Translations & Tafseers

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Different Translation of the meanings of the Quran  

Assalaam AlaikumMaududi (rehmatullah aleh) could and did not (to my knowledge) make any changes to the Quran. On reading his translation and tafsir, you come across a little arrogance, or use of words for the prophets [peace be upon them] not befitting them, or taking in tafsir an explanation that is somewhat belittling of the prophets. If one is aware of this, and avoids that attitude oneself, there is much of benefit in that tafsir.Some scholars have fallen in this trap because the prophets are human, after all. Secondly some leaders of such movements find themselves doing what they think the prophets had done. Although they stay clear of claims of prophethood, their scholarship and piety makes their followers praise them too highly. Then they themselves sometimes  come very close to seeing the prophets in a lesser light than is the due of the prophets. Other great scholars sometimes fall in opposite traps. We mus remember that these scholars are human too, although very much ahead of us in their closeness to Allah (swt).

May Allah (swt) forgive me and the scholars and all Muslimeen and Muslimaat Smiley.

The time of Syed Maududi coincided with a tremendous feeling in the Ummah of getting rid of colonialists. Hence his emphasis on the political side. At the same time, there is emphasis also on implementing the Shariah. His period corresponds with that of Syed Qutb, and follows similar line of thought. Shia thought had independently come to the same view – in the writings of Khomeini.

I have problems with Ma`arif as well, but in all these tafaseer, while seeing the problems so as to avoid pitfalls, let us also see the benefits, and try to avoid the excesses that occur occassionally in these tafaseer.

I would suggest read as many translations and tafaseer as possible, amd see what other ulema have to criticise. This is not to belittle the efforts of the works of the scholars. There are good points in all these translations (including the Barelvi ones Smiley), and problems too with all of them.

After all, in the end it is only Allah’s Rehmah that will see everyone through, even the greatest of scholars and shuyukh.

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Different Translation of the meanings of the Quran  

Assalaam AlaikumI have often toyed with the idea of writing my ideas on the Islamic movements that I have observed or read about – I say observed, because I have not joined any movement, yet as a Muslim I consider myself as a part of the movement (of Islam) which has continued the struggle throughout the history of mankind to be in the good books of Allah (swt) and to combat Shaytan.I see most of the Islamic movements as genuine. The individuals leading them have had their own understanding of what is wrong, and how to go about correcting deviations. We may disagree with their emphasis now, but this is what they genuinely believed at the time of their analyses.The rise of the East India Company in India was resisted at first militarily, and we can see defeat of the Muslims at Hoogly, Sringapatam and Delhi, to name a few. Why did the Muslims fail to hold on to power, and how to free them, were the difficult questions our past leaders have faced. These Qs are difficult, because knowledge of the enemy in those days was scarce. Knowledge and true learning, had indeed been lacking for a long time in the Muslim world. We are fortunate; there are numerous takes and  analysis of history and culture and scientific endeavours to guide us now. Our leaders in those times did not have such facilities. All the more wonderful that they were able to found and nurture far-reaching movements.

Let us start with Shah Waliullah Muhaddith Dehlvi. Born in a typical Hanafi Sufi pir family, he gradually moved towards a non-madhab view, or at least its acceptance. His sons was the pioneers in Indian translations of the meanings of the Quran in Persian and Urdu. These works are still the standards on which latter scholars have based their translations. Shah Waliullah’s contribution is in his calls and writings to wake the Muslims up to the evil and wasteful ways of ALL their classes – the Royal family, the chiefs (umera), the shopkeepers, the artisans, the labour  ALL of them. He saw the rise of the Marhattas at the expense of Muslims, and invited Ahmed Shah Abdali, who decicively defeated the Marhattas at Panipat.

