No one is authorized to translate the Quran
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Assalamu alaykum Dear Br. Burhan,
Comments on your response: No one is authorized to translate the Qur'an. The Quran is only in its revealed form fusaha arabic. Your translation is a translation written by Yusuf Ali and is not the Quran. The Prophet did not translate the Quran. Salman Farsi, a persian, did not translate the Quran. Both explained the ayats as taught to the by the Prophet. For roughly fourteen hundred years there was not a translation into any language. Were the muslims of before just stupid. How did the Malaysia, Persian, African, etc become, yet had no translation???
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No one is authorized to translate the Quran
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and who-ever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 30 Surah Rum verse 22: And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your tongues and colors. Surely in this there are many signs for the learned.
Allah, the All Knowing, All Wise, Himself, states that there are and will always be different languages in this world. Even so, He, Subhan Allah, decided to reveal the Quran in the Arabic language. Allah, obviously knows that Arabic was not going to be the language of the whole world, but time and again mentions that the guidance of the Quran is for the whole of mankind! Can you imagine the chaos in the Ummah of Islam, if Allah had revealed the Quran in every language of the world?
Yes, the Quran was revealed in the pure or fusha Arabic language, which was spoken by the people of Makkah at the times. Thus the people who first received the message, were easily able to understand the direct and clear message of the Quran, because it was in their own language!
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 44 Surah Dukhan verse 58: We have made this Book easy in your own tongue so that they may ponder and take good counsel.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 43 Surah Zukhruf verses 1-3: Haa Meem. By this lucid (clear or open) Book. We have made it an Arabic Quran, so that you may understand it.
It is also true that Hadrat Salman Farsi (r.a.), who was a Persian, did not translate the Quran. He did not need to, because he spoke the Arabic language! If one studies the history of Islam, he will realize that when muslims conquered the territories around Arabia, they became the rulers, and obviously Arabic became the language of the court. It was a common phenomena in the world, that whoever ruled, the subjects of state learned the language of the court and the rulers. Therefore, there never rose the need to translate the Quran into another language. Today, the world is ruled by English speaking rulers, thus there is never a need to translate English books and literature into other languages, unless the population speaks another language.
But when the muslim rule came to an end, and countries from Europe like England, France, etc. took over the world, the people started leaving Arabic and became conversant in the language of the court, be it English or French, etc. Arabic thus became the secondary language, and at times, was systematically and completely wiped out by the conquerors. The option left for the true believers at the time, was either to let the conquerors override the religion of Islam, or to present the muslims the guidance in a language they now spoke, studied and understood. Thus it became necessary to translate the Quran from Arabic into the language the people spoke and used, so that the people would understand the meaning of the Message of the Lord of the Worlds.
The Quran will always be in its original form, in the fusha Arabic language. The people who speak Arabic as their first language, do not need a translation to understand the clear message of the Quran. No translation, in any language, ever claims that this is the Original Quran. The intention of the translator is only and only to make available the meaning of the Quran to its readers, so that they can derive the guidance of the Message.
Today we are left with four choices regarding the Quran, if Arabic is not our first language:
Leave the guidance of the Quran, and make our own laws or follow our own whims and conjecture.
To recite the Quran in Arabic, without understanding a word of it.
To learn the Arabic language, so that we can understand the Message of our Creator.
To read the available translations, and get an understanding of the Message.
Choice 1: Leave the guidance of the Quran, and make our own laws or follow our own whims and conjecture.
This is precisely what has happened to the Ummah of Islam. Because they do not speak or understand Arabic, they have left the Quran high on their book-shelves, and started making their own laws and follow the current wave of un-Godly regulations. And without the guidance of the Holy Quran, this person just roams in deep darkness, rather than follow the light and guidance of the Quran.
Choice 2: To recite the Quran in Arabic, without understanding a word of it.
This person believes in the Quran as the Book of Allah, and recites it day and night in Arabic. He will, Insha Allah, get his reward from Allah, but obviously, he will not receive any guidance to lead his life in this world. These kind of people then follow blindly anyone who wears the Islamic garb and claims to be a scholar or holy man, believing that that person is guiding from the Quran. But he does not have the means to double check and satisfy himself, that indeed this scholar is guiding from the Quran or not. If the scholar or holy man is indeed a true believer and fears Allah, then this person will receive some guidance. But, Allah forbid, if the scholar or holy man is one who is more interested in this worldly life rather than the hereafter, he will be misguided in Islam, and will have no excuse in the Court of Allah. And Allah is our witness, there are enough of these unscrupulous holy men around today, who take advantage of these poor souls.
