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KITAB, QURAN & ARABIC

CHAPTER 1     KITAB, QURAN & ARABIC –     IS "ARABIC" THE NAME OF A LANGUAGE OF MIDDLE EAST AND "QURAN&quo...

Friday, 26 May 2017

WHY QURAN HAS BEEN WRONGLY TRANSLATED?


WHY QURAN HAS BEEN WRONGLY TRANSLATED?

The language of Quran is Pre-Classical Arabic, which was primarily an oral and regional language but spoken in various dialects. The Arabic language is originally developed on root words or a base word that carries the semantic content of the word and from it derives the family of the particular word.

The idea is that a base word as well as its inflected forms support the same core meaning, and can be considered extended words if a learner knows both the base word and the affix. Pre-Classical Arabic words are formed by taking basic words and adding combinations of prefixes and suffixes to them. A basic word to which affixes (prefixes and suffixes) are added is called a root word because it forms the basis of a new word. The root word is also a word in its own right. For example, the English words achieve, achiever, achievement consist of the root word achieve and the suffix – “er and ment.”

Although fundamentally Arabic is a root word language but no longer follows its principles of sticking to its basic root meaning, thanks to the evolution of Arabic to Modern Standard Arabic [MSA]. The Arabic word Haram is the best example of MSA, as its meaning paradoxically signify forbidden as well as sacred. Translators whimsically choose the meaning which suits their preconceived ideological context.

 Arabic Poetry falls into sixteen different rhythmical pattern called al-Bihar, viz., at-Tawil, al-Bassit, al-Wafir, al-Kamil, ar-Rajs, al-Khafif, al-Hazaj, al-Muttakarib, al-Munsarih, al-Muktatab, al-Muktadarak, al-Madid, al-Mujtath, al-Ramel, al-Khabab and as-Saria'. In addition, Arabic has speech of soothsayers, rhyming prose, and normal speech. Ironically Qur'an's structure did not fit into any of these categories. To cover their malicious intent, it is boasted by conspirators that this is a distinction that made the Qur'an inimitable, and left the pagan Arabs at a loss as to how they might counter it, although it is a lie fabricated to separate Quranic Arabic from the rest of the Arabs by portraying it as a special sacred text that can only be understood by certain special section of the society with the aid by the specially created science called ilm-e-rijal [Knowledge of Men]. The original meaning of ilm-e-rijal is knowledge that carries its own weight but again this idiosyncratic word evolved into modern Arabic thus losing its significance. This modern concocted science of ilm-e-rijal fooled the entire Arab world and “Muslims” at large and they are still spell bounded by it. But the fact is the language of Al-Quran was plain Arabic and easily understood by the local Arabs of the particular tribe and they knew its core message very well.

For justifying that book Quran is different from the rest of the Arabic language Ibn Ishaque [born in 85 Hijri] the father of the conspirators created a relative story of  Mu‘allaqāt commonly known as hanging poems. Ibn Ishaque was the grandson of Christian family, captured from a monastery and brought as a slave to Medina during the campaign of Khalid bin Walid. It is said he converted to Islam but he was the main culprit in changing the direction of the Quran and the Islam.

To support the story of Mu‘allaqāt, Ibn Ishaque created characters related to the poems so as to build the future foundation for interpreting the Quran in the line of ilm-e-rijal commonly known as Narratives of Prophet. All this is done to make an impression that the book Quran is distinct and its style of writing is unique from the rest of Arabic language, thus making it difficult even for the Arabs to understand it. All this concoction was doctored to support the doctrine of ijaaz al-Quran that the content of the Quran is inimitable and not easy for a common man to understand without the help of the Biblical Hadith.

The victim of this well planned conspiracy is the poor, helpless message of the Quran. The meanings of the vibrant Arabic words of the Quran were changed to fit in the already planted Biblical stories related to the “Prophets”, even the root words were changed to support their views. A parallel literature was systematically created to counter the Arabic of the Noble Quran thus making it more difficult for the Arabs as well as foreigners to understand in spite many of its meaning are still preserved in Classical Lexicons.   

