What is it about?

Abdur Raheem Kidwai's objective of the paper is to explore the Interfaith dimension, if any, in select English translations of the Quran. Are these translations addressed only to the Muslim readership? Do these capture and convey the universal message of the Quran, which is directed at Muslims and non-Muslims alike? Since this aspect of the English translations of the Quran has been hardly explored, this study is an attempt to fill this gap. It will help readers realize the relative strengths and weaknesses of various translation.

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Why is it important?

This is the first study of its kind – assessing the select translations in term of their promotion of the ideals of peaceful coexistence as spelled out by the Quran.


This paper first provides a critical, historical survey of the English translations of the Quran, namely, those by Alexander Ross (1649), George Sale (1734), J. M. Rodwell (1861), E. H. Palmer (1880), Richard Bell (1937-1939), A. J. Arberry (1955), N. J. Dawood (1956), Alan Jones (2007) and A. J. Droge (2014). This paper draws attention to the unpalatable note of polemics under the pretext of comparative religion in the Orientalists’ English translations of the Quran. Syed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898), however, set in motion a new trend in the field: interfaith understanding from the perspective of pluralism. This trend is reflected more sharply in the translations by Thomas Cleary (2004) and Safi Kaskas and David Hungerford (2016). Although in their fairly recent English renderings of the Quran, G. S. Reynolds (2018) and Jane McAuliffe (2017) promise to study the Quran from an interfaith dialogue perspective, they often revert to the polemical Orientalist stance of discrediting the Quran as a poor imitation of the Bible. This paper examines the 21st century English translations of the Quran by Thomas Cleary (2004), Safi Kaskas and David Hungerford (2016), G. S. Reynolds (2018) and Jane McAuliffe (2017).

EiC Journal of college of Sharia and Islamic Studies Qatar University

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This page is a summary of: The Interfaith Dimension of Some Recent English Translations of the Quran: A Critical Analysis, Journal of College of Sharia & Islamic Studies, January 2019, Qatar University, DOI: 10.29117/jcsis.2019.0220.
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