It is About Sharing

Knowledge is for sharing. Do not keep your knowledge to yourself alone. Let it grows. The more you share, the more you learn and in the end you become a better person.

Surah Yaasin Amazing Recitation

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Al-Fatihah

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Read the Qur'an Campaign

There is a campaign in the blogsphere, initiated by Marina Mahathir and 3 of her friends called “Let’s read the Qur’an”. I have read the campaign and though it sounds like a good effort, it is not the right campaign and it must be stopped. I urge the readers in my blog to spread it over to all your friends, colleagues, family members, etc not to participate and support such a campaign. You can also link this posting to your blog of forward this posting in email form.
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Among others, the campaign is about encouraging the people, regardless of their religion status to start reading Al-Qur’an in whatever language that they are familiar with. Meaning to say, if you can’t read the Arabic transcript, then you read in Malay language and the same goes to Chinese, Indians and others. You can read the Qur’an in your own language. That is what the campaign is all about and more and more bloggers have participated in such a campaign, and come to think about it, it is very scary in deed. Marina has also, to certain extend, associated the campaign vis-à-vis the Qur’an and the celebration of Valentine’s Day, as the campaign period started from 15/1/09-14/2/09 and she even wish “Happy Valentine’s Day”. It is indeed an insult to Islam and Al-Qur’an in particular and the Muslims community as a whole for Marina Mahathir to associate Islam and Al-Qur’an with Valentine’s Day, which is totally unIslamic.
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Below is my explanation as to why such a campaign should be called off immediately. The same has also been posted as my reply at Marian Mahathir’s blog. You may also go to www.rantingsbymm.blogspot.com to see for yourself such a campaign but please, please and please do not fall for it.
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Dear Marina,
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It is good to have such a campaign to encourage the people to read the Qur’an. However, some of your suggestions need to be revisited because to understand the Qur’an better, you need to have an in depth study on Al-Qur’an (‘ulumul Qur’an). By mere reading of the Qur’anic translation and try to understand what it means may lead to deviation from the true meaning of the Qur’anic verse.
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In Qur’anic studies, to interpret and get the true meaning of the verse, we need to know few things such as the reason of revelation (asbabun nuzul), the type of verse (makkiah or madaniah), the repealed verse and the verse that repealing (nasikh mansukh) as well as good linguistic (arabic) knowledge (to determine whether the verse is an instruction or a mere statement, etc).
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Another thing is that there is only one (1) language for us to read the Qur’an i.e. the Arabic language. Other than the Arabic language, we call it translation. As such, it is wrong for you to encourage people to read the Qur’an in any language that they understand most because there is no such thing in Islam.
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To give you a simple example is the Qur’anic verse where Allah said, “la ikraha fiddin” which means “there is no compulsion in religion (Islam)”. If we are to translate it literally (and that is what most people have been doing), the verse would mean that in Islam, we are given the freedom and choice whether or not to do what is obligated upon us to do such as praying, fasting, paying zakat etc and no one can force us to do those obligations. However, there is a reason for revelation of the said verse as reported by an acceptable Qur’anic verses translator (al-mu’tabar) by the name of Imam Mujahid whereby he reported that the reason for the revelation was that there was a man from the Ansar tribe
Who owned a slave by the name of Subaih. The man (Ansar) has forced the slave (Subaih) to convert to Islam, thus the verse was revealed. So, based on the reason the verse was revealed as explained above, the true meaning of the verse is that in Islam, we can’t compel the non-Muslim to convert to Islam. This is also in line with another Qur’anic verse i.e. “lakum diinukum waliyadiin” which means, “for you your religion and for me is mine”.
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There are also various verses in the Qur’an which have been repealed by other verses and the repealed verses are no longer has any effect. However, they still remain part of the Qur’an. As such, it is wrong for us to rely on the Qur’anic verses that have been repealed. It is like a provision of the law which has been repealed. Once the said provision has been repealed, it is no longer has any effect.
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So, whether one is Muslim or non-Muslim, you can’t get the true meaning of the Qur’anic verse by just reading the translation and try to understand its meaning.
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As such, I strongly suggest that you and your friends, as the initiators of the campaign to call off the campaign in the name of Allah and for the sake of the Muslims community. I also suggest that you request those bloggers who have put in the campaign in their blogs to remove such a campaign.
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As an alternative, if you really want to learn about Al-Qur’an, go and learn it from the Ulama’ and not to learn it all by yourself.
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Below, is one of the reasons why such a campaign should not exist and should not be opened to the non-Muslims.
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Michelle said: I decided sometimes last year that I’d read the Qur’an too. Good to know about this campaign. Looking forward to many interesting posts from you guys.
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CKGord said: I’m joining this campaign. Already posted the ICON. What’s the limit of our discussion??? Can I tell joke accompanying it?
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These two comments can be found at the blog below: -
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http://asylum60.blogspot.com/2009/01/blog-campaign-let-read-quran.html#comments
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I wonder if what Michelle means by her starting to read Al-Qur’an sometimes last year is that she was just reading the translation part of the Qur’an. That is not reading the Qur’an, that is reading the translation of the Qur’an. As for CKGord, realize it or not, it is just not ethical and insensitive for him/her to think that he/she can make joke out of Al-Qur’an.
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There was also another respond by Michelle (perhaps different Michelle) in Marina Mahathir’s blog which says, “Those who are bent on splitting hairs and those who are unable to counter an argument would insist that the mortals should always use the correct interpretation in the original Arab script as if Islam is only for those literate in Arabic.”
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My reply is, Al-Qur’an was revelead in Arabic transcript and as such, we need to understand it from Arabic transcript perspective. As such, it is not a matter of people’s inability to counter argue any argument, it is about Al-Qur’an. That’s it and full stop.
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So, Marina, it is you and me, as Muslims to stop this misunderstanding and confusion among Muslims as well as non-Muslims on the contents of the Qur’an. If you think that you know nothing about Qur’an, it is better for you to remain silent than proposing something that could cause misunderstanding, confusion, deviation and whatever you call it. As the Prophet said in his hadith, “man kaana yu’ minu billahi wal yaumil aakhir, fal yaqul khairan au liyasmut” which means, “whoever among you believe in Allah and the day of hereafter, say good things or keep quiet”.