David Samuel Margoliouth [1858-1940] a Professor of Arabic in Oxford University resolved this "slight puzzle" by advancing his famous theory that the poems we know of as pre-Islamic were actual forgeries of a later Islamic period, being largely a development of the styles found in the Qur'an. His theory is based on the verses of the Qur'an 26:224-227, which addresses poets.

Another intellectual and figurehead for the Egyptian Renaissance, Taha Hussein [1889-1973] was an Arab-Egyptian and one of the most influential 20th-century Arab writer of the modernist movement in the Middle East and North Africa. His sobriquet was "The Dean of Arabic Literature". He was nominated for a Noble Prize literature fourteen times.

Although Taha Hussein wrote many novels and essays, in the West he is best known for his autobiography, Al-Ayyam (الايام, The Days) which was published in English as “An Egyptian Childhood” (1932) and “The Stream of Days” (1943). However, it was his book of literary criticism “On Pre-Islamic Poetry” (في الشعر الجاهلي) of 1926 that bought him some fame in the Arab world. In this book, he expressed doubt about the authenticity of much early Arabic poetry, claiming it to have been falsified during ancient times due to tribal pride and rivalry between tribes. He also hinted indirectly that the Qura’n should not be taken as an objective source of history. Consequently, the book aroused the intense anger and hostility of the religious scholars at Al Azhar and many other traditionalists, and he was accused of having insulted Islam. However, the public prosecutor stated that what Taha Hussein had said was the opinion of an academic researcher and no legal action was taken against him, although he lost his post at Cairo University in 1931. His book was banned but was re-published the next year with slight modifications under the title “On Pre-Islamic Literature” (1927). 

It is not only Taha Hussein who believed that the so called "pre-Islamic poetry" is a fabricated work; there are also some respectable contemporary scholars who think that there is something fishy about this so called pre-Islamic poetry.

Whatever may have been the linguistic environment of pre-Islamic Arabia, the rapid spread of the faith across Africa and into Asia soon created a situation in which written and spoken Arabic inhabited opposite ends of a linguistic spectrum. At one end was the language of written communication and Islamic scholarship, which regarded the language of the Qurʾān as its inimitable yardstick; from this belief developed the later critical doctrine of ijaaz al-Quran (the “inimitability of the Qurʾān”), which resulted in a written (literary) language that has undergone remarkably little change over the centuries because it was different from the rest of the Arabic and was believed to be liturgical or unique language. At the other end was the spoken Arabic of Arabs, which from Spain (known as Al-Andalus during the Moorish period) and Morocco in the west to the Arabian Gulf and Iraq in the east displayed—and continues to display—enormous variety, hardly a surprising linguistic phenomenon in view of the great distances involved and the wide variety of cultures with which Islam came into contact.

Pre-Islamic Arabic can be considered a polycentric language and Al-Quran is the best example of it. In Arabic-speaking countries, different levels of polycentricity can be detected. Modern Standard Arabic is a pluricentric language with varying branches correlating with different regions where Arabic is spoken and the type of communities speaking it.

Classical Arabic, also known as Quranic Arabic [although the term is not entirely accurate, is the language used in the Quran as well as in numerous literary texts from Umayyad and Abbasid times (7th to 9th centuries)]. Many Muslims study Classical Arabic in order to read the Quran in its original language. It is important to note that written Classical Arabic underwent fundamental changes during the early Islamic era, adding dots to distinguish similarly written letters, and adding the Tashkeel (diacritical markings that guide pronunciation).

Modern Standard Arabic is colloquial Arabic which is evolved from many regional dialects that also bears slightly different meanings. That’s why we find in MSA etymology more than one meaning of a single base or root word which is a sign of evolution or deviation from the principles of pure Pre Classical Arabic. In Pre-Classical Arabic the meaning is related to each other by the virtue of belonging to the same family of word. But when the unrelated meaning appears apart from the family of word it is a clear cut sign that the unrelated appeared word are not from the family and should be not taken as the original meaning. The main cause of discord or misinterpretation of many Arabic words and root words are these unrelated words taken from MSA to translate Al-Quran.

All the present day interpretation of the Quran is either based on MSA dictionaries or Laghtul Quran based on Shan-e-Nuzool or ilm-e-rijal which carries multiple meanings of a single word to suits particular line of thinking. No regard is given to the principles of Old Arabic root language as fitting into the ideological context is more important than doing justice to the root language. The Old Arabic language on which Al-Quran is based is completely ignored; also root words and its meaning are twisted just to fit in their ideological agenda.

It is simple, not using our own knowledge and following blindly the traditions of our father and grandfather only because they were seniors is a sign of mental slavery. Simply copying or imitating the elders and leaving everything on the will of God or blaming others shows our incompetence to deal with the problem by ourselves. Nobody can cure us if we failed to judge that we are suffering from dangerous ailment and we need an immediate medical attention. Contentment is the enemy of evolution and if we are content in whatever condition we live in, the movement towards progress is not possible. We think that we possess the Weapon of Mass Destruction in the form of Supplication or ritualistic Prayers. We claim to read the Quran but we fool ourselves by following the ready-made translations of our predecessors and scholars. We take pride in associating ourselves with certain school of thoughts. The result is we are content and contentment is the enemy of development. Main reason for our failure.

Some mistakes occurred in the translations:

1) Example:

The root word علم [alam] means he knew – ilm, talim, maulim, Aalim, Alim, Allama, Uloom, Maaloom, Ulema…

The meaning of every derivative word should contain the basic essence of the root word as they belong to the same family. If there is change in the meaning we can easily detect the corruption or distortion in the original meaning. For example the word الْعَالَمِينَ [Aalameen] is the derivative of root word علم but in traditional or Modern Standard Arabic it is translated as Worlds whereas it’s meaning should be all the Knowledge. This is a clear cut distortion because the essence of the root word has shifted from the family of علم.

2) Example:

The root word شهر [shahar] the basic meanings of which are apparent, manifest, notable, commonly known, famous, proclaim, advertisement but then it suddenly moves out of the chain of original meanings and drastically changes its essence which also whimsically signifies New moon, lunar month, drew his sword from its scabbard etc.

The commonly known derivatives of Shahar are Mashoor, Shaurat, Ashraan, Ashaar, Ishtehaar have familiar meaning as it is from the same family of words. But Modern standard Arabic does not follow the principles of chain of root words and its derivatives as it is not based on Pre Classical Arabic of the Quran.

3) Example:

The root word of Haram حرم means sacred. Its general essence are sacred, respected, private, restricted, reverence, honor, enshrine - Haram, Aihtaraam, Mohtaram, Ihraam, Moharram, Maihroom, Hoormat… but when the essence of this word is taken as forbidden or illegal or unlawful or something unworthy it signifies drastically changed in the meaning and this becomes matter of concern for those who lack the nuance of Arabic. The word inviolable must be used according to change in verb form instead of forbidden, illegal and unlawful.

This drastically change in meanings of a single word into two or more diverse meanings makes people think that Arabic is a complicated language and it is safe if we follow the canonical meanings developed through ilm-e-rijal generally accepted as the only genuine source.

Now the problem with the translation of Al-Quran is we are translating the old Quranic Arabic with the lens of Modern Standard Arabic or through the canonical meanings developed by the conspirators of Islam. And we the students and the teachers of Arabic language believe these canonical meanings to be genuine without doing any research work. This blind following of students as well as advocates of their predecessors / scholar's work is the cause of the all the malady which Muslims are facing today.  It is a taboo for the “Muslims” to think out of their own traditions. The huge traditional atmosphere prevents any Muslim from thinking out of this “approved institution” label as sacred and people are happily content to live in this golden prison of traditions. 

Ultimately the message of the Noble Quran is the main sufferer. If we don’t rethink or reformat our thought process nobody can help us. Believe me the book Quran has unlimited potential to revolutionize the entire world towards the path of peace. But unfortunately the upholders of the Quran are the main mischief mongers who prevent those who want to do systematic investigation into and study of materials and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions. PEACE / SALAM.





1 comment:

  1. Hi i would like to just say i enjoy reading your works. please keep it up and i would really like to see the rest of your translations. Peace

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