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How to Cite the Quran in MLA

by Jennifer Spirko, Demand Media

    Research in the humanities typically requires using MLA conventions to credit sources. Citations not only give credibility to research by showing that the sources are valid, but it also aids researchers in locating those sources for their own work. Sacred texts, such as the Bible or the Quran, provide important quotations and information and have a special cultural status. Thus, the standard MLA formatting varies somewhat when it comes to these texts.

    Works Cited

    According to the 7th edition of the MLA Handbook, the Works Cited list includes the full bibliographic information for sources. The Quran does not have an author in the conventional sense, so the entry simply begins with its title, italicized, according to a guide by the American University in Dubai. Following, include the translator's name (if any), the place of publication, the publishing company, date and format, such as print or web. The entire Works Cited list should be in alphabetical order, using a half-inch hanging indent for the second and subsequent lines for each entry. An entry for the Quran might look like this: The Qur'an. (italicized) Trans. by Tarif Khalidi. New York: Viking, 2008. Print.

    In-Text Citation

    Citing the Quran requires an additional step for in-text citation; you should include the name of the book you are quoting, followed by the number of chapter and verse. This procedure is analogous to quoting from the Christian Bible or any other holy text. Identifying the book, such as Al-Hijr, Qaf or Maryam, can aid the writer and researcher by pinpointing which of the Quran’s 114 books you drew from. An example of such a citation would look like this: (The Qur'an, [italicized] Al-Hijr 15.25).

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    About the Author

    Jennifer Spirko has been writing professionally for more than 20 years, starting at "The Knoxville Journal." She has written for "MetroPulse," "Maryville-Alcoa Daily Times" and "Some" monthly. She has taught writing at North Carolina State University and the University of Tennessee. Spirko holds a Master of Arts from the Shakespeare Institute, Stratford-on-Avon, England.

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