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Variations In Translation

March 30, 1991

English translations of the Koran (also spelled Quran), the sacred scriptures of Islam, vary greatly. Here are two samples from three available translations--"The Holy Qur'an" by A. Yusuf Ali, "The Message of the Qur'an" by Muhammad Asad and "The Koran" by N.J. Dawood:

SURA (CHAPTER) 70:19-23:

Truly man was created very impatient; fretful when evil touches him, and niggardly when good reaches him. Not so those devoted to prayer.

--A. Yusuf Ali Verily, man is born with a restless disposition. (As a rule,) whenever misfortune touches him, he is filled with self-pity; and whenever good fortune comes to him, he selfishly withholds it (from others). Not so, however, those who consciously turn towards God in prayer.

--Muhammad Asad Indeed, man was created impatient. When evil befalls him he is despondent; but, blessed with good fortune, he grows niggardly. Not so the worshipers who are steadfast in prayer.

--N.J. Dawood.

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