The Ruling on Translating the Meaning of the Qur'an

Question :
I recently read an article in the magazine Al-Arabi (issue 237), an articles that was written by Dr. Muhammad Ahmad. From what I understood, he argued that it is permissible to translate the Qur'an word for word, and he gave various reasons for that view. Please read the articles and comment on what he said.

Answer :
What the writer appears to be talking about is a translation of the meanings of Qur'an (into another language), and not the translation of Qur'an itself.
And in this regard, translating the meanings of the Qur'an is allowed when the correct meaning of the expressions are known, and with the knowledge of the meanings in the target language, and how to convey the subtle meanings that are purported in the Qur'anic texts.
This will help to fulfill the obligation of conveying the message to those who do not know the Arabic language.
Shaykh Al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah, may Allah have mercy upon him, said that there is nothing disliked about addressing the people who use certain terms with their own terms, and in their language, if there is a need to do so and the meanings are correct. Like when there is a need to address the foreigners; the Romans, the Persians, or the Turks in their languages to inform them, then this is allowed and recommended. The Imams only disliked that when there was no need for it. Similarly in the case of Umm Khalid daughter of Khalid bin Sa'id bin Al-'As, who was young and born in Ethiopia, since her father was one of those who had emigrated there. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) said to her:
O Umm Khalid! This is Sunna
"O Umm Khalid! This is Sunna"
Al-Bukhari no. 5823.
And Sunna in the language of the Ethiopians meant "good," and she came from people who spoke that language. So translating the Qur'an and the Hadiths is the same when there is a need to do so for someone to understand that. The same is the case with a knowledgeable person who needs to read the books of another nation and speak their language and translate them into Arabic, as the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) ordered Zaid bin Thabit to learn the Book of the Jews in order to read their language and write it since he did not trust the Jews.
As for a verbal translation, this is not allowed, based on a ruling that the Council of Senior Scholars of Saudi Arabia has previously given, and which we have enclosed a copy for your review.
And with Allah is the facilitation to do what is right. May Allah send peace and blessings on Muhammad, his family and his Companions.
The Permanent Committee

Tags : quran, tarjuma, translating, maini, meaning

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