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Le Coran (Arabe-Français) - Editions Sana - Format Moyen 21X14 - Couverture BLEU
Le Noble Coran en Arabe et en Français (page vis a vis) : le Noble Coran et la traduction en langue française de ses sens. Il permettra à chaque individus arabophone ou francophone d'utiliser ce Coran pour apprendre, lire, comprendre ou même mémoriser le Saint Coran tout en comprenant chaque verset. La traduction du Professeur Muhammad Hamidullah (1908-2002) du Coran en français parue en 1959 au Club français du livre, la première effectuée par un musulman, fit date et il fut assisté par Michel Léturmy. et Préfacer par Louis Massignon. Cette Version 2000 est réviser par des Savants Musulmans Arabophone-Francophone : Le Docteur Mouhammad Ahmad LO, Cheikh Ahmad Mouhammad Al-Amine AL-CHINQUITI, Cheikh Fodé Soriba CAMARA.
Muhammad Hamidullah is the author of some forty books dealing mainly with the philosophy of law and Muslim diplomacy, as well as more than 2,000 articles translated into some twenty languages, many of which were published while he worked at the CNRS, and which he personally wrote in five languages: Arabic, Urdu, English, French and German.
Among these publications is the discovery, translation and commentary of a hadith book. His translation of the Koran into French published in 1959 by the French Book Club, the first made by a Muslim, made history and he was assisted by Michel Léturmy. This translation, entitled The Holy Coran, was republished twelve times, between 1959 and 1986. This translation, which is authoritative in the French-speaking world,
The international translation will be reviewed by the Islamic World League before being released. The French Academy awarded him the prize for a work written in French by a foreigner in 1959.
This version was revised in 2000 under the high patronage of the King Fahd complex for the printing of the Holy Quran in Saudi Arabia by:
-Doctor Mouhammad Ahmad LO
-Sheikh Ahmad Mouhammad Al-Amine AL-CHINQUITI
-Cheikh Fodé Soriba CAMARA
The French translation of Muhammad Hamidullah, as revised by the King Fahd Complex (2000)
Mouhamadul Khaly Wélé: The French translation of the Koran that we present here is certainly the easiest to find on the internet. Although it is generally attributed to Muhammad Hamidullah, it is actually a revised version based on the original text by this translator.
Muhammad Hamidullah: elements of biography: The work of Muhammad Hamidullah, produced with the assistance of the translator and historian of religions Michel Léturmy (1921-2000), was published in 1959. It was republished fifteen times between this date and the year 2000 : the number of reissues changes depending on whether pirate editions are taken into account or not. Be that as it may, this translation is often considered to be the first French-language version produced by a Muslim. However, it is preceded by lesser-known Muslim translations, namely those by Ahmed Laïmèche and Benaouda Ben Daoud (1931), Octave Pesle and Ahmed Tidjani (1936), and Ameur Ghédira (1957).
Hamidullah was born on February 19, 1908 in Hyderabad, a former Muslim principality, now the capital of the Indian state of Telangana. Coming from a family of Sunni Muslim scholars, he was introduced to Islamic sciences at the al-Ǧāmi'a al-Niẓāmiyya theological institute, a higher education institution with a denominational aim, founded in 1876. He then joined 'Uṯmaniyya University, also in Hyderabad, where he obtained a degree in international Muslim law. He also receives in Saudi Arabia the title of ḥāfiẓ (“حافظ”), awarded to anyone who has learned the entirety of the Koran by heart. Sent by his university to Germany for his research, in 1932 he defended a doctoral thesis on “the principle of neutrality in international Muslim law” (“Die Neutralität im Islamischen Völkerrecht”) at the University of Bonn. He also acquired, three years later, another doctorate in letters at the Sorbonne for a thesis entitled: “Documents on Muslim diplomacy at the time of the Prophet and the Orthodox Caliphs”. He returned to the Indian subcontinent after his study stay in Europe to teach Muslim law at his old university, but his opposition to the annexation of Hyderabad by the new Indian state forced him into exile in Paris in 1948. He took up residence there until 1996.
Now settled in Europe, Hamidullah continued his research on Islam while making a few stays abroad, in particular in the newly created state of Pakistan, where he participated in the drafting of the constitution in 1950, and in Turkey, where he goes regularly to teach at the Faculty of Theology of Istanbul University. He presents himself, moreover, as a professor at the said university in the first edition of his translation of the Koran. He was appointed in 1954 to a post of senior researcher at the CNRS thanks to the support of the man he called "master", namely the orientalist and Catholic Islamologist Louis Massignon (1883-1962), and with the support of Henri Laoust (1905-1983), a specialist in Hanbali thought.
