So I just found this new website that is a Koran portal. They’ve got everything, translations, commentary, original sources. Good idea. And it’s in Jordan, so you know it’s not going to talk nice in the English portion while telling you to blow people up in the Arabic section.
But you know what? First of all, I can’t get any of the Koran to play. You’re supposed to be able to listen to it and read it at the same time. Second of all– and this doesn’t really matter since I can’t listen to it anyhow–they don’t have my favorite singer, uh, reciter? It took me a while to track this down, since I have long ago lost the transliteration of the name, but the guy is listed as Sheikh Abdul Rahman Al Sodais. You can hear him all over Jordan wherever you enter a taxi or bus of a devout driver. And you know if the Koran is playing, you won’t have to field any problems with hanky panky from other riders. I’ve also seen Sodais at the Kabba along with two other famous reciters in Mecca during the all-night broadcast the week before Ramadan ends.
Here he is in a recitation of the Koran of the Sura ar-Rahman (note: video has been removed). It has a little of everything, the mystery of creation, fire and brimstone, and a paradise of virgins. Also the apparently rhetorical question “Is the reward of goodness aught but goodness?” [Koran 55:60] Nice translation. My weighty but highly respected Abdullah Yusuf Ali tome translates it unfathomably capitalized as “Is there any Reward for Good–other than Good?” Wonder what translation the YouTube version is. (*) Ah, and here is a lovely rendition of the mystical Ayat al-Kursi [2:255], in tutorial form. Doesn’t say whose voice, but they do the whole verse at the end.
I once saw an excellent and very portable Koran translation with the Saudi stamp of approval–you know nothing untoward is going to get out of there–which urban legend says was done by an American woman, hence the translator’s name is not on the book. (**) I’d love to get my hands on that translation, whatever it is. I have looked for it in religious bookstores, but no luck. They seem to want to sell the highly decorated ones instead.
(*) Mahomodali H. Shakir’s translation is available |here| from the University of Virginia collection and |here| from Universtiy of Michigan. To see three translations of the same verse at once (Yusuf Ali, Pickthal, Shakir) try the University of Southern California |here|. The Shakir translations all appear to be based on the same scan. Unfortunately you can’t switch back and forth to the Arabic with any of these, as you can with the Jordanian site. The Online Quran Project, currently in Beta, has some 60 translations with the Arabic text right next to it, but not Tafsir (commentary). Open Quran has 9 reciters; if you select the “open quran” icon you can select the sura and verse, then hear it with different reciters and see the Arabic text at the same time. For more about translations (Sunni, Shia, non-Moslem) see the Wikipedia entry.