Text Box: Foreword

In the name of Āllah, whose grace covers everything and everyone in this life for always, the One who is sending His mercy on Judgment Day to His believers.

     As a new converted Muslim, I am lucky to have a husband who has been making great efforts studying Islam since early childhood. Though I’ve read more than 5 versions of Qurān in both English and Chinese, when Omar, my husband, mentioned some passages in Qurān, from time to time, I could hardly have an impression of hearing anything about them. In fact, it happened to me while reading Qurān translations that I had been going through a few passages without grasping the least idea. Though there are some versions rendered with lots of notes and explanations, it takes strong spirits to relate, connect, and integrate the information patiently and correctly into a full picture. 

     The religion from Āllah shouldn’t be difficult. On the contrary, it should be easily accessed by everyone. Since “the translatability of languages” remains an unsettled issue even in translatology, it is unnecessary to insist on literal translation of Qurān only for conforming to the textual wordings and style. Based on different situations and various backgrounds, the passages in Qurān are hard to understand for readers unequipped with Islamic knowledge. Elaborated stylishly in poetic Arabic, a language rich in verbal connotation, the expressions and forms of Qurān are almost impossible to get their rebirth in other languages without hindering readability, understandability, or even the original meanings. 

     The most important thing for Muslims is to understand what Āllah wants us to know through His Holy Book. It’s easy to find English versions for advanced readers who are able either to read old-styled English or to keep reading regardless of the interruption by notes or difficult words. Yet it remains a big challenge to get accessed to an English version of Qurān written for beginners. In addition, since Arabic is a language with profound connotations especially the words used in Qurān, the major significances could not be comprehensively conveyed if the passages are rendered on a literal basis. To our big surprise, in some English translations, the renderings of some multi-signified Arabic words give completely different or even opposite meanings compared with the original text.

     Therefore, Omar and I decided to translate Qurān into English in an easily readable and understandable way without considering the consistency with the wordings and forms of the source text. We will try as much as we can to bring froth the full ideas of the passages in detail in narrative without resorting to notes. As for proper names and terms, the one more well-known to the public will be adopted here, such as Jesus instead of Isa. In summary, this version is rendered for the one who is not equipped with Islamic knowledge but seeking to understand Qurān. 

     The best way to understand Qurān is to read the original text, because there is only one Qurān, written in Arabic, elaborated by Āllah. Other versions of Qurān, no matter in which languages or how skillfully they are translated, they are definitely not Qurān. We can say that no translation of Qurān is possible but explanation. Since only explanation can be done, it should help readers to understand the real meanings as well as encourage them and bring forth their interest to keep going. We do hope this English explanation of Qurān could help convey the messages from Āllah in the right way. There might be differences in forms, phrases, or terms from other versions well-known to the majority of Muslims though, it is only for the purpose of beginners’ better comprehension and the more concise expressions of the real meanings. 

Hanan Ayash
April 8, 2010
Hong Kong

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