By Aiman Reyaz, New Age Islam
18 Nov 2012
“It was very important to read the Holy Qur’an with understanding but now it has become compulsory for at least Muslims to read the Quran with understanding because we see that because of the deliberate mistranslation of the Quran, radicalism, orthodoxy and terrorism are on the rise. We need a huge chunk of Muslims, if not all, to know the meaning of the Quran quite well so that they can counter the wrong ideology of the fanatics and save our children from turning them into ogres.”
The Quran was revealed to Muhammad (pbuh) over a span of 23 years. It was not like that at one go the entire Quran was sent down by God; according to the needs and time did God sent His revelation. Most of the verses of the Quran are of eternal value to us, but there are some verses which were meant for the people of that time when the revelation took place, i.e., most verses are for eternity but some are time-specific.
According to me, the major cause in the rise of Islamic fanaticism is the deliberate mistranslation of the Quran. Some orthodox and religious groups try to make the few time-specific verses into verses of eternal value and this creates all the problems.
This deliberate mistranslation is not new. During the British rule, fanned by ‘divide and rule’ policy Muslim communalists (and even Hindu communalists) used deliberate mistranslation of the Holy Scriptures. Muslims were asked to choose between Khuda and Krishna, between the Quran and the Gita; it was said, “a vote to the Muslim League is a vote to Islam”. Communal politics was played to gain the upper hand. It was done only for selfish reasons. Economically Muslims were weak not because of some ‘conspiracy theory’ but because of historical factors and their lack of education. The only card left for them was to play communal politics and preach fear psychology i.e., if our mai baap (the Britishers) leave India then we will be ruled by the Hindus.
Today this deliberate mistranslation is used mostly for spreading, encouraging and legitimising terrorism in the name of Allah and Muhammad (pbuh). According to Abu Ruqaiyah, an Islamic philosopher:
“..Evidences from the Qur’an and the Sunnah . . . [have] clearly demonstrated that the ‘Islamic bombing assault’ or the ‘martyrdom attack’ is Islamically legitimate as far as it is within the framework of Islam”.
According to him and several other theologians/philosophers, the Quran legitimises and promotes suicide terrorism if it is done:
1. Seeking Martyrdom
2. Hurting the enemy
3. Encouraging the Muslims
4. Weakening the spirit of the enemy
They often quote this verse for justifying their philosophy:
“And don’t think that those who are killed in the battle for God, are dead. Sure they are alive and looked after by God.”
Sheikh Yassin had reportedly justified suicide terrorism by citing Sura 2, verses 190-91 of the Qur’an, which state: “Fight in the way of Allah against those who fight against you. . . . And slay them wherever ye find them and drive them out of the place when they drove you out, for persecution is worse than slaughter.”
A fatwa given by Abdul Wahhab says that a Muslim can never be a good Muslims unless he hates non-Muslims. He goes on to cite, out of context a verse from the Quran which reads
“Let not the Believers take for friends or helpers Unbelievers rather than Believers: if any do that, shall have no relation left with Allah except by way of precaution, that ye may guard yourselves from them. But Allah cautions you to fear Himself; for the final goal is to Allah” (Ch3. V 28)
In ch 2 v 114 God says:
“And who is more unjust than he who forbids that in places for the worship of Allah. His name should be celebrated? –whose zeal is in fact to ruin them? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear. For them there is nothing but disgrace in this world, and in the world to come, an exceeding torment.”
But some have mistranslated this verse into “Allah will make disbelievers’ (Jews, Christians, and now even Hindus) lives miserable in this world and torture for them forever after they die”
Nowhere does God here refer to Jews, Christians or Hindus. In fact, in other place God says:
“And had it not been that Allah checks one set of people with another, the monasteries and churches, the synagogues and the mosques, in which His praise is abundantly celebrated would have been utterly destroyed.” (Ch 22 V-40)
Fanatics will quote time-specific verses of wars but they will never quote peace related verses which are of eternal value like
“Do not fight wars of aggression” 2:190
“There is no compulsion in religion” 2:256
“Kill not one another” 4:29
“it is good to help the poor and make peace” 4:114
“Do not commit excesses in religion” or “do not be fanatical in religion” 4:171
“And if they incline to peace, incline thou also to it” 8:61
Good and evil are not the same. Repel evil with goodness. That way your enemies will become your friends. 41:34
Live peacefully with disbelievers. 43:88-89
Let each person believe (or disbelieve) whatever he or she wishes. 109: 6
And there are also some who misquote the Quran to satisfy their physical needs. The Quran gave permission to marry women up to 4 but some have ‘committed excesses in the religion’. They cite
“Marry women of your choice in twos, threes or fours”
They calculate the number into 2+2+3+3+4+4 that is 18. Some also legitimise this verse by saying that Muhammad (pbuh) himself married more than 4 women.
They will not quote ch 33 verse 50, which allows only Muhammad (pbuh) to marry more than 4, it is not for the Believers at large.
We need more people like Muhammad Yunus, Sultan Shahin to challenge people like Zakir Naik and Ayman AL Zahawari and others who quote the Quran out of context for: a) their selfish needs, b) promoting terrorism and c) fulfil their physical needs.