The Quran Beheld deserves a spot on any aspirant's bookshelf. The translation, whether given a cursory or in-depth read, will unveil syntactical, morphological, and rhetorical elements of the Arabic text unexplored by other translations. I have personally found the translation a reliable companion when parsing the Arabic text of the Qur'an. In addition, the added introduction, biographical entries of classical exegetes, and thematic index are unparalleled in the breadth and depth of their information by any other single English resource.
Iskander (Los Angeles, California)
"The Qur'an Beheld" serves as an excellent resource for both everyday believers and academics alike. It offers numerous fresh insights in translation, especially in the realm of Arabic rhetoric. These insights illuminate subtleties within the Qur'an that haven't received widespread contemplation or thorough study.
Isa Hasenko (Kyiv, Ukraine)
As a hafiz of the Quran with a certain level of Arabic proficiency, this translation has become my daily companion for recitation and memorization practice. This translation enraptures, stuns, and transforms the reader. It aids in memorization recall and practical application alike. Among all translations, this is the only one I can rely on to gain an accurate understanding of the Quran's literal meaning. Sheikh Nuh stands as the sole English-speaking translator (aside from Bewley) who possesses a genuine understanding of tafsir, a comprehensive grasp of the Arabic language, and an affinity for both refined literature and precise language.
Galiya M (Almetyevsk, Russia)
The Quran is an ocean of meanings and you need a navigator not to get lost. This translation opens new horizons unto me. It really transforms you for the better.
Will Trippet (Austin, Texas)
Thank you for having it edited! In some translations, the typos are glaring, and the English appears careless and choppy, lacking proper attention. However, "The Beheld" is remarkably beautiful, just as a holy text should be, treated with careful reverence. The quality of its presentation is crucial; it makes you genuinely feel like you're engaging with a sacred book, urging you to approach it with the utmost care. From the binding to the cover, everything exudes high quality, making it suitable as an heirloom. It's substantial, with a nice, thick, and solid feel, which is a delight for those of us with aging eyes that struggle with small fonts.
Kamran (Bedford, United Kingdom)
This translation of the Quran is profoundly impactful, standing as the next best thing after the original Arabic text. Its impact on the heart of native English speakers is unparalleled by any other English translation. Sheikh Nuh's meticulous selection of each word showcases his utmost care. As he himself mentioned, this work is "17 years in the making." Every English-speaking household should possess a copy of this translation. It comes highly recommended for non-Muslim readers as well who are exploring Islam for the very first time.
Mona (Cairo, Egypt)
I have a keen interest in the semantics of words, both in Arabic and English, and the precision with which each word conveys its meaning. This is what I discovered through my exploration of this translation. Comparing other translations, I found significant differences in expressing and conveying the verse's meaning across languages. This enriched my understanding of linguistic nuances and the original essence. Additionally, listening to sessions by Sheikh Nuh and Sheikh Ali Hani showcased their meticulous attention to each word's significance. They adeptly integrated these meanings within the verse and Surah's context.
Arsalan Shahzad (Oldham, United Kingdom)
As someone who derives value from "The Quran Beheld" for written work, having confidence in one's presentation is crucial. For me, this stands as one of the most compelling reasons to recommend "The Quran Beheld" to anyone. The translator's scholarly background and the extensive learning invested in this translation provide a solid foundation for such confidence.
Salman Waheeduddin (Franklin, Tennessee)
"The Quran Beheld" stands out as the best translation, not merely for its pursuit of semantic equivalence but also for its dedication to capturing rhetorical beauty. This becomes especially evident to newcomers in verses concerning the hereafter, heaven, and hell, where the English rendition manages to convey the awe, majesty, and power of the original text unlike any other translation. While other translations offer a basic understanding of the verses, often making them appear uniform, "The Quran Beheld" adds a layer of depth and nuance to each verse. This approach helps us grasp why the ancient Arabs found the repetition not 'awkward,' but rather miraculous.As I delve into this translation, I become fully engrossed, finding it hard to switch to any other rendition. Unfortunately, alternatives seem quite 'flat' and lacking in depth.
Irshad Ali (Oxnard, California)
My name is Irshad Ali, located in southern California, and unemployed.
The Qur'an Beheld, with the soulful translation by Nuh Keller, is a luminous journey that transcends mere words. Each verse unfolds like a tapestry of wisdom, inviting us to a profound connection with its divine message. Keller's translation has a magical way of bridging the gap between ancient revelations and modern hearts, rendering the Qur'an's timeless teachings in a language that touches both the intellect and the spirit.
