Brazil Gets Its First Official Koran Translation

The Arab-Brazilian Chamber of Commerce is launching a Portuguese edition of the Koran, the Islamic holy book, in Brazil. This is the first Portuguese translation that is considered "official," according to the traditions of this religion, which has over a billion followers in the world today.

For the vice-president of the Chamber, professor Helmi Mohammed Ibraim Nasr, the edition represents "a step to acquaint the people of Latin America with Islam in a correct manner."

Nasr, who teaches Arab language and culture at the University of São Paulo, immigrated to Brazil from Egypt 43 years ago. He is also responsible for the translation.

"We want to give Brazilians an idea of a universal religion," he explains, adding that "the purpose is not to turn Brazil into an Islamic nation."

He says that, as a university professor, he is still astonished at how little Brazilians, even those in privileged socioeconomic conditions, know about Arab culture and religion.

"It makes me sad to hear them always referring to Islam as terrorists," he lamented in a collective press conference on Tuesday, October 18.

"The distance between countries is very great, so there are very erroneous notions."

The translation began 23 years ago, in 1982, when, on a trip to Mecca, Nasr received a proposal from the Islamic League of America. He spent four years working on the translation and nearly another 20 revising it.

"Anyone who wanted to learn about our culture did not have a legitimate document like this one before. It is something for the future, a foundation," he says.

Nasr is also the author of the first Arab-Portuguese dictionary published in Brazil.

Religious principles prohibit copies of the Koran from being sold. They can only be given as presents; therefore, the edition is being financed by the government of Saudi Arabia, where it is being published.

According to Nasr, the eight previous translations of the Koran into Portuguese (four in Portugal and Africa and four in Brazil) were not done by Muslims, so they were not considered official.

Copies will also be distributed to universities and libraries. In Portugal, according to Nasr, they will be used to prepare an adapted version requested by the local Islamic community.

There are only 40 officially recognized translations of the Koran, which was written in Arab in the 7th century.

Among the Islamic principles that Nasr hopes to clear up with his translation are rules such as the prohibition of alcohol, considered dangerous because "it alters the way people think," according to Nasr, and the ban on charging interest.

"Interest is prohibited, because it allows people to make money without working. It is a vile thing," he says.

Agência Brasil


  • Show Comments (6)

  • ralpa

    Brazil will reject this satanic cult called islam!!!
    islam has no place in brazil, i was born there and we are the second biggest christian nation in earth
    we will close down islamic commerce, we will shut down mosques!!!
    i am not against arabs, i have many arab friends and they are warm and friendly people, what i reject is islam, a false cult created by a guy who copied 60% from the jewish torah, and 10% from the holy bible, and the rest he made up to bring glory to arabia who were jealous of the covenant god made with the jews!
    they believe allah will give them virgins as a reward !! they do not know the real GOD! .The koran is a evil book allowing murder … being oppessive to women. The koran is only revalent to them because of the bible, the bible needs no earthly validation! In saudi arabia women cannot drive!! and if a women does not have on a burka the vail, and the guy rapes her he will not have to face punishment!! that is what wahabism will bring to brazil, dont let it happen

  • salima

    hello, i am a muslim french girl, and i’d like to chat with brazilian muslims. ( or south american muslims).
    Don’t hesitate to send me an email!

  • aminah

    I think it’s great that Brazil gets to read the Qur’an in portuguese instead of relying on the media to tell them what Islam is. I am a brazilian muslim who converted after a lot of reading and taking the time to research Islam, not propaganda, for myself. Alhumdulillah, if Islam had any influence in a country like Brazil where the people are so good-hearted already, i believe it would be a good thing, and Allah knows best. If anything I just hope this helps dispell some of the misconceptions about this great religion. Islam stands on its own and is not represented by extremists and those who are not tolerant. The Qur’an speaks extensively of living with others and being tolerant when it says something like “We created you different so that you may know each other, not that you may despise each other.” I’m only paraphrasing but Islam is the completion of Allah, or God’s favor upon us. I just hope that we can stay true to it and remain strong in the face of hypocrites within the religion and outside it as well. I encourage everyone to read the Qur’an for themselves, study it, and check it against facts. “Surely if it were from other than Allah (God) they would have found in it many inconsistencies.”

  • Guest

    ….Ohhhhh…..did the muslims translated the bibles of the various brazilians religions ??????

    Noooooo ?????? So no doubt this is only a marketing trick to have the arabs countries simply buy more of the goods you sell to them !!!!!!!

    If Brazilians are more advanced, civilized, well informed……why do you have so much poverty, corruption, lack of education, lack of health, sanitation, infrastructure, lack of social inclusion, taxes so high, tax collection so low, interest rates so high, impunity with corrupted politicians, vote buying, money laundering, so many gun crimes etc etc….I could continue for….. hours !

    Can any one explain how you can proclaim to be the world’s garden…and still have hunger and so much poverty ????

    Withj so much good land, cheap land, sun, rains and water…you all should ba as fat…as the Americans !!!!

    Reality is quite different than your stupid self rating !!!!

    All of the International agencies do not rate you as high as you do !!!!!!

    You are either at the top…of the bad things…..or on the queue of the good things !!!!

    And how can you be so well informed…with so many illiterate citizens ?????

    But you are right….who really cares about the translation of the Koran in Portuguese.So why…so much headlines ?????????

    This will not change something for your christian society !!!!! Which is another proof…that this is just demagogic, tricky… !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Lula told you so ?????? He lied so many times…on his own economic and political performances !!!!!!

  • Guest

    Who is that nutcase claiming that bringing a Portuguese-language Koran to Brazil will result in a wave of hardline Wahabism throughout the Americas? Please!
    I suppose it must be a paranoid American. Who else would be idiotic enough to come up with such a suggestion? You’ve got to feel sorry for these types. This guy would seriously make the Brazilian state intervene against distribution of a holy book. Hmm, must be from some backwater like Alabama or Mississippi, where maybe they still like to do stuff like that. Fortunately, Brazilians are more advanced, civilized, well-informed and tolerant than to try to get the government to ban a book — let alone a holy one!

  • Guest

    Islamic fundamentalism in Brazil
    Does a nation like Brazil need the introduction of an offical “Koran” which will no doubt in due time lead to the Saudi Wahabism funding of Madras schools in Brazil. Helmi Mohammed Ibraim Nasr is no friend of a secular unified Brazil in bringing Wahabism supported intrusions to Brasil. The only purpose of a portugese based Koran is to use it as a base for recruitment of disafected members of society in prisons and amougst unemployed youth. Its the professors statement of giving Brasilian and idea of a universal religion… and..his disclamor ( false in my view ) that he does not see fertile ground to forment Islamic ideals into the poor of Brasil.

    One hopes this Koran ..and its call to Jihad will be rejected by not only the majority of Brazilians, but more importanly by the minority of disaffected who taught by rote the call for blood found in the Wahabism of Osama Bin Laden would further injure civil society in Brazil. One would hope the Brazilian authority would closely reveiw this text before allowing its free disemination to schools and prisons, to ensure its word do not clash with the maintenance of a tolerant modern democratic state that brazil is becoming.

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