Views & Reviews

Prof Fateh Muĥammad Malik

Rector, International Islamic University, Islamabad

English translation and Paraphrasing of the Quran by Dr. Badr Hashemi is not just another addition to the pool of intellectual thought process; it is a piece of distinguished scholarship where he has introduced the concept of translation blended with paraphrasing to make understanding of the meaning of the Quran easily accessible and comprehensible. He places the subjects of each Surah within its historic perspective and cultural context. This creates the effect of relating the subjects not only to the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) but also to today's world thereby transforming it into a source of practical guidance and a reference for dealing with contemporary issues. The three column approach on every page and for every statement, combined with straight letters for translation, italics for paraphrasing and capitals for highlighting "do's and don'ts", present a convenient guide to understanding the Divine Message in its perspective. The Arabic text with parallel translation adds tremendous value for those who may not be very familiar with the Arabic language.

We are living in a time when there is a rapidly growing realization of an urgency to understand and transform our lives in accordance with the Quran. The tide of Islamic renaissance is both a product of and a stimulant to this awareness. Without this we will never rediscover ourselves, never give rational and scientific meaning to our existence and never find respect in this global village. Most importantly, without the Quran, humanity will continue to slide towards the abyss of moral and social extinction.

During these crucial times, this remarkable effort of Dr. Badr seeks to kindle in some hearts the desire to set out on the journy of the Quran, and for it to serve as their companion. To those who benefit from this approach, my plea is not to forget Dr. Badr in their prayers. May Allah bless him with His Guidance and make his work a source of guidance for all.

Justice Dr. Fida Muhammad Khan,

Acting Chief Justice, Federal Shari'a Court of Pakistan

Dr. Badr Hashemi presents a beautiful translation and paraphrasing of the Holy Quran in a free-flow, wholesome and contemporary English.

He has deliberately avoided the usual long wording in parentheses and has preferred to give the exact meaning of every phrase of the Arabic text in straight type script and expressed the paraphrasing for explanation in italic script. All the injunctions, commandments, directives, warnings, admonitions or fundamentals of the Faith of Islam are highlighted in bold letters.

This shows a great deal of diligence and sincerity of purpose. This was a difficult task but he has successfully handled it in a beautiful manner. May Allah reward him for his sincere effort and make it beneficial for the keen learners who really seek guidance to remain on the Straight Path.

Muĥammad al-Ghazāli, Ph.D.

Professor, Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad

Brother Badr Hashemi has included himself in the honorable list of writers on the Qur'ān. He has devoted his exceptional talents and energies to this labor of love for several years and has delved in the depths of this shoreless ocean. He continues his utmost intellectual concentration on understanding the Qur'ān with great zeal and fervor. In the present work brother Badr Hashemi has made a commendable effort to relate the Message of the Qur'ān to the pressing problems of modern man. He has made a successful attempt to capture what he saw the core of the Qur'ānic Message so as to make available the fruits of his labor to the present day reader. A great many people find it difficult to devote so much time to ponder over the Qur'ānic discourse as the author of the Anthology of the Highlights of the Qur'ān. His work provides the reader with an easy access to the essential teachings of the Divine Book sent down for the guidance of mankind.

He has collected at one place all the Āyāt of the Qur'ān dealing with specific issues that occur in different Sūrahs. This re-arrangement of selected Āyāt in one place has made the task of a common reader much easier. Further, he has provided simple English translation along with the Qur'ānic text and supplemented the literal rendering with brief explanatory words in italics. In this way, it becomes easier for those readers who are less familiar with Qur'ānic style, to comprehend the Statements of the Qur'ān throwing light on the relevant issues that have been dealt within the selected Āyāt.

The methodology evolved by the author to bring home the answers of the Qur'ān to the problems of modern life is indeed a praiseworthy service to the formidable field of Qur'ānic studies. The details of this intelligently conceived methodology has been sufficiently explained by the author himself.

