KHUTBAH JUMAAT 83 – 23 MAY 2008
THE UNDERSTANDING OF QURAN’S TRANSLATION
Sidang Jumaat yang dirahmati Allah
Saya berpesan kepada diri sendiri dan berpesan kepada sidang Jumaat sekalian, bertaqwalah kepada Allah, dengan menjadikan perhambaan dan peribadatan kepada Allah sebagai pengisian kehidupan, baginda Rasulullah sebagai contoh teladan dan ikutan serta memelihara persaudaraan sesama Islam. The first way to achieve taqwa of Allah is reciting the Quran reflecting upon its meanings and implementing its verses. Allah says in surat Al-Baqarah, verse 121, what can be translated as, "Those to whom We gave the book (the Quran) recite it as it should be recited, they are the ones that believe therein. And who disbelieves in it (the Quran), those are the losers."
Sidang Jumaat yang dirahmati Allah
Allah memperjelaskan bahawa tujuan penurunan al Quran di dalam bahasa Arab ialah kerana kejelasan, kekuatan, kemudahfahaman dan keterampilan bahasa ini. Allah juga menjelaskan bahawa al Quran berfungsi mengundang pembacanya untuk melaksanakan refleks terhadap ayat-ayatnya, memahami tuntutan dan mesejnya, agar ianya menjadi peringatan kepada pembacanya, lalu ianya menjurus kepada peningkatan tahap ketaqwaan kepada Allah. FirmanNYA dalam surah Taha ayat 113 yang bermaksud, dan demikianlah Kami turunkan al Quran dalam bahasa Arab, dan diperjelaskan padanya peringatan dan janjinya, agar mereka beroleh taqwa dan beroleh peringatan. Kegerunan dalam hati juga perlu dididik dan ditanam apabila menelusuri firman Allah dalam surah Muhammad ayat 24 yang bermaksud, Tidakkah mereka memikirkan dengan teliti dan sedalam-dalamnya tentang apa yang terkandung dalam al Quran, atau adakah hati mereka telah terkunci daripada usaha memahaminya. Islam emphasized on each muslim to start and make an effort to understand the greatness of the true recitation of Quran and the great effects it has on the lives of people and their behaviour and conduct, and the greatness of reward for reciting, reflecting and understanding it. There are two main reasons that make us not reflect upon the meanings of Quran when we recite it. This is due to the weakness in the belief and absent-mindedness when reciting Quran. So, many of us recite Quran symbolically without any life in it to the extent that many of us look for the beautiful voice and great harmony when checking out the different reciters, and react and get affected by the voice and harmony, not by his appreciation for the meanings. It is also because our weakness in the Arabic language which Quran is revealed in. Many native Arabs do not understand many of the words in the Quran that they recite and do not exert any effort to understand the meanings of those words. For non-Muslims, one special advantage in reading the Quran is that it provides an authentic point of reference from which to examine the biased stereotypes of Islam to which Westerners are habitually exposed. Primary information is essential to distinguish between opinion and fact in a reasonable manner. This exercise may also enable the thinking individual to understand the inherently defective nature of prejudice itself. However, translations should be objective and accurate to realize the advantage cleary refers to. Lately, western media have been propagating the idea that Islam is a religion that promotes terrorism as it ingrains hostility and the love of bloodshed in Muslims. Obviously, the defamation of Islam has been on the rise in recent years. However, some people may not be aware that the commencement of this movement is deeply rooted in the past. In fact, the early renderings of the meanings of the holy Quran into western languages deliberately targeted spreading misconceptions about Islam. Throughout the years, there were some controversial translations are those influenced by scientific rationalism. They intend to interpret any references to miracles in the Quran on rational or figurative basis as they reject the idea of miracles. Some translations project sectarian views that differ from common Muslim beliefs. Thus, such translators digress from the mainstream understanding of the verse in some places to reflect their own doctrinal biases rather than give an accurate presentation of the Muslims' Scripture. The most serious distortions by far, is they disseminate ideas that contradict basic Muslim beliefs. However, it is important to stress that translations are not always a reliable source to judge Islam. Any translator brings to his work the beliefs, inferences and doctrines that are the substance of personal biases, theological leaning, and even tactical scheming. Hence, the only criterion for judgment is the text in Arabic. It should be borne in mind that translations, from those who against Islam, no matter how accurate, can hardly be objective.
