A SHORT COMMENT ON
REFORMIST TRANSLATION OF THE QURAN
22 May, 2006
The Arab scholar Dr Rashad Khalifa’s brilliant discovery of the awesome mathematical miracle of the Quran in 1974 was a turning point in the history of God’s final scripture. One can say that the post-1974 period is a completely new period for the world’s understanding of the Quran. The Quran is scientifically proved and validated as God’s final message to the world, thereby also scientifically proving the existence of God.
Mr. Edip Yuksel and his two co-translators, Layth Saleh al-Shaiban and Marth Schulte-Nafeh of this translation, are among the many thousand, may be millions, of people throughout the world who have benefited from Dr. Khalifa’s discovery and excellent translation. Mr. Yuksel and this writer must number among the thousands who were and are admirers and students of the late Dr. Khalifa. Now that Mr. Yuksel and his two colleagues have expressed their profound appreciation for his milestone discovery by this “Reformist Translation” of theirs, I am extremely happy and welcome the translation.
That this translation is superior to all traditionalist translations goes without saying, as it breaks out of the Hadith and traditionalist tafsir’s shackles (including the gender bias) that have for a thousand years robbed the Muslim community of its freedom of thought. In several ways, it is an improvement on Dr. Khalifa’s own translation. Off hand, I can cite two crucial words as examples. The words “to acknowledge” for “to believe,” and “conscientious” for “God-fearing” or “righteous” that are normally used, are to my mind a definite improvement.
The translation’s Notes are excellent. As the translators have made many cross-references, they are a mine of useful information that is a scholar’s delight.
The translation is not perfect, of course, even in terms of language, not to say the interpretations of those profound Quranic metaphors, allegories and even apparently straight-forward verses. I am also referring to the two historical and universal or idealistic dimensions of the Quranic message, which, as far as my quick glance at it informs me, is not taken into account in this translation. This appears to me the reason why it cannot satisfactorily explain the apparent superiority of the male to the female, the existence of slavery, and the harsher punishments – the historical aspect of 7th Century Arab social reality that the message engaged in, and the idealism towards which the message continuously pushes the Arabs and mankind forward and upwards.
Every generation has to interpret the Quran anew, just as our knowledge of God, Man and the Universe advances.
I am convinced that the world’s, including and especially the West’s, understanding and appreciation of the God’s Final Scripture, after more than a thousand years of misunderstanding and even aversion, will progress fast from now on until the world accepts this new Quranic paradigm in its radical new phase of life on this planet.
Kassim Ahmad is a Malaysian free-lance writer, living in Penang. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is: www.kassimahmad.blogspot.com