The value of the author's effort lies in his earnest attempt to elaborate the contents of the Qur'ānic text wherever such an elaboration was required by the brevity of Qur'ānic Statements. When the Qur'ān enters a theme of significance, its discourse is precedented or supplemented by similar Statements at other places in different contexts. The author has assembled all relevant Statements at one place to make the reader's task easier. Moreover, often times, the Qur'ānic discourse proceeds on the basis of given premises. These premises are intrinsic to the Qur'ānic universe of knowledge and guidance. Without due notice of this epistemological and teleological framework in which Qur'ān speaks to man, it is not easy to make sense of the perennial Qur'ānic Message. The author of this work has supplied this necessary clue to the Qur'ānic world-view to the readers. This has been an essential task of every commentator of the Qur'ān. However, brother Badr Hashemi has performed this onerous task without encumbering his work with copious foot notes.

In this way, the author has succeeded to bring forth a work of great utility in a single user-friendly volume. He deserves our admiration and gratitude for this noble contribution. May Allāh accept his service to His Book and enable his readers to make the best use of this valuable companion to the study of the Qur'ān.

Prof. Dr. Zia ul Haq Yusufzai, Ph.D.

National University of Modern Sciences, Islamabad

Paraphrasing of the Quran is a challenging task. It is demanding as well as compile complicated than a plain translation or even detailed commentary as it weaves into the translation an optimized level of details with the same flow, rhythm and smoothness. This challenge has been handled with great care and outstanding skill by Dr. Badr Hashmi: translation is presented in straining in straight script and extended paraphrased wording is woven in the script.

His work is simple, direct and hits a mid-point between poetry and prose where he tries as much as possible to present the Message of the Quran for English speakers-the way the Quran would have functioned for listeners of Arabic.

Unlike other translation, the work adheres closely to the original Arabic syntax, meaning that this translation can easily be used in tandem with a recitation of the Quran. The language and the choice of words is striking and beautiful. Note, for example, the striking blend of straight and italic script, immediately and rhythmic flow Ayah/statement 171, Surah 04:

  1. O the Followers of the Former Revelation!
  2. Do not overstep the bounds of truth in your religious beliefs.
  3. Speak nothing but the whole truth about Allah.
  4. The Messiah, Jesus son of Mary, was no more than Allah's Messenger and His Command which he conveyed to Mary, i.e. Allah commanded Mary's womb to become impregnated without coming into contact with sperm.
  5. So believe in Allah's absolute Unity and Supremacy and His Messengers.
  6. Do not say: 'Allah in trinity': three merging into one or more emerging from three.
  7. Desist from this assertion for your own good.
  8. Allah is the only One Allah and far from His status and dignity is to imagine for Him that He may have a son.
  9. It is Allah's all that exists now or may also be caused to exist to infinity on this earth and the cosmos and the space.
  10. Allah is the Universal Guardian.

Dr. Badr does not appear to agree with traditionalists on everything. For instance, he considers a a bond woman and a free woman equal in Islam; in face the former taking precedence over latter if faith is the distinguishing factor between them. In Ayah/Statement 221, Surah 2 decodes the Ayat as:

To marry a Faithful bondwoman is certainly better and more profound than a free woman who is an idolatress and ascribes divinity to aught besides One Allah although the latter may immensely fancy you.

However in the paraphrasing, the great difference in language and attitude leaves the definite impression that the traditionalists are more respectable than the critics. This is to be expected since, as a devout Muslim, Dr. Badr shares basic theological premises with the traditionalists, not the critics – premises which might be undermined by the critics' arguments.

His paraphrasing is for a general audience rather than for specialists and doesn't assume any great background knowledge about Islam and/or the Quran. The effort can serve as an introduction to Islam and the Quran, but more significantly it explains how the Quran is and can be used in our daily life. After reading the first of the two volumes, I felt the need for Muslims to change their approach towards the Quran and read it like lovers of Allah which in turn will open doors for better perception, correct understanding and revolutionize our lives for the better.

The fact that Dr. Badr has endeavored to present a non-partisan translation makes it all the more respectable and acceptable than the many other existing translations. Reading a good translation such as this one can help us not only gain wisdom, but also articulate this wisdom for others. We are indeed indebted to Dr. Badr for producing an outstanding work with unique and excellent style.

