The Recitation And Translation Of The Holy Quran
I was questioned by a friend that his son is studying in an English medium school and does not even know proper Urdu. What to say about Arabic language! Arabic language for him is like a cry in wilderness. As we are Pakistanis and Arabic is neither our mother tongue, nor is our educational/academic language, then how our kids can read the Quran in Arabic language? He was much worried and concerned about this issue. I told him that you get a copy of the Quran translated into English and ask your son to read it regularly and comprehend the message of God and act as God hath ordained.
So many people pose such religious queries and are in a state of predicament, and perplexity. The reason is, we have retrogressive mind-set and do not seek the solutions in the light of rationality. Besides, the enlightened thinkers avoid getting entangled in the mesh of sensitive religious issues for the fear of the attack and opposition of rigid and dogmatic clergy.
In my opinion to guide the younger generation about the real spirit and message of the Quran is an obligation and one must express his views on religious matters in a modest and positive way. This mental exercise is called “Ijtehad”. This analytical method is known as soul searching and rational analysis. Islam is a religion of intellect and the intellectuals are ordained to interpret Islam in the light of time spirit and needs of the epoch.
The saying of the Holy Prophet is to ascertain the juristic issues with reason and wisdom to facilitate people. Rational analysis is the back bone of religious assessment. The Quran says, it was revealed to prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in Arabic language so that the Arabs can understand the message propounded in it. Hence, the focal point to read/ recite the Quran is to understand its message and act on it.
The sensible and advisable way is to read the Quran in one’s own language. The non- Arabs can learn Arabic and read it in Arabic language as the Quran is the Word of God and its every word is sacred. But, the tragedy is that ninety-five percent non- Arabs just recite the Quran without understanding it. They consider this reading as spiritual reward and a virtue. Without understanding the language of the Quran and its meanings, what are we up to? About this mode of recitation about the Jews, the Quran says in Surah ‘The Cow’:
“There are illiterate men among them who, ignorant of the meaning of the Scriptures, know of nothing except lies and vague fancies.” (Quran 2:78)
The Muslims are doing the same for which the Jews were condemned in the Quran. The non-Arabs do not know Arabic and recite the Quran without understanding it. If you do not know what you are reading/reciting, then how can you act upon the Quranic injunctions? As we do not read the Quran in our mother tongue, we are dependent on sectarian Mullahs.
I have met many Muslim clerics who have memorized some Quranic verses and use them in their fiery speeches and enkindle the flames of sectarian hatred to win the hearts of their illiterate blind bigots, but do not know the meaning of the Arabic verses. Under the situation, it is recommended that every non-Arab Muslim should read the Quran in his/her mother tongue. If, he/she can learn Arabic language and recites the Quran in Arabic, it is excellent and preferably admirable. Otherwise, read it in your own language and understand its meanings and act as commanded by Allah.
The professional clerics in all religions do not want that their monopoly on religion should be challenged or finished. The Torah descended in Hebrew language. Only the professional rabbis were permitted to read the Torah and common people were not even allowed to touch the book. Similar was the case of the Christian priests. They were the self-styled custodians of religion. If any person, save a priest, even touched the holy Bible, he was burned alive to ashes. One must read the book of great British philosopher Bertrand Russell titled “Why I am not a Christian.”
The horrors of clerics are the worst part of human history. Karl Marx regarded religion as an opium. Are the sectarian clerics of all religions not intoxicated by opium? Religion has been made the maid of clergy. Majority of the Muslim Mullahs are sectarian, retrogressive, short sighted, professional, irrational, and narrow minded. They are playing havoc with people. The Quran condemns the Jewish clergy for selling the name of God. Are the Muslim Mullahs and Sufis not selling the name of God?
We need enlightened Muslim thinkers to guide the Muslims towards the Real Islam. Islam that proposes and promotes a democratic welfare state. Islam is not a Cult. Islam is a Code. Unfortunately, the Code has been made a Cult. Dr Allama Iqbal had said:
“Goethe says back to Art; I say back to the Quran.”
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