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Islam for non-Muslims
 IslamiCity Forum - Islamic Discussion Forum : Religion - Islam : Islam for non-Muslims
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rami
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Quote rami Replybullet Posted: 11 November 2005 at 10:14pm
Bi ismillahir rahmanir raheem

Mary if you are at peace with the translation alahmdulillah, what i and others object to is calling Yusuf Ali a scholar when clearly he wasnt this title has implications it is not just a label. Other than that no one is saying you shouldnt read his translation just we shouldnt take the work and footnotes included as an authority on Islam when they are not.
Rasul Allah (sallah llahu alaihi wa sallam) said: "Whoever knows himself, knows his Lord" and whoever knows his Lord has been given His gnosis and nearness.
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Shamil
 
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Quote Shamil Replybullet Posted: 12 November 2005 at 10:33am

My greatest problem with Yusuf Ali's fine translation is his treatment of the word "taqwa." He regularly translates it as "fear," which creates a very fundamental misperception about Islam. The word is derived from "qawaa," which literally means "to preserve, to guard." "Taqwa" would then be the reflexive form, meaning "to guard within oneself." Yusuf Ali derives the English "fear" from John Penrice's glossary of Qur'anic Arabic. Penrice, however, was a devout Christian whose motivations were not completely neutral. In the second ayaat of Baqarah Yusuf Ali thus translates "mutaqeen," the active participle of "taqwaa," ("the ones who guard within themselves") as "those who fear Allah." This issue becomes even more muddled in 59:16:

(Their allies deceived them), like the Evil One, when he says to man, "Deny Allah.: but when (man) denies Allah, (the Evil One) says, "I am free of thee: I do fear Allah, the Lord of the Worlds!"

The Arabic word here is "'akhaafu," which is literally "I fear," as one would fear an enemy, not "'ataquu," which is the 1st pers sing derived from "taqwa," the attitude of a Muslim towards Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala. The translation obscures this difference and gives the false impression that the Shaitan's fear of Allah is similar to the feeling of a Muslim.

Even if one were to accept the translation of "fear" for taqwa, here too there is great confusion. If you were to ask a child if he fears his mother, he would most likely answer yes. A child does fear angering his mother, who then will dispense punishment and also be unhappy with the child. At the same time the child loves his mother and innately understands that his mother loves him, only wishes the best for him, and will defend him against any threat. This would be analogous to the "fear" a Muslim should have for Allah.



Edited by Shamil
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Mishmish
 
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Quote Mishmish Replybullet Posted: 12 November 2005 at 12:39pm

Assalamu Alaikum:

I too prefer the Yusuf Ali translation of the Holy Quran. I find that it is lyrically poetic and quite beautiful, something which I believe resembles the Quran in the original Arabic text. Or so I've been told.  Of course, no translation can be 100% correct, but aren't there subtleties within the formal Arabic that even native speakers of the language must struggle over?

This does lead me to a question? Who is to be considered an Islamic scholar? Is not spending your life translating the word of Allah a scholarly pursuit? I would think by the time his life's work was finished that Yusuf Ali probably knew and understood the Quran better than most ever will, Allahu Alim.



Edited by Mishmish
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Quote Nausheen Replybullet Posted: 12 November 2005 at 12:51pm

Auzubillahi minash shaitan ir rajeem,

Bismilah ir rahman ir rahim,

Do you really think allah has punished the people of Kashmir by the earthquake?

Are you sure that these are the people who turned away from the teachinhgs of the Quran, that they do not spend in the cause of allah and have gone astray?

May be you do not know that these are the poorest of poor people, who are sandwitched and victimised in the dirty politics of two nations. It is not the kashmiries who want the war .... The people planning and organising the war do not live in those areas which were hit by the earthquake! they are rich and powerful, and living in lofty mansions in safer parts of the country. what an irony, isn't it?

The answer to these disasters, if we want to understand in a humble way is, as mentioned by someone in this thread ... the Prophet(SAW) has said that natural disasters, especially earhtquakes will increase towards the end of times.

Allah also says in the Quran that He is "shrinking this vast land".... a phenomenon akin to this is the moving of the indian penninsula towards the Himalayas ... that which caused the massive earthquake.

The Tsunami waves as well, struck hard at the costs of island nations - where simple poor people lived - whose primary concern was their daily bread. No multimillioinairs, terrorists, or evil mongers were directy hit.

It is hard to understand why these disasters took place and we may all come up with varied theories. Amidst all this we should pray for the victims, muslims and nonmuslims, and try to help them materially if we can. We must as well pay gratitude to Allah, if our loved ones had been safe from these disasters.

We must try to remain steadfast in religion, and spread the message as far and wide as possible. It is said that judgement day will not arrive till there are people on this earth who remember Allah and His word. 

Maa salaama,

Nausheen

Wanu nazzilu minal Qurani ma huwa
Shafaa un wa rahmatun lil mo'mineena
wa la yaziduzzalimeena illa khasara.
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Quote Maryga Replybullet Posted: 13 November 2005 at 7:29pm

Assalam-alaikum! Peace to all!

