1. #1

    Which version of the Qu'ran should I buy?

    I'm not sure if I should post this in 'Fun Stuff' or in 'General Off-Topic,' if it is in the wrong forum, please feel free to move it.

    For Christmas I am getting someone a copy of the Qu'ran, but upon looking on Amazon, it appears that there are many different versions. I'm not sure which one is the best, nor can I tell the difference from an original and a revised Qu'ran. I'd like to get this person an original (literal) translation that is of good quality and relatively inexpensive?

    Links to the Amazon.com product would be greatly appreciated. Thanks everyone in advance for your help!

  2. #2
    The Unstoppable Force RICH816's Avatar
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    My advice would be to phone your local mosque or even take a visit down there, they may even give you one for free.

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  4. #4
    The Lightbringer Istaril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RICH1471 View Post
    My advice would be to phone your local mosque or even take a visit down there, they may even give you one for free.
    The difficulty I see arising there is that it might not be in English.

  5. #5
    Fluffy Kitten Tribunal's Avatar
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    If you're getting them a Quran because they are already a believer, an Arabic edition might be preferred, or at least one with a side by side translation. Translations aren't technically considered valid (similar to the Bible actually), although most more modern believers have of course lessened that somewhat.

    Otherwise, why are you getting them a Quran, other than possibly as a joke/to be a dick? If that's the case, there are plenty of free sources. I actually got one of my nicest copies totally for free, it's one that would be.. sufficient for either scenario, although more suitable for the first.

    Edit: And if it's just "they're curious/they'd enjoy reading it anyways", well then again, one of the free editions might suffice. I fall in that camp personally, but I wouldn't nec want it as a Christmas gift. More "Hey I found this site where you can request a copy for free" or something, as a casual aside.
    Last edited by Tribunal; 2012-12-12 at 02:29 PM.

  6. #6
    Am I the only one that noticed that he is getting someone the Qur'an... for christmas?

  7. #7
    The Unstoppable Force RICH816's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chief Brouhaha View Post
    Am I the only one that noticed that he is getting someone the Qur'an... for christmas?
    Why not? I have read it and I am not a Muslim.

  8. #8
    Elemental Lord Dezerte's Avatar
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    I've been thinking about getting myself a copy of various religious books, but I've wondered how I'm supposed to know which ones are the "correct" ones? And by that I mean the closest to the original or literal as possible.

    (Because there are different versions afaik, right?)
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  9. #9
    The Lightbringer Istaril's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dezerte View Post
    I've been thinking about getting myself a copy of various religious books, but I've wondered how I'm supposed to know which ones are the "correct" ones? And by that I mean the closest to the original or literal as possible.

    (Because there are different versions afaik, right?)
    Nah, not even the Bible is anywhere close to the original, it'll have been constantly edited and mistranslated by various churches over the centuries, hell, even the idea of Lucifer being the devil only popped up in the 5th century, and that's reckoned to be a mistranslation of a Persian king of some sort.

  10. #10
    The Lightbringer N-7's Avatar
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    Any Quran will suffice provided you can read Arabic. If what you're looking for is an English translation alongside the Arabic text then I am not really sure which one you should get since translation usually comes with interoperation and it differs between different sects.

    My advice would be to buy a strictly Arabic/English translation Quran.

  11. #11
    It's not a matter of 'more correct' vs 'less correct'. It's not like you flip through the Quran and find that Sura 9:5 is missing for a version printed in Germany. What you'll find is difference in interpretation between sects: does that verse refer to the lesser or greater jihad (internal struggle to improve yourself vs external struggle to improve society). You'll also find differences in translation. Arabic doesn't map neatly to english so there will be some opinion about which version most closely captures the original ideas. There are also some words or phrases that don't translate well across time (ie: imagine a book describing heaven as 'cool' -- if it's written in 1975 that means one thing, if it's written in 350 then it means another. How do you translate that into French? Froid or calme?). Do that in reverse to see why a translation might change or drift over time. The meanings of words, especially in english, have shifting meanings and so a reasonable translation from 1650 could be 'less accurate' for modern English speakers simply because the target words and phrases don't mean what the used to.

    The more a translator works to clean up those sorts of problems, the more you're going to find the translators imagination imposed on the text. A good translator moves ideas, not just words, across time and space.

