Dr. Farouk, who are you trying to fool

I read with full astonishment on how the self appointed academic and Muslim thinker Dr Farouk Musa of Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF) trying to fool a bunch of audience who are probably clueless about the subject of his discussion. Dr. Farouk Musa in the forum claimed that that Muslim extremism is the result of reading problematic Quran translation, citing the translation by Dr. Muhsin Khan & Dr. Taqi-ud-Din Hilali as example. Below is the excerpt of what reported in Malaysian Insider:

Farouk said the Hilali-Khan translation was now one of the most widely available, in mosques, schools and English translations were given to haj pilgrims in Mecca.

A key feature of the Hilali-Khan translation is that it inserts many parentheses in the middle of the verses. These parentheses contain the author’s interpretations of what a particular word or phrase might mean.

“Instead of clarifying the text or explaining a word that cannot be easily explained in English, these comments make the text difficult to follow and often distort, rather than amplify the meaning,” said Farouk, who is also founder and director of the IRF.

An example, said Farouk, was the opening surah or chapter called Al-Fatihah, the most widely recited in individual prayers and public ceremonies.

The last verse of the Al Fatihah, a translation by Sahih International reads:

“Guide us to the straight path, The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour, not of those who have evoked (Your) anger or of those who are astray.”

But the Hilali-Khan translation inserts these words:

“Guide us to the straight path, The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour, not of those who have evoked (Your) anger (the Jews) or of those who are astray (the Christians).”

“This basically gives the impression that the Quran denounces Jews and Christians. Obviously, this is a great untruth.”

The danger was that Muslims read the interpretations in the Hilali-Khan translation and thought these words were part of the Quran itself, said Farouk.

The Hilali-Khan translation, Farouk said, was being distributed by Saudi religious authorities with money from its oil-rich government.

“I believe that propaganda such as the Hilali-Khan translation and other materials coming out of Saudi Arabia are one of the major root causes that feed extremist ideas among Muslims, violence against Christians and other minorities,” said Farouk.

Let us dissect his arguments.

Dr. Farouk claim that the injected words between parentheses are the author’s interpretation of what a particular word might mean. This is a blatant simplistic accusation. He could get away with it probably because he was talking to an audience who are clueless about the subject of Quran translation and interpretation. How many of his audience have ever heard of that name Hilali-Khan? How many of them actually know the method in interpreting the Quran? What make the matter worse is that these clueless people are made to believe that prominent Quran translation is full of injection by author’s opinion.

Let us look at the example given. He claimed that the word Jew and Christian are added in parentheses as the author’s opinion to give the impression that Quran denounces Jews and Christians. Now the question is who are those who evoked (God) anger and who are those that are astray? Probably supporters of PR will say it is BN and supporters of BN will say it is PR.

But if we care to dig in to the full interpretation of the verse, one will find that there are many supporting text from the Quran as well as the hadith of the prophet S.A.W. that explain the group that evoked anger and the astray.

In the verse Al-Maidah 60
Say, “Shall I inform you of [what is] worse than that as penalty from Allah ? [It is that of] those whom Allah has cursed and with whom He became angry and made of them apes and pigs and slaves of Taghut. Those are worse in position and further astray from the sound way.”

It is obvious for those who know about the Quran that this verse is targeted to the Jew because the incident is an event that happened among the Jew. So we are more clear about who are the people that evoked God’s anger.

In the verse Al-Maidah 77
Say, “O People of the Scripture, do not exceed limits in your religion beyond the truth and do not follow the inclinations of a people who had gone astray before and misled many and have strayed from the soundness of the way.”

If we follow the verses before and after Al-Maidah 77, it is obvious that the topic is related to the Christians. So we are more clear about who are the astray.

Then there are numerous hadith from the prophet S.A.W. that explain these group of people.

When the prophet S.A.W. was asked: Who are those who evoked Allah’s anger? The prophet S.A.W. answered the Jew. When he was asked: Who are those who has gone astray? The prophet S.A.W. said the Nasara (Christian). (Tafsir Ibnu Kathir Volume I / 32 )

Verily the Jews are those angered and Nasara are the people who have gone astray
[From At-Tirmidzi in his Sunan no: 4029]

So, in conclusion, Jews and Christians are not mere opinion of the translator, but they are the amplification (as what he rightly mentioned) of the meaning based on more comprehensive interpretation from authentic text. Either our Dr. Farouk is ignorant about it or was he trying to subjugate (or rather fooling) the audience by providing misleading fact?

I am also astonished by his claim (or rather accusation) that the translation like Hilal-Khan is the major root cause for ideas among Muslims, violence against Christians and other minorities. Was he so desperate to sound academic? First, he has to show us an instance in  modern time that Muslim commit violence against Christians and other minorities. What we know is the opposite which I do not have to elaborate further. Saudi Arabia, as he repeatedly accused hosted millions of non-Muslim expat from all around the world, who are enjoying every inch of the security, protection and prosperity of the country. Where is all the violent as he tried to accuse? Well he might cite IS as example, but since when IS is a government and has a minority of non-Muslim for them to commit violent? Probably I think he would suggest BN-UMNO to give us a good laugh.

My last advice to Dr. Farouk, please pick your audience. You are a neurosurgeon. Don’t go to a bunch of liberal art students to talk about your neurosurgery procedures. The are clueless and will not be able to tell what you said is right or wrong. Be a man. Speak to the right audience, not a bunch of clueless people to make you sound intelligent among them.

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