As I delved into the pages, I found myself not just reading, but experiencing the Qur'an in a new light. The depth of insight and empathy that emanates from Keller's translation makes the verses come alive, breathing life into ancient wisdom that resonates in our contemporary lives. This rendition does more than translate words; it translates the essence of the Qur'an's message into the language of the heart.
'The Qur'an Beheld' is not just a book; it's an invitation to an enriched understanding. It is a lantern guiding us through the labyrinth of existence, helping us to navigate our struggles, joys, and aspirations. Keller's translation doesn't just inform; it transforms. It doesn't just communicate; it connects. With each turn of the page, I felt as though I was drawing nearer to the divine, and also to my own self.
For anyone seeking to deepen their connection with the Qur'an, 'The Qur'an Beheld' is an indispensable companion. Whether you're well-versed in its verses or encountering them for the first time, this translation has the power to touch hearts, illuminate minds, and open doors to a heightened spiritual experience. It's not just a book on a shelf; it's a journey waiting to be embarked upon, an odyssey of understanding that has the potential to change the way we perceive both the world and ourselves.
S Baig (Toronto, Canada)
The index alone justifies acquiring this translation. Adding to that, the translator personally delves into it chapter by chapter. Furthermore, a dedicated website provides recordings of their sessions with the leading authority on exegesis of our times and other resources. The invaluable introduction, meticulous word choice, attention even to the calligrapher for the Arabic, and the availability of three editions catering to different types of readers all contribute to its significance. This translation is an essential possession for those genuinely seeking to engage with the Qur'an and bring it to life. It particularly suits those who aim to connect with it as it was engaged with during its revelation, as closely as English allows.
Shaff Sheikh (Houston, Texas)
The benefits derived from the Quran Beheld are multifaceted. It conveys much more than a simple translation; rather, the Quran Beheld actively transfers the weight and robustness of the Arabic language into English through superior word choices and sentence structures. As you read, you'll notice a hint of melody in your journey to understand The Book of Allah ﷻ. Unlike many flat translations that dilute the Arabic's meaning and depth, Sheikh Nuh infuses life into this rendition, leaving you yearning for more and eagerly turning the pages. If you haven't yet read the Quran Beheld, do yourself a favor and indulge in this seminal work in the field of Quran Translation.
This translation has been for me, beholding the Quran in a way not previously experienced. I feel like I am reading the Quran for the first time. Its lucid imagery conjures a beholding of the Message. This work helps English speakers get that much closer to seeing the Quran for what it really is, a miracle.
Finally, a translation that transports one to where the Author intended. Previous attempts at translating the most eloquent book in existence have marketed themselves as "readable" or "plain English". The logic is baffling. This is the King James' Bible of Quran translations. In twenty years, the others may remain, but as a necessary crutch for a generation raised by AI and blogs. As with most miracles, it comes just when one doubts whether a turning point is even possible.
This is the absolute best translation, and more importantly the most accurate that you can find. This is the work of a master in Quranic exegesis and Arabic and a master of English language and translation combined. I no longer have to wonder whether the translation of a particular verse is accurate, watered down, oversimplified or the so many other ways translations can go wrong. I thoroughly enjoy the vivid details and elaborate depictions that you would need some mastery of Arabic to know otherwise but are usually translated as briefly as possible in other translations. I find myself opening the Quran Beheld whenever I wonder what a specific verse truly means and know that it also means an edification of my English language skills as you will need a dictionary sometimes. The effort, skill, mastery, and patience this work required cannot be appreciated enough. Read the introduction if you want to know the monumental effort that went into producing this work.
I have been searching for a decent English translation of the Quran for years. I found other translations either stilted, florid, or too colloquial. The Quran Beheld strikes the perfect balance, perhaps because it represents the confluence of three major events. For the first time in history: • A highly literary native English speaker from the West with a superb command of the Arabic language who is a traditional master of a major spiritual tariqa and has studied the traditional Islamic sciences for over three decades while living in the Muslim heartlands, Sheikh Nuh Ha Mim Keller; and, • One of the leading tafsir scholars in the world, with an encyclopedic memory of numerous classical Quranic exegeses, Sheikh Ali Hani; • Sat together one-on-one for 17 years and carefully reviewed the Quran line-by-line three times. This translation is the result. It might be enough to say that it goes beyond a Pickthall, Arberry, or Yusuf Ali. But that would fall short of the reality. This translation not only brings to the English speaking audience some of the inimitable power and pace of the original Arabic, but it also corrects the basic mistranslations of previous attempts. Translation aside, the book itself is impressive: • Over 1,400 pages of perfect opacity; • A beautifully embossed cover plate; • Dual page-marking ribbons for ease of reference; • A 23 page introduction covering major areas of grammar that would delight any Arabist; • Introductions to every chapter; • Facing Arabic text in the original Uthman Taha calligraphy for recitation; • A 60 page subject index more detailed than any extant Quranic translation; and, • Detailed biographical sketches of all the imams mentioned in the introduction. As I sit hear holding it in my hands, I cannot praise this beautiful book enough, a blessing for the English-speaking world. It would be an understatement to say that it is now the standard by which all other Quran translations will be judged, truly historic in a world where everything has changed—every person, place, and thing—except the Quran, still the same 1,400 years after it was revealed to all mankind.
