This work solves an enigma that has puzzled many readers first coming to Islam through English translations of the Quran. The Arabic original stunned hearers in their own language with its unutterable evocative power, incisive arguments, the sharp relief of its contrasts, striking imagery, and precise detail. Most translations stun few. They seem somehow out of focus, vague, the thread of discourse is often inexplicably lost, and they are seldom moving or powerful.
The present work is called The Quran Beheld because its translator found that the classical Islamic curriculum for learning the Quranic sciences lifts the veil from the divine masterpiece like stepping from a dark and silent house into a lively spring day outside. Everything changes.
A preface outlines the Quran’s continued relevance for readers today. An introduction describes the time-honored Quranic teaching paradigm and interpretive method of talaqqi, ‘one-on-one instruction,’ by which the translator studied the Quran with a traditional scholar in Jordan during the fifteen years of the work.
The two went word by word through the Quran together twice, in the light of its greatest exegetes, the Imams of Quranic exegesis or tafsir, which literally means ‘uncovering’—men such as Tabari, Zamakhshari, Abu Su‘ud, Ibn ‘Ashur, Biqa‘i, Razi, Alusi, and others.
The introduction explains seven key areas of meaning, ubiquitous throughout the Quran, not incorporated by any previous translation. Such gaps have prevented serious apprehension of many of the themes, logic, and arguments that carry the message of the Quran’s suras forward. Readers may judge for themselves how much this matters.
The English of the translation faces the Arabic original, and is preceded by a section setting forth the main themes of the Quran, sura by sura.