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International Indexed & Refereed Research Journal, ISSN 0975-3486, (Print) E-ISSN-2320-5482, July,2013 VOL-IV *ISSUE- 46

Research Paper—Humanities

Two Major Translators of the Qur'an: Ali, Abdullah Yusuf, & Pickthall, Muhammad Marmaduke July ,2013

* Dr. Sadique Mansuri

* Dept of Humanities ,School of Engineering & Technology, Vikram University ujjain were expressed about his views on miracles and Ali, Abdullah Yusuf (1872-1953) Abdullah Yusuf Ali was born in a Bohra family eschatology and his predilection for branding the at Surat in India. He was the second son of Yusuf Ali Qur'anic account of the joys of Paradise and of the Allahbuksh. His father was an official in Surat's police perdition in Hell as merely symbolic or metaphorical." force. His father chose a separate route for Ali's edu- (Kidwai 06) cation. Yusuf Ali was sent away from Surat to Bombay, Yusuf Ali followed certain techniques and strategies in to attend the new school founded by the Anjuman-e- his translation. These techniques and strategies may Islam and then a missionory school in 1882. Ali re- be summarized as follows : ceived his education at the Universities of Bombay, 1. Preparation of a preface and an introduction in which he comments on the meanings of the Holy Qur'an, Cambridge and Lincoln's Inn, London. Yusuf Ali apits style and the difficulties encountered by the plied for the Indian Civil Service (ICS) open competitranslator. tion examination. Yusuf Ali showed his superior wit by obtaining top marks in the examination. He was se- 2. Each Surah is preceded by a text written in free verse with the aim of preparing the reader for the running lected for the Indian Civil Service (ICS) in British India. commentary followed by an introduction to the He was also a lecturer at the School of Oriental and subject. African Studies, University of London from 1917 to 3. Where the Surahs are short, one or two paragraphs 1919. He was also a Principal of Islamic College, Lahore. of "rhythmic commentary" are provided in order to In April 1934 the first part of his ambitious prepare the reader for the text. Where ever they are undertaking the English translation of the Qur'an, along long, the subject matter is introduced in the commen with an extensive commentary came out, which was tary from time to time, each indicating Surahs the completed in 1937. His translation The Meaning of The particular Ayah to which it refers. Illustrious Qur'an became the most popular English version among Muslims. After this, his translation has 2. Pickthall, Muhammad Marmaduke Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall was the son been reprinted a record number of times from all parts of Reverend Charles Grayson Pickthall. Pickthall was a of the world. More than 200 editions of his translation have been published. Yusuf Ali was gifted with an writer, novelist, linguist, journalist, religious and politieloquent writing style. He sought to convey the music cal leader. He was a sickly child who suffered from and richness of the Arabic with poetic English bronchitis. His illness prevented him from pursuing a versification.There are more than 6000 explanatory number of careers in both the Army and the Consular services. Pickthall was always a great lover of Islam. notes in his translation. Yusuf Ali's rendering of the Qur'an was pub- When he became a Muslim in 1914, it was regarded less lished in instalments between 1934 and 1937. Though as conversion than as self-discovery. He received his he continued to write articles and reviews on a variety early education at Harrow. His close association with of topics for at least seven years "It has made his name the Druzes of Mount Lebanon and his study of Arabic instantly recognisable in the English-speaking Muslim induced in him love for Islam and Muslims. In 1919, he world. The commentary took the form of over six thou- served as the Imam of Working Mosque, Surrey and sand footnotes to the translation, numerous appendi- edited Islamic Review. It was during this period that he realized the ces and a running interpretation written in the style of need for a suitable English translation of the Qur'an, as blank verse." (Sherif 173) Abdulla Yusuf Ali born and brought up in the colonial he found the Qadyani Muhammad Ali's translation British India, smacks of pseudo-rationalism and apolo- erroneous. The Nizam of Hyderabad, India, offered him gia in his elucidation of many Qur'anic terms and con- a job in the state education service and sponsored his cepts. (Kidwai 06) This explains why, notwithstanding translation. In consultation with al-Azhar ulama, promithe phenomenal popularity of his work, "reservations nently, Mustafa al-Maraghi, he finalized his English translation of the Qur'an The Meaning of the Glorious



