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English translations of the Quran

The Quran has been translated into English many times. The first few translations were made in the 17th and 19th centuries, but the majority were produced in the 20th.

Early translations

The next major English translation of note was by John Rodwell, Rector of St. Ethelburga, London, released in 1861, entitled The Koran. It was soon followed in 1880 with a 2-Volume edition by E.H. Palmer, a Cambridge scholar, who was entrusted with the preparation of the new translation for Max Muller's Sacred Books of the East series[citation needed].

20th century translations

  • The Qur'an (1910) by Mirza Abul Fazl, Arabic Text and English Translation Arranged Chronologically with an Abstract (Allahabad). Mirza Abul Fazl (1865–1956), was a native of Allahabad, India. He was the first Muslim to present a translation of the Qur'an in to English along with the original Arabic text.
  • The Holy Qur'an (1917, 4th rev. ed. 1951) by Maulana Muhammad 'Ali, an Ahmadi Muslim scholar of the Qur'an, Hadith and religion of Islam, and author of several widely read books on these topics. 'Ali gives copious explanatory notes, introductions to each chapter, and a general preface-introduction of nearly 70 pages.
  • The Meaning of the Glorious Qur'an (1930) by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall. An English convert to Islam penned this translation at the behest of the Emir of Hyderabad while on a sojourn in India. Pickthall's widely printed translation was regarded as "an important milestone in the long course of Koranic interpretation" by later esteemed Qur'an translator A.J. Arberry, who also noted a few problems with Pickthall's verse numbering, which deviated in places from what had by then become the standard Arabic edition by Gustav Fluegel.
  • The Qur'an: Translated, with a Critical Re-arrangement of the Surahs (1937–39) by Richard Bell. Published by Edinburgh University Press. A. J. Arberry, in the preface to his own translation of the Qur'an, notes: "Dr Bell was a most erudite scholar of Arabic, and had devoted many years to his 'critical re-arrangement of the Surahs [chapters]'.... He quite literally took the Koran to pieces and put it together again, his meticulous reconstruction extending as far as individual verses and even parts of verses. As he set up his translation in a kind of tabular form to indicate his views of how the discourse originally ran, it is virtually unreadable; certainly one needs to have some detailed knowledge of the text in order to benefit by the arduous exercise of studying his hard-laboured pages."
  • The Koran Interpreted (1955) by Arthur Arberry. The first English translation by an academic scholar of Arabic, Islam and Sufism. For many years the scholarly standard for English translations, this rendering of the Qur'an makes a special attempt to reproduce something of the rhythms and cadence of the Arabic original.
  • The Koran (1956) by N. J. Dawood is published by Penguin. Dawood, a native Arabic speaker from Iraq's now defunct Jewish community, is said to have preferred comprehensibility to literalism in translation, making his version comparatively easy to read. The first edition of the Dawood translation rearranged the chapters (suras) into more or less chronological order, but later editions restored the traditional sequence.
  • Tafsir-ul-Quran (1957) by the Indian scholar Abdul Majid Daryabadi is a translation with commentary. Daryabadi criticizes the scriptures of other religions, such as the Christian Bible, claiming they have not been transmitted faithfully.
  • The Running Commentary of the Holy Qur-an with Under-Bracket Comments (1964). Dr. Khadim Rahmani Nuri of Shillong, India.
  • The Message of the Qur'an: Presented in Perspective (1974) by Dr. Hashim Amir Ali. The suras are presented in chronological order.
  • The Holy Qur'an: The Arabic Text and English Translation (1981), by Muhammad Sarwar, a Shi'a Muslim cleric.
  • The Qur'an: The First American Version (1985); by Dr. Thomas Ballantyne Irving / T.B. Irving (Al Hajj Ta'lim Ali Abu Nasr), Dr Irving is a Canadian Muslim who is an author, professor, translator (Arabic, Spanish) and activist. His English-only edition uses a North American vernacular. Published by Amana Books, Brattleboro, Vermont.
  • The Holy Qur'an (1988) by Syed V. Mir Ahmed Ali. A translation used by English-speaking Shi'ite Muslims.
  • Quran: The Final Testament (1992; revision of work first published in 1981) is the work of the controversial teacher and computer scientist Rashad Khalifa. Khalifa claimed that he had used mathematics and computers to find hidden meanings in the Qur'an.
  • The Noble Qur'an (1992); by Dr. T. B. (Thomas Ballantyne) Irving (Al Hajj Ta'lim Ali Abu Nasr). Arabic text with English translation and commentary by Dr. Irving. Published by Amana Books, Brattleboro, Vermont.
  • The Glorious Qur'an (1993), a joint translation by the Egyptian-born UK resident Dr. Ahmad Zidan and the British Muslim convert Mrs. Dina Zidan.
  • A Simple Translation of The Holy Quran (1993), by Dr. Mir Aneesuddin. This translation uses Simple English, also called Basic English. It is published by the Islamic Academy of Sciences, Hyderabad, India.
  • The Glorious Qur'an (1999 through 2013), by Dr. Syed Vickar Ahamed, is a simple translation meant for young adults seeking divine and eternal guidance to live a healthy, honest, complete and pious life. Published by the New York based publisher Tahirke Tarsile Qur'an. Translation is approved by Al-Azhar, Islamic Research Academy, Cairo, Egypt (1998, and again in 2004) and by Pusat Islam, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (1999, See KDN.Q.03/913/1.2/0/65/1999). First published in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 1999 in full color by TR Group of Companies (ISBN 983-40085-03). Since then, there are eight editions and numerous printings by in the US by Al-Furqaan Foundation, Lombard, Illinois (ISBN 0-9773009-2-7, 978-9773009-2-1) and by Tahirke Tarsile Qur'an, Elmhurst, New York (ISBN 978-1879402-68-3). It is available throughout the world.
  • The Holy Qur'an (1997) by Saheeh International is a translation by three American women converts. It is published by the Dar Abul Qasim Publishing House, Saudi Arabia.
  • Al-Qur'an: Guidance for Mankind (1997) by M. Farooq-e-Azam Malik.
  • Towards Understanding the Ever-glorious Qur'an (1997) was translated by Dr Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali, faculty of languages and translation, Al-Azhar University, and published by Cairo: Publishing House for Universities.
  • The Qur'an (1999) by Mohammedali Habib Shakir is an English translation directed towards Shia Muslims. It is published in New York by Tahirke Tarsile Qur'an.
  • The Noble Qur'an: A New Rendering of Its Meaning in English (1999) by Abdalhaqq Bewley and Aisha Bewley. The husband-and-wife team behind this translation are disciples of Abdalqadir as-Sufi. They have also translated the Muwatta of Imam Malik, Tafsir al-Qurtubi, and the Ash-Shifa of Qadi Iyad.
  • The Quran: A Poetic Translation (1999), a recent work by the Iranian-born lecturer, translator and linguist Fazlollah Nikayin, attempts a poetic rendering of the Qur'an.

