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Looking for The Best English Translation of Koran

Written by son of rambow on Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Abdullah Yusuf Ali seems to have been long respected as a quality English translation. There is a translation by Ahmad Ali that is also highly regarded. The one that strikes me as most interesting, however, is the recent translation by Tarif Khalidi which has been highly acclaimed and praised as the first English translation to attempt to capture the structure and poetry of the original:

The Qur'an is probably one of those books like Dante's Comedia, the Bible, Homer's Odyssey, etc... that is best served by multiple translations.
Ideally, read it in Arabic - only then will it truly overwhelm you. Not a single word has been altered in the Holy Qur'an since the first revelation nearly 1400 yeas ago. The first word revealed to the Prophet (PBUH) was IQRA, or READ! If not Arabic then Urdu is a good substitute. There are numerous and excellent Urdu translations. For English, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, all the way. For example, here is comparison between Ali and Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall, the first is by Ali, the second is by Pickthall. Ali's translation is less true to form, but it presents the meaning clearly.

The lightning all but snatches away their sight; every time the light (helps) them, they walk therein, and when the darkness grows on them, they stand still. And if Allah willed, He could take away their faculty of hearing and seeing; for Allah has power over all things.

Holy Qur'an, Surah 2:20

The lightning almost snatech away their sight from them. As often as it flasheth forth for them they walk therein, and when it darkeneth against them they stand still. If Allah willed, He could destroy their hearing and their sight. Lo! Allah is Able to do all things.

Holy Qur'an, Surah 2:20

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