Mistranslations of Islamic Scripture (English)
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In Al-Hijr Quran 15:9 Allah declared that the Qur'an is his revelation and he promised to preserve it and protect it from corruption. In An-Nahl Quran 16:103, Al-Dokhan Quran 44:58 and Al-Qamar Quran 54:22, 32, 40, it is emphasized that the Qur'an was revealed in straight forward, easy to understand, and pure Arabic.
Some of the most prominent and officially recognized English translators of the Qur'an (like Yusuf Ali, Dr. Rashad Khalifa and Muhammad Asad), however, have often mistranslated the most controversial and problematic verses in Qur'an. That these inaccurate translations are most common with verses that would be considered barbaric, unscientific, or crude in the West suggests that these mistranslations were not unintentional or due to some unique difficulty of the Arabic words used in these verses.
These pages discuss a few of the more common ones in some detail, and provides the correct translations.
Look at the following verse from 'An-Nisa’.
This verse states that men are in charge of women with what they spend on them, and have the right to direct them in life. Also in the same verse, women are told to obey men and if they don’t, then men have the authority to admonish them and if they persist in disobedience (or if the husband simply fears disobedience), then men have the right to beat them. Yusuf Ali, a prominent translator of the Qur'an, added the word “lightly” in brackets, after “beating them” to reduce the offense. Being beaten by someone, lightly or otherwise, however, is always humiliating.
Although Pickthal's translation is far from perfect, he succeeded to some extent in preserving the integrity of the original text.
In Surat Al-Muminun, phases of the formation of the fetus are described.
This verse is often used as an example of how translators (in this case Yusuf Ali, who is authorized by the Saudi Islamic authority and Al-Azhar University) apparently attempt to distort verses in order to make them appear less objectionable to Western readers. Yusuf Ali, in his translation, replaced the word "then" with "and". He also replaced “the best of creators” (plural) with “the best to create” (singular). The difference in the meaning is crucial because the word “then” means another phase, while the word “and” means bones and flesh are simultaneous or one phase, which conforms to modern science, however this does not appear in the original Arabic text. Likewise, the plural form of “creators” seems to affirm the existence of multiple creators (of whom Allah would be the best), which appears to contradict the fundamental Islamic doctrine, tawḥīd (توحيد), the doctrine of the oneness of Allah, the only creator. Similar misinterpretations are given by Dr. Rashad Khalifa and Muhammad Saad. On the other hand, the above translation by Pickthal is correct, conforming to the original Arabic text.
Distorted translations are also presented by institutions like Al-Azhar, the Egyptian Ministry of Awqaf, and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs themselves, as can be seen on the Al-Azhar web site. The above verse is shown as below:
The translation of which on the Al-Azhar website reads as follows:
Another example can be found in Al-Kahf.
According to this verse, Dhul-Qarnayn (Alexander the Great) went to the farthest place on earth “until he reached the setting of the sun, he found out that the sun sinks in a hole of muddy water, and found people there..” Some have tried to explain the apparent absurdity in this verse by claiming it is simply a visual interpretation of what Dhul-Qarnayn saw, the sun apparently looked like it was sinking into the “horizon”. But such explanations are frustrated by Tafsir Al-Jalaleen (p. 251), and many other classical authorities, which explain that the setting of the sun is in a well containing a murky mud. We find the same interpretation and text in Tabari’s commentaries (p. 339) as well as in "Concise Interpretation of the Tabari" (p. 19 of part 2) in which he remarks that the well in which the sun sets "contains lime and murky mud". The words “apparent” or “looks like” do not appear in these explanations. Indeed, the verse appears to reflect the worldview Muhammad would have had in seventh century Arabia in regards to the universes' cosmology. Furthermore, since the earth is in fact round, not flat (as the Qur'an appears to suggest), Dhul-Qarnayn could never have reached some "farthest point", since no such point exists on a globe. Here also, the Al-Azhar site uses a distorted translation, where it states that the "muddy spring" is in fact the Atlantic ocean, which only appeared to Dhul-Qarnayn as a muddy spring. Others have suggested that it was Dhul-Qarnayn's “opinion” and not the Qur'an's.
6. He is created from a drop emitted-
The Al-Azhar site translates the origination point of sperm as from "between the pelvis and breast bone"; neither of these translations, however, mention the role of the testes.
In Quran 2:10 it says that unbelievers are creatures sick in their hearts and Allah increases their sickness, but the translation distorts the verse to exonerate Allah from playing this role.
