Ramadhan is coming up fast, and if you’re in the business of providing Islamic content you’re probably scrambling to prepare for the increased, heightened and intense demand that will no doubt come with the glorious month. As I prepare to leave the company and Egypt, my one and only “big project” for the Ramadhan schedule is the English translation reading and recording. This is by no means an easy task. The Qur’an itself is massive, and it will probably take a good 2-3 weeks to finish the job – only, of course, if we can actually get enough time in the recording studio, then go away to edit the material, putting the English translation reading alongside the Arabic recitation. But before we make our way into the recording studio, we first had to answer two pertinent questions:
1. Which English translation of the Qur’an?
2. Will management pass off a female voice reading the English translation? All the English translation readings that we found online were of male voices. We want to provide a “different voice”, and give women the opportunity to be included in this blessed endeavour.
I had initially selected Yusuf Ali’s translation. Compared with Arberry and Pickthall, it’s an easier read and a lot more “modern”. The sheikh at the company prefers Pickthall, because, as he said, of some of Yusuf Ali’s ideas, and because of Yusuf Ali himself as a person and scholar. As for a female voice for the English reading, the sheikh has no problems with female voices for the reading, but can’t our male colleague do it?
Needless to say, my perspectives on many matters differ with the (a lot) more conservative Islam and Muslim scholarship, and perhaps these issues will be tackled in this space in due time. So let’s start with this post. An attack ad hominem, (and for that satirical effect) and an attack ad feminem, perhaps?