21st century translations

  • Translation and Commentary on The Holy Quran (2000), a 1,256 page work by the Indian-Bengali translator Dr. Zohurul Hoque.
  • The Majestic Qur'an: An English Rendition of Its Meanings (2000) was translated by a committee that included the Cambridge professor Timothy Winter, the American Muslim writer Uthman Hutchinson, and Mostafa al-Badawi. It is published by Starlatch Press.
  • The Qur'an in Persian and English (Bilingual Edition, 2001) features an English translation by the Iranian poet and author Tahere Saffarzadeh.
  • The Qur'an (2002), by the UK-based Afghan-born writer M. J. Gohari, is an Oxford Logos Society imprint.
  • The Tajwidi Qur'an (2003) is a translation by an American Muslim convert, Nooruddeen Durkee. It presents the Arabic text using a romanized transliteration system that allows English-speaking readers to pronounce the Arabic. The English translation is an amalgamation of other translations.
  • The Qur’an with an English Paraphrase (2003), a translation by Indian-born Sayyid Ali Quli Qara'i, is an imprint of the Iranian Centre for Translation of the Holy Qur'an.
  • The Qur'an: A New Translation (2004) by a well-known California-based translator of numerous Buddhist works, Dr. Thomas Cleary. Based on an earlier, partial translation, which was highly praised by the famous American Muslim scholar Hamza Yusuf.
  • The Quran: A Reformist Translation (2007), is a recent translation by the team of Edip Yuksel, Layth Saleh al-Shaiban, and Martha Schulte-Nafeh. They claim to offer a non-sexist understanding of the text.
  • The Sublime Qur'an (2007) is by the Chicago-based scholar Laleh Bakhtiar, an American Shi'a.
  • The Qur'an with Annotated Interpretation in Modern English (2007) by Ali Ünal. The translator is a member of the Gülen Movement, a Turkish Islamic group.
  • Quran Made Easy (2007) is a translation by Mufti Afzal Hoosen Elias.
  • The Gracious Qur'an: A Modern Phrased Interpretation in English (2008) by Dr. Ahmad Zaki Hammad, of Egypt's Al-Azhar University.
  • The Message - A Translation of the Glorious Qur'an (2008) was translated by the Monotheistic Group, which claims to be a group of progressive Muslims.
  • The Generous Qur’an (2009) is a translation by Usama Dakdok, an Arabic-speaking Christian.
  • The Quran: Translation and Commentary with Parallel Arabic Text (2009) by Maulana Wahiduddin Khan. Published in India.
  • The Holy Qur'an: Guidance for Life (2010) is a translation by the American Muslim writer Yahiya Emerick, who has also published the Complete Idiot's Guide to Understanding Islam.
  • The Qur'an (2011), translated into American English by the Bangalore resident Nazeer Ahmed.
  • The Qur'an as It Explains Itself (5th edition, Mar 2012) is a translation by Dr. Shabbir Ahmed that attempts to explain Qur'anic verses by cross-references within the Qur'an.[2]
  • The Wise Qur'an: A Modern English Translation (2012) is a translation by the Chicago-based writer and lecturer Dr. Assad Nimer Busool.
  • Quran in English: Clear and Easy to Read (2012). Translated by Talal Itani. Published by ClearQuran.
  • What is in the Quran? Message of the Quran in Simple English (2013). Translated by Professor Abdur Raheem Kidwai, Aligarh Muslim University. Published by Viva Books, New Delhi, India. ISBN 978-81-309-2363-5.
  • Holy Qur'an: Text & Translation. (2014) An ongoing, partially published translation, translated by Yasin T. al-Jibouri, an Iraqi-American writer, editor and translator who also previously worked on editing various translations of Qur'an.

Translations from Urdu into English

  • Exposition of the Holy Quran (1996) by Ghulam Ahmed Pervez is an English rendering of the 1961 Urdu translation, Mafhum-al-Quran.
  • The Holy Qur'an (2005), by Allamah Nooruddin, is an English rendition of Allamah's Urdu translation by two of Allamah's modern-day disciples, Amatul Rahman Omar and Abdul Mannan.


  1. ^ Reading Islam's Holy Book by Eric Walberg, Al-Ahram Weekly, 20–26 September 2007 Issue No. 863
  2. ^ The Qur'an as it explains itself, 5th Edition, March 2012

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