Grand Mosque of Paris Hosts Holy Quran Translation Study Day: Bridging Cultural, Linguistic, and Theological Frontiers

Addressing Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Through an Examination of Quranic Translation

BY: Dr. Hana Saada

ALGIERS- The Grand Mosque of Paris hosted a “Study Day on the Translation of the Holy Quran” this Thursday, attended by several international Muslim figures, including the Ambassador of Egypt to France, H.E. Alaa Youssef.

The study day comes at a time when the Grand Mosque of Paris embarks on an immensely complex challenge: a new translation of the Holy Quran into French.

This new translation aims to ensure that our sacred text is understood by 21st-century Francophones, approaching its most accurate meanings, taking into account the society in which we live, and striving to present the grandeur of the Quranic message without distortions, deviations, or mistranslations. This event also marks the beginning of a series of Quranic Study Days at the Grand Mosque of Paris.

The opening remarks, delivered by Chems-eddine Hafiz, shed light on the urgent need for a new translation of the Quran into French, considering the specificities of our time and French society. Boumédiène Benyahia, an Islamic scholar and linguist, provided a historiographical overview, while John Tolan traced the evolution of Quranic translations in Europe from the 12th to the 18th century.

Thomas Sibille, a bookseller and publisher, took the floor to present the main translations available in bookstores and libraries, highlighting their strengths, weaknesses, and specificities. This was followed by a debate with the audience, providing an opportunity for exchange, discussion, and the confrontation of different perspectives.

The afternoon was dedicated to in-depth reflections on the foundations of Quranic translation, with the participation, via video conference from Algiers, of Kamel Chekkat, a theologian and specialist in Islamic law and comparative religions, and founding member of the League of Scholars. Chekkat shared his experience as a Quran translator, adding a practical dimension to the discussions on the principles of Quranic translation. The study day continued with Cheikh Abdennour Tahraoui and Cheikh Khaled Larbi, imams of the Grand Mosque of Paris, leading the debates. These discussions also focused on the terminological model envisioned for the future translation of the Noble Quran.

This study day provides a valuable opportunity to reflect on the complex challenges of translating the Quran into French, taking into account cultural, linguistic, and theological implications. It also illustrates the commitment of the Grand Mosque of Paris to promote intercultural and interreligious dialogue, as well as to meet the spiritual and intellectual needs of the Francophone community.




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