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O, for a proper English translation of the Qur'an!
I shudder every moment I realize how the Muslim Ummat today is without a real good and proper translation of the Qur'an in God's most beautiful English language.
And I say to myself and to my fellow Muslims:
Muslims, what face will you show Allah on the Day of Judgment?
What answer will you give when he asks you:
I gave you all that money.
And I made so many of you so enormously rich.
And I gave you all that knowledge.
And made so many of you Ph.D.s and professors.
And I made so many of you such great experts in my beautiful English language.
And I gave you all the technologies and tools anyone would ever need.
And I situated so many of you right in the heart of my English-speaking world.
And I gave you decades and decades of my time to work with all that.
And yet, all of you put together could not, would not, did not, produce a singlereadable translation of my book, the Qur'an, that my English-speaking world could read, and easily understand, and maybe even enjoy?
Maybe, just a tiny little bit the way my own most beautiful and amazing book, the Most Noble and Glorious Qur'an is?
What do you have to say for yourself?
Each one of you?
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The word Qur’an in Arabic means “Reading.” Or, maybe, even something to be read.
Qur’an is the name given to the book that claims that it is from God Almighty. It is the name that this book Qur’an gives to itself, which it has done starting out 1400 years ago on this earth.
Before that, the Qur’an was, and remains forever, the immortal and immutable word and speech of God from eternity to eternity.
And the Qur’an does so, calls itself Qur’an I mean, on at least 50 separate occasions – actually 67 times by my quick count – which to me is a most extraordinary thing.
If you wish to call this fact a miracle, live in your hands, you will be absolutely right in doing that.
You should not hesitate to call this aspect of the Qur’an a miracle, all by itself. For, I am not aware of any other book of this kind in existence that sets about giving itself a specific name of its own choosing.
I mean any name.
And now consider this specific name Al Qur’an – “The Reading.” What exactly does that mean?
And, beyond that, what possible relevance or relationship could there be between a barren desert like Arabia; at a time like the beginning of the Seventh Century; and a book that proceeds to anoint itself, in a very self-conscious and deliberate manner, and a very persistent one at that, “The Reading” or the Qur’an?
And, furthermore, that book happens to come out of the mouth of an illiterate man, born and raised among an illiterate people?
That means this confluence of events is as unlikely as anything that can ever happen in this world: an illiterate man; among an illiterate people; in an illiterate place; during generally illiterate times; and in the midst of an illiterate culture!
Mix all of these improbable happenings together and out comes a book that calls itself The Qur’an or “The Reading”?
What are the chances of that happening in a normal world? What are the odds?
What is the likelihood or probability, as anyone would say?
Anyone looking at this phenomenon dispassionately would shake their head and say: Anything but that.
That is, anything but “Qur’an”!
That means it simply does not make sense that a book of this kind should ever be called “Qur’an.”
And that it should be called that so many times, over and over, right in the body of text itself.
And that it should be the book itself – and not any of its admirers or scribes or publishers or followers or preachers – that should be giving that book this extraordinary name.
But, as I said before, the Qur’an does so over and over and over. It calls itself Qur’an no less than 67 times or so.
So, is this reason enough for a non-Muslim to pick up a copy of the Qur’an and read it?
In my view it is.
Unless, of course, that non-Muslim can vouch for the fact that, in his or her knowledge, this fact is a common phenomenon.
That is, that non-Muslim happens to know for a fact any number of similar books that actually refer to themselves with an improbable title of this kind. And then go on to reinforce that fact over and over dozens of times in the body and course of their own texts.
Then maybe that non-Muslim can claim this thing to be a common occurrence and dismiss the Qur’an as nothing but commonplace. But such is not likely to be the case.
As the Qur’an vouches in its own words: Fa-in lam taf’aloo, wa lan taf’aloo.
“And you shall never be able to do it.”
Writers and scholars – both Muslim and non-Muslim – must use Qur’an as model for their writing. The Qur’an has not one error in it.
Laa Rayiba Feehi!
But Qur’an is perfect not because someone proofread it carefully, but because it is from God.
In sending his own perfect speech to earth in the form of the Qur’an, God Almighty, as in everything else, set a standard for all of us humans – Muslim and non-Muslim – to emulate.
God Almighty made the Qur’an the beacon of perfection toward which all of us humans must strive to move.
Allah’s beloved Prophet, Sayyidina Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, said:
Call me, Ma’adhallah, Kaafir if you will, but I am going to paraphrase it as:
“Be God-like in who you are and what you do! Cultivate in yourself the most beautiful attributes of God.”
And that in the present context means – in the writing context I mean:
“Write the way God writes and speaks in the Qur’an.”
And that means, Wallahu A’alam, two things, among all the infinite billions and trillions of things it means:
(a) Let your content be perfect in every way.
(b) Let your style be absolutely superb and impeccable.
How can anyone go wrong with “Guidance” (Hudan) like that illumining their path and directing their steps?
And don’t forget the river of Mercy that the Qur’an is laps at everyone’s door, both Muslim and non-Muslim!
The Universe – entire creation of God in the form of all the countless worlds that exist and that are being continually created and recreated – is nothing if not an actualization of the Qur’an in real life. In interlocking space-time continua as it were.
Everything that is in the Universe is in the Qur’an first.
You can either explore the Universe in detail or you can read the Qur’an. They will both take you to the same place.
You will find them both – the Universe and the Qur’an – to be limitless manifestations of God Almighty’s infinite attributes, one in book form in our hands, the other in the form of endless layers of reality all around us.
No matter where you start, and no matter which one of the two you decide to read and decipher first, other things being equal, you will arrive at the same conclusion: They are both miracles – infinite number of them – that point to God in everyone of their minutest detail.
What kind of war was it which God himself went to fight; in which God himself did the shooting of arrows and the killing of the enemy; and in which God brought along with him thousands of his angels, riding pillion (double) on their special mounts, to fight along with him? [...]
I don’t know who you are. I don’t know what or where you are. And I have no idea what you do or don’t do. But regardless of all that, I would still like you to read that book – the most amazing and incomparable Al-Qur’an!
For, there is no other book quite like that book in the world! There never was, and there never will be. Not to belittle, disparage or put any other book down. But simply to tell you that this is a book you owe it to yourself to read.
This book – I mean that book – is quite unlike any other book you may have read. [...]