His sons and grandson had to deal with the rising power of the Sikhs and the British. His son Shah Abdul Aziz refused to condemn the Shia as non-Muslim. His Jumma Khutbas are remarkable for their eloquence, and the great poet Zauq Dehlvi (who was Poet Laureatte at the court of the last Mughal Emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar), said that he learnt his Urdu from these khutbas. His nephew, Shah Ismail Shaheed, used to give khutabs in his own right, and his book “Taqwiatul Eemaan”, is almost like the book “Kitabut-Tawheed” by Sheikh Muhammd bin Abdul Wahhab. The times of the two Sheikhs are also concurrent. Shah Ismail went out to deliver khutbas in the most unorthodox places. His brother-in-law has reported that one night he followed Shah Ismail who was dressed as a faqir. He went to the redlight area of Delhi asking aloud that he be heard. The Naika (madamme) asked her servant to give some money to the faqir, who refused saying that he only wanted to be heard. People in the redlight areas are very supersticious, so the Naika agreed to have him brought into the house. There Shah Ismail gave a khutba telling how this life was shortlived, and the everlasting life, and what the Quan says about it. It is said that many from the neighbourhood joined to listen to his khutba, cried and made tauba, giving up their sinful life, many of them settling into marriage afterwards. Shah Ismail joined Shah Aziz’s disciple Syed Ahmed Shaheed Barelvi (no relation to Raza Khan Barelvi) and they set up an Islamic Emirate in and around Peshawar. However, this Emirate was betrayed by some Sardars of Peshawar, and the two leaders of this movement were martyred at Balakot in a battle with the Sikhs.

When the British won Delhi in 1857, they killed many Muslims, particularly the Ulema. The movement mentioned above established subsequent Emirates, but now the British had taken over, and they extinguished these, too. The leaders of Emirates or the movement were exiled to the Andaman Islands called kala paani in those days, because once there, it would be ages before anyone heard from the exiles, and chances of survival in those islands were slim indeed. The British abolished Persian as the language of the courts, so the ulema and the Muslim intellengtsia suddenly became unlettered in the eyes of the Raaj.

Syed Ahmed Khan, better known as Sir Syed, had saved some British women and children from being killed by the Sepoys, and hence enjoyed some protection and say in the British administration. He was of the view that the Muslims had degenerated, and must learn modern sciences and philosophy etc. to gain back their place in the world. Unfortunately, the translation he wrote denied miracles and any supernatural occurrence. He founded the Aligarh College, later University. The Pervaizi or Ahle Quran movement clims to follow him, and Sir Syed is deriled by other movements for his translation,  although his contribution to the awakening of Indian Muslims is great indeed.

Other Muslim leaders had different ideas. The followers of Shah Ahmed Shaheed and Shah Ismail Shaheed founded the Deoband Madrassah, and the Ahle Hadith movements, both of which can thus be traced to the Wali Ilahi movement. The Deobandi movement turned its back on the British, and among the Deobandis two trends are distinct – a peaceful Dawah effort (symbolised by the Tableeghi Jamaat and traces its roots from Ashraf Ali Thanwi), and the militant response to foreign occupation and rule by the Taleban (can be traced from Mahmudul Hasan). Both these latter persons are disciples of Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Makki. The modern Ahle Hadith Movement in India can be traced to another Wali Ilahi product, Syed Nazrul Islam Dehlvi.

Syed Maududi looked at the failure of the Islamic Emirate to protect itself, the rejection of Sir Syed’s interpetation by other Muslim leaders and the Muslim population, and the status of Muslims in his times, and came up with some ideas of his own. He launched his movement, started his translation and tafseer, and I think his movement (Jamaate Islami) has had an awakening effect on the Muslims, not just of India-Pak subcontinent, but the world. The Students’ Islamic Societies in UK and Ireland were started and sustained by mainly adherents of Jamaate Islami. I think the North American Societies are also indebted to the Jamaate Islami to a great extent. Both the tafseer – “fi Zilalel Quran ” by Syed Qutb and “Tafheemul Quran ” by Syed Maududi have contributed to the awakened interest and turning to islam of youth.

The Preface or Introduction to Syed Maududi’s tafseer is a wonderful read. It is carried on may sites. Maybe I will try to find and post its link alter.