Some misconceptions about Islam arise from mistranslations of certain words or verses, not necessarily on purpose. This section cites only three examples to highlight the problem at hand. One of the basic misconceptions is related to the status of women in Islam. Some people argue that Islam degrades women, and they base their argument on some Quranic verse. In this regard, for instance, a mistranslation of the verb fadala, as "preferred" in verse 34 of surah ali Imran, were given the translation by one of the orientalists as, Men have charge of women because Allah has preferred the one above the other and because they spend their wealth on them. Indeed, the verb fadala, in one of its senses, means "to prefer". However, in this verse, it is used in the sense of giving more privileges in terms of physical strength and affording for women's needs. It is worth noting that, in fact, a woman in Islam is given unique privileges: the right to own property in the women's name alone, the right to be divorced from a husband for the sole reason of the inability of living with him even if he were good, the right to keep her own name and property after getting married, the right of inheritance, the right to own and run business of her own, the right to choose the partner, the right to be maintained by the husband and other things related. Also, the word Islam and muslimun in the Quran may arise problem in translating it, especially for those who try to translates it without faith or with bad intention. These words literally mean in Arabic "submission to God" and "those who submit themselves to God", respectively, rather than "Islam only as the religion of Prophet Muhammad" and "Muslims as the followers of Prophet Muhammad". For example in surah al Baqarah verse 127 and 128, ‘And when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the house, [they prayed]: 'Our Lord! Accept from us [this act]. You are indeed The Ever-Hearing, The Ever Knowing. Oh our Lord! Make us both Muslims to You. And raise from among our offspring a community who are Muslim to You'. Translations should explain that the word "Muslim" is derived from the verb ‘aslama’ (past tense) or ‘yuslimu’ (present tense) which means "submit to God" not "a follower of the Islamic religion" only. It was coined first by Prophet Abraham, the founder of monotheism, to be followed later by Prophets Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad who supposedly introduced different phases of the same essence, submitting one's will to God and associating no other with Him, to be culminated by the final religion Islam.
Also, a major trend that helped in spreading the idea that Islam is a religion of terrorism is that when media proposing and promoting the verses of the Quran dealing with war and use them to criticize Islam. Such verses were revealed on certain occasions at the time of the Prophet. For example in surah al baqarah verse 190 till 193, Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, … and slay them wherever you catch them, ... and fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah". The sad thing is, this is not the full verse of it, but kept away by them intentionally, as the full version is, Fight in the cause of Allah those who fight you, but do not attack them first. God does not love the aggressors, and slay them wherever you catch them [those who fight against you]; drive them out of the places from which they drove you, for persecution is worse than killing. But do not fight them at the Sacred Mosque until they first attack you there, but if they attack you [there], then kill them. Such is the retribution of the disbelievers. But if they desist, then [know that] God is Forgiving, Compassionate, and fight them on until there is no more tumult or oppression, and there prevail justice and faith in Allah. But if they desist, then let there be no hostility except against the transgressors." Obviously, all the parts giving restrictions on fighting, reasons for it, and the emphasis on the fact that Muslims should not be the initiators of war are omitted. As these verses indicate, war here was not a war of aggression but in self defence to prevent the occurrence of persecution in the land.
In Islam you cannot find a single dot disagreeable with or contradictory to modern sciences. All its commandments and inculcations are entirely logical and useful. In Islam, belief and logic do not contradict each other, which is the common blemish of other religions. In conclusion, indeed, reciting Quran lively leads to the taqwa of Allah, and every verse in Quran increases the belief of the believers, while at the same time increases the ungratefulness of the non-believers. Allah says in surat At-Taubah, (verses 124&125), what can be translated as, "And whenever there comes down a surah, some of them say: "Which of you has his iman increased by it ? As for those who believe, it has increased their iman, and they rejoice. But as for those in whose hearts is a disease, it will add suspicion and doubt to their suspicion, disbelief and doubt, and they die while they are disbelievers."
Barakallahu li walakum
Mohd Erfino Johari