Widgetized Section

Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone

Forty different simultaneous translations of the Holy Quran in English

Posted by

Quran

First of all let me thank G. Waleed Kavalec, who has made the site with at least forty different translations.  Having said that let me thank Allah, the Gracious and the most Merciful, for giving me this tool, to be able to compare and contrast, to learn and bring out a few insights from the Holy Quran.  Today, I want to talk about a verse of Sura Baqarah: 2:261.

This site has collected scores of English translations of the Holy Quran.  It is a quick tool to compare and contrast a host of them.  The verse I have chosen as a test case from Sura Baqarah shows the beauty and elegance of the Ahmadiyya translation and concrete and literal thinking of many a Sunni Muslim scholars, especially from Pakistan.  It seems more and more scholars have accepted the Ahmadiyya way of translating, if you read the forty different translations of this verse below.  However, dramatic contrast is still visible between Ahmadiyya translation and those by Yusuf Ali and Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maududi, two commonly read translators from Indo-Pakistan:

Alislam.org

And remember when Abraham said, ‘My Lord, show me how Thou givest life to the dead.’ He said, ‘Hast thou not believed?’ He said, ‘Yes, but I ask this that my heart may be at rest.’ He answered, ‘Take four birds and make them attached to thyself. Then put each of them on a hill; then call them; they will come to thee in haste. And know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.’ (2:261)

Yusuf Ali

When Abraham said: “Show me, Lord, how You will raise the dead, ” He replied: “Have you no faith?” He said “Yes, but just to reassure my heart.” Allah said, “Take four birds, draw them to you, and cut their bodies to pieces. Scatter them over the mountain-tops, then call them back. They will come swiftly to you. Know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.” (2:260)

Maulana Syed Abul Ala Maududi

Call to mind the other event also, when Abraham said, “My Lord, show me how Thou bringest the dead back to life?” He said “Have you no faith in this?” Abraham humbly replied, “I do believe but I ask this to reassure my heart.” Allah said, “Well, take four birds and tame them with yourself and then (cut them into pieces) and place a piece of each of them on each hill. Then call them and they will come running to you; know this for certain that Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.” (2:260)

Whereas, the Ahmadiyya translation brings out this verse as a teaching to make friends and influence people.  Yusuf Ali’s and Maududi ‘s translations aim at scattering minced meat of birds on different hilltops and then hope for a miracle, never seen before and without any hope for future fruition of minced meat changing into living birds! By translating this verse literally and concretely, without wisdom, likes of Yusuf Ali and Maududi, make the Word of God, into a joke.  God Forbid!

Arabic Source and Roman Transliteration

Arabic

وَإِذْ قَالَ إِبْرَاهِيمُ رَبِّ أَرِنِي كَيْفَ تُحْيِي الْمَوْتَىٰ ۖ قَالَ أَوَلَمْ تُؤْمِن ۖ قَالَ بَلَىٰ وَلَٰكِن لِّيَطْمَئِنَّ قَلْبِي ۖ قَالَ فَخُذْ أَرْبَعَةً مِّنَ الطَّيْرِ فَصُرْهُنَّ إِلَيْكَ ثُمَّ اجْعَلْ عَلَىٰ كُلِّ جَبَلٍ مِّنْهُنَّ جُزْءًا ثُمَّ ادْعُهُنَّ يَأْتِينَكَ سَعْيًا ۚ وَاعْلَمْ أَنَّ اللَّهَ عَزِيزٌ حَكِيمٌ

zoom
Transliteration Wa-ith qala ibraheemu rabbi arinee kayfa tuhyee almawta qala awa lam tu/min qala bala walakin liyatma-inna qalbee qala fakhuth arbaAAatan mina alttayri fasurhunna ilayka thumma ijAAal AAala kulli jabalin minhunna juz-an thumma odAAuhunna ya/teenaka saAAyan waiAAlam anna Allaha AAazeezun hakeemun zoom

 

