Several years ago I provided a very brief overview of Latin translations of the Qur'an, contrasting the earliest one done by Robert of Ketton in the twelfth century with Ludovico Marracci's translation first published in 1698. The clearest difference there was the former's tendency to paraphrase versus the latter's much closer adherence to the original. There was however another Latin translation of the Qur'an that appeared in the early thirteenth century and was done by one Mark of Toledo, a canon working under Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada, who was the archbishop of Toledo. Toledo had been a town of importance for Christian religious authority in the Iberian Peninsula prior to the Muslim conquest of most of the peninsula and returned to Christian control in 1085.
Mark of Toledo's Latin translation of the Qur'an has been the subject of a study and critical edition by Nadia Petrus Pons, published in 2016 (if you read Spanish, I highly recommend the work). As Pons notes, the documentary evidence definitively attests to Mark of Toledo's membership of the clergy of Toledo from 1192 to 1216. Mark also spoke of his experiences of translating into Latin some of the works by Galen from Arabic translations of the original Greek texts.
Thanks to a prologue Mark wrote for his Latin translation of the Qur'an, we can date the completion of his translation of the Qur'an to the year 1210 or 1211. As part of this post I have done a full translation of that prologue, which contains an interesting biography of the Prophet Muhammad and overview of Islamic precepts, while also illustrating the agenda of Mark and his church superiors against Islam.
However, Mark's negative view of Islam should not prejudice an assessment of the quality of his translation of the Qur'an. In fact, from the parts I have read of the translation, it represents a great improvement over the work of Robert of Ketton and is on the whole a decent translation. There are of course some improvements that could be made in certain places. Analysing the entire translation verse-by-verse would probably take up a whole book, so below I am only going to present only some examples of things that struck me while reading parts of the translation. All the citations of Mark of Toledo's Latin translation of the Qur'an come from Pons' edition.
An interesting starting point, as before, is to look at Surat al-Fatiha ('The Opening'), which is the first chapter of the Qur'an. The text below:
in nomine Dei, misericordis, miseratoris.
gloria Deo, creatori gencium, Misericordi, Miseratori, qui regnat in die legis. te quidem adoramus, per te iuvamur. dirige nobis viam rectam, quam eis erogasti, non eorum contra quos iratus es neque dampnatorum.
The immediate difference with Robert of Ketton's translation is the avoidance of paraphrase, and trying to adhere to the original. In general, this translation of Surat al-Fatiha captures the original adequately but could be improved in some ways. For example, gloria corresponds more closely to the Arabic word المجد in meaning. A better Latin translation for the original الحمد would be laus. The phrase creatori gencium translates as 'creator of the peoples,' but a closer Latin rendering of the original رب العالمين would be domino mundorum (bearing in mind that we put the noun dominus in the dative case in apposition to Deo).
The phrase qui regnat in die legis is the translation of مالك يوم الدين. The first part- qui regnat (lit. 'who is sovereign')- is fine, though one could also use regnatori or domino or regi, thus adhering more closely to the sequence of appositional phrases in the original. As for die legis to translate يوم الدين, the noun iudicium would be better than lex to translate الدين in this context, since the reference here is to the Day of Judgement. It should be noted more generally that Mark of Toledo uses the word lex to translate الدين, but the word lex really corresponds more closely to the Arabic word الشرع ('the law'), while religio is a better translation of الدين ('the religion'), though note that lex and religio have the same basic root origin. Here are a couple other examples where Mark of Toledo uses lex to translate الدين, with comments on the wider translation:
ومن يبتغ غير الإسلام ديناً فلن يقبل منه
et qui preter legem Ysmahelitarum aliam appetit, non recipiatur ab illo (Qur'an 3:85)
I have given the original Arabic for comparison. The translation of this part of the verse is accurate apart from the rendering of 'Islam' as the legem Ysmahelitarum ('law of the Ismaelites').
وقاتلوهم حتى لا تكون فتنة ويكون الدين كله لله
et impugna eos donec cesset tribulacio et sit lex tota Dei (Qur'an 8:39).
Again, a generally accurate rendering of this part of the verse, though the imperative singular form impugna should more accurately be rendered as impugnate (plural form) to match the original plural imperative form in the Arabic. The word tribulacio ('tribulation') is a possible translation of فتنة though my personal preference for translation in this context would be discordia ('discord'), since the idea is that there should be fighting until there is no more disunity in religion, which should belong wholly to God.
