Translations of the Qur'an
Latin was the first language in which the Quran was translated. In 1143, the Catholic monk, Robertus Cetenensis (Robert the Moine), who lived in Spain and knew Arabic, translated the Quran into Latin. This first translation was published only in 1543 at Basel, Switzerland, and the publisher was Bibliander.
Maracci produced in 1689 a Latin version of the Quran. Maracci was a Confessor to Pope Innocent XI; and he dedicated his work to the holy Roman Emperor Leopold I.
Schweigger's German translation was published at Nurenburg (Bavaria) in 1616.
A French translation by Du Ryer was published at Paris in 1647.
A Russian translation was published at St. Petersburg in 1776. A second translation by G.S. Sablukov was published in Kazan in 1878. Another translation by Krachkovskii was published in 1963.
The first English translation - by Alexander Ross - was published in London in 1649. It was a translation of the first French translation of Du Ryer of 1647, and bore the title - The Alcoran of Mahomet, "translated out of Arabique into French and now Englished, for the satisfaction of all that desire to look into the Turkish vanities."
George Sale published his translation in 1734. He based it on Maracci's Latin version.
J. M. Rodwell's translation was published in 1861. In his translation, he restored a chronological order of verses.
Edward H. Palmer's translation was first published in 1880 in The Sacred Books of the East series.
Richard Bell published his translation with a critical rearrangement of the Sura, (Edinburgh, 1937-39), and he applied the methods of 'higher criticism' to the Quran.
Richard Bell's posthumous Introduction to the Qur’an contains important discussions of many questions concerning the form, composition, chronology and textual history of the Qur'an.
Arthur J. Arberry's translation, The Koran Interpreted, was published in London in 1955. It has a literary distinction for overall effect in spontaneous reading.
N. J. Dawood's translation was published in 1956. It is a free translation and easy to read for non-Muslims.
The earliest Urdu (the language of the East - with countries as India and Pakistan) translation was made by Shah Abdul Qadir of Delhi who died in 1826. He was the son of the famous Muhaddith of Delhi, Shah Waliullah, and the brother of Shah Abdul Aziz who died in 1824.
The first Muslim to undertake an English translation of the Quran was Dr. Muhammad Abdul Hakim Khan, of Patiala (East Punjab, India). His translation was published in 1905.
Maulvi Muhammad Ali's translation of the Quran was first published in 1917. It has explanatory matter in the notes and a fairly complete index.
Marmaduke Pickthall, an English Muslim, published the Quran with Arabic text and English translation, entitled The Meaning of the Glorious Quran, in 1930.
Only a small portion of the Quran takes the form of legal prescriptions - some 600 verses in all, and of this number only about 80 can be considered legislation in the strict sense. The remainder deal with religious duties, with the rituals of prayer, fasting and pilgrimage and so on. Most of the Qur’anic verses relate to the general ethical principle and day-to-day life of human beings on this planet, i.e., Muamalat.
Quran was revealed through events in the midst of war and peace and under the varying conditions of political, economic and social life. It talks of human life - of glary and fulfillment when men responded to the Divine Will, and of tragedy when they disregarded the Divine Will. Quran is, therefore, an ethico-religious and a socio-political document.
The essential value of the Quran lies in its ability to encourage every individual to enter the sanctuary of personal communion with God; to receive a vivid sense of the Divine Presence in daily living; and its centrality in terms of authority, tradition and reason.
Rallying to God and tuning our will with His Universal Will is another name for Islam.
Mercy is the predominant feature in God's universe. "He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful."
Enforcement of the Muslim Brotherhood is the greatest social ideal of Islam. On it was based the Prophet's Sermon at his last pilgrimage, and Islam cannot be completely realized until this ideal is achieved. (A. Yusuf Ali)
"The believers are but a single brotherhood: So make peace and reconciliation between your two (contending) brothers; and fear God, that ye may receive mercy." (49:10)
Islam holds fast to the one central fact in the spiritual world, the unity of God, and all Reality springing from Him and Him alone. There can be no one and nothing in competition with that one and only Reality.
It is the essence of Truth. All other ideas or existence, including our perception of Self, are merely relative, mere projections from the wonderful faculties which He has given to us. This is not, to us, mere hypothesis. It is in our inmost experience. In the physical world, they say that seeing is believing. In our inner world this sense of God is as clear as sight in the physical world. Therefore, Mustafa and those who really follow him in the truest sense of the word, call all the world to see this Truth, feel this experience, follow this Way. They will never be distracted by metaphysical speculations, whose validity will always be doubtful, nor be deluded with phantoms which lead men astray. (A. Yusuf Ali)
Quran presents a lucid conception of Allah and His attributes. He is a Transcendent Being, Infinite, Eternal, Arbitrary, and Absolute Ruler of the Universe. His existence is absolute, and not conditioned by Time or Place. Quran lays great stress upon Faith and Good Works, and upon giving priority and preference to the Hereafter. It constantly reminds Muslims of the Day of Judgment and their accountability before Allah.
Its main teachings focus on:
a. Sovereignty of God, and
b. Obedience to the Messenger of God, Muhammad Mustafa, the blessed one, and that,
c. Human salvation through compliance (Atuya) with Divine Orders,
d. Code of Life,
e. The believers by their self-surrender to God, can obtain eternal Felicity. They must dedicate themselves to Him entirely and without reserve.
For the believers, the Quran is the key - to the door of proximity to Allah; success in this world, and salvation in the Hereafter.