The Qur’an Volume 1: Surahs 1-3
Translation by Camille Adams Helminski
Numerous keys are available to us to open the deeper meaning that lives within us; the words of the Holy Qur’an are such keys. Camille Adams Helminski offers in this Volume I, a fresh English translation of the first three surahs of the Quran—Surah al-Fatiha, Surah al-Baqarah, and Surah Al-‘Imran, which convey the principles of human ethics, encouraging us to turn again and again to realignment with our Source. Occasional transliterations of the original Arabic are also included to remind us of the beauty of the original revelation.
Camille Adams Helminski’s The Qur’an Volume 1: Surahs 1-3 is a beauty-full, light-full rendering of the word of God. It is filled with so many insightful choices drawn from the heart of the Islamic tradition. Two examples will suffice: In the translation of the Fatiha, the phrase “ghayr al-maghdub ‘alayhim” is (accurately) rendered as “not the path of those who have brought stringency upon themselves.” In other words, the ghadab (wrath/anger/stringency) is the result not of God having wrath on us, but a consequence of our own choices. Also, translating Allah not merely as “God” but also as “Divine Reality” conveys a sense of the grandeur and majesty of the Divine. Insights like this abound in Helminski’s wonderful volume. Highly recommended for Muslims seeking to go deeper into the mysteries of the Qur’an, and spiritually seeking friends seeking to explore the Qur’anic roots of the Sufi path.
~ Omid Safi (Founder, Illuminated Tours and Courses)
Through the heart of Prophet Muhammad, may great peace and blessing be upon him, this intensive communication opened while in retreat he sought to connect more and more deeply with the Source of Being. Through Its guidance, respect for the natural world, for women, for orphans, for every human being, was encouraged. The original Arabic resonances bestow grace through portals of expansive meaning, and even in translation some of the inherent blessing can be known. We offer here a journey with these meanings, that assist us in coming to know the Truth of Compassion and Mercy and in becoming Its true khalifas (representative care-takers of this creation), guardians of the trust of Being, bringing others into that Radiance, sharing love, and the fruition of Love with God’s grace. So much needs rebalancing in our world. Yet we are reminded by the Qur’an that always the Infinite Mercy of Forgiveness, the possibility of realignment with our Source, is waiting. And surely, the more we participate in that flow, the more intimacy with the Beloved is granted, and that which is within the Presence of God is the most beautiful [Qur’an, Surah Al-‘Imran 3:195]. As Shams of Tabriz, the beloved mentor of the mystic poet Jalaluddin Rumi has said, “the Qur’an is a love-letter.” May it continue to be, as it has been for many centuries, of blessed companionship, an opening towards Divine Reality, for all who approach it with an open heart.
O our Sustainer, do not let our hearts swerve from the Truth, after You have guided us, and from Your Presence, gift us with compassion. Truly, You are the Giver of Gifts! [Rabbana, la tuzhigh quloobana ba’ada izh hadaytana wahab lana min ladunka rahmatan innaka anta al-Wahhab.]
[Qur’an, Surah Al-‘Imran 3:8]