Generally Accepted Translations

Muhammad Asad And, lo, Abraham said: “O my Sustainer! Show me how Thou givest life unto the dead!” Said He: “Hast thou, then, no faith?” (Abraham) answered: “Yea, but [let me see it] so that my heart may be set fully at rest.” Said He: “Take, then, four birds and teach them to obey thee; then place them separately on every hill [around thee]; then summon them: they will come flying to thee. And know that God is almighty, wise.” zoom
M. M. Pickthall And when Abraham said (unto his Lord): My Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead, He said: Dost thou not believe? Abraham said: Yea, but (I ask) in order that my heart may be at ease. (His Lord) said: Take four of the birds and cause them to incline unto thee, then place a part of them on each hill, then call them, they will come to thee in haste, and know that Allah is Mighty, Wise. zoom
Shakir And when Ibrahim said: My Lord! show me how Thou givest life to the dead, He said: What! and do you not believe? He said: Yes, but that my heart may be at ease. He said: Then take four of the birds, then train them to follow you, then place on every mountain a part of them, then call them, they will come to you flying; and know that Allah is Mighty, Wise. zoom
Yusuf Ali When Abraham said: “Show me, Lord, how You will raise the dead, ” He replied: “Have you no faith?” He said “Yes, but just to reassure my heart.” Allah said, “Take four birds, draw them to you, and cut their bodies to pieces. Scatter them over the mountain-tops, then call them back. They will come swiftly to you. Know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.” zoom
Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar And mention when Abraham said: My Lord! Cause me to see how Thou wilt give life to the dead. He said: Wilt thou not believe? He said: Yea, but so my heart be at rest. He said: Again, take four birds, and twist them to thyself. Again, lay a part of them on every mountain. Again, call to them. They will approach thee coming eagerly. And know thou that God is Almighty, Wise. zoom
Wahiduddin Khan When Abraham said, Show me, my Lord, how You revive the dead! God said, Do you not believe? Abraham answered, Yes, indeed I do believe, but just to reassure my heart. Then God said, Take four birds, and train them to come back to you. Then place them separately on each hilltop, and call them: they will come flying to you. Know that God is almighty and wise. zoom
T.B.Irving When Abraham said: “My Lord, show me how You revive the dead;” He said: “Why, do you not believe?” He said: “Of course [I do], but just to set my heart at ease.” He said: “Take four [kinds] of birds and train them to [follow] you; then place a part of them on every mountain. Then call them; they will come to you at once. Know that God is Powerful, Wise.” zoom
[Al-Muntakhab] And Ibrahim spoke to Allah and said: “O Allah, my Creator, show me how you bring the dead back to life!” Allah said: “Do you not assent to the truth of Resurrection?” “Indeed I do,” said Ibrahim, “this is not to satisfy doubts but to satisfy my reason and heart and become a better man.” “Then,” said Allah, “take four birds and train them to get accustomed to you. Then, “Tie them, kill them, cut them into pieces, then place each piece on a different hill, and call them to you and they shall swiftly take wing, and this should cause you to realise that Allah is indeed Azizun and Hakimun”. zoom
[Progressive Muslims] And Abraham said: “My Lord, show me how you resurrect the dead.” He said: “Do you not already believe” He said: “I do, but it is so my heart can be relieved.” He said: “Choose four birds, then cut them, then place parts of the birds on each mountain, then call them to you; they will come racing towards you. And know that God is Noble, Wise”. zoom
Abdel Haleem And when Abraham said, ‘My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead,’ He said, ‘Do you not believe, then?’ ‘Yes,’ said Abraham, ‘but just to put my heart at rest.’ So God said, ‘Take four birds and train them to come back to you. Then place them on separate hilltops, call them back, and they will come flying to you: know that God is all powerful and wise.’ zoom
Abdul Majid Daryabadi And recall what time Ibrahim Said: my Lord! shew me how Thou wiltquicken the dead. He said: belie Vest thou not! He said: O Yea but that my heart may rest at ease. He said: take then thou four of the birds, and incline them towards thee, and then put a part thereof on each hill, and thereafter call them; they will come unto thee speeding. And know thou that verily Allah is Mighty, Wise. zoom
Ahmed Ali And when Abraham said: “My Lord, show me how you revive/make alive the deads.” He said: “Did you not believe?” he said: “Yes/certainly, and but (for) my heart/mind to (be) assured/secure (E).” He (Abraham) said: “So take four from the birds, so take them (F) close to you, then put on every mountain from them (F) a part/portion, then call them (F), they come (F) (to) you fast , and know that God isglorious/mighty/powerful/dignified, wise/judicious.” (NOTICE USE OF FEMININE IN THE PRECEDING VERSE) zoom
Aisha Bewley When Ibrahim said, ´My Lord, show me how You bring the dead to life.´ He asked, ´Do you not then have iman?´ He replied, ´Indeed I do! But so that my heart may be at peace.´ He said, ´Take four birds and train them to yourself. Then put a part of them on each mountain and call to them; they will come rushing to you. Know that Allah is Almighty, All-Wise.´ zoom
Ali Ünal And recall when Abraham said: “My Lord, show me how You will restore life to the dead!” God said: “Why? Do you not believe?” Abraham said: “Yes, but that my heart may be at rest.” He (his Lord) said: “Then take four of the birds (of different kinds), and tame them to yourself to know them fully. Then (cut them into pieces and mix the pieces with each other, and) put on every one of the hills a piece from each, and then summon them, and they will come to you flying. Know that surely God is All-Glorious with irresistible might, All-Wise. zoom
