Category : Translation
By Sohaib Saeed
The translation of the Arabic Qur’an into the languages of the world has received the broad acceptance of Muslim scholars since the middle of last century, though the practice of translating the whole Qur’an extends back to the sixteenth century or earlier. The original missionary goals were replaced by academic research and the efforts of Muslims to clarify the teachings of their faith, not only for non-Muslims, but also for new generations of believers of foreign tongues. Translation is a particular method of explaining the Quranic text, and can serve as a succinct way of expressing the meanings of its words and sentences.
For a number of pertinent reasons, Muslims make a fundamental distinction between the Qur’an – revealed verbatim in Arabic as a divine challenge – and translations, human renderings of its meanings into other languages. Any product of the human mind is subject not only to the possibility of error, but also the capacity for difference of opinion. Translation of any complex and highly literary text must necessarily be a difficult task, and one in which expert opinions can diverge at various points.