Coming back to the remainder of Mark of Toledo's translation of Surat al-Fatiha, the translation of اياك نستعين ('in You we seek help) as per te iuvamur ('through You we are helped') could be improved to convey the original more closely, such as a te auxilium petimus ('from You we seek help'). As for the final part of the sura, the translation is fine apart from quam eis erogasti ('which You have brought to them) that is used to render صراط الذين انعمت عليهم. The construction of the translation should be modified somewhat to reflect the original more closely and convey its meaning more clearly. For example:
viam illorum quibus favisti
Here I have substituted the relative pronoun form quam with viam, repeating the noun in apposition to viam rectam, and my rendering clarifies that this is the path 'of those whom You have favoured.'
There are other cases in the translation where constructions could be revised to convey the original more accurately. For example:
impugnate eos qui non credunt in Deum nec in diem ultimum, nec respuunt ea que Deus excommunicavit et Legatus eius, nec legem observant veritatis de illis quibus traditus est Liber. Qui solvunt tributum manualiter et sunt minorati (Qur'an 9:29).
The translation is generally fine (though again I would not use lex for الدين as in دين الحق). The main issue here is the construction of the final part of the verse. Here Mark of Toledo has used a sentence beginning with a form of the relative pronoun qui and using indicative verb forms: 'They pay the tribute by hand and have been diminished.' However, the original Arabic uses a clause with حتى and a subjunctive verb (حتى يعطوا الجزية عن يد وهم صاغرون): that is, the Muslims are to fight the disbelievers of the People of the Book until they pay the jizya tax and feel subdued. In other words, the original has a temporal clause with a sense purpose. This could be conveyed in Latin with a clause introduced by dum or donec and utilising a subjunctive verb. So, for example:
dum solvant manualiter tributum subditi.
('Until subdued they should pay the tribute by hand').
Another interesting angle from which to examine Mark of Toledo's translation of the Qur'an is to consider cases of hapax legomena in the Qur'an (i.e. terms in the Qur'an that only occur once). For example, consider Sura 108 (Surat al-Kawthar):
in nomine Dei, misericordis, miseratoris.
nos quidem contulimus tibi lavatorium. adora ergo creatorem tuum et leva manus supra pectus, quia adversarius tuus est.
('In the name of God, the Merciful, the Gracious. Indeed We have brought to you the lavatorium. So pray to [/worship] your Creator and raise your hands over your chest, indeed [/because] it is your adversary [/your adversary is]').
The word الكوثر in the first verse is rendered lavatorium, which can mean a washing place or a wash basin. The word الكوثر is a hapax legomenon in the Qur'an and has been rendered in a variety of ways. Some simply render it as 'the abundance,' the equivalent of which is copia in Latin. However, in Islamic tradition it is also interpreted to refer to (i) a river (Arabic: نهر الكوثر) of Paradise, and (ii) a basin of water (Arabic: حوض الكوثر) supplied by that river and set up on the Day of Judgment. It is probably something along the lines of حوض الكوثر that Mark of Toledo had in mind when he rendered it as lavatorium, though it should be noted that the usual understanding of the basin of al-Kawthar is something from which one drinks, not a basin for washing oneself.
There are two other issues of translation of this chapter of the Qur'an. First, the normal understanding ofانحر (second person singular masculine imperative form of the verb نحر) in the second verse is sacrifice, which would be rendered by the appropriate form of the Latin verb sacrificare. Mark of Toledo's translation of the انحر as raising one's hands in prayer is an interpretation that has appeared, but it is not the normal understanding. Second, I must admit that I am somewhat confused by Mark of Toledo's rendering of the final verse: adversarius tuus is an acceptable translation of شانئك but the sentence then abruptly ends with est ('is') without a following noun or adjective. The est is meant to correspond to هو but it seems as though الأبتر (another hapax legomenon in the Qur'an) is left out. Was this a simple oversight? In any event, possible Latin renderings of this word could be abscisus ('cut off') or liberis privatus ('deprived of children') or orbus.
Another interesting case of hapax legomenon I want to highlight here is the word أبابيل in Qur'an 105:3, from a chapter traditionally understood as describing how God repelled an invasion of Mecca by the Abyssinians.