Ali Quli Qara’i And when Abraham said, ‘My Lord! Show me how You revive the dead,’ He said, ‘Do you not believe?’ He said, ‘Yes indeed, but in order that my heart may be at rest.’ He said, ‘Take four of the birds. Then cut them into pieces, and place a part of them on every mountain, then call them; they will come to you hastening. And know that Allah is all-mighty and all-wise.’ zoom
Amatul Rahman Omar And (recall the time) when Abraham said, `My Lord! show me how You give life to the dead.’ (The Lord) said, `Do you not believe (that I can)?’ He said, `Yes I do, but (I ask this) that my mind may be at peace.’ (The Lord) said, `Take four birds and make them attached to you, then put them each on a separate hill, then call them, they will come to you swiftly. And know that Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.’ zoom
Hamid S. Aziz And when Abraham said, “Lord, show me how you will revive the dead,” He said, “What, do you not yet believe?” Said he, “Yea, but that my heart may be quieted.” He said, “Then take four birds, and take them close to yourself (tame them or make them love you); then put some of them on every hill; then call them, and they will come to you in haste; and know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.” zoom
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali And as Ibrahim (Abraham) said, “Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead.” He Allah) said, “And have you not believed?” He (Ibrahim) said, “Yes indeed, but that my heart be composed.” Said He, “So take four of the birds, then wring them to you (and divide them); thereafter set a portion of them on every mountain; thereafter call them; they will come up to you with hasty diligence (and) know that Allah is Ever-Mighty, Ever-Wise.” zoom
Muhammad Sarwar When Abraham prayed, “Lord, show me how you bring the dead back to life,” the Lord said, “Do you not yet believe?” Abraham replied, “I believe but want more confidence for my heart.” God told him, “Take four birds, induce them to come to you, cut and scatter their bodies leaving parts on every mountain top, then call them and they will swiftly come to you.” Know that God is Majestic and Wise. zoom
Muhammad Taqi Usmani (Remember) when Ibrahim said: .My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead. He said: .Is it that you do not believe?‘‘ He said: .Of course, I do, but it is just to make my heart at peace.‘‘ He said: .Then take four birds and tame them to your call, then put on every mountain a part from them, then give them a call, and they shall come to you rushing, and know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.‘‘ zoom
Shabbir Ahmed Abraham wanted to understand the Law of Revival of nations. Allah asked him if he believed that it were possible. Abraham said he believed but that he wanted a practical example to educate his heart and mind. Allah told him to take four birds and train them in a kind manner, and then to leave them far apart on each hilltop. And then call them; they will come in haste. (At one call of Abraham, those birds came flying back to him. This is how mankind can be brought to the Word of Allah with decent training, giving them a new life). Know that this Wisdom comes to you from Allah, the Almighty, the Wise. zoom
Syed Vickar Ahamed And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said: “My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead:” He (Allah) said: “Do you not believe then?” He (Ibrahim) said: “Yes! But to satisfy my own understanding.” He (Allah) said: “Take four birds; Tame them to turn (fly) to you; (Slaughter them into pieces and) put a portion of them (the birds) on every hill, and (then) call to them they will come to you (flying) with speed. Then know that Allah is Highest in Power, Wise.” zoom
Umm Muhammad (Sahih International) And [mention] when Abraham said, “My Lord, show me how You give life to the dead.” [ Allah ] said, “Have you not believed?” He said, “Yes, but [I ask] only that my heart may be satisfied.” [ Allah ] said, “Take four birds and commit them to yourself. Then [after slaughtering them] put on each hill a portion of them; then call them – they will come [flying] to you in haste. And know that Allah is Exalted in Might and Wise.” zoom
Farook Malik Yet another example is when Abraham said: “My Lord! Show me how you give life to the dead.” He replied: “Have you no faith in this?” Abraham humbly submitted: “Yes! But I ask this to reassure my heart.” Allah said: “Take four birds; train them to follow your direction, cut their bodies into pieces and scatter those pieces on hilltops, then call them back; Allah will bring them back to life and they will come to you right away. Thus you will know that Allah is All-powerful and Wise.” zoom
Dr. Munir Munshey And (remember) when Ibraheem said, “My Lord, (would you) show me how you will raise the dead back to life?” (Allah) said, “Do you not believe?” (Ibraheem) said, “(I ask) so my heart may rest assured.” (Allah) said, “Take four birds, and (tame and) train them to (respond to) your call. Then, (cut them up and) place each piece on a (different) mountain. Then call them. They will (respond and) come to you in a hurry. Know (and be sure) that Allah is indeed the most Powerful, and the Wisest!” zoom
Tahir-ul-Qadri Mohammad And (also recall the event) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said: ´My Lord, show me how You bring the dead to life.´ Allah said: ´Do you not have faith?´ He submitted: ´Why not! (I do believe,) but (I wish) my heart is blessed with gratifying calm.´ Allah ordained: ´Well, take four birds and tame them to feel attached to you; then (slaughter them and) place a piece of each of them on each hill; then call them. They will come to you at high speed. And know that surely Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.´ zoom

