Quran: a Reformist Translation


Quran: a Reformist Translation

Edip Yuksel
Layth Saleh al-Shaiban
Martha Schulte-Nafeh

“From the perspective of the academic study of the Qur’an, this book has very little to contribute. … To proclaim that the Qur’an contains 20th-century scientific discoveries renders meaningless the religious faith of Muslims of the past who could not possibly have been aware of such a concept. … Controversy may assist book sales, as happened in the case of The Satanic Verses, but it would be a cynical and questionable strategy to publish a book simply because it arouses the wrath of many people. Simply to publish this work as it is basically gives this religious group a platform to express their distinctive theology, which is highly polemical and dismissive of other perspectives…” – A anonymous Sunni Scholar who was described by the editor of Palgrave-Macmillan as “a very well-established professor.”

“A bold and beautiful translation that serves as a timely reminder to all believers that the Qur’an is not a static scripture, but a living, breathing, ever-evolving text whose sacred words are as applicable today as when they were first uttered by the Prophet Muhammad fourteen centuries ago.” – Reza Aslan, PhD., CBS News Consultant; Author, No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.


“A testament to the fact that faith need not suffocate reason. This is bound to be among the smartest of ‘smart bombs’ in the battle of ideas within Islam.” – Irshad Manji, Fellow, Yale University and author, The Trouble with Islam Today: A Muslim’s Call for Reform in Her Faith.


“I completely agree with you in your rejection of the right of any group to arrogate to themselves the sole interpretation of the Quran. The Quran, being a book containing divine knowledge and wisdom, can only be understood progressively. It has to be interpreted anew by every generation and through a scientific methodology…. Your effort is praiseworthy. Well done. Keep it up.” – Kassim Ahmad, former president of Malaysian Socialist Party and head of Malaysian Quranic Society who was declared “apostate” by religious authorities for his controversial work on the Prophetic Traditions.


“This translation is the best tool for those who want to understand the uncorrupted Message of Islam – justice and peace. This translation shows that the Quran is but the confirmation and continuation of God’s system memorialized through Abraham, demonstrated in Torah through numerous prophets, and in the Hebrew Gospel through Yeshu’a/Jesus, the righteous of God. This translation is a message of peace, justice and judgment. I pray that the Reformist translation of the Quran will replace all others not only because it is the best but also because it is the closest to the original Arabic text.” – Gershom Kibrisli, theologian and communal leader, The Karaim of the Early Hebrew Scriptures, Holy Land & Benelux.


“Every conversation begins with a single voice. This Reformist Translation of the Quran and its ancillary materials should begin many conversations, between and among Muslims and non-Muslims alike. In many parts of the Muslim world this is a dangerous discussion, and sometimes that danger can reach well into the West, as evidenced by the 1990 fatwa-inspired murder of Rashad Khalifa in Tucson, Arizona. It is an important discussion, however, and the editors of this book have assumed this risk to argue for a perspective that sets violence aside both in discourse and living. One can imagine that a broader adoption of their perspective across the Muslim world would reduce strife and invite greater examination of Islam by non-Muslims as something other than a threat. It would expand the conversation.” – Mark V Sykes Ph.D. J.D. Director, Planetary Science Institute.

“Very Interesting and Timely” – Riffat Hassan, Ph.D. Professor of Religious Studies and Humanities at the University of Louisville, Kentucky. A pioneer of feminist theology in the context of the Islamic tradition.


“Quran: A Reformist Translation is distinct from other translations of the Qur’an in several important ways. First, to the best of my knowledge, it is only the second English translation of the Qur’an produced by Qur’anists–advocates of the concept of the Qur’an as the sole legitimate scriptural source of religious law and guidance in Islam. As Qur’anists, Yuksel and his colleagues reject the Hadith as sources of religious law and guidance and do not rely on them in this translation and commentary. The first Qur’anist English translation was done by the late Rashad Khalifa, a seminal figure in the late twentieth-century Qur’anist movement who directly influenced both Yuksel and Shulte-Nafeh. Quran: A Reformist Translation is also unique because it is the product of collaboration between two key figures in the present-day Qur’anist movement: Edip Yuksel and Layth Saleh al-Shaiban. The Qur’anist approach offers religious rather than secularist challenges to traditional understandings of Islam, whether Sunni, Shia, or academic, on a number of critical issues; so this translation and commentary have the potential to spark extreme controversy among Muslims and non-Muslims.” – Aisha Y. Musa, PhD, Assistant Professor of Islamic Studies, Florida International University; author of An Examination of Early and Contemporary Muslim Attitudes toward Hadith as Scripture (Doctoral Dissertation, Harvard University, 2004).