وأرسل عليهم طيراً أبابيل
et misit super eos aves Babilonis
Here, Mark of Toledo's translation reads: 'And He sent upon them the birds of Babylon.' It is notable that his rendering of أبابيل as 'of Babylon' goes contrary to the common Muslim understanding of this word as referring to mere 'flocks' of birds. Some recent scholarship (e.g. Daniel Beck's paper on the role of prophesy in the Prophet Muhammad's early career, and the suggestion of the linguist Marijn van Putten) has advanced the interpretation of أبابيل as 'Babylonian.' I will leave it to the reader to judge Beck's more detailed argument for this interpretation, as he suggests that the chapter is in fact a reference to a victory of northeastern Arab tribes over a Sassanid military force in what is now southwestern Iraq in the early seventh century. Beck in turn has highlighted that the interpretation of أبابيل as 'Babylonian' was suggested by the French scholar Alfred Louis de Prémare. How fascinating that Mark of Toledo suggested the Babylonian interpretation hundreds of years earlier!
I will leave my overview of Mark of Toledo's translation here for now. This overview has been exploratory in nature, and at a future stage I would love to do a more comprehensive analysis if I could find the funding for such a project.
In the meantime, I present below my translation of the Mark of Toledo's prologue to his translation of the Qur'an. I have included some explanatory notes for context, and for the sake of authenticity I have mostly preserved the prologue's transliteration of names. Any suggestions for corrections and amendments are most welcome. Finally, I would like to dedicate this work to my friend 'Odaocer' who is from the village of Qalb Lawza in the Jabal al-Summaq area of north Idlib countryside. Here is to all the times we have discussed and joked about my various interests, including ancient Germanic languages, Roman history (including the rule of Odoacer as king of Italy, hence the pseudonym we agreed upon to refer to you in my work) and my writings on jihadist groups in Idlib and its environs. You are indeed a true friend.
Begins the prologue on the Alchoranus[i] book
In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
From a collision of iron and stone a fire is ignited, sometimes to provide illumination for men spending time in the darkness, but sometimes to cook those things which are raw, sometimes for heating, sometimes to blow glass and for other useful and sought-out uses. But from the joining of two parents- namely of iron and stone, a kindling fire of the worshippers of iron and stone idols was begotten, for from the two parents hardened like the iron and stone of idolatry, a sulphuric fire came out not so much as to provide illumination for men working in the darkness of the night, but rather so as to add darkness to the darkness instead of providing light for those lost in the darkness of ignorance with many generations having passed away. For it did not burn up the sinners with the sound doctrine[ii] in order that it might cook the raw intellects of men and their depraved opinions that they had about God, and burn the superfluous superstitions of idols. Nor indeed did it provide heating, because since they had not had full news of the Son of God, there was no burning in love of him through the flame of the Holy Spirit. But when the vases of old perdition should have been blown into the vases of the Lord- of course into the faith of the Holy Trinity- Mafometus[iii] blew them into vases of perdition.
Indeed this man, coming forth as though from the fat of iniquity, was born in Mecha,[iv] which means adulteress and is in Arabia. He was born from parents who were nonetheless noble according to the ranks of the generation: namely, his father was Habedileth (which means servant of Ydolileth)[v] and his mother was Emina.[vi] Indeed he was born in the adulteress city, which had no news of the living God to Whom every soul ought to be justifiably subjected since from Him it has taken up the beginning and origin. And so she went astray after gods alien from the truth and worshipped the idols and as though a harlot, she abandoned God- her legitimate husband- and subjecting herself to many gods she perpetrated wicked adultery.[vii]
So as Mafometus had arisen from Arabia dirtied with the cults of demons and from parents worshipping idols, nonetheless he was descended from royal stock. But in the time of his boyhood and adolescence, he applied his mind to the study of literature, expending effort in remote regions as far as he could, such that he became skilled in mathematical arts. And when he had learnt the absurd arts privately and not in public, and the trumpet of the apostles had intoned and their sound had gone out into every land, he was informed that the Christians were already worshipping the faith of the Holy Trinity, and that they themselves believed that God is one in deity, three in persons, according to the preaching of the apostles, and the Jews worshipped one and the same God, but they did not however profess three in persons like the Christians.