14 comments:

Wander Wonder said...

Salam.

Mr. Rozaimi,
I've came across your this article when browsing the net. Something bothering me though ...

As I read what Marina's said, I see nothing to be disputed about.

What's wrong to ask people to read Quran in any language they could understand?

Don't you think, to suggest non-Arabic speaker to read Quran in Arabic text is ridiculous? How on earth they are going to get the gist of Quran if they can't understand the text?

Of course I do agree with your suggestion that we need to study Quran with a teacher ... but, to abstain people from reading Quran will just make them stay away from it.

DOn't you think because we are so 'paranoid' about the sacred of Quran that most of us just keep Quran aside (and put it on top of cupboard) without read it? How would you will encourage people to be quranic-friendly if Quran too sacred to become our reading material?

It just me wondering the whole thing ... if you can enlighten me, I'll be more than happy to follow your pursuit.

My 5 cents.

Wassalam

Rozaimi Bin Mohd Said said...

Dear Wander Wonder,

First of all, allow me to thank you for dropping by at my blog and gave your response.

If you read carefull my posting, all I am saying is that if you want to read Al-Qur'an, you must read the arabic transcript. That is the rule. You can't say that you read Al-Qur'an when you just reading the translation.

Reading the translation is not similar and does not amount to reading Al-Qur'an. Al-Qur'an was a divine revelation from Allah to Prophet Muhammad pbuh in arabic transcript and it should be maintained that way. So, when Marina suggested the people to read Al-Qur'an in whatever language that they are familiar with, that is wrong. They are actually reading the translation and not the Qur'an. There must be clearly distinguished here.

As I said, you can read the translation but you can't simply make any conclusion based on the translation that you have read literally. There are rules to interpret Al-Qur'an. When you read the translation and even if you understand it, it does not mean you are able to interpret it.

Translation and interpretation are two different things. While translation is "to turn from one language into another or from a foreign language into one's own", on the other hand, interpretation is "to explain something or to give an explanation".

So, for someone to just read the translation of the Qur'an and try to match it to what is really said in our daily lives, as what was suggested by Marina Mahathir without understanding the interpretation of the Qur'anic verses may lead that person to the wrong path.

You may want to take a look at the xample I gave above i.e. the verse "la ikaraha fiddin" which is translated as "there is no complusion in Islam". But is that the real interpretation? The answer is obviously NO.

That is why my advice for those who want to understand Al-Qur'an to go and learn from the Ulama'.

If you want to learn about law, you need to buy the law books and learn it from the law Professor.

Afuw said...

