bruce b. lawrence

The Qur’an: A Translation for the New Century

Published by Liveright, an imprint of Norton

Perhaps the most ambitious project of my lifetime – at once elusive yet evocative – to produce a new verse translation of the Noble Book, the Holy Qur’an. I could never attempt such a project without the insight and the wisdom of a poet/scholar. Rafey Habib, Professor of Literature at Rutgers, is that rare person who can sing and reason in the same breath. Together we are hoping to evoke some of the aroma of the original Arabic text without striving or claiming to exhaust its treasure house of meanings. Our combined effort, The Qur’an: A Verse Translation, is due to be published February 13, 2024 from W.W. Norton.

About the Book

A monumental feat of translation: Islam’s founding text rendered in limpid English verse that echoes the sublimity of the Arabic original.

The product of a ten-year-long collaboration between one of our most respected scholars of Islam (Bruce B. Lawrence) and a poet and scholar of literature (M.A.R. Habib), The Qur’an: A Verse Translation offers readers the first edition in English to echo, in accessible and resonant verse, the sonorous beauty of the Arabic original as well as the complex nuances of its meaning. Those familiar with the Arabic—and especially the faithful who hear the text recited aloud—know that the Qur’an is a perfect blend of sound and sense. While no translation can perfectly capture these complementary virtues of the original, Habib and Lawrence have come closest to an accessible, clear, and fluid English Qur’an that all readers, no matter their faith or familiarity with the text, can read with pleasure and with a deeper appreciation for the book and the religious tradition founded upon it.

M.A.R. Habib is distinguished professor of English at Rutgers University. Among his many books is a volume of poetry, Shades of Islam: Poems for a New Century (2010). He lives in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

Bruce B. Lawrence is the Marcus Family Humanities Professor of Religion Emeritus at Duke University and adjunct professor at the Alliance of Civilizations Institute, Ibn Haldun University, Istanbul. He is the author, coauthor, or editor of sixteen books about Islam, including The Koran in English: A Biography (2017). He lives in Hillsborough, North Carolina.

Bruce B. Lawrence, ca. 2012

Rafey Habib in his library, ca. 2010