SOAS University of London

Centre of Islamic Studies

The Qur'an: A new translation


The Qur'an: A new translation
by M.A.S Abdel Haleem, published by Oxford University Press 2004

"One of the best (translations) to have appeared in recent times"
Muslim News

"accessible and compelling...a remarkable achievement"
New Statesman

The Qur'an: A new translation was launched on Thursday 13th May 2004 in the Brunei Gallery, School of Oriental and African Studies, presided over by its Director and Principal, Professor Colin Bundy. Guest speakers were HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan and Professor David Ford, Regius Professor of Divinity in the University of Cambridge, who relayed a message of support from the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Willams. 250 people attended among whom were academics, diplomats and members from the media.

The Qur'an is the supreme authority in Islam and the living source of all Islamic teaching. It is the fundamental and paramount source of the creed, rituals, ethics and laws of the Islamic religion.

It is the book that 'differentiates' between right and wrong, so that nowadays, when the Muslim world is dealing with such universal issues as globalisation, the environment, combating terrorism and drugs, issues of medical ethics, and feminism, evidence to support the various arguments is sought in the Qur'an. This supreme status stems from the belief that the Qur'an is the word of God, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad via the archangel Gabriel over 1,400 years ago, intended for all times and places.

Recognised as the greatest literary masterpiece in Arabic, it has nevertheless remained difficult to understand in its English translations. This new translation is written in a contemporary idiom that remains faithful to the original, making it easy to read while retaining some of its powers of eloquence.

Professor Haleem 'has managed to transform the complex grammar and structure of the holy book into a form of modern English which reads easily and flows smoothly without taking liberties with the inviolable text. This turns the Qur'an into a book which allows English speakers to peer further into the heart of Islam, from its basic precepts on, say, fasting to its view of the after-life. This is crucial , not just for the growing majority of Muslims who do not speak Arabic as a first language, but for non-Muslims who are curious about this controversial religion.'
(The Economist, May 22-28 2004)


HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan