The Semantic Field of the Moral Words “Marouf”, “Munkar” and “Sin” and Their English Translations

Document Type : Original Research


English Department, University of Zabol, Zabol, Iran


The translation of sacred texts has been a long-standing practice, employed by followers of various religions to disseminate their beliefs. The Qur’ān, revered by Muslims as a divine miracle, is one such text that has attracted the attention of translators and researchers across different periods. Given the Qur’ān’s divine origin and its linguistic intricacies, its translation poses a significant challenge. This article adopts a corpus-based approach to investigate the extent to which the nuanced semantics of the Qur’ān’s moral terms have been captured in English translations. Specifically, the words “Marouf”, “Munkar”, and “Sin” and their translations by Arberry, Picktall, Shaker, and Yusuf Ali were examined using Izutsu’s semantic analysis approach. This approach analyzes the fundamental and relational meanings of key Qur’ānic terms from syntagmatic/paradigmatic and synchronic /diachronic perspectives to reveal the worldview they embody. The study’s findings indicate that translators often used identical vocabulary to translate the aforementioned moral terms across all contexts, paying insufficient attention to the contextual nuances of these Qur’ānic moral terms. Despite the use of interpretive techniques in translating the Qur’ān, it appears that even the most accurate English translations fall short of conveying the original concepts and their subtleties fully. This study offers valuable insights for Qur’ān translators, acquainting them with the nuanced semantic aspects of Qur’ānic terms and the delicate task of reflecting these nuances in their translations.


Main Subjects

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