Thursday, August 19, 2010


Somehow I think preferring one English translation of the Quran over another must be a bit like deciding on a Prom Queen — you know the girl you came with isn't that one.

Let me just say, I've been browsing through Laleh Bakhtiar's mildly feminist translation, and while it's interesting and has a number of excellent scholarly points in its favor, her notion of word-for-word "consistency" (Arabic vis-a-vis English) comes at no small cost to music, modality and meaning. I have to admit that my favorite version so far is Ahmed Ali's contemporary translation. He covers the same modern, moderate ground as other commenters (backed up by authoritative quotes from hadith) while still producing a journeyman text in the language of Shakespeare and the Bible.

No doubt there are other, better, versions, but I haven't seen them yet. Hints and suggestions on this subject are welcome.



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