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The Essential Koran Paperback – 1 Dec 2011


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Paperback, 1 Dec 2011
£1.14 £1.08
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Paperback: 244 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins India (1 Dec. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9350291584
  • ISBN-13: 978-9350291580
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 1.8 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,476,252 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Back Cover

THOMAS CLEARY is the pre-eminent translator of Buddhist and Taoist texts, including 'The Essential Tao', 'The Essential Confucius', 'The Secret of the Golden Flower', and the best-selling 'The Art of War'.

"For Muslims the whole of the Qur'an is sacred, but there are certain passages which are more accessible to those seeking from the outside to understand its meaning. The present translation has the virtue of making such passages available in easily comprehensible language thereby opening the doors for many readers to the inexhaustible treasures of the Sacred Text".
SEYYED HOSSEIN NASR, University Professor of Islamic Studies, George Washington University

"Thomas Cleary has crafted a stunning evocation of the 'untranslatable' verses of the holiest of the holy books in Arabic, the noble Qur'an. His is a poet's touch, a seer's vision, a traveller's love for the journey to Truth. 'The Essential Koran' will be essential reading for all who seek the core to Islamic spirituality".
BRUCE B. LAWRENCE, Professor of History of Religion, Duke University, and the author of 'Defenders of God'

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Thomas Cleary earned his Ph.D. in East Asian studies at Harvard University and is renowned for his translations of classic Chinese, Japanese, Sanskrit, Pali and Arabic religious texts. His translations include the bestselling ‘The Art of War’, ‘The Essential Tao’, ‘The Essential Confucius’, ‘The Essential Koran’, and ‘The Secret of the Golden Flower’. He lives in Cambridge, MA.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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This book, without doubt, has guidance in it for the conscientious; those who believe in the unseen, and steadily practice prayer, and give of what We have provided them, and those who believe what has been sent down before you, and are certain of the Hereafter. Read the first page
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 15 Sept. 2004
Format: Paperback
A beautiful, sensitive summary of the word of God. Out of interest, this was the book given to George W. Bush by the Islamic scholar Hamza Yusuf to help him understand Islam.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 18 Sept. 2003
Format: Paperback
In this continuation of the Essentials series, Thomas Cleary presents a basic introduction to the Koran.
Koran (Qur'an, in some transliterations) literally means 'reading' or 'recitation'. According to Islamic tradition, the Koran is a spiritually revealed book, in the way Torah was revealed to Moses or the Gospel message was revealed to Jesus. Connecting to these earlier voices of the same God, the Koran also serves as a clarifier, a standard. The prophet Muhammad, born about year 570, orphaned early, led a fairly unremarkable life until about age 40, when he had a revelation, which his wife was perhaps first to recognise.
This is a work in English; it is an article of faith among Muslims that the Koran cannot be truly translated into any language apart from the classical Arabic in which it was revealed. There is a fundamental difference between Arabic (or, more precisely, semitic) language and western languages. While all of the Koran is sacred for Muslims, there are portions which are more understandable and accessible to the Western reader; Cleary has assembled these together here.
'Arabic, most precise and primitive of the Semitic languages, shows signs of being originally a constructed language. It is built up upon mathematical principles--a phenomenon not paralleled by any other language.'
Given this view of the language, there are extensive notes throughout Cleary's translation to try to clarify some of the linguistic elements that are lost in translation.
'In the name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful
All praise belongs to God,
Lord of all worlds,
the Compassionate, the Merciful,
Ruler of Judgment Day.
It is You that we worship,
and to You we appeal for help.
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Format: Paperback
Many years ago, this was the very first book that I read as an introduction to the Qur'an. In fact, it may have been responsible for leading me to study the Qur'an in much more detail in the following ten years, so in this sense it may have achieved its aim.

The style of language is indeed quite different from the various mainstream translations out there; the language is much more brief and terse. The style may well have been influenced by Cleary's deep interest in Taoist and Buddhist literature - or it may be a welcome attempt to reflect the brevity and terseness of the Arabic original, which can easily be lost in the more wordy English translations (especially those which ape the Elizabethan style of the KJV). The style is refreshing but in some parts the accuracy is suspect to say the least (and regrettably, I'm left wondering whether this is deliberately so).

But beware; the "selection of readings" really is only a small portion of the Qur'an. He has selected a number of verses from each Surah, and omitted some Surahs entirely. This is understandable as the book is meant to be an initial introduction to the Qur'an, but there is no doubt that the verses that have been selected are those that will sound most innocuous or agreeable to Western ears. They are in no way representative of the whole text (which you might assume like I did, if you knew no better). The selections are heavily skewed towards the early Makkan period; these verses have a very different style and impact to the majority of the Qur'anic text.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By kaurriuk on 30 Jun. 2005
Format: Paperback
I would never heard of Thomas Cleary. I came accross him from Hamza Yusuf lecture, this is the book he recommended to all foreigners as a begginers in Islam.
It is translated brilliantly, with detailed expalnation of selected Koranic verses.
Very interesting
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By Mr A Ashraf on 29 Jan. 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Cleary is a fantastic translator and commentator
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