Translation versus Transliteration of Religious Terms in Contemporary Islamic Discourse in Western Communities

Ahmed Abdel Azim ElShiekh, Mona Ahmed Saleh


The significance of the present research stems from the escalating yet unnecessary conflict between Islamic culture on the one hand and western civilization on the other hand. The researchers believe much of the growing and sometimes mutual distrust between the two sides may sometimes at least stem from mere linguistic behaviour. Hence, this research aspires to examine the use of translation versus transliteration of religious Islamic terms in two different types of Islamic discourse in the western countries, viz. the site of Imam Hendi (USA) and the Da'wah Internet site of Australia, as representative of tolerant versus intolerant Islamic discourse. The main objective is to investigate the researchers' hypothesis that the use of translation versus transliteration may be fairly regarded as a linguistic marker of the type of content advocated by the two kinds of Islamic discourse. The scope of the research is confined to Islamic discourse in English, notwithstanding that the author/s in both sites in question are native speakers of English, and, hence, differences in the use of transliteration and/or translation can hardly be attributed to problems with linguistic competence. In this respect, a couple of articles and/or texts have been examined with an eye on the use of such terms as God versus Allaah/Allah, prayer versus Salaah/Salat, alms giving versus Zakaah/Zakat, mosque versus masjid and even Islam (a traditionally accepted transliteration of????? ) versus Islaam. The researchers mainly depend on semantic analysis of religious terms in translation versus transliteration and, partly, try to make use of a questionnaire to test the impact of both techniques upon the possible addressees. The research ends with a couple of recommendations suggested by the researchers in the light of their discussions of the data and findings of the research.

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International Journal of English Linguistics   ISSN 1923-869X (Print)   ISSN 1923-8703 (Online)   E-mail:

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