History of Ukrainian translations of the Koran

In the first 20s of the 20th century, the famous Ukrainian orientalist Agatangel Krymskyi translated some passages from the Koran into Ukrainian and placed them in his studies on Islam. But still, despite a deep, one might even argue, comprehensive interest in Islam and thorough knowledge of the Arabic language, the scientist did not set himself the goal of a complete translation of the Koran.

The first complete translation of the Holy Book of Muslims into Ukrainian was carried out in 1913 by Lviv translator Oleksandr Lysinetska (Abranchak). However, it is not made from the original language (Arabic), but from the German translation by Max Henning (published in Leipzig in 1901), which at that time was considered one of the best. The original translation by A. Lysinetska was printed in Latin type on a typewriter and consists of 1,147 sheets. The author never managed to publish this text, and now its only copy is kept in the Department of Manuscripts of the Lviv National Scientific Library of Ukraine named after V. Stefanyk together with other documents of the Scientific Society named after Shevchenko.

At the beginning of the 90s of the 20th century, a poetic translation from Arabic of the oldest surahs of the Meccan period of the Prophet Muhammad’s activity was made by a Ukrainian orientalist from Lviv, Yarema Polotnyuk. It was published in the magazine of foreign literature “Vsesvit”

A well-known Ukrainian orientalist and researcher of Islam, professor Valery Rybalkin, made a significant contribution to the translation of the Koran into Ukrainian. He translated from Arabic the surahs of the most ancient period, which he published both as a separate book and on the pages of the magazine “Eastern World”.

All these translations, despite their solid scientific basis and high artistic value, were incomplete, published in small editions in specialized magazines, so the Koran was still not fully accessible to the ordinary Ukrainian reader.

In 2010, the first complete edition of the translation of the meanings of the Koran into Ukrainian was finally published, the author of which is the famous Soviet, Ukrainian, and Russian poet, writer, translator, and journalist Valery Basirov. He said about his translation: “the meaning of the Koran is so deep and accessible that when you enter the essence of the verses, you immerse yourself in the substance of its essence. It is impossible to convey this feeling in words. Valery Basirov, a citizen of the Russian Federation, lived in Crimea, is very famous not only in Crimea but also in other regions of Ukraine. In 2011 and 2013, three more reprints of the meanings of the Koran were published, translated by V. Basirov

In 2013, the second complete edition of the translation of the Koran into Ukrainian appeared. Its author is Mykhailo Yakubovych, a Ukrainian orientalist from the Ostroh Academy. The first edition (2013) was published at the King Fahd Center in Medina (Saudi Arabia). M. Yakubovych is the author of the first complete translation of the meanings of the Koran into the Ukrainian language from Arabic.

In 2019, a new translation of the Koran into Ukrainian appeared. The translation was carried out under the guidance of theologian Namik Babakhanov. This is the first Theological translation of the Koran into Ukrainian. N. Babakhanov, the author of the translation from Arabic and commentary on the verses of the Koran in Ukrainian, claims that he was helped by a group of translators and editors from his internet portal (ahlibeyt.org.ua). Namik Tofikovich (Tofik ogly) Babakhanov: specialist in Islamic sciences, theologian, researcher, teacher, translator. Babakhanov was born in Baku, has lived in Ukraine for more than ten years, graduated from Al-Mustafa International Islamic University and Baku Islamic University. In addition to his native Azerbaijani language, he speaks Arabic, Persian, Turkish, Russian and Ukrainian. He is currently working on the third edition of the translation and commentary of the Koran in Ukrainian.