Arthur John Arberry (Portsmouth, May 12, 1905 – Cambridge, October 2, 1969) was a respected British orientalist. A most prolific scholar of Arabic, Persian, and Islamic studies, he was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. His translation of the Qur'an into English, The Koran Interpreted, is one of the most prominent written by a non-Muslim scholar, and widely respected amongst academics.
Formerly Head of the Department of Classics at Cairo University in Egypt, Arberry returned home to become the Assistant Librarian at the Library of the India Office. During the war he was a Postal Censor in Liverpool and was then seconded to the Ministry of Information, London which was housed in the newly-constructed Senate House of the University of London. Arberry was appointed to the Chair of Persian at the School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS, University of London 1944–47.
He subsequently became the Sir Thomas Adams's Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, his alma mater, from 1947 until his death in 1969.
''In making the present attempt to improve on the performance of my predecessors, and to produce something which might be accepted as echoing however faintly the sublime rhetoric of the Arabic Koran, I have been at pain to study the intricate and richly varied rhythms which - apart from the message itself- constitute the Koran's undeniable claim to rank amongst the greater literary masterpieces of mankind.
This very characteristic feature - that inimitable symphony', as the believing Pickthall described his Holy Book -- 'the very sounds of which move men to tears and ecstasy' -- has been almost totally ignored by previous translators; it is therefore not surprising that what they have wrought sounds dull and flat indeed in comparison with the splendidly decorated original. ” (The Koran Interpreted, London: Oxford University Press, 1964, p. X.)