And so having taken up a journey under the cover of a merchant, he came into Syria and stayed there for some years and perfectly learnt the Pentateuch in the language of the Syrians.[viii] Then afterwards he set out into Greece and resided and stayed there for quite some time: there he heard in the Greek language the law of the Christians and the articles of the faith with interest. And so when he had become acquainted with the fact that both the Jews and the Christians worshipped God with unequal profession and he had been instructed in the Old and New Testaments, he returned into Arabia as soon as possible.
And while he deliberated with himself as to how he should convert the Arabs and all the other nations to the faith of the one God and destroy the idolatry as far as he could in those regions, he fell into such great perplexity because he hesitated as to which of those laws he should call them: the new law of Jesus Christ, or the old one which was given to Moses and the Jewish people. But he had come to know that the Evangelical Law was heavy for them and they could not tolerate it- as it is a law of humility according to that maxim: 'He who strikes you on one cheek, provide for him also the other.'[ix] It was also intolerable for them in chastity, fasting and the rest of the things that are observed by the Christians, and it was also the case that their hearts, hardened for a rather long time in the cult of idols, could not be softened so that they should believe that there is one God. For these reasons, he did not see to it that he should explain the articles of the Christian religion as though to rational animals: that is, offer the foods which not only sustain the body but also revive the dead soul. But rather it is as though he provided grass, chaff and hay for brute cattle. He also wanted to preach the law of the Decalogue[x] to them, nonetheless the observers of that law were regarded as disgraceful because of the killing of Jesus Christ, whom in his opinion they had not managed to kill (though they had thought they had done so)[xi] through the betrayal of Judas, driven as they were by malice. Further, as traitors led into servitude they were rendering tribute to the peoples. So for this reason he decided that their observances, in so far as contained in the Pentateuch, were to be abhorred by all just as profanities were avoided.
However, it is said that not only did he reject the law of the Christian religion because of the difficulty of its rigour and not only did he in his contempt of the Jews disdain to inform the peoples of Arabia of the precepts of the Decalogue, but also that he founded a third law from both, a law which should agree with the Old and New Testaments in certain articles, but differ from both in certain observations. Therefore from both Testaments he plucked off many precepts and changed them, and adding others to them he compiled it all into one work and he decided that it should indeed be called with a double appellation: that is, Alchoranus which is interpreted as 'lectionary' and Alforcanus[xii] which means 'distinct' in the Arabic language, as it serves to distinguish between the Old and New Testaments: as some interpret, between the blasphemy of the heathens and the faith that he himself taught. And so he composed this in secret and dividing it into 112 tracts or chapters,[xiii] he brought them together under 60 divisions.[xiv]
But whenever he brought forth the word of preaching to the peoples of those regions, he would summon all outside the city and in the presence of all, he prostrated himself fallen on the ground in an act as though he were suffering epilepsy, and as is accustomed to happen for the epileptic,[xv] with feet and hands cast forth from here and there in a frenzy. He rolled about in this way on the sand for a very long time. Then indeed after a considerable amount of time he thus deliberately laid to rest the motion of his limbs and closed his eyes, in which not only would he be believed to be apoplectic in whom there is thought to be no sense or motion, but indeed would be thought to be lifeless. And when with his eyes already disturbed he would rise as though seized by a demon, he would tell his people that the angel Gabriel was sent by God to him, and who laid him low on the ground and would vex him in body and soul. And he would compel him placed in ecstasy in order that he might expound to the peoples worshipping the false gods the words of God (as he claimed, which were destined from heaven to him) and recall them from idolatry and draw them to the more zealous worship of the living God. Therefore having been set in the middle of them he brought forth to them not indeed the words of the angel, because he was not of such great merit that the angel Gabriel should be sent to him, but rather words that he forged and preached to the crude and uncultured people as though they were declared by the angel to him.
