In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful


Preface to the Translation of the Qur-ãn

Praise be to Allah, the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds, Who has said in His Noble Book:

"There has come to you from Allah Light and a Perspicuous Book." (5.15)

And may peace and blessings be upon the Seal of the Prophets, Muhammad, who has said that:

"The best among you is he who learned the Qur-ãn and then taught it." (Narrated by the six except Muslim)

May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, his family and all his Companions.

The Glorious Qur-ã is the Book of Allah, the Wise and Worthy of all Praise, Who has promised to safeguard it from any violations in its purity. It becomes incumbent upon each and every person who seeks the dignity of this world and the bliss of the Hereafter to regulate his life according to it, to implement its commandments and to pay homage to the magnificence of the One Who revealed it. This can be an easy task for those favored with guidance from Allah, especially those blessed by an understanding of Arabic, the language of the divine communication. But for those not acquainted with Arabic, their ignorance is a barrier between them and this source of guidance and illumination. A translation of the message of Allah is thus a task not to be taken lightly or performed superficially.

Before the reader begins to study the Qur-ãn, he must realize that unlike all other writings, this is a unique book with a supreme author, an eternal message and a universal relevance. Its contents are not confined to a particular theme or style, but contain the foundations for an entire system of life, covering a whole spectrum of issues, which range from specific articles of faith and commandments to general moral teachings, rights and obligations, crime and punishment, personal and public law, and a host of other private and social concerns. These issues are discussed in a variety of ways, such as direct stipulations, reminders of Allah's favors on His creation, admonitions and rebukes. Stories of past communities are narrated, followed by the lessons to be learned from their actions and subsequent fates.

The Qur-ãn enjoys a number of characteristics unique to it alone, some of which are as follows:

  1. It is the actual Word of Allah; not created but revealed for the benefit of all mankind.

    "Blessed is He Who sent down the Criterion to His servant, that it may be An admonition to all creatures." (25.1)

  2. It is complete and comprehensive. The Almighty says:

    "Nothing have We omitted from the Book." (6.38)

    In another place we read,

    "And We have sent down to thee the Book explaining all things." (16.89)

  3. It is a theoretical and a practical Book, not only moralizing but also defining specifically the permissible and the forbidden. The importance of understanding the message of the Qur-ãn is undeniable, but simply reciting it with the intention o f seeking Allah's pleasure and reward is also an act of worship and meritorious in itself. Allah Almighty says:

    "So take what the Prophet gives you, and refrain from what he prohibits you." (59.7)

  4. Allah has perfected His religion for all mankind with the revelation of this Book. He says:

    "This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (5.3)

  5. It is Allah's eternal miracle revealed to the Prophet Muhammad for all succeeding generations. In response to those who doubt the authorship of the Qur-ãn, Allah Almighty has challenged the most articulate Arabs to produce a whole book, ten chapters or even one solitary chapter which can be remotely comparable to the Qur-ãn. But to this day, no one has succeeded in meeting the challenge of the Almighty. The critics of the Qur-ãn; have been struck dumb by its ineffable eloquence and surpassing beauty.

    "Say, if the whole of mankind and jinns were to gather together to produce the like of this Qur-ãn, they could not produce the like thereof; even if they backed-up each other with help and support." (17.88)

    The Almighty also says:

    "Or they may say: 'He forged it.' Say: 'Bring ye then ten chapters forged, like unto it and call (to your aid) whomsoever ye can other than Allah, if ye speak the truth.'" (11.13)

    And again

    "Or do they say: 'He forged it'? Say: 'Bring then a chapter like! Unto it and call (to your aid) anyone ye can besides Allah, if it be ye speak the truth.'" (10.38)

  6. It has been revealed to re-establish the sincere worship of Allah alone, without association of any partners with Him.

    "This is a Book with verses basic or fundamental (of established meaning), further explained in detail, from One Who is Wise and Well-Aware. (It teaches) that you should worship none but Allah." (11.1-2)

    "And they have been commanded no more than this: to worship Allah, offering Him sincere devotion, being true in faith, to establish regular prayer and to give Zakat, and that is the religion Right and Straight." (98.5)

  7. It contains a complete code which provides for all areas of life, whether spiritual, intellectual, political, social or economic. It is a code which has no boundaries of time, place or nation.

    "Verily this Qur-ãn doth guide to that which is most right." (17.9)

  8. Allah Almighty has taken upon Himself the duty of preserving the Qur-ãn for ever in its entirety, as He says:

    "We have without doubt sent down the Message, and We will assuredly guard it (from corruption)." (15.9)

So well has it been preserved, both in memory and in writing, that the Arabic text we have today is identical to the text as it was revealed to the Prophet. Not even a single letter has yielded to corruption during the passage of the centuries. And so it will remain for ever, by the consent of Allah.

