the original: while to make it too rude or familiar would be to err equally on the other side. I have, therefore, endeavoured to take a middle course; I have translated each sentence as literally as the difference in structure between the two languages would allow, and when possible I have rendered it word for word. Where a rugged or commonplace expression occurs in the Arabic I have not hesitated to render it by a similar English one, even where a literal rendering may perhaps shock the reader.
To preserve this closeness of rendering, I have had in several instances to make use of English constructions which, if not incorrect from a strictly grammatical point of view, are, I am aware, often inelegant. Thus a peculiarity of the Arabic is to use the same preposition with a passive verb as the active and transitive verb required; for instance, ghaẓaba ′halâihi, ‘he was angered against him,’ in the passive, ghuẓîba. ′halâihi, ‘he was angered-against,’ and the preservation of this construction is often absolutely necessary to retain the force of the original.
An instance of this occurs in the Opening Chapter, where the words elladhîna an′hamta ′halâihim, ghâiral maghẓubi ′halâihim are rendered, ‘of those thou art gracious to, not of those thou art wroth with;’ in Sale′s translation, ‘of those to whom thou hast been gracious, not of those against whom thou art incensed;’ the placing the preposition before the verb gives a completely different ring to the English to that of the Arabic, to say nothing of the absence of that colloquial freedom which distinguishes the original.
I have, as far as possible, rendered an Arabic word by the same English word wherever it occurs; in some cases, however, where the Arabic word has more than one signification, or where it would distort the sense to retain the same expression, I have not scrupled to alter it.
Some of the Arabic words that occur in the Qur′ân are ambiguous, and have given rise to numerous differences of opinion among commentators. Thus the word istawâ is applied to God, and is interpreted in some passages to