And so whenever he preached he would say to them: 'I am the Messenger of God. I expound to you the words that the angel has placed in my mouth. I am illiterate,[xvi] for I am maternal.[xvii] The angel compels me to say to you words of this sort: 'Worship the living God who created the heavens and the earth, angels and men and all things which are in them. Do not worship the gods who cannot benefit and obstruct you. Render the tithes and firstfruits to God[xviii] and to the king [because he performs among them the place of His pontifex and deputy][xix] and beware sins. Be humble, patient, chaste except over your wives, and avoid adultery, homicide and theft. And if indeed you do this and honour your parents,[xx] God will grant you long life in this generation, abundance and sons with whom you will rejoice, and in the future He will grant you the Paradises under which rivers flow: that is, of water, wine, milk and honey.[xxi] He will also grant you rich foods, which will not weigh down the stomachs, and sweet wine, which will not inebriate, wives[xxii] and clothes of silk.[xxiii] You will have known that Christ was the son of the Virgin Mary, the Messenger of God and the word of God, which God destined to her, as well as His Spirit. So do not say that there are three, but rather there is one God.[xxiv] And Christ did not disdain to be the servant of God, indeed also the nearest angels have not disdained,[xxv] and God has strengthened with the Holy Spirit."[xxvi]
He prescribed a fast of thirty days[xxvii] at a certain time and he who did not fast on that predetermined time for some reason would redeem the debt of that fasting, if he were rich, with alms. If indeed he were poor, he would do so by fasting at another time.[xxviii] He advised to pray in the temple[xxix] or in the home five times per day,[xxx] but before they should enter the temple he mandated that they should perform ablution with water. He prescribed that circumcision should be for them in boys from the age of two years, but for adults whenever they should accede to the law.[xxxi] He prohibited adultery, but if a married man buys a woman for a price, whether she is marriageable or married, he can lawfully lie carnally with her as a slave girl and does not commit adultery,[xxxii] because the price that is paid for her dissolves the crime of adultery, so that they may sire offspring for the worship of the one God.[xxxiii] He preached future resurrection and that those who believe the pronouncements and do good deeds will have eternal life. And he asserted that those who act against this will have various torments in hellfire forever. He prohibited the flesh of the pig and every dead animal, lest they should eat blood and one dedicated to idols and one suffocated by strangling.[xxxiv] And he persuaded them and advised that they should go to the temple of Mecha for prayer.[xxxv] He mandated that they should confess crimes and sins to God, not man. Indeed the reason that drew him to this proposition and the intention were that he should invite men after discrediting idolatry to worship the one God, as he had already learnt by experience in other regions. And he himself as the Messenger of God and Prophet was to obtain a kingdom after the fashion of David and Salomon and all nations were to obey him as king and Prophet and inwardly subdue their necks in all things to him.
This indeed was Mafometus- which means beloved,[xxxvi] not Nicholaus, as rather many falsely claim- when this man came into the world six hundred years after the advent of Jesus Christ, in order to preach to the Arabs, originating as he did from Mecha, which is in Arabia. The manner of his tract, as is contained in the book series, is considered strange by others. For it has not conformed with the Gospel in the manner of speaking or precepts, and it does not concord with the old law except in circumcision, the reviling of flesh of swine and blood and of the suffocated animal and the one dedicated to the idols and in the discussion of divorce. But on the issue of this idea, the Jew differs from the Ismaelite.[xxxvii] Indeed it has been discharged to the Jew that he should repudiate his wife because of the crime and suspicion of adultery lest the innocent blood of the wife be perhaps poured out. But for the Ismaelite, he may divorce her not only for the aforementioned causes, but also because of deformity, sterility , leprosy, mania, the rank smell of the armpits and polyps and if she is displeasing to his eyes and if he abjures her by oath three times in this manner: 'May your side be prohibited to me just like the side of my mother.'[xxxviii] It is not allowed to call her back again after such form of oath unless she is first known by another.[xxxix]
In the manner of speaking it differs from the other scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. For sometimes it speaks like the one who is deranged, but sometimes like one inanimate, sometimes rebuking the idolaters, sometimes threatening death to them, sometimes indeed promising eternal life to the converted, but with disturbed and dissolute style. But the disturbance of this style is excused by several, as they assert that he was invisibly vexed by the angel in mind and soul and was compelled to warn men away from idolatry to worship the one God, his behaviour was akin to that of those suffering an acute illness, delirious in suffering because of the disturbance of the mind. And as he seduced through fantastic delusions the crude people as though he were a magician and sometimes called himself the Messenger of God, and sometimes the prophet of God, and brought for them the readings he fabricated, it happened on account of sins[xl] that then through his fallacious preaching, then through disaster of war, both he and his successors compelled nearly all to his heresy from Aquilo all the way to the Mediterranean Sea and from the Indian regions all the way to the western parts. Oh what pain! Not only did he subjugate these regions, some of which had already undertaken the faith of Jesus Christ, but also his followers occupied some parts of Ispania[xli] through betrayal:[xlii] in these parts many priests once displayed divine obedience to God, now wicked men offer execrable supplications to Mafometus and churches that had once been consecrated by the hands of the bishops have now been reduced to profane temples.