Given the depth as well as the sublimity of the Qur-ãnic text, a faithful translation of it into another language is virtually impossible. The various translations that exist today, however accurate they may be, cannot be designated as the Qur-ãn, since they can never hope to imitate the diction or the style of the Book of Allah. But as translation is one of the few ways to export the message of the Qur-ãn to allow those lacking in knowledge of Arabic to share this priceless gift, it becomes a duty for those in a position to fulfill this task.

A number of individuals have in the past ventured to translate the Qur-ãn, but their works have generally been private attempts, greatly influenced by their own prejudices. In order to produce a reliable translation free from personal bias, a Royal decree (No. 19888, dated 16/8/1400 AH) was issued by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Fahd ibn Abdul Aziz, at that time the deputy prime minister, authorizing the General Presidency of the Departments of Islamic Researches, Ifta, Call and Guidance to undertake the responsibility of revising and correcting a particular translation which would be selected for this purpose and made publicly available later.

To accomplish this enormous task, a number of committees were formed, comprising scholars well qualified both in Islamic Shari'a and the English language. Some of these scholars were associated with the General Presidency of the Departments of Islamic Researches, Ifta, Call and Guidance.

The first committee was given the task of examining the existing translations and choosing the most suitable one from among them. The committee discovered that there was no translation free from defects and so there were two options open for consideration : the first was to select the best translation available and then adopt it as a base for further work as well as a source of reference, with the objective of revising its contents and correcting any faults in view of the objections raised against it; the second was to prepare a fresh and independent translation, starting from scratch.

It became obvious from studying these translations that the second option demanded much time and effort, neither of which were available at the time. The first option was therefore considered to be more practical, since it met the existing urgent requirements and helped to achieve the desired goal in a comparatively short period of time. The translation by the late Ustadh Abdullah Yusuf Ali was consequently chosen for; its distinguishing characteristics, such as a highly elegant style, a choice of words close to the meaning of the original text, accompanied by scholarly notes and commentaries.

The committee began revising and correcting this translation with the aid of other translations available, by comparing and then adopting best expressions as well as by introducing fresh expressions where necessary. The committee was fully aware of all the criticisms that had been directed against this translation and which had been carefully brought to the notice of the presidency by a number of academic bodies and other involved parties. In the second stage, the entire work of this committee was referred to a number of individuals and organizations who then augmented any deficiencies in the work of the committee.

A third committee was set up to collate all their suggestions. It then compared all such views regarding specific issues, selected the appropriate one(s) and arrived at a text as authentic and defect-free as was humanly possible.

Finally, a fourth committee was formed to look into the findings of the second and third committees and to implement the recommendations made by them. Furthermore, this committee had to finalize the text by adopting the most accurate expression where needed, besides checking the notes vigilantly so as to clear any misconceptions regarding the articles of faith, varying juristic opinions and thoughts not in conformity with the sound Islamic point of view.

In the course of its work, the committee came across some Arabic words which could not be translated correctly, such as Zakat and Tagût. It was therefore decided to give a transliteration of these words in English with a brief explanatory note for each one at its first occurrence in the text. The reader will find a list of such words at the end of this preface, as well as a list containing an English transliteration of Arabic letters. A list of the abbreviations used in this work is also provided. Finally, the reader will find at the end of the text a comprehensive list containing references to proper names of people, places and important topics, dealt with either in the text or in the accompanying notes.

According to the Royal decree (No. 12412, dated 27/10/1405 AH), this translation is printed at King Fahd Holy Qur-ãn Printing Complex in Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah and also with coordination of the General Presidency of the Departments of Islamic Researches, Ifta, Call and Guidance.

To implement the directions of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques (may Allah preserve him) concerning the Propagation of the Book of Allah, its distribution and translation into every language spoken by Muslims the worldwide, and due to the cooperation between the General Secretariat of King Fahd Holy Qur-ãn Printing Complex and the Presidency of Islamic Researches, Ifta, Call and Guidance regarding a faithful, specific and scholarly translation of the meanings of the Holy Qur-ãn, we are pleased to present to all Muslims and those seeking spiritual light among English speaking people this translation which comes as one of the series of the translations of the meanings of the Holy Qur-ãn into various languages printed by the Complex in Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah.

May Allah reward bounteously those who were behind this blessed work.

The Presidency of Islamic Researches, Ifta, Call and Guidance.

The translation presented in this site is unauthorized. If you notice any errors, or have any comments or suggestions, please contact the maintainer. The Holy Qur-ãn is published by:

King Fahd Holy Qur-ãn Printing Complex.
P.O. Box 3561 Al-Madinah Al-Munawarah.
Saudi Arabia.