How to convince translations are correct?
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:
Dear brother in Islam,
I am a dawoodi bohra by birth and in our community we are not encouraged to read translations from the holy quran. I have been reading the translation over the years and even attend dars on islamic teachings given by a muslim scholar. But when i discuss these teachings with my other bohra friends they ask for the authentication of translations of the Holy Quran. They tell me that because i do not know Arabic then how can i be sure if the translations are correct. It could be altered as per the thinking and belief of the translator. Although i have no doubt about the authentication of these translation, but how do i convince my bohra friends. The reason i am writing this is to somehow convince them in reading the holy quran alongwith the translation.
your brother in islam
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In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever 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.
May Allah Subhanah bless and increase the quest for your learning this Knowledge of Truth; and may Allah Subhanah bless and increase your love for your brethren and your people, whom you are trying to bring closer to understand and comprehend the Supreme Words of the Lord All Mighty. May Allah Subhanah bestow upon you patience and wisdom and steadfastness in the path you have chosen, to propagate the Truth to your brethren. May Allah Subhanah accept your sincere striving in His Noble Cause, and reward you for your striving with the Highest Grades in the Gardens of Al-Firdaus. Ameen.
Question: Although i have no doubt about the authentication of these
translation, but how do i convince my bohra friends. The reason i am writing
this is to somehow convince them in reading the holy quran alongwith the
First and foremost, lets accumulate the assumptions and beliefs our beloved brethren have regarding the understanding of the Glorious Quran and Islam:
They are made to believe by their High Priests that the Quran cannot be understood by everyone!
They are made to believe that everything the High Priest says and does is absolutely in accordance with the guidance of the Holy Quran!
They are made to believe that the unconditional obedience and reverence in their High Priest is a command of the Quran and a path to their salvation in the Hereafter!
They are constantly told to recite the Quran in Arabic; but are warned at every occasion never to try to understand it lest they get misguided from this Perfect Book of Guidance!
Their High Priest talks and glorifies the people he wants from the History of Islam, and seldom talks about the guidance of the Quran. He may recite a few verses here and there, but generally avoids teaching the guidance directly from the Quran.
Their every rite and ritual and occasion starts with the recitation of the Holy Quran in Arabic, but never ever will they encourage the understanding of these Glorious Words of Allah Subhanah.
Unconditional obedience of the High Priest and his family is an absolute must for our brethren to remain in the community; and challenging or even asking them something about the understanding of the Quran is out of the question!
They neither encourage the understanding of the Quran, nor do they (want to) have a translation, nor do they endorse any of the thousands of translations available, nor are they in any hurry to make an effort towards getting their followers to understand the Glorious Quran in the past 500 odd years of the existence of their community!
They have been promised and guaranteed by their High Priest himself, time and time again, that he will personally lead them into Paradise for their this blind and unconditional belief and obedience!
They are encouraged to perform their beliefs amongst their community; and warned constantly never ever to discuss their beliefs with anyone outside their community lest they become misguided!
They are born into this belief, they found their forefathers and their surroundings in this belief, and they earnestly believe in their this belief!
Thus my beloved and dear brother, when someone is born into such a belief, and since his birth saw his fathers and forefathers and all his surroundings following this belief; it is obviously difficult for him to hear or comprehend something which is not endorsed by his belief! The culture all around him is so overwhelming, the rites and rituals and customs so overpowering, and the absolute and unconditional obedience and reverence of the High Priest and his family so demanding; that for him to even think about doing or even hearing something not endorsed or encouraged by his High Priest is as good as blasphemy and disbelief!
My beloved and dear Brother in Islam, in our humble opinion the best way to start this process of inviting to the Truth of the Quran is to try to use logic and leave no option for the brothers, whom you are trying to propagate to understand the Words of Allah Subhanah, but to use their intelligence and their common sense when evaluating your arguments; for this faculty of intelligence, and power of reasoning, and common sense are indeed very strong tools bestowed upon man from their Lord Most Merciful.
Sometimes, in the search of knowledge and to derive the best answers, it might be prudent to ask the right questions which challenge their faculties of intelligence and common sense! It indeed needs a lot of patience and wisdom for the one who Allah Subhanah has blessed with the knowledge from the Quran to argue with the ones who do not believe (or do not want to believe) in the Truth of the Quran! But that is precisely what our Lord has commanded the believers to do when inviting anyone to the way of Allah Subhanah.
Allah says in the Holy Quran: Chapter 16, Surah An-Nahl Ayat 125: Invite to the way of your Lord with wisdom and excellent admonition and argue with people in the best manner. Your Lord knows best who has gone astray from His Way and who is Rightly guided.
It is imperative that you do not challenge their beliefs at the outset, nor say anything about their faith, no matter how much you think they are against the guidance of the Quran; for that will do nothing but close their hearts, put them in a defensive mode, and they will not want to hear a word of what you have to say; and worse they will label you a muslim and try their best to avoid talking anything about Islam to you! Man has been bestowed with enough intelligence, power of reasoning, and common sense by the All-Wise Creator that when presented with the Truth; he will easily be able to determine the Truth from the falsehoods, if he indeed wants to. Thus your duty is not to force them or coerce them to believe in what you have to say; but rather with extreme patience and wisdom present the Very Words of the Lord All-Mighty to them, as their genuine well-wisher and brother, and let their intelligence and common sense determine the Truth from the falsehood! The Truth is a power unto itself, and there is no bigger Truth than the Glorious Quran revealed by none other than the One Who Created everything in existence!
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 17 Surah Bani Israel verse 81: And declare, The Truth has come and falsehood has vanished. And falsehood is a thing that must by its nature, vanish!
Thus, if you have tried everything else, maybe its worth a try to get them to answer simple questions like these listed below. Brother, I repeat again, it is very important that you do not belittle or abuse them or their beliefs; but use the example of the wisdom of Prophet Ibraheem (a.s.) from the Quran when he, as a genuine well-wisher and brother of his people, tried to guide them by naming the stars, the moon, and the sun (which his people used to worship) and bring them to the Truth of The Oneness of Allah Subhanah (Quran 6:76-79).
Is there any doubt that the Quran is a Book of Guidance from Allah Subhanah?
Is the Quran authentic and verbatim and preserved in the way it was revealed to Prophet Mohamed (saws)?
Is there any book other than the Quran, which the Lord All Mighty revealed for the guidance of mankind?
If this is the only Book of Guidance from our Lord and Creator, then are we taking any guidance from it? How?
Does reciting it day and night in a language we cannot understand give us any guidance to the Straight Path?
Does carrying a few verses in our pockets, or wearing a few verses as a taweez on our necks, or chanting a few verses a million times give us any guidance?
Is not our duty to understand this Message the Lord has revealed for the guidance of all mankind?
Did Allah Subhanah not Know that not everyone in the world speaks and understands the Arabic language?
Is the Quran a guidance only for those who speak and understand the Arabic language?
Will we be judged on the Day of Judgment according to the guidance of the Holy Quran?
Is Allah Subhanah so unjust that He will Judge mankind even though they could not understand His Message?
Will Allah Subhanah accept our excuse for not understanding His Message because it was in a language different other than the one we understood or spoke?
What would one do if one were to receive a letter in a foreign language which he could not understand, from the King or Ruler or President of a Country:
Would he keep reciting it again and again without understanding it?
Would he take a copy of the letter from the King and wear it as a taweez around his neck?
Would he recite the letter at every good and noble occasion, without ever trying to understand a word of it?
Or would he straight away go to a person he trusts and knows who speaks and understands the language the letter is written in, and get him to translate the meaning so that he may find out what exactly is required by the King?
Is it possible that the Just Lord would send his Message so that no one could understand it? and then Judge mankind according to this Message?
Is it possible that the Just Lord would reveal a Message which could only be understood by just one family, or just the one High Priest?
If only the High Priest and/or only his family are able to understand the Quran, then it must be mentioned by Allah Subhanah in His Message?
What if the belief we are born into is not the belief propagated by the Quran?
Would it not be wise to confirm even only once, that our belief, on which depends our ever lasting and never ending life of the Hereafter, is accordance with the guidance of the Quran?
Why does our High Priest or his family never ever encourage the understanding of the Quran?
Why does our High Priest or his family never run classes to understand the Quran?
Why does our High Priest or his family never translate the Quran for us so that we can understand the Message of his and our Lord and Creator?
They write and translate so many books, and saheefas, and qaidas, and haptis, and munajaats, and marseeyah, etc. in a language we understand. Then why not the Quran?
If they dont present a translation of the Quran, neither do they teach it, neither do they encourage it, neither do they allow it; then how are we to understand the Message of our Lord and Creator?
Are all the existing translations, and there are literally hundreds if not thousands of them in all possible languages spoken in the world, written with a political or ulterior motive?
Would it not be wise just to compare and see if the translation of even any one Surah from the several existing translations, and determine if the meanings of these translation match or differ?
When people who see movies or read books dubbed or translated from English to Hindi, or Hindi to Malyalam, or Telugu to Hindi, etc. can understand their meanings; could we not understand a simple translation of this all-important Message of our Lord and Creator?
Try translating a few phrases from Gujrati and translating them into English and see how many variation one can make in its meanings!
Could bethi jaa be translated to mean into anything other than sit down in English?
Could maru ghar be translated to mean into anything other than my home in English?
Could asmaan ane zameen be translated to mean into anything other than heaven and earth in English?
If translated with the best intentions, could it be possible that each and every one of all the hundreds and thousands of translations of the Glorious Quran were done with ulterior motives?
Is it even remotely a possibility that we are being deprived of the understanding of the Message of our Lord by some people who discourage us from understanding the Message of our Lord?
Is it even remotely a possibility that the beliefs we are born into are not the ones propagated and endorsed by the Quran?
Is it even remotely possible that the unconditional obedience and reverence of the family of the High Priest is not a requirement of the Quran?
If we try to understand the Quran, even only once, it will at least confirm the beliefs we are born into are true and our High Priest and his family are guiding us to the Straight Path of Truth! What then is the harm?
My beloved and dear Brother in Islam, if you ask some of these questions with the genuine intention of getting your beloved friends and brethren to understand the Truth of the Quran, maybe, just maybe, you might be able to trigger their conscience, or their sense of intelligence, or their sense of reasoning, or their common sense and they come a step closer to making an effort to understand the Glorious Quran!
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 5.521 Narrated by Sahl bin Sad
On the day of Khaibar Allah's Messenger (saws) said to Hadrat Ali ibn Abi Taalib (r.a.) "Proceed and do not hurry. When you enter their territory, call them to embrace Islam and inform them of Allah's Rights which they should observe, for by Allah, even if a single man is led on the right path (of Islam) by Allah through you, then that will be better for you than the nice red camels." (the absolutely best and prized possessions of those times)
Statement: The reason i am writing this is to somehow convince them in reading
the holy quran alongwith the translation.
My beloved and dear Brother in Islam, Allah is my witness, I have been trying for the last 15 years to get some of my closest family members to read the translation of the Quran; and have had very little or absolutely no success in most cases! My own beloved and aged mother, my two sisters, and one of my brothers still refuse to accept the Truth of the Glorious Quran and insist in their unconditional belief, and obedience, and worship of their High Priest and his family! So strong and unshakable is their belief, that my very own beloved mother refuses to even come to my house, or eat even a morsel of food from my house; just only because I have left her belief in her High Priest and his family, and aligned myself to the belief of the Glorious Quran! Had Allah not had mercy on me, helped me, and guided me; I swear by Allah Subhanah, I would have been absolutely and utterly ruined! May my life and the life of my children be the ransom of my beloved and aged mother! If Allah Wills and helps me, I will continue to try to invite her to the guidance of the Quran until the day Allah Wills to recall either her or me back to His Majestic Presence; for the Quran guides that the doors of Taubah of our Merciful Lord are open till the moment one meets with his appointment of death.
My beloved and dear Brother in Islam, it is nothing but the extension of our genuine love for our family and our loved ones that we invite them to understand the Glorious Quran so that they may take the steps to be guided aright. Allah Subhanah time and again guides us in His Glorious Quran that our duty is only to invite them to the Straight Path with wisdom and with patience, and in the best and most polite manner; to guide them aright or leave them astray is in the Absolute Will and Power of the Merciful Lord Alone.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 28 Surah Qasas verse 56: You cannot guide whom you love, but Allah guides whomever He Pleases. And He best knows those who would accept guidance.
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 16 Surah Nahl verse 82: But if they turn away, your only responsibility is to convey the plain Message of Truth! They recognize the blessing of Allah, yet they deny it, for the majority of them are not inclined to accept the Truth!
Allah says in the Holy Quran Chapter 18 Surah Kahf verse 29: Proclaim, This (Quran) is the Truth from your Lord: now whosoever wills may accept it, and whosoever wills may reject it. (As for those who reject it) We have prepared for such workers of iniquity a fire whose flames have encircled them. There, if they ask for water , they will be given a drink like the dregs of oil, which will burn their mouths! What an evil drink, and what an evil abode!
My beloved and dear brother in Islam, you continue your striving with extreme wisdom and utmost patience to invite your brethren to come closer to the understanding of the Glorious Quran; and seek your reward only from Allah Subhanah, the Lord of the Worlds. Never ever let their abuse, or their ridicule, or their anger, or their boycotts scare or shake you from the path of the Quran that you have chosen for yourself. Be aware brother, that the path you have chosen from the Quran will demand untold sacrifices; your own family members might forsake you, your friends will no longer remain your friends, your community might outcast you, the ones you hold closest to your heart might detest and abhor you.but my beloved and dear Brother in Islam, you stay constant on the Straight Path of the Glorious Quran in these severe trials and tribulations of this one short and transitory life; for our return is ultimately back to Him Who Created us and everything in existence!
Allah Says in the Holy Quran Chapter 9 Surah Taubah verses 23-24:
23 O ye who believe! Take not for protectors your fathers and your brothers if they love disbelief above faith: if any of you do so, they do wrong.
24 Say: If it be that your fathers, your sons, your brothers, your mates, your kindred; the wealth that ye have gained; the commerce in which ye fear a decline; or the dwellings in which ye delight, are dearer to you than Allah, His Messenger (saws), or the striving in His Cause; then wait until Allah brings about His Decision: and Allah guides not the rebellious.
My dear and beloved Brother in Islam, I sincerely apologize if my reply has become too lengthy; for the question you asked is indeed one that is closest to my heart! Had it not been for Allahs Mercy, and had He not guided us to understand the Truth of the Glorious Quran, we would have been completely and utterly ruined. May Allah Subhanah keep you and us and all the believers who have aligned their lives to the guidance of the Quran steadfast on this Straightest of Paths.
Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 8.476 Narrated by Abu Huraira
I heard Allah's Messenger (saws) saying, Verily! Allah created Mercy. The day He created it (Mercy), He made it into one hundred parts. He withheld with Him ninety-nine parts, and sent its one part to all His creatures. Had the non-believer known of all the Mercy which is in the Hands of Allah, he would not lose hope of entering Paradise; and had the believer known of all the punishment which is present with Allah, he would not consider himself safe from the Hell-Fire."
the price our Lord demands from His believing slaves seems expensive; indeed
the reward He has with Him is
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 in Islam,