Prof. Dr. Wathiq Ahmed,

National University of Modern Sciences, Islamabad

It is a brilliant feat, accomplished in a beautiful manner. The choice of words and careful paraphrasing of each sentence with clarity of vision makes the understanding of meaning of each Ayat easier for English reading public and one feels like being in company of a scholar worth his name.

Muhammad Zahirul Hassan, Ph.D.

Portage, MI. USA

Brother Badr Hashemi's compilation of the "Highlights of the Qur'ān" contains much more than selected portions of the Muslim Scripture. Additional materials provided beyond the title in Introduction and explanatory statements, in italics, mostly from the primary (Qur'ān) and secondary (Traditions and Sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, Allāh bless him always) sources are uniquely invaluable in trustfully informing readers, which is generally absent or inconsistent in similar attempts by earlier authors available elsewhere.

This novel approach adopted by Brother Badr places his contributions in a class by itself, especially if we keep the targeted audience for whom he undertook the challenge.  This compilation adds scholastic value and credibility because of the vast multilingual command, diversified cultural exposure in formal professional settings, combined with religious training and expertise right from author's childhood to the brief expose covered selectively but systematically, chapter-by-chapter, 1-114,  the compilation is a very worthy addition to meet hitherto unmet need of English-speaking people interested in learning the gist of the Qur'ānic Message written in literate English, as spoken in UK/US.

Within the same chapter, reading is enriched by sub-titles appropriately formulated to indicate the intent and content of the Āyah/Statement under consideration. There is a  common thread of emphasis on behavioral, inter and intra communal, societal, and moral aspects of the guidance, without sacrificing the mandatory aspects of acts of worship and the importance of obligatory religious duties assigned for both the Creator and His creation, starting from parents, siblings, relatives to next-door neighbors. Some of these aspects of the Qur'ānic guidance have not been adequately covered in books written by Orientialists or religious scholars, the former dwell on where the guidance lacks in their perceived notion of gender equality, while the latter overemphasize the minute details of performing religious duties.

Brother Badr has devoted care and attention to what the Qur'ān commands how to treat other co-humans with whom believers come into contact during their mundane life on this earth, from bedroom to boardroom. The compilation is emphasizing that guidance from the Qur'ān is meant to lead Mankind in all its affairs according to its basic ethics of Allāh's Sovereignty, Prophetic Traditions, Accountability in the Afterlife, without adopting any extremes of violating others rights to justice, security, and freedom to choose between right and wrong; plus, the religion of their choice to follow.

The intended purpose of the compilation is to initiate, motivate, and attract the youth, who consider English as their first language, to the Last and Final Scripture, viz., the Qur'ān, and its guidance to lead the entire mankind for all time to come.  The book, as a whole, does it successfully and succinctly so. See and see also references, mostly from the Qur'ān itself, interspersed throughout the text are helpful in understanding the Message from the Qur'ān itself and in convincing the reader of the argument, augmentation provided appropriately by Brother Badr.

The tone and approach of the body of compilation is non-sectarian, true to the spiritual intent of Allāh-consciousness, sincere toward leading to piety and righteousness, not adhering dogmatically to any particular school-of-thought. The style of presenting the paraphrasing, notes in italics, and other textual material is persuasive that is inviting both for Muslim and also for non-Muslim readers. Comparatively, at several places, citations from Torah and Injīl provided viz-a-viz Qur'ān put an issue in perspective from all three monotheistic faiths originating from the common patriarch Abraham, peace be upon him.

"Highlights of the Qur'ān" has enabled advancing my personal learning of the Qur'ānic message and modifying my own knowledge-base of the Qur'ānic understanding to serve Humanity at large.  I trust it would equally help in refining and fine tuning what everyone knows about the Qur'ān, Islām, and Muslims.

Sandi Howard, Intellectual,

United States

For me Badr's English Translation and Paraphrasing of the Quran is a blessing from Allah. It promotes true understanding of Allah and Islam. I am amazed and inspired. Thank you Badr.

