Translation of the Holy Quran


Maariful Quran, Quran & Tafseer, Volume 1 / Monday, August 18th, 2008

The original Urdu Ma’ariful-Qur’an had not given a new translation of the Holy Qur’an itself. Rather, the esteemed author had adopted the Urdu translations of Maulana Mahmoodul-Hasan (Shaikhul-Hind) and Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanavi which he based his commentary. While rendering the book into English, we had three options about the translation of the Holy Qur’an:

(a) To adopt any one of the already available English translations of the Holy Qur’an, like those of Arberry, Pickthall or Abdullah or Yosuf Ali

(b) To translate the Urdu translations used in the Ma’ariful-Qur’an into English.

(c) To provide a new translation of our own.

After a great deal of consideration and consultation, we elected to work on the third option, i.e. to prepare a new translation of the Holy Qur’an. The reasons behind this decision were manifold which need not be detailed here. In short, we wanted to prepare a translation which may be closer to the Qur’anic text and easier to understand. For this purpose, we formed a committee with the following members:

1. Prof. Muhammad Shameem.

2. Mr. Muhammad Wali Raazi.

3. This humble writer.

This committee has accomplished the translation of the Holy Qur’an upto the Surah Yusuf and is still going on with this project.

The committee has all the famous available translations of the Holy text before it, and after a deep study of the relevant material found in the classical Arabic commentaries, lays down the new translation in as simple expressions as possible, While doing so, we have tried our best that the different possible interpretations of the Qur’anic text remain undisturbed, and the new translation accommodates as many of them as practicable. We have tried not to impose on our reader a particular interpretation where several interpretations were equally possible. However, where the translation could not accommodate more than one connotation, we have followed the one adopted by the majority of the classic commentators including Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi on whose translation the Ma’ariful-Qur’an is based.

Despite all these sincere efforts, one cannot avoid the admission that the exact translation of the Holy Qur’an is impossible. One cannot convey the glory and the beauty of the divine expression in any other language, let alone the English language which, despite its vast vocabulary, seems to be miserable when it comes to the expression of spiritual concepts. Therefore, even after observing all the precautions at our command, we feel that we were trying to translate a text which is as Arberry has rightly put it totally untranslatable.

However, this is another humble effort to convey the basic message of the Holy Qur’an to a common reader in a simple manner. How far we have succeeded in this effort? Allah knows best.

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