The Image of Women in the Interpreted Qur’ān: Translations of Pickthall, Ali, Hilālī, and Abdel Haleem By Yassmine Muhammad Mahfouz (Under the supervision of Professor Tahia Abdel Nasser, The American University in Cairo). I have intended this work with the premise of shedding light on the rights of women in the Qur’ān through examining its English translations since this topic has undergone much controversy between patriarchal and Islamophobic camps. However, through the examination of the translations, I have touched on how translation cannot only be problematic but also dangerously influential in presenting the sacred text. The main finding was that translation not only influences the rendered meaning of the original text but translations of sacred texts as the Qur’ān can influence the meaning the recipients absorb from the text depending on the mode of translation. To elaborate, through examining the translations of four Muslim translators who considerably differ in background, the study shows that they generally adopt a particular orientation varying in the level of conservatism, liberalism, or literalness. This diversity of modes leads to producing translations whose content embodies this conservative, liberal or literal resonance. Such resonance is usually the translator’s in the target language not in the source language. Being a contestable subject that is often highlighted in Islamic studies, this study selects verses on women as examples of its argument. From the analysis, the study shows that conservative or literal translation can produce patriarchal or obscure translations in respect to the rights of women; hence influencing the intended message of the Arabic text, while liberal translations support revolutionary interpretations of the Qur’ān, which may or may not find grounding in Islamic Law.


School of Humanities and Social Sciences


English & Comparative Literature Department

Degree Name

MA in English & Comparative Literature

Graduation Date

Summer 2014

Submission Date


First Advisor

Abdel Nasser, Tahia

Committee Member 1

Ghazoul, Ferial

Committee Member 2

Serag, Mohamed


111 leaves

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item