    When dealing with religious texts you need to consider what the purpose of the reader is. If you're looking for poetry and music then you're probably stuck learning the original language or accepting that the author is going to take a fair bit of liberty in order to ensure the imagery translates to create the feeling. If the book describes a "struggling horse" the meaning changes drastically depending on if you use a phrase like "caged mustang" or "tired workhorse". If you're looking a 1:1 word mapping so that "horse" = "cheval" (or whatever) then you'll need to do that mapping of imagery yourself. If you're considering a culture that you have some experience with - you've studied history and grown up in a muslim household - then you might have the context needed to do that without the help of a translator. For somebody with relatively little experience with the culture it might not be possible to do effectively. You end up reading the words but not actually communicating properly.

    The question then isn't a matter of 'most correct' because nobody can answer that for you. Even if you're reading the arabic version: the words and the meaning you assign to them based on your context, experience, and knowledge of the period are going to shape what you get out of it. Reading the Quran doesn't mean you know Islam, and it doesn't mean you know Muslims - you just know (roughly, mostly) the book they consider scripture. The important part happens once /they/ have read it and interpreted it, and turned that all into ideas. Even reading the exact same arabic version you'll find muslims who disagree on what is actually said, and you're going to be in the same situation. Part of the reason religious discussion rarely works on the internet is because each group in a debate tries to assert the superiority of their interpretation and tries to impose it on the other who rejects it as incorrect. Atheists say "Jesus said to hate your parents! its right there in Luke!" and a Christian will respond saying "it's only hate by comparison to how much you love Jesus. He also said to love your neighbors like yourself: it's right there in Matt!"

    Both parties are arguing that one set of ideas are better justified by the text. The only way to make sense of that is to understand why each group makes that assertion and work to understand why they came up with that idea. Our imaginary atheist would say "it's in the text, i'm not taking it out of context - its obvious that you read what it says and act accordingly. No thinking or you muddy the text!" and the imaginary Christian would respond by saying "Look at the wider story arc: you've got a guy who spoke almost exclusively in parable, who command you to give your shirt to a guy who robbed from you. It's obvious universal love is his message." That level of interpretation isn't in any religious text - you need to do it yourself.

    For the OP:
    I have this translation which I got as a gift from a friend who majored in religion. The arabic version is presented along side the english version. I also have this english only version that I bought for a course on western religions: I can't read arabic so it's not a loss and it makes the book a little easier to flip through.

    Most muslims will argue that you need to read it in arabic to get the full effect and so the majority come with the arabic version on one page and the translation on the other (or printed line-by-line one above the other). I'm not about to do that so a contemporary english translation works best for me. I keep in mind that when I'm reading a book like the quran that's been translated on my behalf that I'm getting the original text run through the author's head. It's one possible take, not the authoritative one. When I speak with a muslim about their faith I remember that while I have the basic sayings and story to draw from as common background material, I need to understand how they've interpreted it -- so I draw that out of them rather than trying to assert the dominance of my understanding. If that's your friend's purpose too, then you might want a version that only has the English - it's lighter and easier to flip through.
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  12. #12
    The Qu'ran is really, really hard to read, especially if you're not familiar with Arabic culture and Islamic history. It's not like the Bible, which is basically a series of stories in roughly chronological order. The chapters (suras) of the Qu'ran are arranged from longest to shortest and they jump from topic to topic a lot.

  13. #13
    Herald of the Titans Asmodias's Avatar
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    I like the idea of asking the local mosque. I'm not one to read religious texts, but it seems to me that the members of a mosque would be a good starting place for this kind of knowledge. I wish you luck in your search.
    Last edited by Wikiy; 2012-12-12 at 11:00 PM.


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  14. #14
    The Lightbringer malletin's Avatar
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    there are versions which have side by side translations meaning one side of the page is written in Arabic while the other side is english ( or which ever language you happen to be looking for ) i think thats the safest bet unless the person is well-versed in the arabic language in which case a arabic version is the best bet.
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  15. #15
    Free Food!?!?! Tziva's Avatar
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    Muslims believe that the true Qur'an is accessible only in the original Arabic. That's not to say some translations aren't better than others and that it can't be utilised while learning. I think the ones translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali are considered especially reputable, but I don't know Arabic so I can't say for certain. Look for something published by an Arabic, Muslim or Qur'an-only publisher, rather than something done by a popular multi-genre publisher, and something with Arabic/English side-by-side.

    Years and years ago there used to be a non-profit group that would send free Qur'ans to anyone who requested. I have two and they are absolutely beautiful, high quality books.
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  16. #16
    There are better fairy tales currently available on the market. Try Alice in Wonderland or Eragon.

    Infracted: Please refrain from insulting religious beliefs.
    Last edited by Wikiy; 2012-12-12 at 11:03 PM.

  17. #17
    Fluffy Kitten Wikiy's Avatar
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    Warning: Any further posts insulting Muslim beliefs will be infracted. Also, don't bring up the Bible.

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