'It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the Allah-fearing.' (Surah Al-Baqara 2:177, Pickthal's translation)
لَيْسَ الْبِرَّ أَنْ تُوَلُّوا وُجُوهَكُمْ قِبَلَ الْمَشْرِقِ وَالْمَغْرِبِ وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنْ آمَنَ بِاللَّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ وَالْمَلَائِكَةِ وَالْكِتَابِ وَالنَّبِيِّينَ وَآتَى الْمَالَ عَلَىٰ حُبِّهِ ذَوِي الْقُرْبَىٰ وَالْيَتَامَىٰ وَالْمَسَاكِينَ وَابْنَ السَّبِيلِ وَالسَّائِلِينَ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَأَقَامَ الصَّلَاةَ وَآتَى الزَّكَاةَ وَالْمُوفُونَ بِعَهْدِهِمْ إِذَا عَاهَدُوا ۖ وَالصَّابِرِينَ فِي الْبَأْسَاءِ وَالضَّرَّاءِ وَحِينَ الْبَأْسِ ۗ أُولَٰئِكَ الَّذِينَ صَدَقُوا ۖ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ
- “and do good,” by Shakir;
- “and do good works,” by Pickthal;
- “and do righteous deeds” by Yousuf Ali;
- “and do righteous deeds,” by Arberry;
- all English translations I have encountered except yours are similar.
- اور نیک کم کیے (aur naik kaam kiaey – and did good deeds – in all Urdu translations with minor variations)
- “and ones who have acted in accord with morality” by Laleh Bakhtiar, The Sublime Quran
- the policy of holding Semantic Equivalence as an invariant does not permit any translation artifacts to get in the way of a correct translation; there is now no “religion” about the process, and each translation situation is dealt with in accordance to its own requirement and is not needlessly hampered by constraints coming from other previous translation situations;
- and the resulting translation is as close in semantics to the original as was practicably possible given all the target language weakness and target audience reframing constraints.
- primarily for Semantic Equivalence with the source being translated,
- and not primarily for “internal consistency” of words in the target translation,
- or “formal equivalence” of words with the source being translated.
- The user of a translation of the Holy Qur'an does not care what process a translator adopted for the translation. A sensible Muslim user of a translation of the Holy Qur'an already understands that the Holy Qur'an is a most unusual Divine Book unlike any other book on the New York Times Best Seller list. And therefore, that its translation must entail specialized processes and esoteric knowledges of many Arabic disciplines, most obvious being masterful scholarship of the entire Holy Qur'an itself. A sensible reader quite understands that just the mastery of Arabic grammar and Arabic linguistics while a prerequisite for the translation of the Holy Qur'an, is grossly insufficient, when it would be quite adequate for translating any other book. A sensible reader of a translation of the Holy Qur'an understands that when the translation is not commissioned by an authority or paymaster, that for individual scholars of the Holy Qur'an undertaking it, it must be a painstaking and all consuming task, a labor of love rather than pecuniary gain. While appreciating all this implicitly, a user of a translation of the Holy Qur'an still does not particularly care or concern himself with what process is adopted for the translation because he does not have the knowledge or the skill to judge its merit anyway. A user of the translation of the Holy Qur'an just implicitly assumes that the translator of the Holy Qur'an, it being such a complex book, must know what he or she is doing. And that is perhaps the only shortcoming that the innocent user may be faulted for – being naïve in making that gratuitous assumption.
- The user of a translation of the Holy Qur'an only cares for the end result which he is holding in the palm of his hand opened to a Surah, that it be semantically equivalent to the source language, that it be as accurate in conveying the original meaning as is humanly possible in the translated language in letter, spirit, and the full context of the Holy Qur'an.
- Any self-proclaimed purity of any translation process which loosens Semantic Equivalence, has a problem with it which must be fixed.
- Any re-framing of the source semantics for the understandability of the target audience which loosens Semantic Equivalence has a problem with it which must be fixed.
- And therefore, the translation process and the re-framing must be continually evaluated and re-tuned for exception handling wherever necessary, in order to continuously satisfy the primary big-picture expectation of the user of the translation of the Holy Qur'an: Semantic Equivalence.
- “and do good works,” if translating into English
- اور نیک کم کیے if translating into Urdu
- First, the translator does not have domain expertise in the subject matter he is translating and therefore does not recognize a complex expression.
- Second, the complex expression's semantics is alien to the sociological context of the target audience and reframing cannot adequately express it, thus necessitating interpretation for that specific sociological context.
- Third, the meaning of the complex expression itself is unknown in the source language.
- You did not teach in your translation of the Holy Qur'an that the name of its Author is pronounced Allah.
- You separated your Western Muslim audience not just from the Eastern Muslims who ubiquitously utter Allah at every street corner and a thousand times each day, but also from the beauty of uttering the name Allah as they read your translation
- Imagine that your translation of the Holy Qur'an, or one like it with even more artifacts of “bring reform to Islam”, by the fiat of power became the equivalent of the King James Version of the Bible in the West. (see KJV in part 2) Even before one single generation has passed on, those weaned on such a sanctioned translation of the Holy Quran will not know the word Allah. Perhaps they may also not know many things in the “reformed Islam”.
- Required the reader picking up the Holy Qur'an for the first time to minimally get acquainted with how God is pronounced in Islam. It is pronounced as Allah.
- Provided a simple introduction page where it was explained that the name of God in Islam is Allah, that it is the same one God that all human beings think of when they think of a monotheist creator irrespective of their religion.
- Just as you employed the Preface to explain the virtues of your translation system, you could have devoted a page, right before the very first Surah to explain this so that no one would miss it.