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Topic initiated on Saturday, June 22, 2013  -  3:42 PM Reply with quote
Academic evaluation of translations of Qur'aan

Quite many people have translated the text of Qur'aan for various motivations, considerations and intentions, good as well as bad, in timeline. Most of these are available on line. Thanks to computer and internet technology, it is now easy to see the majority of translations on one page. This blessing of technology has highlighted a dismal image of saddening effect. When we see many translations on one page we find more plagiarism than original work by the majority.

We can select 7 which are available on one page of Leeds and two earlier ones of Rodewell and George Sales since both have great influence on later translations.

بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ

George Sale: (London, 1734) In the name of the most merciful God.
John Medows Rodwell: (London, 1861)  In the Name of God, the Compassionate, the Merciful.
Sahih International: In the name of Allah , the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.

Pickthall: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Yusuf Ali: In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

Shakir: In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.

Muhammad Sarwar: In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful

Mohsin Khan: In the Name of Allah, the Most Beneficent, the Most Merciful.

Sher Ali [Qadiani] In the name of ALLAH, the Gracious, the Merciful.

We should first determine the accuracy or otherwise of the translated text:

1. Whether this English "sentence" is a complete sentence or is lacking in linkages.
2. If it is not a complete sentence, what will be the meanings or connotation of "In the name of God":
(a) In behalf of;
(b) By the authority of;
(c) With appeal to; or
(d) Just a swearing
(e) invocation: a calling upon Allah

The translated "sentence" is incomplete and suffers ambiguity. English grammar tells: A sentence is a group of words which starts with a capital letter and ends with a full stop (.), question mark (?) or exclamation mark (!). A sentence contains or implies a predicate and a subject. There has to be a verb in it.

Translated text can be termed as a SENTENCE FRAGMENT. It fails to be a sentence in the sense that it cannot stand by itself. It does not contain even one independent clause. It may locate something in time and place with a prepositional phrase or a series of such phrases, but it's still lacking a proper subject-verb relationship within an independent clause.

Hence Sale's and Rodwell's translation is patently incorrect. Since others have just copied-plagiarized, they neither seem to have given a thought nor seem to have revisited the Arabic text to parse it and then translate. Unfortunate!

Edited by: Mazhara on Saturday, June 22, 2013 3:45 PM

Posted - Thursday, July 4, 2013  -  2:38 PM Reply with quote
Thank you for bringing this to our attention. This is very true there have been times when searching for knowledge I have encountered translators using different words which changes the whole meaning. Also what you have pointed out that translators have followed the same chain of thought while translating The Quran. Surat An-Nisā' (The Women) verse 4:34 the word Nushuz has been translated by different translators using different words which changes the meaning some examples are cited below
Sahih International
But those [wives] from whom you fear arrogance……

Muhsin Khan
As to those women on whose part you see ill-conduct…….

As for those from whom ye fear rebellion…..

Yusuf Ali
As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct…….

and (as to) those on whose part you fear desertion……

Dr. Ghali
And the ones whom you fear their non-compliance…….

All these words have different meanings and give a different picture but moving further in surah 4:128 the same word Nushuz has been translated like this

Sahih International
And if a woman fears from her husband contempt or evasion…….

Muhsin Khan
And if a woman fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part……

If a woman feareth ill treatment from her husband, or desertion…….

Yusuf Ali
If a wife fears cruelty or desertion on her husband's part……

And if a woman fears ill usage or desertion on the part of her husband…..

Dr. Ghali
And in case a woman fears non- compliance or veering away in her husband……

So use of different words make the whole understanding different.

Let me quote another example in Surah Nisa the same verse that is 3:34

Where the word Adriboo is given in translations like this:

Sahih International
[first] advise them; [then if they persist], forsake them in bed; and [finally], strike them.

Muhsin Khan
admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly, if it is useful)……

As for those from whom ye fear rebellion, admonish them and banish them to beds apart, and scourge them…..

Yusuf Ali
admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly)…….

admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places and beat them;

Dr. Ghali
then admonish them and forsake them in their beds, (Literally: a madajic= reeclining) and strike them, (i.e. hit them lightly……..

After reading these translations you can see that all translators have only used one meaning that is to hit, even though there are different meanings available Adriboo (root Daraba): to beat, to strike, to hit, to separate, to part etc.

So I do appreciate your point of view.

Posted - Tuesday, August 20, 2013  -  3:35 PM Reply with quote

..............................After reading these translations you can see that all translators have only used one meaning .........................
This because the Prophet had fulfilled his duty of explaining the verses of the Qur'aan before the Sahabah. The Prophet was taught these details also by Allah Subhanahu wa ta'alaa through the Angel Jibreel. On matters of deen the Prophet has not talked of his own. The Sahabah passed on this knowledge that they got from the Prophet to the next generation. Thus the authentic translators take the meaning of Verses of the Qur'aan as understood by the Sahabah and so we do not find any difference among them.

Edited by: aboosait on Tuesday, August 20, 2013 3:37 PM

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