Challenges of Translating the Arabic Qur’an into English

A Comparative Study of Eight Leading Translations


  • Badr Hashemi Independent Author, Charlotte, North Carolina, USA



The Arabic Quran, Qur’an, Translation, Meaning, Transliteration, Metaphors, Metonymy, Ellipsis, Irony, Polysemy, Sarcasm, Embed, Parables, Euphemism


Any translation of the Arabic Qur’an in English or any European language is likely to be imperfect. This is primarily due to the differences in the language, semantics, idiom, style and culture. Almost fifty such translations have appeared in the last fifty years, both by Muslim and other scholars, but none can claim any perfection in imaging the Arabic Qur’an. Nevertheless, there are some that are faithful to word-by-word (literal) or sense-for-sense (free) translation, but most lack the flavor of the Qur’anic essence and image either due to the translating approach, or inadequate understanding of the meaning of Sacred Arabic Text, or constraints of eloquence of the English language. This paper examines eight of the leading translations and draws conclusions relating to the use of translation techniques and literary devices and concepts that add beauty to the eloquence of Arabic Qur’an and makes it a living and literary masterpiece. It is found that the meaning of the lexical expressions have been maintained to a high degree in the process of translation and the use of literary devices has been adequately captured by the selected translations.




How to Cite

Badr Hashemi. (2023). Challenges of Translating the Arabic Qur’an into English: A Comparative Study of Eight Leading Translations. Journal of World Religions and Interfaith Harmony, 2(1), 45–119.