Evolving in a context where the Muslim Brotherhood was in full expansion, Hamidullah rubbed shoulders with members of this movement, including Saïd Ramadan (1926-1995), himself the son-in-law of the founder, Hassan el-Banna (1906-1949). Active in the Islamic-Christian dialogue in France, as evidenced by his articles on this subject, he also invested in the supervision of young French Muslims by founding in particular the Association of Islamic Students of France (AEIF) in 1962, i.e. a decade after contributing to the creation of the first Muslim cultural center in France. His translation of the Koran also seems to be part of the process of making Islam known to French-speaking European Muslims through one of their co-religionists. We can still detect the same concern in his writings, as in this article entitled "The Holy Koran of the Muslims", where he recommends to the readers to privilege the Muslim translations of the text: "we must prefer the translations made by Muslims, for not not risk the subjectivism of those who do not believe in it".
Health problems probably linked to his advanced age (88) led him to leave France in 1996 to settle in Florida, at the invitation of a member of his family. He died in the United States in December 2002.
The work of Muhammad Hamidullah
Hamidullah writes in several languages (French, English, Urdu, Arabic, Turkish, German, etc.). He has to his credit some forty books and a considerable number of articles, among which there are about one hundred and sixty-four written in French. The place of Muslims in the Indian subcontinent is one of his centers of interest. But most of his work is devoted to themes relating to Islamic law, the Koran, the Sīra, that is to say the biography of the prophet of Islam: he studies, for example, the diplomatic activity of Muḥammad or the articulation between economic thought and Muslim religion.
The translation of the Koran by Hamidullah is however characterized by a style that he wanted to be faithful to the original, at the risk sometimes of confusing the non-Arabic reader. For example, the term Naṣārā (“نصارى”), generally translated as “Christians”, becomes “Nazarenes” with him; but he takes care to specify in the glosses that this means “Christians” and adds, in his commentary on verse 113 of sura ii: “Nāṣira, – Nazareth – is the country of Jesus. The word is not pejorative. Because the author is clearly moved by the desire “to transpose the Koran into French as he recites it in Arabic; with a naked Faith”, as Louis Massignon points out in the preface to the first edition. It is therefore from a confessional perspective that Hamidullah composes his translation, hence his long, very laudatory introduction, in which he deals with a certain number of subjects such as the style of the Koran, the history of its writing, its content, the order of its verses, the particular interest it takes in “People of the Bible” and not in other religions, the question of women in the text.
The revisers of the translation published in 2000
This second revision, which we reproduce here, is carried out under the direction of three African religious personalities: Fodé Soriba Camara, Mohamed Ahmed Lo and Ahmad Mouhammad al-Amine al-Chinquity, respectively of Guinean, Senegalese and Mauritanian nationalities. Care should be taken not to confuse the latter with Mohammed al-Amine ash-Shinqiti (1905-1974), a well-known man of religion, also of Mauritanian nationality.
Fodé Soriba Camara is a former translator, diplomat and minister of Islamic affairs in Guinea. He is known for having notably published in Arabic a Study of the translation of the meanings of the Koran into French by Régis Blachère (Dirāsat tarǧamat ma'ānī al-qur'ān al-karīm ilā l-luġat al-faransiyya al-latī a'addahā riǧis balāšīr). He challenges Blachère's skills in Arabic and accuses him of "pursuing the same objective common to all orientalists, namely to fight the Koran". "They disseminate", he adds, "lies and slanders in their translations in order to convince the readers that the Koran is the work of the prophet Muḥammad […]". This means that the study in question has little fear of the excesses of polemics and the tendencies towards essentialism which result from them. It is currently available on the site of the King Fahd Complex, among the works devoted to “Incorrect translations”.
Trained at the University of Medina, Mohamed Ahmed Lo is one of the best-known figures of Salafism in West Africa, particularly in Senegal, his country. This notoriety is largely due to his main work on Sufism, entitled The Sacralisation of Individuals in Sufi Thought (Taqdīs al-ašḫāṣ fī al-fikr al-ṣūfī): a work that identifies and denounces practices and beliefs that he considers “deviant” and "foreign to Islam" that would prevail in this mystical current of the Muslim religion.
Finally, Ahmad Mouhammad al-Amine al-Chinquity (died 2013) was a specialist in Malikite jurisprudence and Koranic exegesis. He worked at the Mauritanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, then at the Saudi Ministry of Information, before settling permanently in Saudi Arabia, and more precisely in Mecca, where he taught until his retirement. His best-known work is undoubtedly The Divine Graces in Khalil's Arguments (Mawāhib al-ǧalīl min adillat ḫalīl), a commentary on the famous compendium of Maliki jurisprudence The Compendium of Khalil (Muḫtaṣar ḫalīl): Malikism is one of the four legal schools of Sunnism, the majority in the Maghreb and West Africa.
The three revisers just mentioned are all theologians. But only Fodé Soriba Camara is also a professional translator from Arabic into French. One could put forward, not without precaution, the hypothesis that their names define a certain readership, perhaps targeted primarily by the King Fahd Complex: the readership of French-speakers in sub-Saharan Africa. There are indeed, according to a 2016 estimate, more than ninety-four million French speakers in this part of the African continent, with a high proportion of Muslims in West Africa.
Characteristics of the translation revised in 2000
In the following we will describe some features of the version presented here. To do this, we will compare it with the edition revised and completed by Hamidullah, as published in 1977 by the Club Français du Livre, the house which had already produced the first edition.
As for the French translation of the name Allāh (“الله”), Hamidullah decides in favor of the term “God”. In his open letter to King Fahd, he argues that this is the practice in some non-Arabic speaking countries in the Muslim world:
It has been done for over a thousand years without embarrassment in Persian, Urdu, Turkish, etc. And indeed experience shows that the word "Allah" among non-Muslims means the God of the Muslims and not the universal God of everyone.
The translators of the Complex still retain the Arabic form because, they claim, "this is how He is designated in the Koran". Instead, they use "God" and "deity" to render the name ilāh ("إله"). And when this name refers to "Allah", they generally translate it as "God". But when it applies to a common noun, it is the term "divinity" that they favor. Still it happens that they translate the same expression differently according to the sura, which can give the feeling of a certain arbitrariness: one will compare for example ii, 163 and xvi, 22, where the same sentence returns, "wa -ilāhukum ilāhun wāḥid”. In the text of Hamidullah, this inconstancy is absent.
In addition, the revised version is distinguished by several changes made in the translation of the titles of suras. To cite only a few cases, in the translation given in 1977 by Muhammad Hamidullah, suras v, vi, viii, xviii and xxx are entitled: "The plate served", "The limbo", "The spoils", "The cave and “The Byzantines”. These titles become here: "The served table", "Al-Araf" (not translated), "The booty", "The cave" and "The Romans".
On terms derived from the triliteral root slm (“سلم”), the two translations often come together. As an example, Muhammad Hamidullah and his revisers agree to render muslimūn ("مسلمون") and aslama ("أسلَم") as "submitted" and "submit", as in xi, 14 and iv, 125. Similarly , there is agreement between them on salm (“سَلْم”), when it is translated in xlviii, 35 as “peace”. But important rearrangements can also occur: Hamidullah renders, for example, the terms islām (“إسلام”) and silm (“سِلْم”) by “Submission” as in iii, 19 and ii, 208, while the translators of the version Revised prefer to translate these two terms by the transliterated form "Islam", which refers more explicitly to the Muslim faith.
However, the matrix is the same: priority is given, in both translations, to conformity with the majority opinion in classical Sunni exegesis. And this common attachment to exegesis has as its corollary a fidelity similar to the source language: fidelity which prevails over attention to the target language. But the possible dissimilarities of the two texts are all the more remarkable. And it is clear that this extract from iii, 85, in the Hamidullah translation, will seem quite welcoming to the non-Muslim reader: "whoever desires a religion other than Submission [to God], from him it will not be received ". It is much less so in its translation revised by the Complex of King Fahd: “whoever desires a religion other than Islam, will not be approved”. Two different approaches to the same verse are then clearly perceptible.
The ideological orientation specific to the revised version is still noticeable in connection with a term like Naṣārā (“نصارى”), translated sometimes by “Nazarenes”, sometimes by “Christians”, depending on whether the passage is favorable or not to the latter. . Consider verses 62 and 113 of sura ii, which date from the Medina period. The first is translated as follows:
Surely those who believed, those who became Judaized, the Nazarenes, and the Sabians, whoever of them believed in Allah on the Last Day and did good deeds, will be rewarded by his Lord: he will have no fear. and he will never be afflicted.
The second is rendered as follows:
And the Jews say, "The Christians stand on nothing" and the Christians say, "The Jews stand on nothing", while they read the Book! Likewise those who know nothing use a language similar to their own. Well, Allah will judge on what they oppose, on the Day of Resurrection.
Given that the term “Nazarenes” often refers to the first Christians, of Jewish origin, the interpretative choice made in ii, 62 suggests that current Christians are not concerned by the divine promise. In ii, 113, the choice is quite different and tends rather to underline that God's warning is indeed addressed to them.
In conclusion: the reasons for a success
Despite these observations on the revised version, it must be admitted that it is written in a more accessible and, to be honest, more correct French than that of Muhammad Hamidullah: on reading his correspondence, but also the judgment pronounced by Jamel Eddine Bencheikh, we will indeed have understood that the syntax of the latter could leave something to be desired, which is partly explained by his situation as a non-native French speaker. That said, the success of this revised version is probably not so much due to its linguistic quality as to the fact that the Saudi religious authorities have decided to promote it by distributing it for free. This very wide circulation certainly justifies its presentation here, but it must be subject to the same contextualization as all the other translations of the Koran.
Observation on copyrights: Always faithful to himself by his altruism, Professor Hamidullah in his last volleys that the copyrights of reproduction of the translation are open and free. May Allah accept his gesture.
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