And when the venerable Rodericus,[xliii] with the Lord's inspiration, undertook the seat and island of the archbishop of the metropolis of Toletum and came to know that it was infested by the enemies of the cross and grieved at how his province was held by the infesters, he justifiably saw beforehand that its calamities and persecutions were to be lamented, as per the dictum of Ambrosius[xliv]: 'My arms are my tears.' Because indeed in the places where the assisting pontifices once offered holy sacrifices to Jesus Christ, now the name of the false prophet is extolled, and in the towers of the churches in which the bells once resounded, now certain profane calls deafen the ears of the faithful.
Indeed this overseer- whom the literature of divine science commends, sanctity blesses, virtues approve and decency adorns- lamented the unfortunate outcome of his church. As he was one who knew the New and Old Testaments, he gave the effort and concern with thoroughness, that the book in which the sacrilegious institutes and monstrous precepts were contained should be translated and come to the attention of the orthodox, so that those whom he could not assault with corporeal arms, he might at least confound through opposing the monstrous institutes. Also in this concern, inflamed with the zeal for the Christian faith, the respected archdeacon Mauricius of the same church of Toletum was not slow, commendable as he was in literature, outstanding in virtues, perspicuous in manners, outstanding in decency. But he worked with equal vow and equal affection, so that this Book should be translated into the Latin language, in order that a number of Sarracens, confounded by the Christians, might be drawn from the detestable institutes of Mafometus to the Catholic faith. So both men- both my master the archbishop of the seat of Toletum, the chief of the lands of Ispania, and the aforementioned archdeacon of the same man- drove me through wholesome admonition and persuaded me by all means that I should not object to undertake the labour of this translation.
But I Marchus the humble canon of the same man, seeking to obey the just wishes and desires of both men, put in my efforts in favourable endeavour as quickly as possible and translated the Book of Mafometus at their request and to the benefit of the orthodox faith from the Arabic language into the Latin language, so that their vow and desire might be accomplished.
Indeed the translation of this volume was completed, through the help of the Lord and our Saviour, in the one thousand two hundred and eleventh year from the incarnation of the Lord,[xlv] and in the six hundred and sixth year of the time in which Mafometus the arch heretic began to spew out his heresy to the Arabs.
But Marchus the canon of the church of Tholetum, translated the book of Alchoranus at the wholesome request of Rodericus the venerable archbishop of Tholetum and the persuasion of the master Mauricius the archdeacon of the seat of Toletum, commendable men in merits and sanctity.
[i] The Qur'an.
[ii] Here I have taken the subject of the verb as implied and referring to the 'sulphuric fire' in the previous sentence, while sana doctrina is taken as instrumental ablative, though I suppose it is also possible to take sana doctrina as the subject of this sentence. Whatever the case, it should be noted that the concept of sana doctrina occurs in the Bible: 2 Timothy 4:3: erit enim tempus cum sanam doctrinam non sustinebunt sed ad sua desideria coacervabunt sibi magistros prurientes auribus ('for there will be a time when they will not bear the sound doctrine but will attach teachers to themselves after their own desires, itching as they are in their ears').
[iv] Mecca. Mark of Toledo's attempted etymology here derives from the Latin noun moecha ('adulteress/harlot etc.') though it is clearly wrong.
[v] The reference is to Muhammad's father Abdullah, which properly means 'servant of God [/Allah].' As for Ydolileth, the meaning is less clear. Katarzyna Starczewska suggests some possible meanings: it could mean 'idolatry' in general, a transcription of al-Lat (an Arabian goddess) or a combination meaning 'idol of al-Lat.'
[viii] i.e. in Syriac.
[ix] Matthew 5:39.
[x] The Ten Commandments.
[xi] Cf. Qur'an 4:157, which quotes the Jews as boasting of the killing of Jesus, but says they did not in fact kill him.