 

Additional Muslim Translations

Bijan Moeinian Abraham, too, asked such a question from his Lord. God said to him “Do you doubt me?” He replied: “Not at all; I simply want to see it with my own eyes.” God said: “Take four birds and tame them with yourself. Then cut them into pieces and place a piece on each hill. Then call them and they will come running to you in one piece. Then know for sure that God is Almighty, All-Wise.” zoom
Faridul Haque And when Ibrahim said, “My Lord! Show me how You will give life to the dead”; He said, “Are you not certain (of it)?” Ibrahim said, “Surely yes, why not? But because I wish to put my heart at ease”; He said, “Therefore take four birds (as pets) and cause them to become familiar to you, then place a part of each of them on separate hills, then call them – they will come running towards you; and know well that Allah is Almighty, Wise.” (Prophet Ibrahim called the dead birds and they did come running towards him.) zoom
Hasan Al-Fatih Qaribullah And (remember) when Abraham said: ‘Show me, Lord, how You raise the dead, ‘ He replied: ‘Have you not believed? ‘ ‘Rather, ‘ said Abraham, ‘in order that my heart be satisfied. ‘ ‘Take four birds, ‘ said He, ‘draw them to you, then set a part of them on every hill, then call them, they will come swiftly to you. Know that Allah is Mighty and Wise. ‘ zoom
Maulana Muhammad Ali And when Abraham said, My Lord, show me how Thou givest life to the dead, He said: Dost thou not believe? He said: Yes, but that my heart may be at ease. He said: Then take four birds, then tame them to incline to thee, then place on every mountain a part of them, then class them, they will come to thee flying; and know that Allah is Mighty, Wise. zoom
Muhammad Ahmed – Samira Remember, when Abraham said: “O Lord, show me how you raise the dead,” He said: “What! Do you not believe?” “I do,” answered Abraham. “I only ask for my heart’s assurance.” (The Lord) said: “Trap four birds and tame them, then put each of them on a (separate) hill, and call them, and they will come flying to you. Know that God is all-powerful and all-wise.” zoom
Sher Ali And remember when Abraham said, `My Lord, show me how THOU givest life to the dead.’ God said, `Dost thou not believe?’ Abraham said, `Yes, but I ask this that my heart may be at ease.’ God answered, `Take four birds and make them attached to thee. Then put each of them on a hill; then call them; they will come to thee in haste.’ And know that ALLAH is Mighty and Wise. zoom
Yusuf Ali (org.) Behold! Abraham said: “My Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead.” He said: “Dost thou not then believe?” He said: “Yea! but to satisfy My own undertaking.” He said: “Take four birds; Tame them to turn to thee; put a portion of them on every hill and call to them: They will come to thee (Flying) with speed. Then know that God is Exalted in Power, Wise.” zoom
Rashad Khalifa Abraham said, “My Lord, show me how You revive the dead.” He said, “Do you not believe?” He said, “Yes, but I wish to reassure my heart.” He said, “Take four birds, study their marks, place a piece of each bird on top of a hill, then call them to you. They will come to you in a hurry. You should know that GOD is Almighty, Most Wise.” zoom
Dr. Kamal Omar And when Ibrahim said: “My Nourisher-Sustainer! Show me how you give life to the dead.” (Allah) said: “What? Don’t you Believe?” (Ibrahim) said: “Definitely (I Believe, but) so that my heart feels satisfaction.” (Allah) said: “Take four, out of the birds; then train them to return to you (on your call). Then put, on every hill, out of these (four ones) a portion (thereof). Then give them a call, they will come to you (flying) with speed. And know that Allah is Exalted in Power, Ever-Wise.” zoom
Hilali & Khan And (remember) when Ibrahim (Abraham) said, “My Lord! Show me how You give life to the dead.” He (Allah) said: “Do you not believe?” He (Ibrahim (Abraham)) said: “Yes (I believe), but to be stronger in Faith.” He said: “Take four birds, then cause them to incline towards you (then slaughter them, cut them into pieces), and then put a portion of them on every hill, and call them, they will come to you in haste. And know that Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” zoom
Maududi Call to mind the other event also, when Abraham said, “My Lord, show me how Thou bringest the dead back to life?” He said “Have you no faith in this?” Abraham humbly replied, “I do believe but I ask this to reassure my heart.” Allah said, “Well, take four birds and tame them with yourself and then (cut them into pieces) and place a piece of each of them on each hill. Then call them and they will come running to you; know this for certain that Allah is All-Powerful, All-Wise.” zoom