Assalamualaikum Rozaimi,

You said, if you want to learn about law, you need to buy the law books and learn it from the law Professor.

If I wanted to learn French law and the professor insists that I must learn and read it in French, I won't be able to make heads or tail of it. I'd buy a translated version of that book in a language that I understand otherwise it would just be meaningless words or meaningless sounds to me.

If I don't understand Arabic, and there are many Muslims who don't, and I seek out an ulama', say, Tuan Guru Nik Aziz, to teach me. Wouldn't he have to translate the Arabic verses into Malay for me? What then is the difference between reading the verses in Malay and listening to the verses in Malay? I'm not talking about the explanation behind it, but just the translation of the Arabic verses, since you're insistent that it should be read only in Arabic. Surely those who translate the Qur'an into Malay, say, are ulama themselves and have an excellent command of the Arabic language. It can't be otherwise.

As for me, I am ok with Marina's suggestion to read the Qur'an in the language one understands just so that people finally get to know what is said in the Qur'an. I don't agree though with the arbitrary interpretation of the Qur'an by people who are not knowledgable.

Wallahualam.

Rozaimi Bin Mohd Said said...

Wa’alaikumussalam Afuw...

You talk about French law. Do you know that there are certain countries where they use their national language in their university instead of English though they have international students? So, what the international students have to do? They have no choice but to learn the national language of that country and don’t you think that you will understand the French law better if you are able to speak French?

Perhaps I have not made it very clear...when we talk about READING AL-QUR'AN, we have no choice but to read it in arabic transcript, as what Allah said in Al-Qur'an, "warattilil qur'aana tartiila" which means "and you read the Qur'an according to its rule”. Afuw, I am sure that you are fully aware that when you read the Qur’an, you must follow the tajwid and when we talk about tajwid here, we talk about the Arabic transcript. That is why I strongly say that if one wants to read Al-Qur’an, one must read it in Arabic transcript. There is no 2 ways about it.

As such, to say that anyone can read Al-Qur’an in any language that they are comfortable with is misleading. As I said in my comment earlier, Al-Qur’an should and must be maintained in its original Arabic transcript, as it is a divine revelation. However, it may be translated into any other languages.

As such, it is NOT WRONG for anybody to read the TRANSLATION of the Qur’anic verses in any language that it has been translated to for the sake of to get to know what is stated in the Qur’an. However, that does not tantamount to reading the Qur’an itself. Otherwise, people will pray (sembahyang) in their own language instead of using Arabic language. If you are saying that it is okay to read Al-Qur’an in Malay for example, it also means that you are suggesting that you can read Al-Faatihah during your prayer in Malay. That is not right!!!

There is no difference between reading the translation and listening to the translation. However, when you have an Ulama’ in front of you, he will not just read the translation of the verse. He will definitely explain to you what the verse really means and you can’t get this type of understanding by just reading the translation on your own. You may misunderstand what the verse really means.

In summary, one MUST READ AL-QUR’AN ONLY IN ARABIC TRANSCRIPT. However, IT IS OKAY TO READ THE TRANSLATION (though it is better to get someone knowledgeable to explain what the verse really means) but reading the translation DOES NOT TANTAMOUNT TO reading Al-Qur’an.

arah1958 said...

My dear Rozaimi.

Can you please explain why you are preventing others from reading the Translation of Al Quran ie in Malay, Chinese, English etc.

It is a responsibility for Muslim to encourage all mankind to understand the message of Islam including the Quran and Hadith.

Do you expect everyone is as good as you can read the Quran and go indepth with asbabun nuzul.

Anyhow you have declare yourself as a devil and your idea proved it. Everyone have to start somewhere to understand the Quran but you are the devil preventing them and you are proud with it.

What a shame to you and the University you graduated from!!!!


Please seek forgiveness and May Allah forgive you.

Wassalam

Rozaimi Bin Mohd Said said...

Assalamualaikum Arah1958,

Did I prevent others from reading the translation of Al-Qur’an? I do not think so. All I said is that it is wrong for Marina to say that people can read Al-Qur’an in whatever language that they are familiar with. She is sending the wrong message to others. All she should have said is that people may read the translation of Al-Qur’an in any language that they are familiar with. Reading the translation does not amount to reading the Qur’an itself. That is why I stressed upon her that you can only read the Qur’an from its original Arabic transcript.