[xii] Al-Furqan, a name for the Qur'an and correctly understood by Mark of Toledo in basic meaning (i.e. serving to distinguish between things).
[xiii] An error, since the Qur'an consists of 114 suras/chapters.
[xiv] Referring to the division of the Qur'an into 60 Hizb.
[xv] The conception of Muhammad as an epileptic recurs in Christian discourse though it is not entirely divorced from Islamic literature, which contains various narrations about experiences of the Prophet when revelation came upon him, such as a red face, heavy breathing, ringing sounds like those of a bell etc. However, it is interesting to note that Mark of Toledo presents the behaviour as an act staged for the crowds.
[xvi] The concept of Muhammad as illiterate is mentioned in the Qur'an: النبي الأممي (7:158).
[xvii] Latin: maternus. Probably referring to the fact that Muhammad's father died before he was born.
[xviii] Cf. Qur'an 2:261-280, with the exhortations on spending wealth in the cause of God and giving charity.
[xix] This appears to be a parenthetical comment by Mark of Toledo on the position of the caliph among the Muslims. The contrast
[xx] E.g. Qur'an 4:36, which mentions doing good to one's parents.
[xxi] Cf. Qur'an 47:15.
[xxii] There are multiple references to female companions in Paradise. See e.g. Qur'an 37:48.
[xxiii] Cf. Qur'an 18:31.
[xxiv] Cf. Qur'an 4:171.
[xxv] Cf. Qur'an 4:172.
[xxvi] Cf. Qur'an 5:110, in which God says that He strengthened Jesus with the Holy Spirit.
[xxvii] The fasting of the month of Ramadan.
[xxviii] The rules on fasting are set out in Qur'an 2:183-185. If one does not fast for X number of days in the month of Ramadan, then one should either fast for an equal number of days at another time, or feed the poor in compensation.
[xxix] i.e. The mosque, rendered with the Latin word templum.
[xxx] The five daily prayers in Islam.
[xxxii] Cf. Qur'an 4:24, which is understood as saying that married women are forbidden to you, except the ones 'whom your right hands possess.'
[xxxiv] Cf. Qur'an 5:3, which mentions the prohibition on dead animals, blood, the flesh of swine, things dedicated to those besides God, animals killed by strangulation etc.
[xxxv] Referring to the Hajj pilgrimage.
[xxxvi] Latin: graciosus. A better Latin translation of the name Muhammad in my view would be laudabilis or laudatus ('praiseworthy' or 'praised').
[xxxvii] 'Ismaelite' is used to refer to Muslim here.
[xxxviii] It would seem that there are two concepts here that have been conflated. One is the idea of divorce through three pronouncements of repudiation (talaq), which is lawful. The other is the particular formula where a man says that a woman is sexually prohibited to him as his mother or other female relation is sexually prohibited to him, a practice known as zihar. The practice of zihar is viewed negatively in the Qur'an (58:1-4 and 33:4) and it is not necessarily considered to be divorce. For example, Ibn Baz rejected the idea that a zihar pronouncement could be a divorce pronouncement even if one intends divorce through it. Rather, he insists that zihar only means zihar. Thus, in the event of zihar, sexual relations with the wife become prohibited until the husband performs an act of atonement.
[xxxix] With regards to the pronunciation of divorce (talaq) three times, this is correct. If a man pronounces divorce three times against his wife, then there cannot be remarriage unless the woman marries another man, consummates that marriage with him, and then becomes divorced from him. However, the woman cannot remarry, consummate and then divorce with the intention of remarrying her former husband. It has to be a genuine experience. For more on this, see here. Also compare with Qur'an 2:230.
[xl] Latin: peccatis exigentibus. This is a common phrase used to explain misfortunes as the result of sins.
[xlii] Various stories exist about the fall of parts of Spain to the Muslims because of betrayal, for example the story of the fraus ('trickery') of Oppa the bishop of Seville in the Chronicle of Alfonso III.
[xliii] Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada.
[xliv] St. Ambrose of Milan.
[xlv] i.e. The year 1211, if we go by conventional Western dating. However, Pons points out that Mark may be using the Pisan dating system, which places the year on 25th March and anticipates the following year, so that 1211 here is actually 1210. This would reconcile with the Islamic dating.