The Future of Education

Edition 14

Accepted Abstracts

Translating Words Conveying a Sense of Fear in the Holy Qur’an

Sara Farraj Al.Kahtani, The University of Leeds (United Kingdom)


The Holy Qur’an is rich in near-synonyms and has different words conveying a sense of fear such as خوف – xawf, خشية – xašyah, رعب -ruʕb, فزع - fazaʕ, وجل - wajal, إشفاق - ‘ešfaq, رهبة - rahbah this richness makes translating words conveying a sense of fear a challenging task for translators. This paper aims to explore how translators tackle this issue considering the overlapping denotations and connotations of words conveying a sense of fear. I will look at the differences between the translations of words conveying a sense of fear in the same verse by different translators. This study examines four English translations of the Holy Qur’an: 1.
A New Translation by Abdel Haleem (2008); 2.The Qur’an by Irving (1985); 3. The Noble Qur’an: English Translation of The Meanings and Commentary by Hilali and Khan (1984); and 4) The Koran Interpreted by Arberry (1983). These translations are chosen due to the fact that the translators are Arabic and non-Arabic native speakers, they are well-known, respected among English speakers, and accepted by Muslim scholars. The study will consult four Qur’an exegeses; Az-Zamakhsharῑ (2009), Ibn Kathῑr (1983), Al-Tabarῑ (2001), and Ash-Shawkᾱnī (2007) to investigate the semantic features of words conveying a sense of fear in the Holy Qur’an. it explores the meaning of the selected words conveying a sense of fear in the Arabic language and distinguishes between their connotative and denotative meanings based on two Arabic lexicons such as Lisan al-‘Arab by Ibn Mandhur (1956), and Al-Qamus Al-Muḥit by Al-Fayruz Abadi (1986). Then, it will analyse and compare the translations of the selected words to examine whether they achieve appropriate renderings. This study shows that translators failed in distinguishing between the nuances of the selected words conveying a sense of fear in some verses of the Holy Qur’an. The translators did not reflect the semantic differences between the selected Arabic words conveying the general sense of fear. In addition to showing inconsistency in translating the same word in different contexts which is confusing and leads to meaning loss in the TTs. Finally, this study presents recommendations and suggestions to improve future translations.
Keywords: Qur’an; Qur’an Translation; Near-Synonyms; Connotative Meaning; Denotative Meaning; Exegeses.
[1]Abdel Haleem, M.A.S. 2008. The Qur’an. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
[ 2] Al-Tabarī, M.A.J. 2001. Jāmiᶜ al-Bayān ᶜan Taʾwīl ʾĀyu al-Quraʾān. , p.742.
[3 ] Al-Zamakhsharῑ, A.A.-Q. 2009. تفسير الكشاف [Online] 3rd ed. بيىروت, لبنان: دار
المعرفة . [Accessed 9 May 2023]. Available from: al kashaf.pdf.
[ 4] Arberry, A.J. 1983. The Koran Interpeted. [Online]. Oxford: Oxford University Press. [Accessed 18 May 2023]. Available from:
[ 5] Ash-Shawkᾱnī, M. ibn ‘Alī ibn M. ibn ‘Abdillᾱh 2007. Fatḥ al-Qadīr al-Jāmiʿu bayna al-Riwāyah wa al-Dirāyah min ʿilm al-Tafsīr. [Online] 4th ed. Beirut: Dar Al-Marefah. [Accessed 18 May 2023]. Available from:
[ 6] Fairuzabādi, M. alddin 1986. Al-Qāmūs-ul Muḥīṭ, ‘the Comprehensive Dictionary’. Beirut: Mu’assasat-ir Risālah.
[ 7] Hilali, M.T.-D. and Khan, M.M. 1984. Translation of the Meanings of the Noble Qur’an in English Language. Madinah: King Fahd Complex For The Printing Of The Holy Qur’an.
[ 8] Ibn Kathīr, I. ibn ʻUmar 1983. Tafsīr al-Qurʼān al-ʻAẓīm al-Ṭabʻah. Bayrūt : Dār al-Qalam.
[ 9] Ibn Manẓūr, M. ibn M. 1956. Lisān al-ʻArab. Bayrūt: Dār Ṣādir.
[ 10] Irving, T.B. 1985. The Qur’an: The first American version. [Online]. Brattleboro, Vermont: AMANA BOOKS.

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