Let me ask you this question. Do you agree with me that if we want to read Al-Qur’an, we must read it according to the rule i.e. tajwid? Can we then read Al-Qur’an in Malay or English with tajwid? To me, the answer is NO. I do not know if you will say otherwise.

I am not saying that I am good but all I said is that we can not simply rely on the translation of the Qur’anic verses to understand the true meaning of the verses itself. To understand it, we need to know the interpretation. And for us to know the interpretation, we need in depth knowledge of ‘ulum Al-Qur’an and if we do not have that knowledge, we should ask those with knowledge.

I have never declared myself as a devil. If you read carefully, I said “devil:” and not devil. All I am saying is that if the person who is preventing people from having the misconception on Al-Qur’an is called “devil”, I would rather be that “devil” than the real devil that cause misperception among people on the Qur’an.

I wonder who should seek forgiveness from Allah.

Wassalam

Afuw said...

Aha, so that's what you think Marina is trying to do. Getting people to RECITE the Quran in other languages for purposes of prayers etc just like what the Turks used to do, calling out the azan in Turkish. Instead of Allahu Akbar, it's Tanri Uluru. If that is what Marina is advocating, then I totally disagree.

But Marina clearly isn't advocating for that. She's just asking us to read the meaning of the Quranic verses to get an idea of what is actually said in the Qur'an. This is because many people don't have any idea at all what the Qur'an says. Some malicious books have actually said that the Qur'an advocates raping and murder and other totally absurd things many many people actually believe them! So if these people would actually pick up a copy of the translation of Qur'anic verses and finally get to know that Qur'an does not advocate all those absurd things, they might finally be informed.

Wassalam.

Rozaimi Bin Mohd Said said...

Dear Afuw,

I know Marina is not advocating the people to recite Qur’an in other languages during prayer. However, she is advocating or seems to be advocating for people to read Al-Qur’an in any language. That is wrong because Qur’an can only be read using its Arabic transcript.

But think about this. Al-Qur’an must only be read using its Arabic transcript with the correct tajwid (let me know if you disagree on this one too). And in prayer, we must also use the Arabic transcript with the correct tajwid (let me know if you disagree on this too). So, when Marina advocating people to read Al-Qur’an in any language that they are familiar with (which is wrong), she is sending a message that it does not necessarily for the people to read Al-Qur’an in its Arabic transcript. They can do it in any other languages too. So, there will be no more tajwid in reading the Qur’an. So, when people have this perception i.e. it is ok to read Al-Qur’an in English, Malay, Chinese, Tamil, etc, do not you think later some people may have the understanding that they can recite the Qur’anic verse in the prayer in their own language. Think about it.

Afuw said...

Of course I agree about tajwid, tartil and all in reciting the Qur'an. If you feel it is the wrong term Marina is using, what if it is called Let's Read the Meaning of Qur'anic verses Campaign or Let's Get to Know the Meaning of Qur'anic verses Campaign?

Afuw

Rozaimi Bin Mohd Said said...

That should be the case. However, the content of the campaign is as important as the label or the name of the campaign itself. While people could read the translation, they still need someone expert in the field to guide them or to give them accurate interpretation. Discussion among the readers who are not well verse in Al-Qur’an may lead them to different or wrong interpretation.

mut said...

Salam,

Ni PM jer untuk bro. Nak tanya bro ni relations Rozaimah Bank Islam ker?

Dah terasa bahang anti-hadith kat sini bro? Dah lama dah nampak taringnya di Malaysia. Maklumlah Kassim Ahmad pun orang Penang....

Blog Marina tu saya ada jugak posting "Jangan lupakan Hadith Nabi SAW!" sempena penulisan beliau tentang kempen ni. Kena censored la bro... tapi masa hantar tu dah agak dah pasal slant penulisan dia tu lain sket. Kalau dah biasa penulisan berbau anti-hadith ni kita dapat rasa (bukan nak menuduhla). Mungkin dia tak sengaja kot. Tapi kalau baca penulisan posting kat blog sini memang argumen2 ni dah pernah dengar dah.

Regards....

Takin

Rozaimi Bin Mohd Said said...

Thanks Mut...yup she is my sis...by the way, what is PM?

mut said...

Salam,

Alahai.... bro! PM tu maksudnya Personal Message - maksudnya tak payah kuar blog, hanya msg peribadi :D

Rozaimi Bin Mohd Said said...

Got it...but bak kata MLTR, 25 minutes too late...never use such term la bro...next time ok...:-)