1- To have a simple, easy to read and understand English translation of the Quran’s meaning, without commentary, in order to allow the Qur’an to speak for itself.
2- To have a translation that represents a fresh understanding of the original Arabic based on the tools of knowledge presently available.
3- To have a translation that will be a tool of reconciliation. Rather than emphasizing the differences between Islam and the other Abrahamic religions (wall-building), it will strive to highlight the commonalities (bridge-building).
Muslims, who grew up reading the Qur’an, always appreciated its flowing words like a stream in the spring, when it’s talking about the believers or its harshness when talking about the idolaters and those who opposed God’s messengers. I grew up listening to its rhythmic verses and always felt safe knowing God is present with me. I talk to Him while praying and He responds to me through the Qur’an. But as I started reading about Westerners’ reaction to the Qur’an, I learned that they had a problem with my favorite book.
They often had problems dealing with the Qur’an. They had a problem with its origin, its organization, its structure and many had problems accepting any post biblical revelation. Others who wanted to work with it had problems understanding why it is not biographical or historical and most of all why it is not linear.
So for me to claim that I want to present the Qur’an’s meaning in a simple, easy to read and understand translation sounds straightforward but is not, simply because the Qur’an is not a book like any other book with a beginning and an end. Its inner logic is different from what we’re accustomed to.
Muslims believe it is the word of God revealed to Prophet Mohammadﷺ over a period of 23 years. Its internal organization is a mystery to the western mind especially when one realizes that the first verses received by Prophet Mohammad in 610 CE were:
Recite in the name of your Lord who created -(01) Created the human being from a clinging substance. (02) Recite, and your Lord is the most generous (03) Who taught by the pen (04) taught human being that which he knew not. (05)
Yet they are placed at the beginning of chapter 96 Al-Alaq (The Clinging Form), while the last verse revealed to him shortly before his death in 632 CE, was verse 281 of the second chapter:
Beware of a Day when you are returned to God and every soul will be paid in full for what it has earned, and none will be wronged. (281)
Muslim traditions hold that when the angel Gabriel brought down these revelations to Prophet Mohammadﷺ, he also told him where to place them, in a large type of puzzle that was put together over twenty three years in the form of the book that finally became the Qur’an.
However, one has to realize that the final compilation of the Qur’an followed the way God wanted to reveal the message and not in a simple historic or linear logical order in which the revelations were received. These were but some of the issues we had to keep in mind before the translation began.
Another issue has to do with who is the principal speaker in the Qur’an. By the time an average Western reader realizes that it is in fact God speaking to His Prophet and not Mohammadﷺ talking to us, another issue arises. One wonders why God is referring to Himself in so many different pronouns, often in the same sentence, such as "He", "We" or "I", with the corresponding changes of the pronoun from "His" to "Our" or "My", or from "Him" to "Us" or "Me" or “God”. In the mind of a Western reader who is accustomed to reading the Bible this lacks uniformity and present difficulties.
To see full introduction, the methodology used and the article From Revelations to a Book please go to www.kaskas.com - Qur'an section.