These unscrupulous self-proclaimed holy men, then create an environment, whereby they look and act very religious, but their actions and teachings are far away from the true guidance of the Quran. But because, the poor follower does not understand a word from the Quran, he blindly follows them, thinking this is his road to salvation. The first advise and commandment of these holy men is to proclaim, that if they want to understand Islam, they must follow their created sect alone. They must not try to understand the Quran on their own or from any other source, as they will then be misguided. They make fancy promises of intercession to their followers on the Day of Judgment in the Court of Allah! Once they are successful in doing that, they invariably take you towards the invocation and sometimes worship of themselves and their dead ancestors in the graves. They create fancy and miraculous stories regarding their ancestors and relate them again and again in their sermons, and in time, rather than giving sermons from the Quran, their sermons are nothing but stories and miracles of their self-made leaders! They then invent and create several rites, rituals and customs in the name of Islam, so that the follower is deeply engrossed, and feels he is living an Islamic life through these rituals, whereas most of these rituals have absolutely no basis from the Quran or Sunnah.
Allah has promised in the Quran to throw both, the unscrupulous holy men, who invent these sects and their followers into the fire of Hell!
Allah says in Chapter 30 Surah Rum aayat 31-32: "This (Islam) is the right and true faith, but most people do not know. (Be steadfast on this) turning wholly and sincerely towards Allah Alone, and fear Him, and establish the Salat, and do not be like the mushriks, who have set up their separate creeds and divided themselves into sects, each sect rejoicing in what it has."
Allah says in Chapter 45 Surah Al-Jathiyah aayat 17: "Then they differed amongst themselves after the knowledge (of Islam) had come to them, only because they wanted to wrong one another. Your Lord will judge between them on the Day of Resurrection concerning the matters in which they have been differing."
Just look at the Anger and Wrath of Allah described on those who break up their religion into sects:
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 23 Surah Muminoon verse 52-55: And you all belong to one and the same ummah, and I(Allah) am your Lord; so fear Me Alone! Yet afterwards the people divided themselves into different sects, and each sect rejoicing in what it has. Well, leave them deeply involved in their heedlessness up to an appointed time. What? Do they think that, by continuing to provide them with wealth and children, We are solicitous for their welfare? Nay, they do not understand the reality of the matter!
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 6 Surah Anam verse 94: (And Allah will say), So, you have come before Us all alone, as We created you at first. Now, you have left behind all that We gave you in the world. Now We do not see with you those shufaa(intercessors), who, you believed, had a share in moulding your destinies! All the relations between you and them have been cut off, and all those, in whom you trusted, have left you in the lurch.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 48: And guard yourselves against the Day when no one shall avail anyone else; nor shall shafaa (intercession) be accepted from anyone; nor shall anyone be acquitted for any amount of ransom; nor shall the guilty ones be helped from any quarter.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 10 Surah Yunus verse 18: These people worship beside Allah those which can neither harm nor benefit them, and say, These are our shofaa (intercessors) with Allah! O Mohammed, tell them, Do you wish to inform Allah of that thing which He knows to be neither in the heavens nor in the earth? He is absolutely free from, and exalted above the shirk that they commit.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 40 Surah Mumin verse 18: O Prophet, warn them of the Day that has approached near, when the hearts will leap up to the throats and the people will be standing mute, grief-stricken; and the wrong-doers will neither have any kindly friend nor any shafaa (intercessor) who may be listened to.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 40 Surah Mumin verse 47-48: Then imagine the time when these people will be disputing with one another in Hell. The weak ones will say to the haughty ones, We were your followers! Now, can you save us from some part of our punishment in Hell? The haughty ones will say, We are all in the same state here, and Allah has already passed judgment between His servants.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 41 Surah Ha Meem Sajdah verse 47-48: Then on the Day when Allah will call out to the people asking, Where are those associates of Mine? They will say, We have submitted: there is none of us to bear witness to that. At that time, all those deities whom they used to invoke before this, shall be lost to them, and they will realize that they have no refuge.
Choice 3: To learn the Arabic language, so that we can understand the Message of our Creator.
Yes, this would absolutely be the best option, but how many of us have the conviction to take this step. May Allah bless those people who took this step and May Allah increase them in their knowledge of the Truth.
Choice 4: To read the available translations, and get an understanding of the Message.
Many scholars, who Allah blessed to learn Arabic and another language/s fluently, have taken the effort to document a translation of the Holy Quran for the people who do not understand Arabic. The translation of any literature from one language to another might loose its fluency and its rhythm, but the meaning remains the same. This literature and scripture of the Al Quran, are the very words of Allah Subhanah, which is a guidance to the whole of mankind until the end of time. Yes, it is impossible to replicate its fluency and/or its rhythm, but, for someone to deliberately change or misquote or mis-represent the meanings of the Quran would really require a lot of courage if He knows and believes in Allah and the Last Day!! And then to believe that every person who ever translated the Holy Quran into another language has deliberately mis-quoted and mis-represented and changed the meaning, if a little too far fetched for even a normal intelligent person!
