Sacred Scripture: The Holy Qur’an, English Transliterated Version, Foundational to
A World Religion
In the name of Allah, the compassionate, the most merciful, Abdullah Yusuf Ali translated in English the third edition of The Holy Qur’an published by Dar Al Arabia Publishing, Beirut, Lebanon in 1938 which aims to assist non-Arabic speaking Muslims, the English readers, and scholars whose religion is Islam. It is meant for the understanding and appreciation of the lessons as closest as possible to the original revelation. A fairly complete but concise view of what he understood to be the meaning of the text (Ali v). The author believed that the soul of mysticism and ecstasy is in the Qur’an, as well as the guidance for the plain man which a world in a hurry affects to consider as sufficient (Ali iii). In reading the book, he suggested the following: 1.) be marked with the thought and with the idea that the Qur’an is only one of its kind; 2.) in contrast to the typical books, the Qur’an kept in check attributes, thoughts and opinions with reference to unambiguous subject matter in a legendary manner; 3.) first time readers should not to be confused for the lack of accentuation as to subject matter, or separation into subdivisions and parts or distinct discussion of varied subjects and distinct teachings for dissimilar facets of the living, organized in succession; and 4.) the book contain dogmas, ethical teachings, laws, calls people to Islam, warnings to those who have no faith, depicts examples from past occurrences, directs caveat, bestows virtuous messages, everything exquisitely combined in a book.
Qur’an, the original version was bequeath to the prophet Muhammad, peace upon him, through the angel Gabriel, peace upon him, from Allah, glory be to Allah, in the language spoken by the prophet, peace upon him, which was Arabic. It was sent as guidance and a mercy, a book of wisdom, a message to all the worlds (Ali 81:26-29). From then on, the reading and studying of the book according to the capacity of a believer, to contemplate and live it, and to share the knowledge to those whom Allah wills is every believer’s good deeds in the face of the creator. So, the need for a transliteration into a language understood by majority of readers was the inspiration of Ali.
There is no other book be it in: Business and Economics, Fine arts, History and Political Science, Literature, Mythology, Philosophy and Religion, Science and Technology, Social Science, and Television and Film that could encompass the vastness of the Qur’an as a sacred writings of the omnipotent, the sublime Allah, glory to him, about how life can be live fruitfully while on earth, without compulsion or duress, and as a preparation for the next life to come.
Allah, glory to Allah, of the cosmos, its author, teacher and ruler, fashioned man and conferred the abilities of gaining knowledge to be wise, talking to communicate in words, thoughtful, and better at discriminating appropriate from inappropriate and upright from wickedness. Allah, glory to Allah, permitted him self-determination to choose, the candor of will, openness of action, and granted him the power to get his hands on things around him. Momentarily, Allah, glory to Allah, provided him a sort of independence and deputized him as His administrator on the planet and taught him to be in this world in accord with His directions and regulations. When Allah, glory to Him, deputized men as His administrators on the ground, He cautioned him with extreme precision, clearly stipulating the virtual nature of His Supremacy over creation, for that reason, he ought to revere Him alone and none else besides. In the same manner men are not detached in His realm, not even the slave of anybody, to whom he may be obligated to submit and adulate. He was driven down to the ground with definite authority and established timeline for evaluation, bearing in mind homecoming. It follows then that adjudications will be based on the accomplishments in this world, whether he emerged victorious or failed in the trials. Therefore the Sovereign in power taught to take the appropriate option which is deliberate submission and exclusive adoration, and dwell on land in concurrence to the rules and regulations sent, and subsist on land with the confidence and consideration that it is a dwelling of sheer trial. The genuine intention in the planetary existence is to move toward victory in the concluding verdict. So, a different direction contradictory to the celestial regulation will be erroneous. Embracing the primary direction which is anyone’s privilege, would mean the attainment of serenity and harmony on land and the triumph of a sure abode of perpetual pleasure and ecstasy. It is heaven in the hereafter. Bowing to a different direction which is also anyone’s freedom, being an option, is like bringing upon oneself dishonor and unending trouble here and unending grief and suffering hereafter, hurled into the deep hole called nightmare. Subsequently, Allah, glory to Him, sent Adam and Eve to originate people on land with these directions. They are to pass this on to their descendants. Along these lines, the first people were then fashioned in knowledge and wisdom. It was Islam, the submission to the will of Allah, glory to Him. Prior to their departure, they carried out and trained their offspring as well as their other descendants and inspired them to dwell on land as compliant slaves of Allah, glory to Allah. However, the ensuing years saw people moving and living along different directions. It was apart from what was taught. Confusion and chaos permeated with the vanished rules. Wickedness and the like abound in the land which was once sober and bountiful. Excellence and superiority were laid at the doorstep of others, other than Allah, glory to Allah. Others combined status with him as gods and credited His entitlement to lesser deity. Another cult was in placed with different sorts of false notions, incorrect hypothesis and fictitious viewpoints, discarding the appropriate honorable code of Allah, glory to Him. Fraudulent directives of living, best fitted to chauvinism and covetousness were preferred and employed, plugging the land with confusion and irrationality. Despite all these the Sovereign power did not resolved the issue as was in the time of Noah, but, sent down other messengers from the different civilizations, entrusted with the task to summon its citizens back to its folds.
