Sources on Islam


Notes on the translations:

  • “According to modern Islamic theology, the Qur’an is a revelation very specifically in Arabic, and so it should only be recited in the Arabic language. Translations into other languages are necessarily the work of humans and so, according to Muslims, no longer possess the uniquely sacred character of the Arabic original. Since these translations necessarily subtly change the meaning, they are often called “interpretations.”(from Wikipedia)
  • That being as it may, here are some short bits (and links) about some English translators:
    • (MS): Muhammad Shakir (1866-1939):  Egyptian Judge
    • (YA): Yusuf Ali (Hafiz Abdullah Yusuf Ali) (1872-1953): Indian Islamic scholar.\
    • (MP): Marmaduke Pickthall (1875-1936) English Islamic scholar and novelist noted as a poetic translator of the Qur’an.  Converted from Christianity to Islam.  Pickthall’s father was a reverend, died when he was 5.
    • (MA): Muhammad Asad (1900-1992): Austro-Hungarian, born Jew from a long line of rabbis, converter to Islam and later served as one of the first Pakistani ambassadors to the united nations. Known as one of the best translations but criticized by some traditionalists for its Mutazilite leanings.

Books on Islam

  • Islam Today: A Short Introduction to the Muslim World by Akbar S. Ahmed.  A very short, readable history of Islam.
  • Muhammad: A Biography of the Prophet by Karen Armstrong — Armstrong, not a believer, tells the story in such a way that the reader has a chance to feel why someone might adhere to Islam.  Such writing is very difficult and very informative is the reader is looking for real understanding.


Filed under Philosophy & Religion

10 responses to “Sources on Islam

  1. Having skip/scanned the Qur’an, I have a copy of the Yusuf Ali version, it always amazed me how come the Angel that passed on the text for the Qur’an to Morehamdad, didn’t inform that Jesus was God’s son?
    Have never been able to find anyone who could resolve this issue.
    ‘Tis a mystery.

  2. @ Arkenaten,
    I usually turn off comments on index posts like this, but here I forgot.
    I don’t know much about Islam and am not familiar with what sort of Christianity Mohammed was exposed to. Maybe I will look into it and post on it. Do you know of anyone else who has written on it. Why don’t you do the research for your blog?

  3. I’m pretty sure Islam’s perspective is that Jesus was merely a prophet and not the son of God.

  4. @ Darkshadow03<
    I agree. But Mohammed must have know about the theology of Jesus being a God, you'd think, so maybe the question is "Did the Qur'an discuss that?" and if not, why not.

  5. My comment was meant to be tongue in cheek. Of COURSE Islam regards Jesus as merely a prophet.
    They also do not believe he was a crucified either, as the OT states that only a criminal will be hung from a tree.
    And yes, he did know about the theology of Jesus, which is why I posed the question about Gabriel failing to mention that Jesus was also the ‘Son of God’.
    No, the Qur’an it does not discuss the issue.
    I have never been that interested in Islam to do the research.
    I apologise for introducing a little levity.

  6. This may be self-evident but the reason the “theology of Jesus” has been left unaccounted for is because it contradicts one of the core principles of Islam – that is the indivisibility/oneness of God. The Quran is a revelation not a theological summary of Abrahamic religions. Hope that makes sense – nothing is meant to be tongue in cheek – it’s all quite literal. Looking forward to more dialogue…

  7. Reemaa,
    Of course you know that I don’t think the Qur’an is a “revelation” — my opinion, like all other supposedly holy books is that it is a book written by a man, no gods involved.

  8. Makes sense, but I’m asking you to interpret it within the context of a certain genre (scripture vs theology) – meaning it’s going to engage in rhetoric that is literal

  9. @Reemaa<
    I am kind of lost in what is trying to be said. But this post is about sources. I guess you are responding to comments. Do you have any comments on the post itself?

  10. I read the post – found it very informative. Afterward, I read the comments and tried to clarify some confusion. Don’t worry, Sabio, I’m reading your posts and not just the comments.

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