Recommend me a Koran

EddEdd Registered User regular
For years I've wanted to get to know this seemingly pretty damned important book, but the main barrier has been that I know very little about the Koran's translation history. Diving into a holy text is fraught with complications surrounding the "legitimacy" of different translations, so I wondered if you guys might be able to point me in the right direction.

So, in short, I want to know what version of the Koran I should commit to.

A couple of things to help set up my needs here:

* I'm approaching the Koran purely as literature. I'm about as non-religious as they come, so this is mostly me trying to understand an important cultural artifact.
* I'm not daunted by having to actually read the thing, so I'm not looking for an "Idiot's Guide" style solution, though I'd definitely be willing to hear suggestions for companion books that offer some useful critical context.
* EBooks preferred.

I think that's enough to get me started. Are there other things I should know before I decide on a translation?

Zilla360

Posts

  • GnizmoGnizmo Registered User regular
    There is no official or fully accepted translation. I forget the term they use for it but it basically becomes a near holy document. They maintain it in it's original language to maintain it's purity.

    Your best bet is to go to a local mosque and ask for some recommendations on versions you could read. They will probably have some set suggestions, and you can talk to them and feel out what kind of translation that particular person would prefer. If you want to parse out all religious bias you will have to learn to read Arabic basically. The good and bad news is a lot of the stories are substantially similar to what you know. For example they have the whole Jesus arc in a way, but he does not die for Allah would never allow his prophet to be humiliated in such a way.

    Echo
  • Ebola ColaEbola Cola Registered User regular
    Historians Lapidus and Hourani both recommend A. J. Arberry's The Koran Interpreted (Lapidus writes: "a vivid but not always literal translation"). More literal translations (via Lapidus): J. M. Rodwell (1939) and E. H. Palmer (1951), both titled The Koran.

    The "Oxford World's Classic" translation, by M. A. S. Abdel Haleem is #1 on Amazon, and has a kindle version.

    Julius
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    I don't speak Arabic, so I'm not exactly an expert, but this is my copy and I'm very happy with it. It has lots of helpful notes and so on. I have the physical copy, so I can't speak to the Kindle version, but a Kindle version exists.

  • mRahmanimRahmani DetroitRegistered User regular
    Gnizmo wrote: »
    There is no official or fully accepted translation. I forget the term they use for it but it basically becomes a near holy document. They maintain it in it's original language to maintain it's purity.

    This is more or less correct - because a translation can never fully grasp the nuance of the original language, only the original, unaltered Arabic text is considered the "true" Quran. That said, you're just looking for a translation. I have a couple at home, I'll see if I can find the one I'm thinking of tonight that's a bit easier to read than most. There's a tendency on the part of most translations to go very heavy on Ye Olde English pronouns and writing style, which seems pretty silly to me.

  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    mRahmani wrote: »
    Gnizmo wrote: »
    There is no official or fully accepted translation. I forget the term they use for it but it basically becomes a near holy document. They maintain it in it's original language to maintain it's purity.

    This is more or less correct - because a translation can never fully grasp the nuance of the original language, only the original, unaltered Arabic text is considered the "true" Quran. That said, you're just looking for a translation. I have a couple at home, I'll see if I can find the one I'm thinking of tonight that's a bit easier to read than most. There's a tendency on the part of most translations to go very heavy on Ye Olde English pronouns and writing style, which seems pretty silly to me.

    That seems to be common across holy texts. "Thee" and "thou" don't mean anything when it comes to finding a close translation; it just means the translation is either old or purposefully overcomplicated for a modern reader.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
    JuliusEcho
  • FantasmaFantasma Registered User regular
    It is good idea to consider a Koran with footnotes, but I am not sure if such version exists. When I studied the bible, I consulted many sources to try to understand the meaning of many verses, names and places.

    Scholars consider the Hadiths a complementary, and books such as the following can help understand the culture:
    http://www.amazon.com/Unseen-Face-Islam-Bill-Musk/dp/1854246046/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448333911&sr=8-1&keywords=the+unseen+face+of+islam

    Good luck

    Hear my warnings, unbelievers. We have raised altars in this land so that we may sacrifice you to our gods. There is no hope in opposing the inevitable. Put down your arms, unbelievers, and bow before the forces of Chaos!
  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu PIGEON IndiaRegistered User regular
    Fantasma wrote: »
    It is good idea to consider a Koran with footnotes, but I am not sure if such version exists. When I studied the bible, I consulted many sources to try to understand the meaning of many verses, names and places.

    Scholars consider the Hadiths a complementary, and books such as the following can help understand the culture:
    http://www.amazon.com/Unseen-Face-Islam-Bill-Musk/dp/1854246046/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1448333911&sr=8-1&keywords=the+unseen+face+of+islam

    Good luck
    The Koran I suggested has footnotes.

  • joshgotrojoshgotro Queen CityRegistered User regular
    Ebola Cola wrote: »
    Historians Lapidus and Hourani both recommend A. J. Arberry's The Koran Interpreted (Lapidus writes: "a vivid but not always literal translation").

    Seconding this one. So good.

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