“A timely and stimulating contribution to scholarship on Islam that offers cogent testimony to the diversity of views within the Islamic community.  This new translation challenges those in East and West alike who see Islam as irreconcilably opposed to the scientific and democratic impulses of modernity.” – Germaine A. Hoston, Ph.D, Professor, University of California. San Diego, former Director of the Center for Democratization and Economic Development.

“With its lucid language, brilliant theological and philosophic arguments, Edip Yüksel removes the smoke of distortions and ignorance generated by clergymen that have concealed the light of the Quran from masses. Pulling our attention to numerous scientific evidences supporting the authenticity of the divine nature of the Quran, the Reformist Translation is destined to create a Copernican Revolution in the realm of religions. I highly recommend it to Agnostics, Skeptics, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, or anyone who seeks truth about God without suppressing or compromising their brains.” – Caner Taslaman, PhDs in Theology and Political Science; Post doc fellow at Harvard and Oxford Universities; author, The Quran: Unchallengeable Miracle; The Big Bang and God; The Theory of Evolution and God; and The Invented Religion; www.quranic.org.

“Allah has gifted humanity with many signs for guidance. The Qur’an not only directs us towards these signs all over creation, but also in itself is a most miraculous sign. We can never know the full meaning of the Qur’an even as we exercise our minds and peacefully surrender our hearts to Allah so that we become able to read the signs and grow to know more. A Reformist Translation directs us to this miracle by offering an intense and challenging addition to the practice of sincere reading for knowing. I cannot accept its Qur’an only perspective, even as I support the efforts of these translators to engage, as they have, in reading and growing with knowledge while relaying to others some new possibilities of meaning for the sake of reflection and peacefully surrender. I hope many will examine their efforts to gain benefit and challenge.” – Amina Wadud, PhD, Author: Inside the Gender Jihad: Reform in Islam.

“I have to say that this translation –following in the same spirit of Dr. Khalifa’s Quran: The Final Testament — not only is daring, brave and non-traditional in its approach, it will open a lot of eyes that the Quran is dynamic in nature and relevant for all times. The spirit of using the Quran to explain the Quran, namely trying to understand a certain word by searching for the meaning of the same word in many different contexts within the Quran, is very evident in this translation. This is a book that encourages the reader to use his/her intelligence faculty in order to understand the message, true to the key message of the Quran itself.Gatut Adisoma, PhD, Indonesia.


“I strongly suggest that this English representation of the Qur’an can only be fully appreciated by slowly absorbing it, cover to cover. As well, I suggest that the most integrated understanding of the Qur’an can only be realized by synthesizing the full message in one’s heart first, as a single experience. With this in mind, this Reformist Version does an unusually fine job in clarifying those elements (such as gender imbalance) which have been perceived as dissonant within the whole message in the “standard” translations. This version, which is not revisionistic, presents an integrated consistency rarely found in other translations and it elucidates issues not commonly grasped by modern readers (in any language). Those with an open mind and heart, who only understand modern Arabic and not the dialect in which it was originally revealed, have the opportunity to experience comfort and inner peace by absorbing this clean, Reformist translation. With this in mind, this version can only be judged following a thoughtful read of the entire volume…” Jeff Garrison, MD, Colorado.

“THANK YOU, DEAR GOD THANK YOU, I’m coming back because of your work.  Edip, your work has freed me from year of condemnation, cruelty and misinterpretation of islam by my ex husband. Your work has freed me from the pain I’ve carried for so long and gave me back basic self esteen that was mine from God but was slowly erroded by mysogyni. Your work gave me the wings i had lost. Again thank you.” Martina D., a reader.

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