Free-Mind’s ‘Monotheist’ Translation

Free-minds recently had a poll where they asked what’s the best name for their translation. You can read the entire thread here. The overwhelming opinion on this issue is that it should be called ‘The Quran – A Monotheist Translation’.

How arrogant can you get! Are you REALLY a monotheist? Ibrahim who is said to have ‘deeni haneefa’ (the peak of deen) fulfilled all the concepts of his lord (2/124) and was made imam to mankind (2/125).  Ibrahim did not call himself a ‘muwahid’ (monotheist in Arabic). Are these guys anywhere close to Ibrahim’s status? I know I’m not and I don’t see any of them even speaking publically beyond cyberspace. How on earth are they monotheists then? Ibrahim’s status is an ATTAINMENT not simply something one says and makes it so.

And what of the insinuation that other translations are NOT monotheist? By other translations, we mean of course those by Traditionalist Islam. Are they not monotheist? From Free-minds discourse, we know they are called ‘sectarian’ and ‘polytheists’ (by taking hadith as a source of law). This is the most superficial nonsense I’ve ever heard.

One does not become a monotheist by dropping hadith. I hope the free-minds folks would admit their own subjectivity. Call it ‘Free-minds’ translation – that’s what it is

QuranVsHadith speaks on issues with Translations

Interesting post in Quranology Discussions today by our new friend QuranVsHadith:  

Word of CAUTION: to my brothers and sister who rely soley on the ENGLISH Translations of the QURAN … Today someone posted a link to with a number of translations available there..I was reviewing them and found that the SAHIH INTERNATIONAL version is the MOST HADIHTERIZED version out there.. (Please avoid). …then Mohsin Khan has taken too many liberties with parentheis in his version. they are not used to explain the words rather to convey his pesonal opinions on the subject. Similary..ABERRY has taken too many literary liberties and the use of totally incorrect words in the translation.. Peace
I broadly agree with QVH here. However, is there any way out of this? Can we ever eliminate the subjectivity which comes with the act of translation? I can’t see how. The Quran’s truth will remain something which is disclosed in the realm of personal experience.


Saheeh International or Dhaif International?!

It’s really shameless sometimes how translations play with the meaning of the Quran. Seriously! Check this out from Saheeh International:

Sahih International
And We did certainly give Moses the Torah and followed up after him with messengers. And We gave Jesus, the son of Mary, clear proofs and supported him with the Pure Spirit. But is it [not] that every time a messenger came to you, [O Children of Israel], with what your souls did not desire, you were arrogant? And a party [of messengers] you denied and another party you killed.
Not only is the word ‘Torah’ missing from the aya, they didn’t even have the courtest to put the word ‘torah’ in brackets! The word is ‘al-kitab’, correctly translated as ‘the book’ or ‘the writ’.
These guys prefer to call themselves ‘SAHEEH International’ (correct or accurate). I think they are ‘dhaif’ (weak or inaccurate).

The “Quranic” Language

I’ve been working on this for quite some time (because I’m just so lazy). It’s an article originally written in Arabic by Ibrahim Bin Nabi (other writings by him can be downloaded from here:

It kind of felt like a shame that they were not in English when I wanted to show them to my friends on Quranology Discussions. It’s a very detailed study exposing the contradictions between our man-made grammar rules and the Quran‘s unique language. Now it’s also in English, just for you!

Always remember that English is my second language. This means that it’s okay if you don’t get half of it. I’d be so happy if you got at least 10% of it. I don’t care if you think my phrases are awkward. Whatever.

The male-addressed quranic speech
The male-addressed quranic speech (PDF)


Stepping Stones

I believe that each person has their own spiritual journey. Not all of us were born into “Islam”. I didn’t even know what the Quran was until 2006. Still I believe my personal journey guided by Allah led me to circumstances which led me to finding out about the Quran. Then people tried to obscure my understanding of the Quran by telling me about the Hadith collections and making things complicated, and diverting me from the Quran. Then part of my personal journey led me to finding out that the Quran explains the Quran, not Hadith explains the Quran. This idea was suggested to me by a website. It gave me the Quran references so I knew where to look, then I checked the Quran references and found it out to be true. At this point… Was I using the Quran by itself or Quran plus website or Quran plus translation? I think I was using Quran plus website plus translation.

Suppose I said, as a new convert: “Even though I have no idea how to read, speak or understand a word of Arabic, I am only going to look at the original Arabic Quran and keep staring at the words until they make sense to me”. Allah is able to do anything. I do believe in miracles. When I was a new convert, I didn’t try to read the Quran in Arabic though. Maybe upon reflection my own faith was flawed from the outset by not doing so?  The natural thing to do for me was reach for an English translation of course. I do believe that God did give us stepping stones on our journey of spiritual enlightenment. Tools to facilitate. All good is from God. His blessings are too numerous to count. He does not wish hardship for us. I could be sick and wait for a miracle recovery, refusing all medical treatment, when the blessing is right there:  a hospital with trained, qualified doctors that can give you the medicine you need. It is not the doctor you worship, or the medicine. It is God for providing the blessing.

Stepping along in my journey, I soon found out that not all translations are the same. I started comparing translations and getting into using word-by-word Quran, slowly increasing my understanding of which Arabic words were commonly translated as either this, that or the other. I started to notice discrepancies. Why had one translator used this word, and two others had used another, and then comparing some of the verses (which were at larger variance with each other) in up to 19 online translations – Praise God for modern technology – this would have taken a lifetime without the internet.  I noticed the same translator used a different word for the exact same word he’d translated differently previously in the text. The consistency seemed off. That’s why I am trying to see the inconsistencies as I go along, comparing the words, doing individual word studies. So that’s just the words! As time has gone by, some of the words I have come to know from standard Arabic Quran glossaries just don’t seem to have much backing from the Quran. More on Primary Usage of Words in the Quran

Where will I find the next stepping stone on my journey of spiritual enlightenment? Only God truly knows.