Shamil, regarding Yusuf Ali's translation you may find differences in the meanings of words due to your knowledge of Arabic. However, as I have said earlier for a person like myself who does not speak Arabic, I have not come across any translation from an Arabic speaking translator who has superceded Yusuf Ali including other reknowned English translators (Pickthall, Asad etc). The Saudi's who are Arabic speaking formed a committee to select the best available translation and the committee decided to make a good start using Yusuf Ali's translation as a base. Even the commentary they have used is that of Yusuf Ali. This shows that Yusuf Ali's translation was acknowledged as a scholarly work and is the reason why it is the most widely read and made available. When I read online I do read the translations of Shakir and Pikthall and do notice the variations of meanings as understood by each translator. As Mishmish has written no translation can be 100% correct, for example if you translate Shakespeare into Arabic, you will encounter the same shortcomings, which should not be a hindrance to any translation. But one thing is sure that one can comprehend the meaning by reading the translation.

Yusuf Ali suffered a lot during his lifetime from hardliners and narrow minded individuals and in the Qur'an that I read he has written: “The Service of the Qur’an has been the pride and the privilege of many Muslims. I felt that with such life-experience as has fallen to my lot, my service of the Qur’an should be to present it in a fitting garb in English. That ambition I have cherished in my mind for more than forty years. I have collected books and materials for it. I have visited places, undertaken journeys, taken notes, sought the society of men, and tried to explore their thoughts and hearts in order to equip myself for the task.”

Then he writes” A man’s life is subject to inner storms far more devastating than those in the physical world around him. In such a storm, in the bitter anguish of a personal sorrow which nearly unseated my reason and made life seem meaningless, a new hope was born out of a systematic pursuit of my long cherished project. Watered by tears, my manuscript began to grow…”

Elsewhere he writes “ In translating the Text I have aired no views of my own, but followed the received commentators. Where they differ among themselves, I have had to choose what appeared to me to be the most reasonable opinion from all points of view. Where it is a question merely of words, I have not considered the question important enough to discuss in the Notes, but where it is a question of substance, I hope adequate explanations will be found in the notes. Where I have departed from the literal translation in order to express the spirit of the original better in English, I have explained the literal meaning in the Notes. For example, see ii. 104n and ii 26n. In choosing an English word for an Arabic word a translator necessarily exercises his own judgement and may be unconsciously expressing a point of view, but that is inevitable.”

In another place he writes” Gentle and discerning reader! What I wish to present to you is an English Interpretation, side by side with the Arabic Text. The English shall be, not a mere substitution of one word for another, but the best expression I can give to the fullest meaning which I can understand from the Arabic Text. The rhythm, music and exalted tone of the original should be reflected in the English interpretation. It may be but a faint reflection, but such beauty and power as my pen can command shall be brought to its service.”

He concludes with some of these lines “Read, study and digest the Holy Book. Read slowly, and let it sink into your heart and soul. Such study will, like virtue, be its own reward. If you find anything in this volume to criticise, please let it not spoil your enjoyment of the rest.”

After completion he wrote: “I praise and glorify the name of God that He has enabled His humble servant to complete in manuscript the work of Interpretation at which he has systematically and unceasingly laboured for the last three years.” “My inner history during these three years has been one of joyful and concentrated exploration, undisturbed by the storms that vexed my outer life. I had not imagined that so much human jealousy, misunderstanding, and painful misrepresentation should pursue one who seeks no worldly gain and pretends to no dogmatic authority.”

This humble man may not claim to be an authority but as for me, I know that I would have been at the greatest loss but for his translation and commentary. I also know that my feelings will be echoed by a great majority of those who cannot speak Arabic.

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Quote Shamil Replybullet Posted: 13 November 2005 at 10:20pm

Akhi Maryga, I did say that it was a "fine" translation. I was merely voicing a concern I had. In no way did I intend to denigrate the work of Yusuf Ali, a man whose biography I know well and whom I deeply admire.

I've read the entire translation and all the commentary and have found great value in it. The translation has brought many into the fold of Islam. The world is undoubtedly better off because of his work. Insha'Allah all I was trying to do was clarify one point that is indeed difficult to deal with, the meaning of "taqwa." That's all.

I really hope I haven't offended you over this; perhaps my own ego caused me to "show off" my knowledge of Arabic.



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Quote freebird Replybullet Posted: 13 November 2005 at 10:37pm

Originally posted by MrsK

The question that I have is that when people claiming to be adherants of Islam also claim responsibility for acts of violence (or terrorism which ever word you prefer) and they claim this reponsibility in the name of Islam - in your opinion, is the general response one of approval or one of anger?

Whenever there is a killing from one side to another I feel sick to the stomach. But the human's pschylogy can surpress that.

Whenever I can assume with reasonable certainty that the muslims were the one who commited the attrocity by right I will react with the same response. But if the non muslims start accusing the muslims first to win the argument than I revolt. Sure most of the time I won the argument anyway - or at least confuse the issue.

But what I know most muslims that I met in the street that I know abhore it but they can't say anything, beside most of them don't even read the paper. So most of the media hype are for the non muslims comsumption.

Btw, if those people who commiting the attrocities claim to represent Islam, I would rather live under non muslims rule as we are at the time being.

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Quote Maryga Replybullet Posted: 14 November 2005 at 2:04am
JazakakAllah Khair Shamil, thankyou for the clarification. No hard feelings brother.
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