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Hilali-Khan translation does not promote hostility towards non-Muslims

Preacher Dr Fathul Bari Mat Jahaya says it is wrong to conclude that the Hilali-Khan translation promotes hatred towards non-Muslims. – The Malaysian Insider file pic, December 12, 2014.

Hilali-Khan translation does not promote hostility towards non-Muslims, says scholar

A well-known local Muslim scholar has defended the Hilali-Khan translation of the Quran, claiming it does not promote hostility towards other religions.

Independent preacher Dr Fathul Bari Mat Jahaya claimed that interpretations of Quranic verses in the Hilali-Khan translation are not meant to sanction the oppression of non-Muslims by Muslims.

This is since the translation preserves Quranic verses that tells Muslims to make peace with other religions and to forbid them from denigrating the beliefs of others, he said.

Fathul Bari also said references towards Jews and Christians in the translation were meant to distinguish between the beliefs of Muslims and the other two communities.

“Muslims are supposed to believe that theirs is the one true faith and that the others are not.

“But this does not give Muslims the right to oppress other faiths,” said Fathul Bari who holds a Masters degree and doctorate in studies of the Quran and Hadith (sayings of the Prophet).

He also said that interpretations in the Hilali-Khan are written based on the teachings of scholars such as Al Tabari, Al Qurtubi and ibn Kathir, who are classical authorities in the Muslim intellectual tradition.

“It is wrong to say that the Hilali-Khan translation promotes hatred towards non-Muslims. That is the wrong interpretation,” said Fathul Bari, who is also an Umno Youth exco.

He was responding to a claim by Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa of the Islamic Renaissance Front that the Hilali-Khan translation nurtured feelings of hostility towards other religions among Muslims.

The Hilali-Khan translation is the joint work of two scholars, Dr Muhammad Taqi-ud Din Al-Hilali and Dr Muhammad Muhsin Khan, who inserted interpretations of the holy text according to world views that existed about 600 years ago.

To explain his point, Farouk had used an example of the Hilali-Khan interpretation of the last verse of the chapter called the Al-Fatihah, the most well-known and considered the key chapter to the Quran.

The last verse of the Al-Fatihah, a translation by Sahih International reads: “Guide us to the straight path, The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour, not of those who have evoked (Your) anger or of those who are astray.”

But the Hilali-Khan translation inserts these words: “Guide us to the straight path, The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour, not of those who have evoked (Your) anger (the Jews) or of those who are astray (the Christians).”

“This basically gives the impression that the Quran denounces Jews and Christians. Obviously, this is a great untruth,” Farouk had said when presenting his views at a December 8 forum.

Fathul Bari disagreed with this reading of the Hilali-Khan interpretation.

This verse and its interpretations, he said, was meant to state that the Muslim faith was the true faith compared to the beliefs of Jews and Christians.

“It is not meant to create tension between Muslims and non-Muslims. It is the same with the Jews and Christians. They do not agree with the beliefs of Muslims.

“Christians for instance do not agree with the Muslim view of Jesus or the Prophet Isa. They say the Islamic interpretation is wrong. So why didn’t Farouk bring this up?”

Christians and Jews similarly believe that theirs was the one true faith compared to Islam and that was their right, said Fathul Bari.

“The holy books of other religions also say Islam is wrong. But we do not attack them for this because that is the right of their religion,” said Fathul Bari.

Farouk had said the Hilali-Khan translation was now one of the most widely available, in mosques, schools and English translations were given to haj pilgrims in Mecca.

A key feature of the Hilali-Khan translation is that it inserts many parentheses in the middle of the verses. These parentheses contain the author’s interpretations of what a particular word or phrase might mean.

“Instead of clarifying the text or explaining a word that cannot be easily explained in English, these comments make the text difficult to follow and often distort, rather than amplify the meaning,” said Farouk, who is also founder and director of the IRF.

Fathul Bari said Hilali-Khan uses an interpretation-based methodology when translating the Quran as opposed to a literal word-by-word translation.

“Word by word translations are not recommended by translation experts because it is difficult to get an accurate meaning for each word.

“Which is why the majority of scholars use interpretations in their translations of the Quran,” Fathul Bari said. – December 12, 2014. - Malaysian Insider

Tohmahan jahat Dr Ahmad Farouk Musa boleh rujuk di sini.

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