Beautiful translation. I've compared at least 15 major English translation and really none capture the power and poetic beauty of the Quran the way this new translation does. The meanings of the Quranic verses are communicated with precise accuracy. However, it is important to note that this is not a literal word for-word translation. The author derived the meanings of each verse from an intense study of Quranic exegesis (tafsir) and Arabic rhetoric (balagha) to capture the meaning correctly in translation, even if that means using extra words or descriptors to do so. There is also no commentary in the book to explain many of the interpretive choices made (though some Arabic commentary is provided online). Overall highly recommend. The hardcover version with Arabic on facing pages is even more highly recommended, with beautiful typesetting that makes it a joy to read.
Upon holding this beautiful production, one can immediately see the labor of love, years of meticulous research and immense effort that has gone in to this remarkable and lucid translation by Sheikh Nuh Keller. It is a known fact about the copious Quran Translalations that we currently have, that they either struggle to encapsulate the essence and the eloquence of the original Arabic, are riddled with ideological issues such as one would find in the Study Qur’an or else the translators themselves don’t have a good grasp of either English (Malik et al) or Arabic (Cleary). This has led to numerous misunderstandings by Muslims and non Muslims alike. As the description clearly states, the author studied with a master of the Quranic sciences for over 17+ years going through verse by verse, asking questions and then using his profound knowledge of his native English to render each verse in a way that would capture the essence of the ‘balagha’ (eloquence) of the native language of the Quran. One can see examples of this in numerous verses that have been translated in a way that I’ve not seen in any other translation. An example of this is seen in the very first chapter of the Qur’an (Al-Fatihah) wherein the translation for ‘na’budu’ has almost always been rendered with a rote, formulaic translation of ‘You alone do we worship.’ Sheikh Nuh Keller has instead brought out the essence of worship whilst remaining true to the English etymology by translating this verse ‘You alone we humbly adore.’ Adoration according to the original meaning of the word found in the Merriam Webster dictionary is a synonym for worship of the Divine. There are countless examples like this which have truly helped one in understanding and appreciating the Divine writ of Islam and for that we can only praise Sheikh Nuh for his tremendous effort in opening the door for English speakers in having colloquy with the Divine as the Qur’an encourages it’s readers to do. It would also behove one to mention that in our times, reading skills are not what they might have been some years ago. I would posit that negative reviews of this work tend to be indicative of something else. Anglophone Muslims have become accustomed to reading Islamic publications of a mediocre literary quality. Poor and basic English dominates the Muslim book market. In this case, one encounters a text/translation exhibiting the highest literary quality to the point of being poetic in its form. One response has been to appreciate this and learn from it, understanding the Quran more deeply than ever before. Another response is to say, after spending only one day or less, with the translation, that it is complex and tedious, because the reader assumes that they have a supreme command of English. Some novice reviews tend more often than not to fit into the latter category. These reviews also highlight a deep misunderstanding of the Quran. The Quran has special grammatical structures and complexities. It displays subtle shifts in syntax. It employs sudden digressions (iltifat). A translation can’t ignore this. It has to reflect this variation, subtlety, and depth. Some readers aren’t seeking such depth when they read the Quran in English. This is partly due to decades of modernist propaganda that the Quran is easy and can be understood by oneself. It is like any other book. You can just pick it up and quickly understand it without much reflection or thought. It doesn’t require expert analysis. For such readers, translations should be basic, flat, and dry and for that by all means, one can pick up any translation and think they’re benefitting. We wish them well in that endeavor but for those of us who want some of the essence, something more profound and deep, this is the translation I would recommend without hesitation. It will take time for a classic like this to grow on some readers and I truly believe that like fine art that isn’t necessarily appreciated in the time of the artist, it dawns on those in posterity what an incredible work has been produced. ‘The Quran Beheld’ will in due course, fall in to the category of fine literary art.
