Re-examining Islamic Evaluative Concepts in English Translations of the Quran: Friendship, Justice and Retaliation

  • Aladdin Al-Tarawneh
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Translating and Interpreting book series (PTTI)


This chapter considers three key Islamic evaluative concepts often (mis)translated into English as friendship, justice, and retaliation. Relying on linguistic techniques—co-text and componential analysis—and the Quran exegesis, three concepts are discussed in various translations in search for the optimal translation into English. Al-Tarawneh argues that translating the Quran by espousing only a formal approach would compromise its credibility. Moreover, this chapter highlights two essential points in Quran translation. First, not everything is translatable: concepts unique to the source culture need to be preserved through transliteration and explained in annotations. Secondly, the translator accepting a commission for a translation of the Quran has to be well informed about context-dependent verses.


Target Language Source Language Sacred Text Arabic Language Contextual Meaning 
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Copyright information

© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aladdin Al-Tarawneh
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Modern LanguagesQueen’s University BelfastBelfastUK

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