Another instance of distorted translation can be found in Az-Zumar.
However, the word "butun" which is translated in this verse as "womb", in fact means, quite clearly, "stomach".
The most widespread mistranslation of a single word throughout the Qur'an, is the Arabic word "Qatal", which means to "kill", "massacre", or "slaughter". Yusuf Ali correctly translates it in An-Nisa’ Quran 4:157 as "We killed Christ Jesus the son of Mary, the Messenger of Allah";- but they killed him not", but then distorts the same word as "fight" in At-Tawbah Quran 9:29, "Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day.", whereas the Arabic text reads "Kill those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day". Yusuf Ali reproduces this translation in Al-Anfal Quran 8:39 and several other verses.
Mistranslations of Quran 67:5
Here is the literal meaning of verse 67:5. It discusses the Jinn (mythical ethereal creatures that are described in Islamic scriptures as living among humans) and stars from the "lowest heaven" which are used as missiles against any mischievous jinn that attempts to eavesdrop on conversations between angels.
Transliteration: Walaqad zayyanna alssamaa alddunya bimasabeeha wajaAAalnaha rujooman lilshshayateeni waaAAtadna lahum AAathaba alssaAAeeri
Literal: And certainly We have beautified the heaven (ٱلسَّمَآءَ, as-samaa'a) nearest (ٱلدُّنْيَا, ad-dunyaa) with lamps (بِمَصَٰبِيحَ, bi-masaabeeh) and We have made them (as) missiles (رُجُومًا, rujooman) for the devils, and We have prepared for them punishment(of) the Blaze.
- ٱلسَّمَآءَ (as-samaa'a) means heaven or sky 
- ٱلدُّنْيَا (ad-dunya) is translated "the world" or "the lower". The world" is called "the lower", because according to Islamic cosmology the heavens appear one atop the other and the earth is the lowest in this structure.
- So ٱلسَّمَآءَ ٱلدُّنْيَا could be understood as "the lowest heaven", "the heaven right above this flat earth", "the sky above The Lower".
- See Dunya and akhira word count in the Qur'an
- بِمَصَٰبِيحَ (bi-masaabeeh) - you can google images of مصابيح to see its meaning is "lamps" even in today's Arabic.
- رُجُومًا (rujooman) - notice it is from the same root as رجم (rajm), meaning "stoning", which is the Islamic punishment for sex outside marriage. The Shaytan is also called "ar-rajeem" (الرجيم), "the stoned one", possibly because of this verse.
Here are the three most popular and readily available translations of this verse by Muslims.
The following four translations are by non-Muslims whose work are sometimes viewed with suspicion among Muslims, yet their renditions match those of the three generally accepted and popular translations.
A further twelve Muslim translations also confirm this.
The following two translations attempt to alter the idea of stars being made for the purpose of stoning jinn by describing the missiles as being made out of/from the stars, but not the stars themselves.
The next two translations include their modifications without using brackets, giving the impression that their understanding of the verse was already, in essence, conveyed by the original Arabic.
In the following two translations, the lamps and the projectiles used against the devilish jinn are referred to as separate entities, though this disagrees with the Arabic text in which there is a pronoun used to refer to the "projectiles" whose clear antecedent is the plural word "lamps".
Reinterpretations Presented as Translation
The following translations depart entirely from the classical interpretations of the verse and, it would appear, the very wording of the verse itself.
The next three translations go a little further by asserting that the "devils/evil ones" refer to evil human cohorts and not to the jinn.
Incorporation of Modern Science into Translation
The following translation attempts to incorporate modern science into its reading of the verse, though makes it a point to use brackets to differentiate this interpretation from the words of the verse.
- The Deceptive Translations of the Quran - (archived), http://www.faithfreedom.org/the-deceptive-translations-of-the-quran/
- Mawdudi, Sayyid Abul Ala, Tafhim ul Quran, Markazi Maktaba Islami, Delhi, 1995, vol. 6, p.110
- "...The Jinns would go to the lowest heaven and listen to the Angels conversing amongst themselves about events of the Future which they heard from Allah. The Jinns would then inform the fortune-tellers. This is why before the time of the Prophet (saws) many fortune-tellers were very accurate in their predictions. However, upon the Prophet's arrival the heavens were guarded intensely by the Angels, and any Jinn who tried to listen was attacked by meteors (shooting stars)..." - The World of Jinn - Invitation to Islam, Issue 4, January 1998
- Word-by-Word Grammar - Verse (67:5) - The Quranic Arabic Corpus