God says in the Quran, "This, no less, is the Sacred Book: No doubt is in it; A mighty guidance for the godfearing;" (Quran Beheld 2:2). The miracle (mu'jiza) of the Quran is a linguistic miracle: that an illerate and unlettered man named Muhammad (upon him be peace), known amongst his people to be an honest man, speaks words of revelation, the elegance of which stunned its hearers, the original Arabs who were masters of the language. Few translations capture the spirit of God's words in this Sacred Book whilst moving the English reader like the Quran Beheld does. To unlock the meanings and linguistic miracles of the Quran, one MUST master the sciences of Arabic and Tafsir (exegesis) and understand the meanings of the Quran from the foremost scholars of Tafsir over the past 1400 years. Sheikh Nuh Keller studied the Quran one-on-one with Sheikh Ali Hani, a traditional scholar and expert in Arabic and tafsir, spanning over two decades to uncover how the Islamic body of tafsir scholars in the last millennium explain the meanings of the Quran. Sheikh Nuh, an expert in the English language and translation, in turn, translated these meanings into precise and moving expressions, providing what no translation before has ever done. The Quran Beheld is not like any other. Abdur Rahman Ashraf Former Teacher & Lifelong Student of Arabic
Sheikh Nuh Keller’s Reliance of the Traveler has been unarguably the best translation of an Islamic jurisprudence text in the English language for over thirty years. It served as a catalyst to highlight the importance of seeking traditional, qualitied Islamic knowledge and inspired the likes of Imam Zaid Shakir (Making of a Muslim, 2000) and Sheikh Gibril Haddad (Gibril Haddad, Wikipedia) - and his Quran Beheld will surpass this, Allah willing. The Quran Beheld is the crystallization of almost 40 years of experience in translation, 26 years as a sheikh in the science of tasawwuf (classical sufism), 17 years of intense study of the Quran, and decades of access to the latest resources and technology (compared to the Reliance of the Traveler which was first composed on a typewriter!) His translation is monumental due to the 'talaqqi' (one-on-one instruction) method employed during the 17 years of his work. He sat with a traditional sheikh in the field of 'tafsir' (Qur’anic exegesis) and synthesized 19 of its major works into his translation. Every single “word, letter, preposition, inflection, and case-ending” was considered (Quran Beheld, p.xii). The result is what Sheikh Gibril Haddad recently said in his review of the Qur’an Beheld: “…[T]his effort might come nearer than all previous attempts and form the prime orthodox reference and best planche de salut yet for the English-speaking public to peruse the Healing as closely as they would without fear of misguidance, opacity or disappointment.” By relying on the traditional Islamic method of 'talaqqi' throughout, the translator was able to bring forth seven key areas of meaning from the original Arabic not captured in previous translations, and it made a huge difference. These meanings are not just in a few places of the Quran, but form its very fabric, and add to the beauty, clarity, and argumentative force of its verses. As literature, it is sublimely beautiful, and the translator has drawn inspiration from giants like Milton, Austen, Irving, Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Scott for style (Quran Beheld, p.xxxii) AND rare grammatical formulations (Highest Signs: Translating the Quran Beheld). While some may prefer a translation written in simple English, the Quran is no simple text, and it is well known that even the companions of the Prophet (Allah be well pleased with them) did not know the meaning of every word in it. When an edict is brought from the king, it is in his speech, not that of common folk – so what about the King of Kings? And should the translation of His edict be any different? This work is so pivotal that future translations will incorporate these areas of meaning by referring to the Quran Beheld or adopting the 'talaqqi' method – and to neglect doing so would be a violation of a Muslim’s trust to faithfully convey the message. To see just how different it is, look at the attached photos comparing translations. I drew these examples from the introduction to the Quran Beheld and added comparative translations. This is in no way to disparage the great effort put forth by these translators – they are considered by many (including me) to be the giants of their field. Each example represents an area of meaning the Quran Beheld brought into English. I have included a column explaining the effect achieved by each inclusion, which has also been gleaned (mostly) from the introduction. After reading it, I am confident that you, too, will see just what difference it makes. *To understand why and how these areas of meaning arise, and for many examples, please read the complete introduction which can be found by conducting an Internet search for ‘Quran Beheld Introduction’.*
