To understand the Qur’an, it is necessary that one should know the translation of every word of the Verses. It is very difficult to understand the Qur’an without knowledge of the meanings of the Arabic words. Therefore, to overcome this difficulty and to convey to the people the accurate meaning of the Qur’anic Verses, we are producing the word-for-word translation of the meanings of the Noble Qur’an. Since mere word-for-word translation itself does not lead to complete understanding, we have produced the idiomatic translation also in order to allow the readers to see the word-for-word translation of the Arabic Verses along with the idiomatic one on the same page.
I remember from my childhood, when I was studying in the fourth grade, my teacher used to teach us the Qur’an along with its Urdu translation. We studied the necessary interpretation and the Arabic grammar. After about three years of study, I was able to recite on my own the first few parts of the Qur’an while understanding its meaning in the Urdu language. Whenever the Imam recited Verses from those parts in the congregational prayers at the mosque, I easily understood the meaning of the Verses. I felt great joy at being able to understand the recitation of the Imam.
This memory initiated me to produce this translation of the meanings of the Noble Qur’an so that the readers and reciters of the Qur’an may extract more pleasure from the recitation by understanding its meanings.
All the present English translations of the meanings of the Qur’an are idiomatic. Such translations are not designed to help the reader learn the meanings of each Arabic word. Therefore, the readers and reciters simply proceed forward without ‘knowledge of the Arabic vocabulary used in the Verses. But when one knows the Meanings of each Arabic word of the Verse, then whether he himself recites the Qur’an, or listens to some other’s recitation, he gets the pleasure of understanding it.
The real marvel of the Qur’an comes with its understanding. The Qur’an itself emphasizes this point: “And indeed, We have made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember; then is there any that will remember?” (Surat Al-Qamar, 54:40)
Also Allah has encouraged us to contemplate the meanings of the Qur’an. We receive blessings for its recital, but mere recital alone in melodious tone is not the goal of Qur’anic recitation. The intent of reading the Qur’an should be to reflect upon and understand the address of Allah Himself to mankind. Allah says: “Do they not then think deeply (contemplate) in the Qur’an, or are their hearts locked up (from understanding it)?” (Surat Muhammad, 47:24)
If one approaches the Qur’an with the intent of reflecting upon its meanings, then he achieves the full objective of the Qur’an’s revelation, which is guidance for mankind. As Allah says: “The month of Ramadan, in which the Qur’an was revealed as a guidance for mankind.” (Surat Al-Baqarah,2:185)
It should also be noted that some Islamic scholars have certain reservations about the word-for-word translation, saying that such a translation may cause confusion in the minds of the readers. But other renowned scholars of the Indo-Pak Subcontinent have produced such translations in the Urdu language. The most popular one being done by Shah Rafiuddin, the son of Shah Waliullah. Until now, this translation is considered the best and the most authentic one. Hafiz Nazeer Ahmad, the former principal of Oriental College, Lahore, performed another recent word-for-word translation in the Urdu language. Some other scholars have also contributed in this regard.
It may be that the native speakers of Arabic do not give much importance to the word-for-word translation, but they will know its importance if they ask any non-Arab Muslim about it. This will be especially clear after one has gone through this translation of the Qur’an which we have produced. After studying this translation, the native English speaker will relate how pleased he is with his increased understanding of the Qur’anic recitation.
I must thank Mr, Aqeel Walker, Mr. Said Dabas, Mr. Syed Masoodul Hasan, Mr. Mohammad Ayub and Mr. Aziz-ur-Rahman who worked on this project. It should be particularly noted that in this compilation, we have produced with all its references, the translation of the interpretation of the meanings of the Noble Qur’an done by Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan.
We will be thankful for every comment, suggestion or advice by the readers and reciters of the Qur’an, that may help to improve this presentation.
Abdul Malik Mujahid