By Hussein Abdul-Raof
The Qur'an is learn by way of hundreds of thousands of Muslims every day, but there is not any booklet on hand to the reader, Arab or non-Arab, which gives a linguistic and rhetorical perception into Qur'anic discourse. This e-book explains Qur'an translational difficulties and offers a radical account of the original syntactic, semantic, phonetic, prosodic, pragmatic, and rhetorical positive aspects of the Qur'an.
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Additional resources for Qur'an Translation: Discourse, Texture and Exegesis
1 Historical Background The first rendering of the Qur'an into a western language was made by the English scholar Robertus Retenensis in the twelfth century, at the instance of Peter the Venerable, Abbot of Cluny; it was completed in 1143, and enjoyed a considerable circulation in manuscript. Exactly four centuries later, this mediaeval Latin version was published at Basel, the editor being Theodor Bibliander (Buchmann) of Zurich. It abounds in inaccuracies and misunderstandings, and was inspired by hostile intention; nevertheless it served as the foundation of the earliest translations into modem European idioms.
These errors also arise from lack of competence in Arabic syntax, morphology, and semantics, as well as from failure to capture the stylistic, pragmatic, and figurative aspects of the Qur'anic language (Ali 1996:28). Robinson (1996:2) is convinced that much is lost when the Qur'an is encountered in translation. Although he (ibid:4) recommends a translation of the Qur'an, he regrets that "none is entirely satisfactory". Some Qur'an translations, Robinson (ibid: 5) recommends, should be studiously avoided and several others need to be read with caution, while some "miss the point" (ibid:315).
QII:73] Bell (vol. 326): ever to be praised, sublime is He; Arberry (vol. I32): Worthy of all glory, Deserving of all praise. The above examples demonstrate that each translation represents one person's understanding of the Qur'an, and each is significantly different from the others, and none is the Qur'an itself (c£ Murata and Chittick 1995:xvi; Robinson 1996:4). The other case of disagreement among Qur'an translators is that over the translation or transliteration of names which occur in Qur'anic discourse.