Standardization & Exegetical Variety in Translations of the Qur’an: Recent Cases from the King Fahd

Mykhaylo Yakubovych, GloQur, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Germany
IQSA International Conference 2021 “Giorgio La Pira” Library, Palermo, Italy
Panel 8. Qur’an Translation and its Exegetical Dimension: Transfers and Transformations

Being one of the leading publishers of the Qur’an and its translation world-wide, the King Fahd Qur’an Printing Complex continues to produce new interpretations. The number of languages the Complex is covering has reached around eighty. Operating with the basic hermeneutical approach of the Salafi tafsīr, the Centre for Qur’an translation within the Complex developed a translation strategy that is used in most of its publications. This paper investigates this strategy, starting with an overview of the translations evaluated and approved by the Complex and finishing with a discussion of exegetical variety in translation choices. By comparing selected verses and supplementary materials from five translations especially produced for the Complex (Azerbaijanian, Kyrgyz, Macedonian, Russian, and Tajik), the analysis suggests the existence of a specific dynamic in exegetical strategies, according to which typical “Salafi” visions of the text (mostly in terms of theological issues) are combined with “domestic” interpretations of the Qur’an which are popular in local Islamic milieus. Despite a predominantly “static” ideological trend in exegesis, the translations dis- cussed in this presentation show some level of variation, which is linked to the way in which the overall exegetical framing of the translation is relevant to the local Muslim context. Thus, there are differences between individual translations, but that they are underpinned by a common exegetical approach.