Traces of Ideology in Translating the Qurān into English: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Six Cases across Twenty Versions

Abdunasir I. A. Sideeg


This research article aims to explore and critically examine six cases in which traces of ideology are explicitly or implicitly involved in the context of translating the Qurān into English. It attempts to answer questions pertinent to the nature and effect of traces of ideology on translating the Qurān in English and the way they shape the Qurānic message. The article employs a critical qualitative framework that allows for the researcher’s subjective interpretations of relevant texts. Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) is used for the analysis of data as this approach provides a convenient mode of critical thinking to carry out the present thesis. In this article, six texts across twenty versions of the Qurān in English are investigated in terms of their salient features that reflect peculiar ideological readings. Major findings indicate that complex traces of ideology may contribute to a particular choice in translating the salient features in the texts investigated. The case of Helminski, for instance, shows how cultural and linguistic backgrounds, Sufi doctrines, and feminist agendas all combine to produce a radical reading of the Qurān in English where she consistently refers to Allah (SWT) with the combination he/she. Sufi ideologies are crucial in translating some pronouns with controversial references in some Qurānic verses. As well, gnostic interpretations have their own legacy such as the alteration in Khalifa’s ‘authorized version’. Plus, Neo-Mutazilite and Qurānist traces of ideology significantly contribute to produce alien readings of some Qurānic texts as illustrated in cases (5) and (6) in this research article.     



Qurān, traces of ideology, critical discourse analysis (CDA), sacred feminine, Sufi

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