Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of The Glorious Koran. An Explanatory Translation (1930)

Translator’s Foreword

The aim of this work is to present to English readers what Muslims the world over hold to be the meaning of the words of the Koran, and the nature of that Book, in not unworthy language and concisely, with a view to the requirements of English Muslims. It may be reasonably claimed that no Holy Scripture can fairly presented by one who disbelieves its inspiration and its message; and this is the first English translation of the koran by an Englishman who is a Muslim. Some of the translations include commentation offensive to Muslims, and almost all employ a style of language which Muslims at once recognise as unworthy. The oran annt be translated. That is the belief of old-fashioned Sheykhs and the view of the present writer. The Book is here rendered almost literally and every effort has been made to choose befitting language. But the result is not the Glorious Koran, that inimitable symphony, the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy. It is only an attempt to present the meaning of the Koran – and peradventure something of the charm – in English. It can never take the place of the Koran in Arabic, nor is it meant to do so.

Before publication the work has been scrutinised word by word and thoroughly revised in Egypt with the help of one whose mother-tongue is Arabic, who has studied the Koran and who knows English; and when difficulties were encountered the translator had recourse to perhaps the greatest living authority on the subject. Every care has thus been taken to avoid unwarrantable renderings. On the one or two occasions where there is departure from the traditional interpretation, the traditional rendering will be found in a footnote.

The translator’s tanks are due to Lord Lloyd for an introduction of great use in Egypt; to Dr. F. Krenkow for supplying him with old meanings of Arabbic words not to bbe found in dictionaries; to Muhammad Ahamad Al-Ghamrawi Bey o the Cairo ollege of Medicine for his invaluable and patient help with the revision of the maunscript, a work which occupied three months; the the Sheykh Mustafa


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Marmaduke Pickthall, The Meaning of The Glorious Koran. An Explanatory Translation, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, Consulted online at “Quran Archive - Texts and Studies on the Quran” on 27 Sep. 2022: