Noble Quran (Hilali-Khan)

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The Noble Qur'an (with those words understood here as referring to this particular translation, rather than the Quran itself - also commonly called 'Noble' by Muslims) is a translation of the Qur'an by Muhammad Muhsin Khan (Arabic: محمد محسن خان, muḥammad muḥsin khān) and Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din al-Hilali (Arabic: محمد تقي الدين الهلالي, muḥammad taqiyyu-d-dīn al-hilālī).

This English translation comes with a seal of approval from both the University of Medina and the Saudi Dar al-Ifta.[1] It is also the most widely distributed version of the Qur'an in the English language.[1] The Saudi-financed translation is interspersed with commentaries from Tabari, Qurtubi, and Ibn Kathir.[1][2] The translation has been described as being steeped in Wahhabi theology[3] and has been criticized by a number of Muslim scholars and academics.


The Hilali-Khan translation has been criticized for inserting the interpretations of the Wahhabi school directly into the English rendition of the Qur'an. It has been accused of inculcating Muslims and potential Muslims with militant interpretations of Islam through parenthesis, as teachings of the Qur'an itself.[4]

Dr. Ahmed Farouk Musa, an academician at Monash University, considered the Hilali-Khan translation as being a major cause of extremism and a work of propaganda distributed by Saudi religious authorities with money from its oil-rich government.[5] Similarly, Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad, head of Bethesda's Minaret of Freedom Institute, has claimed that the translation is a Wahabi rendering of the Qur'an and is not accepted by Muslims in the US.[6]

A number of academics have also criticized the Hilali-Khan translation on stylistic and linguistic grounds.[7] Dr William S. Peachy, an American professor of English at College of Medicine, King Saud University at Qasseem considered the translation "repulsive" and rejected by anyone outside of Saudi Arabia.[7] Dr. Abdel-Haleem, Arabic Professor at SOAS, London University, noted that he found the Hilali-Khan translation "repelling".[7]

The Director of King Fahd International Centre for Translation, King Saud University, Riyad, Dr. A. Al-Muhandis, expressed his dissatisfaction with the translation’s style and language, being too poor and simplistic.[7]

The Hilali-Khan translation has also been criticised by several prominent Western Muslim academics as well. Khaleel Mohammed,[1] Sheila Musaji,[8] Robert Crane,[9] and Khaled Abou El Fadl[10] have taken the translation to task for supposed Muslim supremacism and bigotry.

Comparison with other translations[edit]

Verse 2:190 is translated as:

  • "And fight in the Way of Allah those who fight you, but transgress not the limits. Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors. [This Verse is the first one that was revealed in connection with Jihad, but it was supplemented by another (V. 9:36)]."[11]

In mainstream translations of the Quran, the same verse is translated to:

  • "Fight in the way of Allah those who fight you but do not transgress. Indeed. Allah does not like transgressors." (Sahih International)
  • "Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you, but begin not hostilities. Lo! Allah loveth not aggressors." (Pickthall)
  • "Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not transgress limits; for Allah loveth not transgressors." (Yusuf Ali)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Mohammed, Khaleel (2005). "Assessing English Translations of the Qur'an". Middle East Quarterly.
  2. ^ Botz-Bornstein, Thorsten; Abdullah-Khan, Noreen (2014-08-28). The Veil in Kuwait: Gender, Fashion, Identity. Palgrave Macmillan. p. 43. ISBN 9781137487421.
  3. ^ Denver journal of international law and policy. 30. 2004-01-01. p. 240.
  4. ^ Juergensmeyer, Mark; Kitts, Margo; Jerryson, Michael (2013-01-01). The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Violence. OUP USA. p. 483. ISBN 9780199759996. In the 1980's two Salafi scholars based in the Islamic University of Medina and working under the supervision of Bin Baz, Taqi al-Din al-Hilali and Muhsin Khan institutionalized an interpretation of Islam... through their work Translations of the meanings of the Noble Qur'an in the English Language (1985). In it they used sustained interpolations to insert the interpretation of the Bin Baz school directly into the English rendition of the Qur'an. It was... used to inculcate Muslims and potential Muslims with militant interpretations of Islam artfully disguised, through parenthesis, as teachings of the Qur'an pure and simple.
  5. ^ "Muslim extremism found in problematic Quran translation, forum told - The Malaysian Insider". Archived from the original on 2016-02-16. Retrieved 2016-01-17. I believe that propaganda such as the Hilali-Khan translation and other materials coming out of Saudi Arabia are one of the major root causes that feed extremist ideas among Muslims, violence against Christians and other minorities
  6. ^ "For Conservative Muslims, Goal of Isolation a Challenge". The Washington Post. 2006-09-05. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2016-02-11. And it wasn't just liberals. I couldn't find an American Muslim who had anything good to say about that edition. I would call it a Wahhabi Koran.
  7. ^ a b c d Jassem, Zaidan Ali. "The Noble Quran: A Critical Evaluation of Al-Hilali and Khan's Translation". International Journal of English and Education. p. 269. ISSN 2278-4012. Retrieved 2016-01-14.
  8. ^ "The American Muslim (TAM)". Retrieved 2016-02-11. This “Interpretation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur’an in the English Language” published by Maktaba Dar-Us Salam in Riyadh (aka the Hilali-Khan translation) and given out so freely is shocking in its distortions of the message of the Qur’an and amounts to a rewrite not a translation.
  9. ^ Robert D. Crane, QUR'AN: Playing into the Hands of the Extremists? (Khan Qur'an)
  10. ^ Khaled Abou El Fadl: Corrupting God's Book, in Conference of the Books
  11. ^ Quran 2:190, translated by Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali and Muhammad Muhsin Khan

External links[edit]