General points

  • End vowels—You’ll notice that while these systems vocalize through the word the end vocalization is not transmitted. This end vocalization is quite important when transliterating verses of poetry where the conformity of the verse to the set meters relies on the end vowels and also in the case of Qur’ānic verses. Where this is needed, one way is to ‘superscript’ the end vowel:

Frequently used Arabic names and terms
—It is also important to standardize how you deal with frequently used Arabic names and terms. With a few exceptions all proper names and terms must be transliterated. Proper names are not italicized but are capitalized, i.e. ‘Alī, Muṣṭafā, Zaynab. Other than that all terms are italicized i.e. sunnah, qaṣīdah. There are exceptions though; it is unusual to find Muḥammad or Allāh transliterated, most authors simply write Allah and Muhammad. Or terms that are anglicized such as Qur’an and not Qur’ān, or Sufi instead of Ṣūfī The decision is usually guided by the frequency of the usage of the term. If you use it abundantly, then after the first instance (where you would transliterate it) you may decide to anglicize it. You must also decide the terms that you want to capitalize, such as Qur’ān, Ḥadīth, Sharī ͨah etc and which ones you don’t want to italicize. Whatever you do, be consistent. Decide from the onset what you will transliterate, what you will capitalize, what you won’t italicize and what you will anglicize.

  • Find and Replace—In my thesis on the Taḥmīd (praise preambles) I had initially decided to anglicize Tahmid because I used it a zillion times. However towards the end I thought it was better to simply transliterate everything. The advantage we have now is that we can find and replace in MS word and most other word-processing software. Simply find the un-transliterated word (Tahmid in my case) and replace with the transliterated and italicized word (Taḥmīd), and press replace all. You can do this with words you use very frequently so that it doesn’t slow down your typing speed while initially writing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *