Assalamualaikum and welcome to Islam infocus. Today’s program is the 52nd on the sea resources of Islam and we continue with our topic on errors in translating and understanding the Quran. I’m your host a sharp image and here with me once again from St. Mary’s University. Dr. Jamal Badawi. Assalamu alaikum.
Dr. Jamal, as we usually like to do it, could we please have a summary of last week’s program? Okay, a brief one, hopefully. Okay, well, first of all, we continue to discuss some of the errors by many orientalists in as you said, in the title, in translating and or explaining or understanding the Quran, either because of their particular background, which was projected and the way they understood or translated even the Quran. Sometimes because of the apparent similarity in sound, or writing, to some Arabic words with other
words from other Semitic languages, particularly like Hebrew or Syriac languages, even though the meaning could have been quite different, or because of lack of understanding of what the term or word in the Quran means in its proper context, which is to indicate that some of these errors seem to give a picture about the spam, which is contrary in many basic ways to h1, fundamental teachings. And, in fact, even the Quranic principle that we have explained in a previous series on Muslim beliefs that prophets were all Muslims, and they call for the same kind of basic message that even has been a subject of criticism on the part of some orientalist, a criticism which is emanating
actually, mainly from their lack of understanding simply of the basic terms even use in the
fact that you’ve mentioned criticism. Now, let me ask you, what is the nature of this criticism? Maybe Maybe you can elaborate on this? Well, a clear example of that is the statement made by GM. That’s G. I, ll AU me, one of the famous orientalist
in which he wonders, he says, How come the Quran describes Prophet Noah, as a Muslim? Even though he preceded Prophet Muhammad by more than 2500 years, how could he be a Muslim is he
you know, 2500 years before Prophet Mohammed even started his mission.
But that, as indicated earlier, reflect the lack of understanding of some basic terminology used in Islam. Because the term Islam it’s a melodically speaking, is a term which denotes submission to the will of God achieving peace, through a willing conscious and loving and trusting submission to God. This is the proper meaning of of Islam. And once defined as such, as the Quran indicates, Islam submission to God has been the essence of the mission of all of the profits from not only nowhere but even from Adam because in Islam, Adam is regarded as the the first prophet.
But the problem with many orientalists, again, is that they keep thinking of Islam as something which is a new term altogether, a new religion, something that started only with the birth or mission of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him in the you know, in the seventh century, in the Common Era.
Where as we find, for example, in the Quran in chapter five and verse 44, describe all profits or profits, that these are alladhina Islam, those who submitted to the will of Allah. With this kind of description, we find the Quran describes Noah, as first of Muslims even described Abraham in chapter six, for example, in one in verse 163, as the first among Muslims, Moses, in chapter seven, verse 143, as the first among Muslims also, their followers, they described as Muslims as in chapter 11, verse 85, by the way, when we say when it says the first among Muslims, does not necessarily mean the first among all Muslims at all times.
But the first invest time that is when they address their people, they say I am the first one, to submit to God, I am the first to submit to God that is, in my particular time. So all of them are described as Muslims. And as such what is so strange about calling Noah Muslim in that generic meaning as the Quran Missa tee This is just an example like I said, this unjustifiable criticism, which of course for the person who is not aware, he might say, well, there’s some contradiction there in the Quran. How come Noah is a Muslim when Noah was a Muslim, so was Abraham, Moses, Jesus. And finally, the last prophet Muhammad and those who follow them sincerely could be regarded also as
Muslim those who submitted to God. Now, I’m sure that many of our viewers would appreciate if you would talk about the term Islam itself, just clarifying that particular point.
Well, one of the perhaps helpful point is that some of the
audio tests and trying to explain how the term Islam came to be used, they again missed the boat, and just like the previous example, and one of them in fact
radwell, for example, made a very wild assumption and he said that in the beginning, Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him began to imitate the religion of Abraham, which was called Hanif, as you see in this illustration in box seven.
And he used the term Hanif and he claims that the Prophet thought that this religion is authentic based on the book available books available to him. And then, without giving any evidence, he continues to say that later on, Prophet Muhammad discovered that this books about this haniff religion were forgery. So he dropped the tight cannons, and adopted the term Islam.
This is a massive confusion, which was not only limited to a loved one, but we find repeated by other audiences like
Vanessa’s n e n e, z s and Montgomery watts and get for that matter. The same kind of confusion arise about the term Hanif. But aside from the basic errors in language, even when they say Hanif was the name of the religion that’s wrong, because Hanif is simply is an adjective that applies to a person, but not the name of religion as such, but anyway, this is a forgivable error. But the more important error is really historical.
First, when radwell says that,
Prophet Muhammad used books of this religion, the religion of Abraham, we find that first of all, there is absolutely no historical evidence that you gave or that anyone is aware of
any of this books that ever existed with this kind of religion called religion or Hanif ism.
Secondly, it is a sheer speculation on his part, because we all knew that Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, didn’t know even how to read or write, how come he was sitting there to read this books and then discover they were forgery.
In addition to this errors, the fact of the matter is that the there was nothing or no independent religion called Hanif ism, as he calls it, at the time when Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him came. But some historians mentioned that a few individuals, perhaps counted on the fingers of one hand
did not participate in the idol worship in which the crochet or the pagan Arabs indulged and simply prefer to contemplate and think and not really, you know, participate in these activities. But there is no evidence whatsoever that this was a form of religion with priests or books. There is no record historically, even of any beliefs and that we discussed earlier also in dealing with the topic of monotheism, there’s no such kind of thing there were just a few people who didn’t participate, but they didn’t have a religion really as such.
But I think the confusion in the mind of the orientalist comes back to the original term honey, and honey pheasant. And in fact, if we go back to the box seven again in the same chart, will notice that the term Hanif ism is not really a substitute of the term Islam
Have you forgotten, as the arrow shows means devotion. You see a honey person or honey feta means to be devoted to God to be upright, and upholding the belief in the one God.
And if you compare that with the meaning of the term Islam is submission, again to reject false hood to reject false gods and to believe in the one true God. In the Quran, we find lots of evidence. Here, there’s only one example in chapter three, verse 67. But there are many other differences in numerous chapters in the Quran,
which shows that both terms have been used, they’re not really mutually exclusive.
For example, and that reference given undischarged 367, we find that Prophet Abraham was described as hanifin Muslim and upright Muslim, both terms are used, there are not really a substitute, none of them really preceded the other. And I counted about 29. So in my chapters in the Quran, where there are 12 times where the term Hanif and its derivative is used, some of these chapters were revealed in Makkah. Earlier revelation, some would have had the Medina so so our time, consistently, so the missing mission of the of the Prophet, both of these terms were used interchangeably, because they mean
essentially the same thing, or at least supplementary complimentary meetings. And this question of manifesto is only an example of errors, some of which are even more serious than that. Okay, well, it, it I would agree that it is serious. Can you What can be more serious than this? And can you can you give some examples of? Well, as we mentioned in the last programs, the last program, but perhaps without too much elaboration that some of those errors in translations
result indeed, in giving a totally distorted picture of Islam and sometimes go against its basic tenets even.
Let’s take a few examples to clarify the points documented properly, please. Certain, for example, we mentioned that name in the previous program also claims that there is a hint in the Quran of some sort of intermediary between God and mankind
in order to support his claim,
he says that there are six verses in the Quran, which seemed to give the hint of this intermediary. And of course, that sounds like a big surprise to many Muslims, because we have discussed again in a previous program, and Muslim believes
that there is absolutely no intermediary between men and God in Islam. And we describe again how Islam is a little different from previous religions in that particular matter. But the evidence he gives, he gives us the term ambush which appears in this verses in the Quran. And again, if we check the chart, that’s an inbox it
we find that the term in English actually mean command, ie the command of God. What confused that written here is that he made the comparison between the term Amish or command and claim that this is equivalent to the Hebrew term, memorize and memorize as Dr. Elisa explains, is a term which denotes a personified agency bridging the gap between the transcendent God and the world of change and growth.
And collection of this, Dr. Khalifa raises three interesting points. He says, first of all, the first error made by Chetan is that there is not only six verses in the Quran, that mentioned the term Amish, it is actually mentioned 156 which means that Britain was off by 150. That’s a lot. That means he was off by 20 600%.
And I get that that’s reflect the kind of, you know, credibility that one should give to writings about Islam by outsiders,
you know, off by 2,600% what that’s not a small margin of error. Okay. The second error is that the term ambush
in Arabic as indicated on that chart again, it means command command, whereas the term memory means intermediary and there is absolutely no connection between
the meanings of the two terms. And actually if you review the words in which are the verses in the Quran, which the term ambush or Command appeared, you will find that it has absolutely nothing to do with this intermediary. In fact, it rejects any type of intermediary. Another errors was raised earlier by Ricardo in the Middle Ages. But again, unfortunately, it has also been copied by by many orientalist in better times. We made a quick reference to that years ago in the topic on monotheism. But just to refresh the memory of our viewers, we indicated that it is true that in the Quran, sometimes God or Allah is referred to in the, in the word we, that God speaks, as we like we created
the mistaken interpretation made by Ricardo and those who followed him until today, because I hear many friends today still raising the same question which shows the influence of this erroneous interpretations that they say they say, all right, if the Quran itself says, The elder speaks about God as we, which means plurality of persons in godhood, and say, What What difference is that from, or how difference that from Trinity
The fact of the matter is that it has absolutely nothing to do with serenity, nothing to do with the the notion of God incarnate nothing to do with the idea of existence of three persons in godhood. But we all know that in every language, there is the so called majestic language, even mortals, human beings who are kings, when they issue decrees, they don’t say I’m the king of swords, so they say we can
issue or decree the following. Well, and as I sometimes put it humorous, they say, Well, if mortals have the right to use this majestic language, can cause us It has nothing to do with the singularity of God is single, but this is simply a logistical
language. In addition, of course, to the fact that
like indicated earlier the Quran is filled with evidence, affirming the absolute oneness of Allah or what you might call the pure, immaculate
monotheism. If we leave even the Middle Ages and come in a little closer, you find an orientalist like radwell, for example,
claims that in the beginning, you might be shocked when you hear that Prophet Muhammad was worshipped. In the beginning of Islam, Prophet Muhammad was worshipped alongside with God. And he claims that actually Prophet Muhammad, attributed to himself the same divine attributes that were given to Allah or God.
To say that, again, is something that has absolutely no shred of evidence in the Quran, and any historical, you know, study or even logical analysis of the contents of the Quran. In addition to the emphasis in the Quran that nobody shares the divine attributes with Allah, in addition to the frequent statements that all prophets, including Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed are none, nothing but sincere and devoted servants of God and His messengers, and his messengers to mankind. The fact that the name of Prophet Muhammad appears with the name of God has nothing to do with this. When a Muslim for example, says, I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is His
Messenger. It doesn’t mean that there is divine attributes given to Prophet Muhammad. It simply say there are two separate things you believe in the oneness of God. And you believe that Muhammad is the servant, human being the Messenger of God doesn’t mean divine at all. Okay? In the Quran, for example, when it speaks about obedience, it says, obey Allah and obey His Messenger. Again, that doesn’t mean that this is a divine attributes given to her Prophet Mohammed it means simply obey Allah. Okay? That is the revelation communicated to the Word of God in the Quran, and obey His Messenger also, because the messenger is conveying that are unto you. And he receives also an
inspiration from God. So when he tells you something, pertaining to the practice of the religion, then you should follow it because he is the authorized person to receive that revelation and communicate it to you but has nothing to do whatsoever with the with this notion of associating others with Allah and His divine attribute. This is these are all very, very serious type of, of mistakes.
Now, from a timeframe point of view, we’re talking about the Middle Ages, and to a certain degree, I guess,
We can understand these errors being made at that time. But one finds it quite difficult to understand why these errors would continue later on. Now, as far as you know, has there been any change that say in the writings of the orientalist in in the near recent world, it would be fair to say that there are some cases of more enlightenment and some change in attitudes and attempt to not just leave Islam always from the standpoint of critics or people who misunderstood it because of whatever backgrounds or purpose they have from the study of Islam or writing about it.
But it will appear to me that the meaning of these serious errors still persist until today. It’s nothing restricted to the Middle Ages. In fact, many of the conditions made before work from orientalist who are, perhaps you’re talking about 19th or 20th century.
I’ll give you a few examples even of writings as late as the 60s and 70s. That’s,
that’s quite recent, yes, 1960s and 70s, which shows again, that even in this so called the Age of Enlightenment, and objectivity of research and honesty, and trying to find out and all that, since many of those errors possessed, threatened, for example, and his book was published in 62.
claims that there is some contradiction in the Quran, how? Well he says that.