Tinuviel Pillywiggens, Inter-Faith moderator,

United Kingdom

No translation of the Quran helped me understand the Message of God as clearly as Badr's English paraphrasing of the Quran.I can finally see what God was saying in the Quran. I pray that God smiles on Badr today and everyday.

Ahmed Shah Bukhari, Ph.D.

Head of Islamic Studies Faculty. DAPS, Karachi.

Badr Hashemi's English translation and paraphrasing of the Holy Quran is a massive work of genuine enterprise and great intellectual scholarship which bears the outcome of a Faithful's honest exertions.

It is not a verbatim translation of the Holy Quran and the translator consciously does away with the use of archaic language. He has tried to be as much faithful as possible to the true meaning of Allah's Words. It is succinct and there is a poetic feeling every now and then when one flips over to any of the pages of the translated work. It is a translation which grasps the magnitude of the original text.

The entire paradigm of rendering something in translation be of holy Quran or any Scripture is immensely a daunting adventure . Yet neither do we feel such an indication nor does the translator's language flicker a bit. It is an honest effort and this contribution in the service of the Holy Book deserves praise in every sense of the word. This translation is yet another step in order to better understand the Message of Almighty. It is and invaluable contribution in the translation of the Quran.

Naveed Anwar, Executive Director,

Asian Institute of Technology, Thailand

It is clearly the most succinct and un-ambiguous translation and paraphrasing of the Holy Quran that I have read.

The bulleted, short sentence style makes it very easy to read, understand and remember. The choice of words seems very conscious and contextual as well as relevant to the present where applicable. I am particularly impressed by the choice of the term 'Muslim Faithful' as opposed to commonly used expression of 'Faithful Muslims' as subtle, yet conveys the depth of the meaning and distinction between Faithful and Muslim'.

This shows a great deal of diligence and sincerity of purpose. This was a difficult task but he has successfully handled it in a beautiful manner. May Allah reward him for his sincere effort and make it beneficial for the keen learners who really seek guidance to remain on the Straight Path.

Journal of History & Philosophy of Science, Vol. 15, No. 2, 2009.

Dr. S.M. Jafar

It is the first step for the achievement of the long-standing need to facilitate the younger generation to acquire an objective understanding of what the Qur'an has to say and, consequently, shape their lives in a manner that pleases Allah. It is also intended for young ladies and gentlemen, around the world who are being raised and educated in an English-speaking environment, imposed with challenges of identity and practices of Islam.

Annexures are valuable additions.

Badr Hashemi deserves our highest commendation for undertaking this challenging task.

This is an excellent effort.

Journal of History & Philosophy of Science, Vol. 15, No. 2, 2009.

Mrs. Ayesha Asad

Badr Hashemi has attempted, with painstaking detail, to maintain the literal meaning, while paraphrasing what is meant in each ayah. To differentiate between the two, the literal meaning is printed in normal text and additional words in italic script, extremely helpful for the reader. The flow of the paraphrased text makes it easier for the reader to understand the true message of the ayah. It is a very ambitious effort and I am certain the modern English-speaking readers will find it friendly, which is the goal of this project.

Overall, a very brave effort indeed!

Naveed Aslam, Ph.D.

Head of Islamic Studies, Aisha Bawany Academy, Karachi.

1,010 selections of verses from the Holy Qur'an with annotation highlighting the essential spiritual themes, presented in contemporary translation of high literary quality. It is the most profound scholarly work of Brother Badr Hashmi and is the closest to an English translation comes to capturing the essence of the original Arabic text. He provides in it a refreshing perspective on the final message from God to mankind. It is highly recommended for novices and scholars alike. His monumental translation and annotation serves as a matchless aid to understanding the Holy book of Islam and provides in itself a complete education in the faith. If one is new to the Holy Qur'an, I hope that this Book will provide a balanced view of the heart of the Qur'an. If one is already a student of the Holy Qur'an, I hope that these selections will perhaps awaken a new appreciation for the universal spiritual wisdom of the Book. Brother Badr Hashmi has tried his best to include selections that touch upon the major spiritual themes of the Holy Qur'an. May people profit from these pages. May God be pleased with his efforts. (Ameen)