 

Non-Muslim and/or Orientalist works

Arthur John Arberry And when Abraham said, ‘My Lord, show me how Thou wilt give life to the dead,’ He said, ‘Why, dost thou not believe?’ ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘but that my heart may be at rest.’ Said He, ‘Take four birds, and twist them to thee, then set a part of them on every hill, then summon them, and they will come to thee running. And do thou know that God is All-mighty, All-wise.’ zoom
Edward Henry Palmer And when Abraham said, ‘Lord, show me how thou wilt revive the dead,’ He said, ‘What, dost thou not yet believe?’ Said he, ‘Yea, but that my heart may be quieted.’ He said, ‘Then take four birds, and take them close to thyself; then put a part of them on every mountain; then call them, and they will come to thee in haste; and know that God is mighty, wise.’ zoom
George Sale And when Abraham said, O Lord, shew me how thou wilt raise the dead; God said, dost thou not yet believe? He answered, yea; but I ask this that my heart may rest at ease. God said, take therefore four birds, and divide them; then lay a part of them on every mountain; then call them, and they shall come swiftly unto thee: And know that God is mighty and wise. zoom
John Medows Rodwell When Abraham said, “O Lord, shew me how thou wilt give life to the dead!” He said, “Hast thou not believed?” He said, “Yes; but I have asked thee, that my heart may be well assured.” He said, “Take, then, four birds, and draw them towards thee, and cut them in pieces; then place a part of them on every mountain; then call them and they shall come swiftly to thee: and know thou that God is Might, Wise!” zoom

http://www.islamawakened.com/quran/2/260/default.htm

 

Posted by on February 4, 2012. Filed under Ahmadiyyat: True Islam,Islam,Quran. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

9 Responses to Forty different simultaneous translations of the Holy Quran in English

  1. Zia H. Shah

    February 4, 2012 at 6:47 am

    Let me make a suggestion for G. Waleed Kavalec, who has made the website used in this post, to please consider adding translation by Sir Zafrulla Khan as well. In my opinion it is one of the best translations in English.

    May Allah make G. Waleed Kavalec stumble upon this comment and inspire him to include Sir Zafrulla Khan as well, to make his resource even better.

