The Muslim News (UK)

An innovative way of understanding the Quran

Published 28 December 2018

By Rumman Ahmed

Over the decades, I have read many English translations of the Qur’an, all translators strived to produce the meaning of the Qur’an in clear English. The Majestic Qur’an: A Plain English Translation is translated by Dr Musharraf Hussain, a British Pakistani scholar with over 40 years expertise in Arabic, Urdu and English translations of the Qur’an.

This translation (approved by Dar Al-Iftaa of Al-Azhar) gives a more nuanced and clearer idea of the meaning and context of the surahs. To the credit of Dr Hussain, author of the popular Let’s Learn Islam school textbook series, has been able to render the meaning of the Qur’an in plain and contemporary English suitable for the modern world.

The topical headings highlight the major themes and content of the text. They help in better understanding of what one is reading, especially when sometimes the topic flits from one ayah to another. According to Dr Hussain, the headings are not there to “dictate the interpretation” but to assist in contextualising the passages, allowing “the Qur’an to speak for itself. I believe this is a very powerful way that allows the reader to have a true taste of the Qur’an, to see and to read Allah’s message.”

I found the presentation of verse by verse translation confusing and was unable to fully grasp the narrative in the first reading, but thanks to Dr Hussain’s innovative introduction of topical headings can understand and read through the text, it sounds like a story or a narrative. I also understand the context and smoothly surf through the flow of the narrative. Dr Hussain explains, “I wanted to produce a translation that is reader-friendly, free-flowing, eloquent and accurate”.

The introduction to each surah contextualises the time of its revelation and its major themes. In the margin of the Arabic text page, there is a unique “thought” exhortation and reflective question for the reader to ponder upon for one’s day to day living. It makes you think through the verses and the contents of the translation opposite. This is an interesting feature which no doubt will make many readers pause and ponder.

I believe these innovative features will explain the meaning of the Qur’an to a new generation of English readers. So, I strongly recommend Muslim parents to gift The Majestic Qur’an to children and loved ones. Don’t forget to make a gift to non-Muslims who will love this well-crafted translation easily. Hopefully, careful reading and understanding Dr Hussain’s competently done translation will assist us in this process. And may Allah reward the translator for all his hard work and enable and reward the readers in their strivings too.

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