Methodology

This is a very lengthy subject and I am not presuming to give a full methodology. I simply want to draw attention to a few important issues.

  • Be faithful to the original text and try not to impose your interpretation as much as possible. Where there are multiple meanings possible indicate that in parenthesis or in a footnote.
  • If something is ‘assumed’ in the Arabic text and cannot be similarly rendered in English, include the extra explanatory words in square brackets. The larger point here is that make sure the text reads well and flows in English.
  • Indicate unmodified (verbatim) and modified Qur’ānic quotations in the original text and the translation. (Refer to section on referencing Qur’ānic quotes above for details).
  • Where synonyms are used in Arabic texts, it is many times the case that each synonym adds something to the text. I feel scholars must be conscious of this while translating.
  • If you have the expertise and the time, you can follow in the footsteps of some scholars who also try to ‘translate’ or convey the rhyme and rhythm of the original text. (Shawkat Toorawa has done this for a few sūrahs of the Qur’ān and published an article about it in the Journal of Qur’ānic Studies)

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