Muhammad Asad, The Message of the Qur’ān; Translated and Explained by Muhammad Asad (1980)
animosity, being fully aware of the element of relativity inherent in all human reasoning, and of each other’s integrity. And they were fully aware, too, of the Prophet’s profound saying, “The differences of opinion (ikhtilāf) among the learned men of my community are [an outcome of] divine grace (raḥmah)” – which clearly implies that such differences of opinion are the basis of all progress in human thinking and, therefore, a most potent factor in man’s acquisition of knowledge.
But although none of the truly original, classical Qurʾān-commentators ever made any claim to “finality” concerning his own interpretations, it cannot be often enough stressed that without the work of those incomparably great scholars of past centuries, no modern translation of the Qurʾān – my own included – could ever be undertaken with any hope of success; and so, even where I differ from their interpretations, I am immeasurably indebted to their learning for the impetus it has given to my own search after truth.
As regards the style of my translation, I have consciously avoided using unnecessary archaisms, which would only tend to obscure the meaning of the Qurʾān to the contemporary reader. On the other hand, I did not see any necessity of rendering the Qurʾanic phrases into a deliberately “modern” idiom, which would conflict with the spirit of the Arabic original and jar upon any ear attuned to the solemnity inherent in the concept of revelation. With all this, however, I make no claim to having reproduced anything of the indescribable rhythm and rhetoric of the Qurʾān. No one who has truly experienced its majestic beauty could ever be presumptuous enough to make such a claim or even to embark upon such an attempt.
And I am fully aware that my rendering does not and could not really “do justice” to the Qurʾān and the layers upon layers of its meaning: for,