    Translation by him is available in Amazon.com

  2. Zia H. Shah

    February 4, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    The best translation by a non-Muslim is one by Arthur John Arberry. According to Wikipedia:

    Arthur John Arberry (Portsmouth, May 12, 1805 – Cambridge, October 2, 1969) was a respected British orientalist. A most prolific scholar of Arabic, Persian, and Islamic studies, he was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School and Pembroke College, Cambridge. Formerly Head of the Department of Classics at Cairo University in Egypt, Arberry returned home to become the Assistant Librarian at the Library of the India Office. During the war he was a Postal Censor in Liverpool[citation needed] and was then seconded to the Ministry of Information, London which was housed in the newly-constructed Senate House of the University of London. Arberry was appointed to the Chair of Persian at the School of Oriental and African Studies SOAS, University of London 1944-47. He subsequently became the Sir Thomas Adams’s Professor of Arabic at Cambridge University and a Fellow of Pembroke College, Cambridge, his alma mater, from 1947 until his death in 1969.

  3. Haidre

    February 5, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    Good idea. I would be definitely interested in knowing how various scholars, especially the Arab scholars, translate the words
    ” Tawaffa”,”Rafaa” and “Khatm”.
    Hope you will cover this aspect soon.
    Thanks.
    Haidre.

  4. Learn Quran

    February 10, 2012 at 11:35 am

    It is one of the miracles of the Holy Quran that it has an impact on hearts even though if someone doesn’t know a single word of the Holy Quran. It is a wajib listening to the Quran when someone recites it. It has been observed that many people don’t pay attention to the Holy Quran when it is recited, there has to be Live Quran programs in order to teach the Quran ethics.

  5. Najma A.

    April 17, 2013 at 10:03 am

    Jazakallah, brother Zia, a very good venture.
    Haidre has a good suggestion, will help a lot of people with the interpretation.

  6. Peter Staniczenko

    July 27, 2014 at 6:30 am

    Assalam alaikum Brother Zia

    Forty different simultaneous translations of the Holy Quran in English

    1. Thank you for a most informative article. Unfortunately, the article contains a number of inaccuracies which are very damaging to the reputation of Brother Yusuf Ali and discredits what is one of the finest translations and commentaries of the Holy Qur’an. Let me explain.

    2. For verse 2:260, you provided the following translation for Yusuf Ali:
    When Abraham said: “Show me, Lord, how You will raise the dead,” He replied: “Have you no faith?” He said “Yes, but just to reassure my heart.” Allah said, “Take four birds, draw them to you, and cut their bodies to pieces. Scatter them over the mountain-tops, then call them back. They will come swiftly to you. Know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.” (2:260)

    And you go on to write:
    By translating this verse literally and concretely, without wisdom, likes of Yusuf Ali and Maududi, make the Word of God, into a joke. God Forbid!

    3. “The Holy Qur’an – Text, Translation and Commentary” by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, New Revised Edition published 1989 by Amana Corporation USA, is a revision of Yusuf Ali’s work first published in 1934 and updated for the third and final time in 1938. In the Amana edition, verse 2:260 is translated as follows:
    Behold! Abraham said: “My Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead (306).” He said: “Dost thou not then believe?” He said: “Yea! but to satisfy My own understanding (307).” He said: “Take four birds; Tame them to turn to thee; put a portion (308) of them on every hill and call to them: They will come to thee (Flying) with speed. Then know that Allah is Exalted in Power, Wise.”

    The commentary under note (308) is given as follows:
    A portion of them: Juz’an. The Commentators understand this to mean that the birds were to be cut up and pieces of them were to be put on the hills. The cutting up or killing is not mentioned, but they say that it is implied by an ellipsis, as the question is how Allah gives life to the dead. (R).

    Here, the reference to cutting-up the birds is to be found only in the note, which has been revised by the editor as signified by the symbol “(R)”.

    4. “The Holy Qur’an – Text, Translation and Commentary” by A.Yusuf Ali, published 1975 by The Islamic Foundation in Leicester United Kingdom, is a reproduction of the 3rd edition produced by Yusuf Ali in 1938. In this edition, verse 2:260 is translated as follows:
    Behold! Abraham said: “My Lord! Show me how Thou givest life to the dead (306).” He said: “Dost thou not then believe?” He said: “Yea! but to satisfy My own understanding (307).” He said: “Take four birds; Tame them to turn to thee; put a portion (308) of them on every hill and call to them: They will come to thee (Flying) with speed. Then know that God is Exalted in Power, Wise.”