On one hand, the Quran says that the false gods are nothing. false gods are nothing. But in the meantime, he says that, in the Quran, also there is a verse that says that those false gods will be summoned in the Day of Judgment, to give witness again as those who worship them beside or instead of Allah. And he says that this is obviously a source of of inconsistency. Again, to use the help of the chart here in box nine. If you review the Quran, you will find that there is absolutely no single verse that says that those false gods are nothing. There are verses however, that says that those
false gods are helpless, they cannot create anything. Not that they are themselves nothing, but they create nothing, but those are not equivalent. Examples are given in the Quran. For example, in chapter 25, in verse three, Chapter 21, verse 98. So why do you say that the Quran says nothing, even though the Quran didn’t actually say that all it says that you are worshipping helpless creatures of God, whether you’re worshiping idols, or whether you’re worshipping trees or forces of nature, or even human beings for that matter, that these are helpless creatures of Allah handy would be the first one or the first ones to disassociate themselves from those who worship them in the Day
of Judgment. Another example, which is again,
repeated by more than one orientalist for example, as early as the 1920s. Gardner made a mistake, but 40 years later, 40 years or 42 years actually to be accurate to 1962.
We find an orientalist like levy.
So that there is another contradiction in the Quran.
Besides some verses in the Quran, saying that you should pray that is during the five daily prayers towards the direction of Jerusalem.
In another, it says you should pray towards Mecca.
And a third one, it says it is not important when you pray and all three are listed here. Now, first of all, to collect both Garton ash and Levy, there is no single verse in the Quran that says pray towards Jerusalem.
But in the traditions in the, you know, the sayings and approval of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him.
It is indicated that he asked the Muslims in early days to pray towards Jerusalem to have the direction of prayer, not to say that the cover is less important. In fact, the Kaaba was the first house to be built on the whole earth for the worship of the One God by Prophet Abraham, with the help of his son Ishmael, and that was long before the temple was built in Jerusalem. But what happened is that why the cargo was supposed to be the symbol of monotheism. The
the pagan Arabs, in better times, perverted the use of the Kaaba and they had it
To the stairs to the inside the cabin. So while the cabin itself was wholly the surrounding and the atmosphere was not suitable for Muslims to pray towards the Kaaba, because they might, it might have the connotation of praying to the items inside the, the karma. Okay? So in the early days of Islam, people were praying towards Jerusalem but there’s no text in Nevada. But later on, they were commanded in the Quran, to pray towards the original place of worship, and that is the Kaaba. And as we all know, the first thing that Prophet Mohammed did when he entered Mecca, victoriously it was to destroy those idols and to remove it from the Kaaba and to restore it back as the symbol of
monotheism. Now, coming to the third verse, or the third
point that Neville referred to, that is, he says that another verse in the Quran, it says, it doesn’t matter where you direct your face, you can pray anywhere. Again, that’s a gross misunderstanding. Apparently, he misunderstood, verse 177, in chapter two in the Quran,
which simply says, it is not righteousness, that you turn your faces towards the east or west, but righteous is and then talks about righteousness and a sense of belief, good behavior, and so on. But this verse does not say, it doesn’t matter when you pray, or you can pray to any direction. It simply means that righteousness is not simply formalism. It is not just directing your face here or there. But righteousness is more than the formalistic aspect of the religion. It is also piety, love, and other elements, as any person can drive when you read this verse, but it doesn’t say it is not important. So there’s absolutely no problem at all, with both of these texts in the Quran. A
third example, which you have here, also on the chart is the maid also was made by living. And again, we’re talking about the 60s 62
in which he claims again, that there is a contradiction in the Quran, because the human is referred to on one hand as being created from clay, and then from clots, and then created from water. He says, you know, that’s sort of inconsistency. Now, by way of making cross reference to what we discussed in the scientific aspect of the Quran, in the
authority of the Quran series, there’s absolutely no problem with this clay means the original creation of the human that he had, for example, was created from clay. To say the human is created from cloth which is a poor translation, actually, it says, In the Arabic Quran, and Allah means something that clings, it refers actually to the process of fertilization of the organ and how it claims to the role of the uterus. And again, to say that the human is created of water. We all know scientifically that the body is composed with about 90% or so water, or that oil creature started from water, whichever interpretation and again, there is absolutely no problem to 75% or 75%. Water
still a major part of the components of the body. Similarly, Robinson, for example, claims that in the Quran, there is in the early revelation, expressions against wealth. In fact, the Quran does not really speak against once or rich, but again, it’s those rich who forget their duties and responsibilities. We run out of time. Thank you very much Dr. dibaba Tao, and I want to thank all of you for joining us yet. inshallah. We’ll see you here next week. From all of us, you and Islamic focus Assalamu alaikum