Mykhaylo Yakubovych

Published On


Page Range

pp. 9–34


  • English

Print Length

26 pages

1. Twentieth-Century Debates on the Translatability of the Qur’an in the Middle East

Chapter One, ‘Twentieth-Century Debates on the Translatability of the Qur’an in the Middle East’, covers not only the period of the first debates over the translatability of the Qur’an in the Muslim world (primarily Egypt, Syria, and Iraq) during the early- and mid-twentieth century but also the local development of the ‘translation movement’ in the Saudi context. It discusses the significance to these debates of a corpus of religious texts by authors ranging from the twelfth-century thinker Ibn Taymiyya to later scholars from the eighteenth-century family of Muḥammad b. ʿAbd al-Wahhāb and how these came to form a kind of exegetical canon, both in essential terms (that is, what exactly should be interpreted) and textually (which sources are ‘suitable’ to do that with). This hermeneutics also incorporates the problem of translation [tarjama] and the limits of interpretation, for example, ideas about which meanings can be explained in Arabic and explicitly transferred to other languages. The chapter also briefly addresses foreign language learning in Saudi Arabia and modern developments in higher education there.


Mykhaylo Yakubovych


Mykhaylo Yakubovych (born 1986 in Ostroh, Ukraine) obtained his PhD in 2011 from The National University of Ostroh Academy with a study on interreligous relations in medieval Sunni traditionalism. Currently a member of the research team on the ERC-funded project ‘GloQur—The Global Qur’an’ (University of Freiburg, Germany), he studies Qur’an translations produced by international institutions and publishers, with a focus on Central Asian and Eastern European languages. He is the author of an annotated translation of the Qur’an into Ukrainian (first published in 2013), along with several books and translations from Arabic, and many research articles published in academic journals from the UK, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Australia. Yakubovych has conducted several academic projects on the Islamic manuscript heritage, including the post-classical intellectual history of the Crimean Khanate (at the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton University, USA) and sixteenth-seventeenth century Qur’an interpretations produced by Lithuanian Tatars (at Nicolaus Copernicus University, Poland).