This review was written by my son, a Georgetown University senior year student: If I had to describe "The Quran Beheld" in a word, I’d definitely say it’s monumental. Before this work was published, I considered myself a sampler of Quran translations and often read the works of Pickthall, Arberry, Yusuf Ali, Abdul-Haleem, and more. It was refreshing to compare how each academic understood the different ayahs of the Quran and expressed that in English. Some translators preferred to make the Quran easier to read and translated it into everyday, modern English. Others preserved the rhyme scheme, or maintained the archaicness of the Arabic through Shakespearean English. Sheikh Nuh Keller’s work unquestionably stands above and beyond any other translation that I have read so far -- and I am simply being honest. Firstly, just skimming through it tells you that the author is not the ordinary academic. It is extremely apparent that he has attained a rare mastery of English that very, very few people can achieve. You will definitely encounter words that you need a dictionary for, and it's simply a humbling experience when you realize just how illiterate you really are. Secondly, the Quran, when understood in Arabic, delivers an oomph that can’t be replicated by a direct translation. The Quran stupefied auditioners; narrations recount that some were struck unconscious. The Quran Beheld surpasses other translations in delivering that oomph in English, and it’s weighty and heart-rending. It pulls at your heart-strings and doesn’t let go. The descriptions and the imagery are vivid and beautiful, and you appreciate it even further when you realize that in order to convey such exquisite meaning, multiple words were used so we can truly grasp the depth of the words, whereas the Arabic may simply use one word which contains those dimensions of meaning. For example, in Surah Waqi’ah, the chapter describes the “...raised couches, exquisitely wrought of rich filigree, pearls, and gems;” (56.15) that the faithful enjoy in Paradise. The words used in Arabic are “sururin mawdunah.” Two words, concise and sweet, yet when you compare them to the 10-word English equivalent, the depth of the Arabic is simply mind blowing. Thirdly, the translator incorporates aspects of balagha, or eloquence, of the Quran into his work. Certain devices unique to Arabic, such as the layers of meaning which prepositions imply and gendered language to express abasement or exaltedness, are pretty much overlooked in every other English translation. Not this one. The author referred back to scholarly exegeses and scholars in that field throughout the astonishing 17 years spent in translation for every single verse of the Book to capture the richness of the language. And this is what immediately stands out when you start reading it. It’s weighty; it leaves a permanent indent in your heart that is unforgettable. Do I recommend you buy it? Absolutely! I can only speak from my own experience, but what I will tell you is that I absolutely don’t regret this purchase. It was definitely worth the hundred plus bucks and if I had to go about it again, I’d pay twice that for the same work. It is, in my humble opinion, the best Quran translation out there, unparalleled with no equal.
Muhammed Minhaj (Kerala, India)
Before even delving into the book, the knowledge of the translator and his teacher instills confidence in the authoritative, reliable, and rigorous nature of this translation. It's the most emotionally evocative translation I've encountered. The Ayahs resonate more deeply than ever before. This translation takes you to greater depths, breathing life into the exhortations, stories, and rulings of the Qur'an. It pays tribute to the Qur'an's unparalleled rhetorical mastery as effectively as possible in the English language to date. For those who haven't yet read "The Quran Beheld," I urge you to acquire a copy. This book should become your primary go-to reference for translation.
Just look at how verse 5 in Al-Fatihah (Chapter 1: Opening) is translated: “You alone we humbly adore and in You alone we seek help” This alone suffices as proof for the surpassing quality of Sheikh Nuh Keller’s translation of the meaning of the Qur’an. The translator’s years of classic study of Tafsir and eloquence (Balaghah) shows in how the translation captures important details and depth in the meaning; something that other translations lack. In short, this translation gives you the depth and scope of the meaning while others are superficial. I cannot recommend this translation enough to anyone who wishes to get as close as possible to the Arabic glory of the Qur’an but can only do so in English.
Muhammed Khaleel (Calicut, India)
I work at Markaz Knowledge City seminary, a place that consistently motivates me to delve into deeper meanings within various literary works and traditional Islamic texts. What truly sets "The Quran Beheld" apart from other translations I've encountered is its remarkable ability to bridge the gap between ancient wisdom and modern understanding. The translator skillfully captures the core essence of the Quranic message, expressing it in language that resonates with contemporary readers. This harmonious equilibrium ensures that the profound teachings of the Quran remain intact, allowing present-day minds to effortlessly grasp its relevance. "The Quran Beheld" facilitates a connection with timeless wisdom that feels immediate and personal. May Almighty Allah accept this work as a significant khidma of Shaykh Nuh.