There are other tafaseer, “Tadabburl Quran” by Amin Ahsan Islahi, “Tayyassurul Quran” by Shykh Abdur Rehman Keilani. Darusslaam Publications has an authentic tafseer “Ahsanul Bayan” by Hafiz Salahuddin Yusuf with translation by Muhammad Junagarhi.

Mufti Muhammad Shafi is a disciple of Maulana Thanwai, and his translation and tafseer “Ma`ariful Quran” will reflect that Sufi, no physical resistance dawah viewpoint, and bias towards the Hanafi fiqh.

There have been other movements e.g. the Khaksaars of Syed Ataullah Shah Bukhari.

If one reads the translations and tafaseer from these various sources, the differences will be found to be due to different approaches and personal preferences of the respective translators and interpretators.

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Different Translation of the meanings of the Quran Reply with quote 

Assalaam AlaikumI forgot to mention two Barelvi tafaseer: Tafseere Naeemi and Diaul Quran.The translation in the former is from Ahmed Raza Khan Barelvi.All translations by Barelvi, Deobandi, Ahle Hadith and Jamaate Islami lead to the same core concepts, so translations are not a problem. It is the tafaseer where the interpretator’s own understanding and bias leads to differences. Personally I don’t find these differences disturbing, as I am able to filter out the excesses, except that there bcan be no excess where shirk’s denial is concerned. p.s.: Many of the above are in Urdu, so no use to non-Urdu-ites. The Saheeh Translation is the best in that case.

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9 Responses to “Translations & Tafseers”

  1. Muhammad Kamran Says:

    Please give me the tafseer of Holy Quran.
    I want to study it deeply.

    Thank you.

  2. a sane voice in a mad world Says:

    assalamu alaykum, Kamran

    Hope all is well. There are some excellent Tafaseer available in Urdu, and less so in English. I think the best one in Urdu so far is “Tayassarl Quran” by Abdur Rehman Keiliani. You should be able to get or order it in a local bookshop. Where do you live?

  3. Muhammad Ashar Azhar Says:

    Assalamu Alaikum,

    Alhamdulillah Lots of Tafseer available in urdu. You can easily get them from various Maktaba of Karachi. Names of Tafseers are as follows:

    Tafseer e Zia ul Quran By Peer Karam Shah Al Azhari
    Tafseer e Mazharul Quran By Mufi Azam Mazharullah Dehalwi
    Tafseer ul Hasanat
    Tafseer e Naeemi
    Tafseer e Ibne Abbas Translated By Ziaul Quran
    Tafseer e Ibne Kaseer Translated By Ziaul Quran Musannifeen
    Tafseer e Mazhari Translated By Ziaul Quran
    Tafseer e Durre Mansoor Translated By Ziaul Quran
    Tafseer e Jalalain Translated By Ziaul Quran Musannifeen
    Tafseer e Rohul Bayan Translated By Allama Faiz Ahmed Owaisi
    Tafseere Noorul Irfan

    Lots of other are soon to come.

  4. Tafseer e Zia ul Quran By Peer Karam Shah Al Azhari Says:

    Assalamu Alikum ‘ Abdul Ghaffar
    Plz send me tafseere Quran in soft copy in Urdu language because I want to Study of Quran deeply.

  5. farooq qadri Says:

    you can download tafseer (zia-ul-quran) and durr-e mansoor from http://www.nafseislam.com

  6. farooq qadri Says:

    Sorry, tafseer-e-kaseer and zia-ul-quran is available on http://www.nafseislam.com, but DURR-E MANSOOR is not available on this site

    thank you, and forget me

  7. shaji Says:

    i need one copy of ashari immams quran thafseer..
    plees send to my email id

  8. sarah Says:

    assalamualikum,

    brother I want a soft copy of zia ul quran,with translation and tafseer, because I am not in pakistan and here i really didnt find any urdu translation,I am use to of reading Pir Kram Shah tafseer thats why i want it. I will be greatful if u kindly send me all volums.

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