My dear brother, our only invitation to you is to give the one hearing to the meaning of the Quran. We invite you to understand the Quran in Arabic if you know the Arabic language. We invite you to read any translation available, in any language you want. I assure you that the core meaning of the verse will always be the same. I personally have read many translations, from various authors, from various backgrounds!! But the beauty of the Quran is such that the basic and foundations of the meanings are always the same. And why not? This is a Book from our Lord and our Creator, Who, in His Sublime Mercy and Grace, revealed it for our guidance.
It is just that we were born in a sect and our forefathers followed a certain way, and we adopted their way of life.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 2 Surah Baqarah verse 170-171: When it is said to them, Follow the Commands that Allah has sent down, they reply, We will follow only what we found our forefathers practicing. Well, will they go on following their forefathers even though they did not use common sense and did not find the Right Way! The mental condition of those who rejected the way of Allah may be likened to that of the cattle whom the shepherd calls but they hear nothing except the sound of shouts and cries. They are deaf, they are dumb, they are blind; therefore they do not understand anything.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 7 Surah Al Aaraf verse172-173: This We did lest you should say on the Day of Resurrection, We were unaware of this thing. Or lest you should say, Our forefathers started the practice of shirk before us and we were born after them to their descendants. Do You, then, punish us for the sin that was committed by the wrong-doers? Behold, this is how We make Our Signs clear, so that these people may return to Us.
The self-made leaders, and the self-proclaimed holy men, always remind us never to try to understand the Quran from another source, nor do they teach it themselves! They dont even have an approved translation of the Quran themselves, so that we might derive some guidance. We are so much away from the clear guidance of the Holy Quran, that without realizing, we are actually guilty of the sin, which Allah has sworn in the Quran never to forgive! Not once, but probably in most Surahs of the Holy Quran!
And if we were to die in this state of ignorance of the guidance of the Quran, we will have nobody to blame except ourselves in the Court of Allah. We owe it to our Creator to at least give the guidance and the teachings of the Holy Quran one hearing. After you have done that, then you decide yourself who is on the Right Path, and who is astray.
May Allah guide you and us all to the Straight Path of Islam.
May Allah bless you, your comments and questions are always welcome and Insha Allah, we will try to address them as soon as we possibly can. Brother, my only request to you on a personal basis is to give the words of Allah a chance! Give them one hearing, and after you have read the Holy Quran with understanding once, you can choose your way of life. But at least give the Holy Quran a chance! Brother, we read so many books, so many magazines, so many articles, so many newspapers; but we just do not have the conviction or the time to read these 600 odd pages, which are the very words of our Lord and Creator. He has sent us this message for our guidance, but we want to be of those who just follow some self-made leaders blindly and believe the proceedings of the Day of Judgement are their problem. Brother, every person will be responsible only for himself, and Allah will not ask us about anybody else! All I am asking you as your brother in Islam, is to read the Holy Quran with understanding, once. You choose any author and any language to understand the Quran, and I assure you that the basic meaning and message will never change. Allah created us muslims as one community or Ummah, and some unscrupulous people have been successful in breaking this great Ummah into small sects and creeds! I swear by Allah, we are not guiding you to any sect or any creed our only invitation is for the brothers and sisters to read the Holy Quran with understanding, and become muslims in the true sense of the word. Allah is my witness, I do not belong to any creed or sect or madhab or anything else which breaks this Ummah of ours. We strive to be muslims as stated in the Holy Quran, just as the Prophet (saws), Hadrat Ali (r.a.), Hadrat Hasan (r.a.), Hadrat Hussein (r.a.), etc. were all muslims.
Brother, I do not know you personally in this world, but I pray to Allah, that He make us known to each other on the Day of Judgment as brothers. We do not ask for any reward, nor thanks, nor appreciation for our service in running this forum. Our reward is with the Lord of the Worlds We pray and hope that He will accept our humble service in His Cause and forgive us our sins on the Day, when nothing but His Mercy will be between us going to the ever-lasting Fire of Hell, or the eternal Gardens of Bliss.
May Allah bless you and your family and guide you and us all to the Right Path. Brother, this knowledge is not something that just effects us, but it is a legacy we leave to our children and our progeny until the end of time. If, Allah forbid, we do not guide them from the guidance of the Holy Quran, and we let the unscrupulous self-made leaders guide them away from the Quran, they will hold our hand in front of Allah and say that we guided them to the wrong path!
May the Peace, Blessings and Mercy of Allah be upon you and your family. May Allah keep you and your family in His infinite Mercy and Protection. May Allah increase your knowledge and through His Grace and Mercy, guide you and us to the Right Path of Islam.
May Allah guide you and us to read and understand the simple and plain words of the Glorious Quran. May Allah increase our knowledge from the Holy Quran. May Allah guide us to the Siraat al Mustaqeem.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,