    The only difference between this and the Amana version is the replacement of “God” by the more appropriate “Allah”. However, note (308) in Yusuf Ali’s original version reads as follows:
    A “portion” of them: Juz-an. The Commentators understand this to mean that the birds were to be cut up and pieces of them were to be put on the hills. The cutting up or killing is not mentioned, but they say that it is implied by an ellipsis, as the question is how God gives life to the dead. Of the modern Muslim Commentators, M.P is non-committal, but H.G.S and M.M.A understand that the birds were not killed, but that “a portion” here means a unit, single birds were placed on the hills, and they flew to the one who tamed them. This last view commends itself to me, as the cutting up of the birds to pieces is nowhere mentioned, unless we understand the word for “taming” in an unusual and almost impossible sense.

    This clearly demonstrates Brother Yusuf Ali’s interpretation is very different to that which has been assigned to him in your article. I encourage you to make every effort to communicate the errors in your article and Insha’Allah, restore the reputation and dignity of a deceased Muslim.

    Peter Staniczenko, Southampton UK, 27 July 2014

  7. Zia Shah

    July 27, 2014 at 10:54 am

    Thank you Peter Staniczenko for your kind comment.

    I am glad if Yusuf Ali corrected himself. The translation, I gave here is not from me but the website, which has all these translations.

    If I find an opportunity to check out these different editions, by Yusuf Ali, I will do that.

    Thanks

  8. Peter Staniczenko

    July 28, 2014 at 9:13 am

    Thank you for undertaking to check the text. Just to clarify, Yusuf Ali has no need to correct himself. His original commentary (see note 308 in my paragraph (4) above) clearly states his interpretation. Any errors in the translation or commentary have been introduced by others.

  9. Ghulam Sarwar

    July 28, 2014 at 10:56 am

    It is a good test case (verse 2:260/251) for the understanding of the Quran.
    It would have been better if the year of first edition of each publication of the different translations had been indicated. Then it could be ascertained as to who had led way to good translation.

    Maudoodi sahib, like his effort of keeping Jesus a.s. alive, he has failed here in the matter of the birds. It is very interesting subject and shows the high level of the Quranic teaching. Please note my comments as follows: I offered these points to a Yamani Arab in Pittsburg, USA. He did not agree and gave many names of very old time Arab scholars who had written that the birds should be killed, must be killed.. He was using the Tafseer ibne Katheer as reference. Please see my important points below:
    1. Hazrat Ibraheem a.s. was directed to call people to turn (return) to Allah, to come for Hajj, to accept Islam, etc…
    2. He found it a difficult task and needed advice from Allah in that matter as to how the task could be achieved.
    3. It was not a question about a physically dead person to come back to life. Such a question was not possible because no dead person was becoming alive and Ibraheem a.s. had never seen any dead man becoming alive. So could never ask such a question.
    4. The question was about how to put life into spiritually dead people.
    5. Allah gave an example to Abraham a.s. Allah said, “Take four birds, tame and train them to yourself to become friendly. Leave them on different mountains. Then call them. They will come to you flying with good haste (effort). Then you will know that Allah is Mighty, Wise.”
    6. It also meant to teach Abraham a.s. “Abraham, Men are men (more wise). Even the birds can be trained to obey. Why the people will not obey you if you give love and affection to them!”
    7. The last part of the verse is very important (Know that Allah is Mighty, Wise). These words are used to preach and convert people. See many verses …. in Surah Juma’a and Baqarah. These words are used when messengers are sent out to teach the book and the wisdom.
    So the verse concerns spiritually dead people.
    Special details of this verse were well understood from the great commentary of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad who explained many things concerning this verse in his commentary “Tafseer Kabeer”.
    The idea that the birds should be killed had been driven into the minds of some old time scholars because the question appeared to be about making alive dead persons. Such a translation is called Tafseer bi ar Raa’aye (product of the thought or mind.)
    It shows Maudoodi sahib also fell face down in this matter due to disregarding the teachings of Ahmadi commentators. Nobody need trust and follow those pseudo reformers.