Consider this verse:

أُو۟لَٰٓئِکَ عَلَیٰ هُدًی مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَأُو۟لَٰٓئِکَ هُمُ ٱلْمُفْلِحُونَ

It's translated as:

Those (are) on Guidance from their Lord, and those - they (are) the successful ones.

which can be said (rephrased) in more fluent English as:

They are guided by their Lord, and they are successful

Do we have a translation for Quran, which is more fluent, more modern, more tangible and closer to the way people talk in our era? If not, why?


The Qur'an is considered the word of Allah, and as such, anything other than exactly what is in the Qur'an (the Arabic) is considered inferior. It's often described as untranslatable.

Does the priority of Arabic then preclude the transmission of the Qur'anic message in languages other than Arabic? The orthodox view is yes; only in Arabic is the Qur'an truly the Qur'an.
B. B. Lawrence, The Koran in English: A Biography,

In this way, there is a trade-off between "accuracy" and "fluency": the more fluently you translate the Qur'an into English, the less it is like an untranslated version.

There is a widespread conviction among many Muslim scholars that in any translation of the Quran its most vital characteristics are lost. What is called a translation of the Quran can never be a translation.
Stefan Wild: Why Translate the Untranslatable?

Closely resembling the original text is one of the motivating factors behind e.g. the Saheeh International (pdf) translation of the Qur'an:

Widely acknowledged for improvement over previous translations, its language closely adheres to that of the original text while remaining lucid and intelligible. ...

English word order was chosen to conform more closely with that of the Arabic text. This facilitates comparison for the student, and the reader is brought somewhat closer to the feel of the original expression.

This appears to be considered the best approach among those who translate the Qur'an: to conform closely with the Arabic.

(There's a side-by-side list of translations at IslamAwakened (and it also include a "literal translation"); this can be helpful for difficult versus.)

  • "The more fluent you make it in English, the less accurate it becomes", what's the argument behind that? I'm a translator myself, and according to what I've come to learn over the years this sentence is not true at all. Quran is all about wisdom, it's not poem. The thing about Quran that matters is its semantic and pragmatic meaning, not its syntactic structure. – Saeed Neamati Mar 10 '18 at 7:20

Try Meaning of the Holy Quran in Today's English by Yahiya Emerick also Quran made Easy Mufti Afzal Hossen Elias (FREE)

both are available from Amazon for Kindle devices


I like the translation by M. A. S. Abdul Haleem. He was born in Egypt, and learned the Qur'an by heart from childhood and has been educated at al-Azhar, Cairo, and Cambridge Universities. The translation itself is recent, dating from 2008, and I found that it read fluently.

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