In transliteration of the Arabic version of The Holy Qur’an, the author did nothing to input his personal bias but went along the collected reports from critics. Nevertheless, no matter how they vary in views, the author Ali did the final considerations encompassing the various ideas. Where difficulties in words may be found, it was further discussed in the footnotes, and when the substance is with some reservations, sufficient accounts were given. In instances where there were sort of moving away from that which is transliteration to articulate the strength of the original version in English, the exact connotations were expounded in the footnotes. Ali for instance cited ii.106n. And ii.26 n. where as an author he appeared to be bias, though, it was bound to happen while in search for appropriate terminologies to be employed. It was the aspiration and desire of the author to render the footnotes as concise but congruent with the object in view that bookworms like academicians, researchers, intellectuals and the patrons would better appreciate it. The author likewise did not attempt to expound along theological disagreements nor cross the threshold of heated discussion because it is beyond the limitations of the work at hand. Conversations and contentions of the like were possibly essential and priceless; nonetheless, these were taken up in another piece of writings to show consideration to the original author, Allah, glory to Him and His Holy Book, the Holy Qur’an. Next to similar arguments are facts of great magnitude which the intellectuals wanted to comprehend. Along this line, critics have not always been judicious. About uncertainties of rule and directives, the Qur’an explicitly set down universal dogmas. Ali steered clear of nominal facets by discussing this in another writing entitled “Anglo-Muhammadan Law”. He also did not allocate an interim for syntax and philology.
To comprehend the various subject matters talked about in the Holy Qur’an, it is imperative to view it along the setting and events, social and historical circumstances forthwith the revelation was sent as the whole content of the book consisting of about one hundred and fourteen chapters or Surah. It is not like any other storybook that is widespread and in conformist category where the subject matter is put in order of common sense or reason. The Qur’an is fashioned according to Islamic developments. It was led by the prophet, peace upon him, who did not have any formal traditional education, thus, He was under the immediate supervision of Allah, glory to Him. Revelation came whenever there was need. At the onset of Muhammad’s, peace upon him, prophetic life revelations trickled down in exquisite scholarly fashion that mesmerized the listeners and even enthused them to repeat and learn them by heart. Problems beset the group of believers as they grew in number, in years as a group and in scope of invitation to the religion, somehow, Allah, glory to Him, Allah was always there to the rescue in the form of revelations instructing the prophet, peace upon him, on the right direction to take. Even the meager questions which when raised by the followers and the prophet, peace upon him, could not decide, he would turn to Allah, glory to Him, for indeed all decisions rest upon His mercy and might. Thirteen years into the mission, the group of the prophet met obstacles in Mecca so they have to move out to a land called Medina, under the direction of the Most High, Allah. Arm encounters were many to be accounted, but, the movement led by the prophet, peace upon him, brought in many victories. The only occasions they lost were when they failed to obey Allah’s guidance as revealed to the prophet, peace upon him. Many more events were hurdled, but to some difficult situations the revelation would also come like a terse command or a blistering rhetoric. Other revelations in some way are likened to a royal decree while there are those that are teaching values, methods of putting up a community and a state. There were also those that give concrete directions on how to deal with charlatans the people of the book, the aggressive authorities and their followers. It teaches trained and bestowed specific procedure on carrying out messengerial activities. A number of revelations bestowed lessons for their direction and perception of weaknesses and another would be an encouragement to surrender their lives, ownerships and stewardships in the way of the Most High. In eloquence, other disclosures taught the moral lessons they needed in defeat and victory, adversity and prosperity, war and peace. Apparently, the various chapters and various verses were revealed as a comprehensible need of the movement arose. Therefore, it is obvious that definitely the Holy Qur’an is unlike any other
work of art. There is no pattern as to the kind of revelation coming in a series. There were those that were meant to immediately deliver, to address and broadcast as it is deemed occasioned. The differing lengths of the Qur’anic surah or chapters and verses are not meant for publication purposes. It was to be read in the most exquisite rendition to match its eloquence and elegance.
The prophetic job of Muhammad, peace upon him, was one very special yet awesome work that was to hand down the messages of Allah, glory upon Allah, with charm to the passion and to the intelligence at the same time, traversing and surmounting all odds on line. It was meant to be learned by heart, a lasting imprint, a remembrance that was supposed to be there everlastingly. It was a shield to be forever harnessed to the ends of men and women here and in the hereafter. As a human leader, the prophet has to teach, train and practice his followers to develop determination, will and self-confidence, strong enough to carry out every task given them. It is for these reasons that the messages in the Qur’an can not fit to any human traditional pattern for it was sent as a consequence. Thus, to search for specific style and patterns is a work of vanity. It is just like chasing after the wind. In the final analysis, the Qur’an, though it is filled with mysticism to those who do not believe, yet it unceasingly invites everyone who wishes to change their lot. Allah, glory upon Him, said:
This is the book;
In it is guidance sure, without doubt,
To those who fear God (The Holy Qur’an 2:2)
“Iqraa!”-which being interpreted may mean “Read!” or “Proclaim!” or “Recite!”
The unlettered Apostle was puzzled;
He could not read. The Angel seemed
To press him to his breast in a close embrace,
And the cry rang clear “Iqraa!”
And so it happened three times; until
The first overpowering sensation yielded
To a collected grasp of the words which made clear
His Mission; its Author, God the Creator,
Its subject, Man, God’s wondrous handiwork,
Capable, by Grace, of rising to heights sublime;
And the instrument of that mission, the sanctified Pen,
And the sanctified Book, the Gift of God,
Which men might read, or write, or study, or treasure in their souls
(The Holy Qur’an 9).
Ali, Abdullah Yusuf. The Holy Qur’an: English Transliteration. 3rd ed. Beirut,
Lebanon: Dar Al Arabia, co. 1938.