|Abstract||As the role of Qur’an translations becomes ever-more pivotal in the English-speaking world, the need for critical studies into the eligibility of the translators, as well as of their methodologies of translation becomes increasingly more important. The aim of this paper is to provide a critical study of one such translation; Laleh Bakhtiar’s ‘The Sublime Qur’an’.
The study explores the concept of ‘eligibility’ to translate the Qur’an from both a classical Islamic perspective as well as from the perspective of translation studies experts. Eligibility is examined not only in terms of proficiency in the required sciences, but also in terms of academic integrity and whether the translator has been faithful to the source text. The findings from the study are used to determine Bakhtiar’s eligibility to translate the Qur’an. An important second thread of this paper is to investigate Bakhtiar’s claims regarding the uniqueness of certain aspects of her translation methodology by presenting a meticulous evaluation through a comparison with other translations.
The focus of the third and largest part of this study is concerned with determining and evaluating Bakhtiar’s methodology of translating the Qur’an. The study aims to deduce and re-construct Bakhtiar’s methodology from her own words, as well as from the text of her translation. Each aspect of the findings is evaluated, with a focus on the effects of the methodology on the accuracy of the translation as well as its repercussions on Islamic theology.
The main findings reveal a huge discrepancy between what Bakhtiar claims as her translation methodology and between what it actually is. The findings further shed light on Bakhtiar’s infidelities to the source text. These are demonstrated through case-studies that reveal numerous ideologically-biased interpolations that run throughout her translation. This research suggests that the elaborate linguistic methodological process Bakhtiar claims to have used, serves as a veil to shroud the ideological interpolations concealed within it.