Posted by Akhi Soufyan
By: Lubaaba Amatullah
When asking fellow Muslims about the first English Qur’an, the response is frequently a reference to the 1930 translation by Muhammad Marmaduke Pickthall. Less frequently an excited voice speaks of the George Sale Qur’an of 1734. However, British Islamic – and Quranic – history extends long beyond that.
The first rendering of the Qur’an into a European Western language, Latin, was completed by the English scholar Robertus Retenensis. It was entitled ‘Lex Mahumet Pseudoprophete’ (‘The Law of Mahomet the False Prophet’) and was completed in 1143. The translation enjoyed popularity and wide circulation, later to become the main basis for further contemporary translations into Italian, German and Dutch. Between 1480 and 1481, not long after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottomans in 1453, the first bilingual translation into Latin, with accompanying Arabic, appeared composed by the Jewish convert to Christianity, Flavius Mithridates. In 1647, Andrew Du Ryer produced the first French translation in Paris. This first translation directly from Arabic since the Middle Ages was a marked improvement from those produced over the years since 1143.
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