International Indexed & Refereed Research Journal, ISSN 0975-3486, (Print) E-ISSN-2320-5482, July,2013 VOL-IV *ISSUE- 46

Koran which was published first in 1930. Pickthall edited Islamic journals and wrote extesively on various aspects of Islam. Since its first appearance in 1930 upto this day, Pickthall's translation has been warmly and widely received. It has been issued from almost every part of the world. With the ever-increasing number of English-speaking Muslims, his translation has been frequently re-issued, more than 80 editions in the last twenty years. Pickthall was a strong and eloquent proponent of Islam and its varied cultures. Yet Pickthall's background assumed an adherence to the rule of the Church of England. Pickthal's father and his grandfather were clergymen. His two step-sisters were Anglican nuns. In 1920 Pickthall came India to serve as the editor of the Bombay Chronicle, In 1927 he took over as editor of Islamic Culture. Pickthall gave eight lectures on Islam in the series "Madras lectures on Islam." Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall's was a luminous, steadily progressing personality which impressed all who came into contact with him. Pickthall was a man of discreet charity, the extent of whose generosity was only discovered after his death. A distinctive feature of Pickthall's translation is its faithfulness to the original. Unlike his contemporary, Abdullah Yusuf Ali, he does not paraphrase the meaning. Rather, he adheres closely to the Qur'anic text and in so doing he manages to avoid the shortcomings of literal translation. Being a native speaker of English, Pickthall's translation transcends other translations in the elegance of style and vocabulary. Although he enjoys the distincition of being the first major Muslim translator; his use of archaic biblical language has been a stumbling block for readers. A serious weakness in Pickthall's work is the absence of a sufficient number of explanatory notes. As a result, uninitiated readers might not derive as much guidance from the Qur'an as is hoped for. On the whole, Pickthall maintains the conventional mainstream Muslim stance and is not guilty of twisting or distorting the Qur'anic text with a view to

giving it any particular slant, which is regrettably the case with the apologists and translators with a sectarian bias. Pickthall's work is free from dogmatic input, enabling readers to gain first hand acquaintance with the message of the Qur'an. Its revised edition, produced by El-Ashi, is nonetheless better than the original and more suitable for today's readership. (Kidwai 274) Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall followed certain techniques and strategies in his translation. These technique and strategies may be summarized as follows : 1. Preparation of a foreword in which Pickthall comments on the meanings of the Holy Qur'an, its inimitability, and the difficulties encountered by him. 2. Placing only few notes. 3. Arabic text and English rendering are printed in parallel columns while short commentaries appear as footnotes in the translations. 4. In translating the Qur'an Pickthall used archaic biblical language Analysis of the selected Qur'anic verses shows that both Ali and Pickthall in their translations, managed in preserving the functional aspects of the cohesive device in the target language. As far as the word choices and meanings are concerned, both translations seem to be of equal effectiveness. While Pickthall's translation shows good economy in respect of the number of words he used, whereas Ali shows wider range of words and shades of meanings. Ali relies more on footnotes to provide commentaries and additional information about the historical background. This method reinforces and clarifies the meaning of the source text. Ali and Pickthall show sound linguistic competence in both Arabic and English. They also show their knowledge of Arabic syntax and rhetoric in order to appreciate the complex linguistic and rhetorical patterns of Qur'anic structure Hence, in short the texts translated by Ali and Pickthall are stable, informative, effective, impressive and unique. Both relied on literal translation in translating the Qur'anic texts. This indicates a more effective translation of the source text.

R E F E R E N C E 1 2 3

Primary Sources Ali, Allama Abdullah Yusuf. The Meaning of the Illustrious Qur'an. India : Mecca Book Publishers, 1989. Kidwai, A.R. Bibliography of the Translation of the Meanings of the Glorious Qur'an into English. Al-Madinah AlMunawarrah : King Fahd Qur'an Printing Complex, 2007. Pickthall, Muhammad Marmaduke. The Glorious Qur'an. New Delhi : Goodword Books, 2002.



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