tangentally, it is a little odd that they would have a small section on Islam, even if most of it was devoted to sufism. Islam is inherently the antithesis of new age spirituality. Shortly thereafter, I acquired my second from half.com, translated by A.J. Arberry.
My book obsession had found a target – Allah (swt)’s word.
Over the years, I’d kept adding more. Highlights include my massive Muhammad Asad and thrift store Bewley find. I recently added a few more, including an exciting new thrift store find that I’ll be blogging about in the future inshaAllah. My total english Qur’an collection now stands at 17. There are a few duplicative translations in different formats, so the actual different translation count is 14, not including the ones I have downloaded from the internet. In the order dictated by the Chicago Manual of Style as best as I remember it:
- Ahamed, Syed Vickar, trans., English Translation of the Message of the Quran. Lombard, IL: Book of Signs Foundation, 2006.
- Ali, Ahmed, trans., Al-Qur’an. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001.
- Ali, Abdullah Yusuf, trans., Roman Transliteration of the Holy Qur’an. Dehli: Adam Publishers & Distributors, 1996.
- Ali, Abdullah Yusuf, trans., The Meaning of the Holy Qur’an. Beltsville, Maryland: amana publications, 2001.
- Ali, Abdullah Yusuf, trans., The Qur’an. Elmhurst, New York: Tahrike Tarsile Qur’an, Inc., 2001.
- Arberry, A.J, trans., The Koran Interpreted. New York: Touchstone, 1996.
- Asad, Muhammd, trans., The Message of the Qur’an. Dubai: Oriental Press, 2003.
- Bewley, Abdalhaqq and Aisha Bewley, trans., The Noble Qur’an – A New Rendering of its Meaning in English. Norwich, England: Bookwork, 2005.
- Cleary, Thomas, trans., The Qur’an – A New Translation. Starlatch Press, 2004.
- Fakhry, Majid, trans., An Interpretation of the Qur’an. New York: New York University Press, 2004.
- Jeffery, Arthur, trans., The Koran – Selected Suras. New York: The Heritage Press, 1958.
- Khan, Muhammad Zafrulla, trans., The Qur’an. New York: Olive Branch Press, 2003.
- Muhsin Khan, Muhammad and Muhammad Taq-ud-Din Al-Hilali, trans., Interpretation of the Meaning of the Noble Qur’an. Riyadh: Darussalam, 2001.
- Saheeh International, trans., The Qur’an. Jeddah: Abul-Qasim Publishing House, 1997.
- Shakir, M.H. trans., The Qur’an. Elmhurst, New York: Tahrike Tarshile Qur’an, Inc., 1999.
- Unal, Ali, trans., The Qur’an with Annoted Interpretation in Modern English. jSmoerset, New Jersey: Tughra Books, 2008.
In the front, you’ll notice a green Qur’an. That’s the arabic only Qur’an AbuS gave me as a wedding present.
Now, that’s a mighty tall stack of books, doncha think? For the most part, I don’t do much with most of them. I’m currently attempting to read my way through by Bewley translation, and on occasion, I’ll pick up a few translations to try to get a deeper understanding of the meaning.
So what’s a girl to do with all these Qur’ans? Why not start a blog series? Here’s what I’m thinking – pick a selection, a short surah or a few ayat, and write out all the different translations. That way I’m forced to read them all, forced to think about them as I type and perhaps have a conversation about them with blog readers. Even if no one comments, I’ve still spent a considerable amount of time with Allah (swt)’s book.
inshaAllah I’ll start typing things up this weekend and will get a post published each week. Surah al Fatiha is up first. Let me know if you think that a whole surah is too much, especially with 14 translations. Maybe just a single ayat would be better? Let me know what you think.