Three Translations of The Koran (Al-Qur'an) side by side

Three Translations of The Koran (Al-Qur'an) side by side
(1 Review)
Three Translations of The Koran (Al-Qur'an) side by side by Unknown





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Three Translations of The Koran (Al-Qur'an) side by side
(1 Review)
Translations by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, Marmaduke Pickthall, Mohammad Habib Shakir.

Book Excerpt

and perfection to the seven firmaments; and of all things He hath perfect knowledge.

P: He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth. Then turned He to the heaven, and fashioned it as seven heavens. And He is knower of all things.

S: He it is Who created for you all that is in the earth, and He directed Himself to the heaven, so He made them complete seven heavens, and He knows all things.

002.030 Y: Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: "I will create a vicegerent on earth." They said: "Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?" He said: "I know what ye know not."

P: And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth, they said: Wilt thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know that which ye know not.

S: And when your Lord said to the angels

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A rather dismal slog. You are reading the Koran three times; each verse is translated into English by an Arab, an Englishman, then another Arab. Interestingly, the Englishman agrees with one or the other Arabs more often than the Arabs agree with each other. The book may be valuable as a reference book: if you hear something odd that quotes the Koran, you can look it up and get three versions of the verse. Also, the chapters (sura) and verses (ayat) numbers precede each verse, so you can do a search by sura and ayat (e.g. 002.282) and go directly to the scripture you are looking for.

As far as content, the Koran could have used an editor, as when Thomas Jefferson edited the Christian Scriptures (this is probably blasphemy). There is a lot of pointless repetition. The book was transcribed over 23 years by Muhammad's followers and compiled after his death. The story of Moses and the Pharaoh and of Lot and Sodom are each related at least six times, that of Noah at least four times. The observation that Believers (Muslims) will get a garden with rivers flowing beneath and unbelievers (everyone else) will get The Fire, or hell is mentioned at least 60 times, often on every other page. Parts of the book is said to rhyme in Arabic, so the phrase may be some kind of poetic refrain, but in English, it is just tedious.

The gist of the Koran is that Jews and Christians have abandoned the Book of Abraham (the Torah) and must return to correct worship (ancient Hebraic laws and ethics, plus whatever Muhammad added), they must convert to Islam, or go to hell. Jesus is mentioned as a prophet, but his teachings seem to have made no impact on Muhammad, who was told by god to strike back the same as you were struck, rather than turn the other cheek. To its credit, the Koran does forbid the infanticide of daughters and orders regular payments to the poor, though it is not clear if these payments extend to the poor who are unbelievers. The last third of the book deals mainly with the day of Resurrection when the good will be rewarded and the evil punished.

The sura and ayat I was most interested in were: 002.194, 002.282. 002.286, 004.034, 004.088, 004.089, 005.033, 005.038, 005.045, 005.072, 014.004, 016.093, 024.002, 026.224, 033.059, 033.061, 057.027, 060.008, 098.005.

Please understand that the reviewers criticizing this review(er) or recommending a “better” translation have not actually read this book. They are not interested in reviewing books.