Pitfalls in translating the Holy Quran to Burmese language

(The Holy Quran authentic translation to Burmese, King Fahd printing)

The Holy Quran was revealed in the Original language of Arabic, to Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) 1400 years ago. Similar messages had earlier been revealed through other Prophets of Allah such as Abrahim, Moses, and Jesus peace be upon them all. With time, these messages had been mostly distorted and forgotten.

Allah Almighty , for the reasons only known to Himself, had not promised to preserve these old scriptures intact. Fragments of these original revelations still exist to this day albeit mixed with man’s interpolations, extrapolations and unwarranted innovations.”Then woe to those who write the Book with their own hands and then say: “This is from God…” (2:79)

In direct contrast, the final messenger of God- the seal of prophethood, Muhammed (PBUH) was given the Holy Quran complete with assurance of preservation till the Last Day. “ We have without doubt, sent down the Message and We will assuredly guard it.(15:9) And guard he did every word through ages!

Allah SWT made things easy for all of us. Allah’s words are precise and no extra effort is required by human to make people believe or understand. However, there are many, try to translate and interpret to fit into current society’s belief system.

Rashid Khalifa is one good example who tried to prove his numerical wonders of Quran by changing and even removing (some Scholars said that he removed two Ayat from the Holy Quran)the  Verses of the Holy Book. He failed miserably as Allah clearly says “Nay, here are Signs self –evident in the hearts of those endowed with knowledge: and non but unjust reject Our signs”( 29:49)

Holy Quran is the existing miracle of Allah SWT. A famous Mathematician reverted into Islam after he failed to disprove the Holy Quran with his Mathematical knowledge and logic.

We all have to accept that

(1)Human knowledge has limitation

(2) Holy Quran is words of Allah SWT which will be relevant to all his creations for infinite future.

I have found an article “Hills are alive with sound of ants talking to each other” . Scientists found out that Ants do speak to each other. Before going to the topic, please read the following authentic translation of the Holy Quran..

Surah Al-Naml ( Surah 27)

(17) At length, when they came to a (lowly) valley of ants, one of the ants said: “O ye ants get into your habitations, lest Solomon and his hosts crush you (under foot) without knowing it.”

(18) So he smiled, amused at her speech; and he said: “O my Lord! so order me that I may be grateful for Thy favours which Thou hast bestowed on me and on my parents and that I may work the righteousness that will please Thee: and admit me by Thy Grace, to the ranks of Thy righteous Servants.”

( Translation: by Abdullah Yusuf Ali)

Holy Quran clearly stated that ants speak in Surah  27:17, and Prophet Sulaiman ( Solomon) heard and understand the conversation of the Ants.

Allah  SWT revealed in the Holy Quran about this event in very simple words that is easy to understand. However some translators try to change their translation to make acceptable to human logic.

A Burmese translator interpreted  Naml as a name of tribe, so his interpretation became conversation between humans  which was totally deviated from what AllahSWT wanted us to know and understand

These verses are about Miracles and  Signs of Allah that we all must believe. Accepting Allah’s Signs and Miracles according to Holy Quran is very important part of faith ( Imam) of each and every Muslims.

The paper said “Advances in audio technology have enabled scientists to discover that ants routinely talk to each other in their nests. Using miniaturised microphones and speakers that can be inserted unobtrusively into nests, researchers established that the queens can issue instructions to their workers.

The astonished researchers, who managed to make the first recordings of queen ants “speaking”, also discovered that other insects can mimic the ants to make them slaves. “

You can read the full report about how ants really speak each other here.

This is the only ONE example of above mentioned Burmese translation which clearly demonstrated deviation from other authentic translations. and  far from real meaning of the Holy Quran.

My intention for this post is for those who are trying to translate the Holy Quran for minority Muslims such as Burmese, need to be careful not to deviate from Allah’s words as there are not many people or authority watching their translations. The chance of making mistake is high, as not many people with knowledge of Scholars will rebuke the wrong or deviant translations.

I have noticed minimum differences in various Holy Quran translations of English as the language is most widely read after the Arabic Quran, Many International level scholars will revise and scrutinize the currently available translations, and the revised editions will be printed with corrections or enhanced translations in the newer editions.

For Burmese, the currently accepted translations are the Holy Quran translation printed in Saudi, by King Fahd Complex for printing Holy Quran, and Holy Quran translation by late Muffasirul Quran Allamah Ghazi Muhammed Hashim and late Maulana Maqsud Ahmad Khan.

While I appreciate any individual effort to translate the Holy Quran to Burmese language, above example is enough for why the translation work should not be done according to individual’s whim and desire.

Allah knows the best,

Kyaw Kyaw Oo

3 thoughts on “Pitfalls in translating the Holy Quran to Burmese language

  1. kyawkyawoo says:

    As salaamu Alaikum wrt wbt

    I am seriously concerned about Satan’s disturbances to confuse Myanmar muslims living in Myanmar and abroad.
    On the other hand I am convinced that the Holy Quran will be protected and preserved by Allah (SWT) until the judgment day.

    We have Holy Quran translations into Burmese by late Gazi Hashim and from Saudi Arabia both can be down loaded free from Kyaw Kyaw OOs blog.

    Please BEWARE that there are some Quran books translated into burmese by certain people claiming that the previous world famous Burmese, English, Urdu translations were all wrong and fairy tales and they claim that their interpretations are logic and correct for example they claim that , Adam (AS) was never in Paradise he was created and lived on earth. Nabi Isa had a father who is Jibrael. Jinn , Malaika, Gibrael, Mikael (angels) are human. Jinn is created by earth (Clay). All these ideas are deviation from the miracles of Al Quran. However, One can assess easily whether a person is sane or insane when a person declares the whole world is wrong and he is right especially in interpretation of Holy Quran. We need to refer to Hadith as well to clarify doubts..

    In the Holy Quran Allah has mentioned clearly , simply and easy to understand.
    For example In Holy Quran Sura 2: verse 35 .
    Adam(AS) and his wife were told to dwell in Jannat. The original arabic word Jannat means Paradise (Garden) there is no mention about earth.

    In sura 2 verse 36. Adam (AS) and his wife were asked to GO down and dwell on earth for a time being.

    Therefore I would like to remind my brothers and sisters in Islam not to be confused if you happen to come across such interpretations in the website or printed books.
    Please refer to the above two books and if you are in doubt consult Muftis who are among Sunnat Jamaat.

    Wa Salaamu

    Dr Ebrahim

  2. kyawkyawoo says:

    I have received some comments from elderly, learned Myanmar Muslims to this weblog. This blog is meant for the benefit of Myanmar Muslims, especially those who wish to get the rightful teaching of Allah SWT through Holy Quran, and Sunna of Prophet Muhammed (PBUH).
    With the current explosion of Internet and IT technology, all the information whether true, false or in the grey area will spread within split second through social media and blogs to the readers.
    Since Islam is minority religion of Myanmar, there is no efficient monitoring authority to monitor the spread of teaching/ translation and tafsir of individuals spread through Internet.
    I do not wish to play as such role with my limited knowledge and from this insignificant blog, but I have decided to spread the views of those who have genuine concern about spreading of totally different translations and tafsir of Holy Quran.
    I would like to clarify here that comments posted over this blogs are the person’s own opinion which may or may not reflect my personal opinion of the said matter . I do not edit words of respectable commentators, as he has freedom to express his opinion .
    with regards,
    Kyaw Kyaw Oo

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