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

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.

The Spirit and the Letter: Approaches to the Esoteric Interpretation of the Qur’an

9780198783336Edited by Annabel Keeler and Sajjad H. Rizvi, this volume is the first to focus specifically on esoteric interpretation as a phenomenon in the field of Qur’anic exegesis and to show the plurality of ways it has been manifested in different Muslim traditions. Concern with the inner, spiritual implications of the Qur’an has usually been associated with mystical and Sufi trends in Islam. However, there have also been exegetes among the Shi’a, as well as among philosophers, who sought to supplement their understanding of the Qur’an’s apparent meaning by eliciting deeper significations through contemplation of the verses.

The Spirit and the Letter examines the multiplicity of these esoteric approaches, covering a period that extends from the third/ninth century to the present. It includes chapters on philosophical and Shi’i exegetes, such as Ibn Sīnā (d. 428/1037) and Mullā Ṣadrā (d. 1045/1635-6), in addition to studies of a range of Sufi perspectives, from al-Sulamī (d. 412/1021) and al-Qushayrī (d. 465/1072) to Rūzbihān Baqlī (d. 606/1209), as well as representatives of the Ibn ‘Arabī and Kubrāwī schools. Considered together, the range of studies in this volume enable us to see what these approaches have in common and how they differ, and how the hermeneutics and content of exegesis are affected by doctrinal and ideological perspectives of various traditions and periods. Furthermore, they deepen our understanding of what actually constitutes esoteric interpretation and the need to look beyond the letter to the spirit of the Qur’anic word.

Table of contents

Notes on Contributors
Introduction Annabel Keeler and Sajjad Rizvi
Part I: Comparative Hermeneutics
1: The Countless Faces of Understanding: On Istinbā, Mystical Listening and Sufi Exegesis, Sara Sviri
2: The Interpretation of the Arabic Letters in Early Sufism: Sulamī’s Shar ma‘ānī al-urūf, Gerhard Böwering
3: Towards a Prophetology of Love: The Figure of Jacob in Sufi Commentaries on Sūrat YūsufAnnabel Keeler
4: Making it Plain: Sufi Commentaries in English in the Twentieth Century, Kristin Zahra Sands
Part II: Commentators and Texts in Focus
5: Outlines of Early Ismaili-Fatimid Qur’an Exegesis, Meir M. Bar-Asher
6: Ibn Sīnā’s Qur’anic Hermeneutics, Peter Heath
7: Qushayrī’s Exegetical Encounter with the Mi‘rājMartin Nguyen
8: Shahrastānī’s Mafātī al-Asrār: A Medieval Ismaili System of Hermeneutics?, Toby Mayer
9: Qūnawī’s Scriptural Hermeneutics, Richard Todd
10: Eschatology and Hermeneutics in Kāshānī’s Ta’wīlāt al-Qur’ānPierre Lory
11: Simnānī and Hermeneutics, Paul Ballanfat
12: Speech, Book, and Healing Knowledge: The Qur’anic Hermeneutics of Mullā Ṣadrā, Janis Esots
13: Aspects of Mystical Hermeneutics and the Theory of the Oneness of Being (wadat al-wujūd) in the work of ‘Abd al-Ghanī al-Nābulusī (d. 1143/1731), Bakri Aladdin
14: The Sufi Hermeneutics of Ibn ‘Ajība (d. 1224/1809): A Study of Some Eschatological Verses of the Qur’an, Mahmut Ay
15: Beyond the Letter: Explanation (tafsīr) versus Adaptation (tabīq) in Ṭabāṭabā’ī s al-MīzānAmin Ehteshami and Sajjad Rizvi

Modern Women Exegetes of the Qur’an

A recent doctoral dissertation in Qur’anic studies, titled “Modern Women Exegetes of the Qur’an: Gender Perspectives on the Creation Narrative, Qiwama and Polygamy in Modern Women’s Exegeses” is summarized in Arabic below. The author, Mohamed Saleck Mohamed Val, defended his dissertation in Fez, Morocco this past July. He is a Mauritanian scholar with an M.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdullah University, who was also a member of the Moroccan Studies Doctoral Centre.

The project begins with a survey of women’s exegetical contributions in Mauritania, Morocco and Egypt, and culminates in an investigation of the interpretive articulations of four modern Egyptian women on gender-related issues—particularly the creation story, Qiwama or male-guardianship and polygamy.

دكتوراه في علم الاجتماع الديني حول التفسير النسوي للقرآن الكريم

نوقشت برحاب كلية الآداب والعلوم الإنسانية بظهر المهراز, فاس, بالمغرب أطروحة دكتوراه باللغة الانجليزية تقدم بها الباحث الموريتاني: محمد السالك ولد محمد فال حول موضوع: “المرأة وتفسير القرآن الكريم: قراءة لقضايا النوع الاجتماعي في تفسيرات نسائية معاصرة: قصة الخلق, والقوامة وتعدد الزوجات نموذجا” “

“Modern Women Exegetes of the Qur’an: Gender Perspectives on the Creation Narrative, Qiwama and Polygamy in Modern Women’s Exegeses.”

وبعد المداولات قررت اللجنة المناقشة منح الباحث شهادة الدكتوراه بميزة مشرف جدا مع توصية بالطبع.

ويعد هذا العمل هو الأول من نوعه في إبراز دور المرأة المسلمة في إثراء حقل تفسير القرآن الكريم, إذ قام فيه الباحث بدراسة استطلاعية شملت كلا من موريتانيا والمغرب ومصر بحثا عن تجار ب نسائية في تفسير النص القرآني.

وقد اشتملت الأطروحة على مقدمة و بابين من ثمانية فصول وخاتمة. جاء الباب الأول تحت عنوان “في استرجاع الدين الحق” وتشكل من أربعة فصول حاول الباحث من خلالها تسليط الضوء على الجانب التاريخي للمعرفة الإسلامية بشكل عام والتفسير بشكل خاص ومدى مشاركة المرأة في صياغة هذا الإرث الحضاري الهام. فعرض في الفصل الأول لدور المرأة في علوم الحديث والفقه والتفسير وغيرها. بينما تناول في الفصل الثاني الظروف والملابسات الثقافية والاجتماعية التي اكتنفت هذا المجهود النسوي وأدت إلى وأده ,خصوصا في حقل تفسير القرآن الكريم. و أما الفصلين الثالث والرابع فقد خصصهما للجدل الراهن القائم حول مفهوم النسائية الإسلامية ومحاولة “تبيئته” ضمن سياقات المجتمعات المسلمة المعاصرة. فيما انصب جهده في الفصل الرابع  على إيضاح بعض المناهج النقدية المتبناة من طرف التيار النسائي الإسلامي كالهرمنيوطيقا الحداثية”, و التاريخانية, وغيرها.

أما الباب الثاني من الأطروحة والموسوم ب: “النسائية الإسلامية المقننة أو الشرعية” فقد تناول فيه الباحث أربعة تفسيرات لكل من بنت الشاطئ وزينب الغزالي وفوقية الشربيني وكريمان حمزة, عارضا لحياة هولاء المفسرات والسياقات المعرفية والسياسية التي أنتجت آرائهن و اجتهاداتهن في الساحة الإسلامية التقليدية. كما ركز في هذا الباب على تقديم آراء المفسرات الأربع حول قصة الخلق ومفهومي القوامة وتعدد الزوجات و مقارنتها بآراء بعض المفسرين التقليديين بالإضافة إلى ما طرحته نساء معاصرات من أمثال الأمريكية آمنة ودود, والباكستانية أسماء بارلاس حول هذه المفاهيم.

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