Saturday, December 15

Book: The Meaning of the Glorious Quran, M. M. Pickthall Click for more info

Although my madarassa days had put me into the habit of completing the Quran in Arabic four to five times a year, I've never once read the whole thing in a language I can understand. Of course, due the the nature of the book at hand this isn't a regular review - it is worth noting my experience with Pickthall's work though.

Along with Yusuf Ali's famous work, Pickthall had generally been taken as a top credible translation of the Islam's most (and only) holy book. From my limited experience of the former, Pickthall certainly seemed the most accessible of the two, although I'm not quite sure we can refer to it as modern any more. It's also very concise; footnotes are sparse and as a volume on its own I'm not sure it's enough to get the most from a translation.

Following on from that point, it's important to know that a translation of the Quran is NOT the Quran. The Arabic language in which it has always been authentically scribed and copied in is as much as part of the book as its content, and any translation will always be incomplete because of this.

But for those of us who don't understand Arabic translations are an (albeit imperfect) way to gain a deeper understanding of the Quran and pave the way to later study via tafsir or the like. I recommend that any who do read the Quran regularly complement their lessons with the corresponding translation, even if it means halving the absolute amount you read to save time.