Even though you really need to be a master of both Arabic and English languages, and preferably also have a strong background in some of the Qur’anic sciences such as Hadith and Tafsir, to arrive at sound conclusions, a good grasp of the English language alone will in many cases raise serious questions in your mind about how far removed the translations are from the original text.
No, my characterization of Hadith as a Qur’anic science is not inadvertent. To me it is self-evident that there can be no better commentary of the Qur’an than the Hadith – mostly words of Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam. Scholars of Islam generally consider the Hadith as the second most important commentary on the Qur’an, next only to the Qur’an itself, parts of which provide a most amazing and miraculous commentary on some other parts.
6. Example Six – An English translation of Shikwah and Jawaab-e-Shikwah by Iqbal.
But why go that far and use a translation of divine communication as an example? Why not just pick up a copy of the English translation from Urdu of Iqbal’s all-too-human Shikwah and Jawaab-e-Shikwah by Kushwant Singh and see for yourself.
Singh is a renowned author, journalist and linguist and his translation is hailed by many as the best. But, as I said earlier, read it carefully and judge for yourself. See if it comes anywhere near the original and how in more than one place the English translation seems to miss the point of the original Urdu text completely.
Of course to be able to make that judgment you need to be very, very good not only in English but also in Urdu and Farsi.
But the broad point I am making is this: Anyone with an unbiased mind can see that as communication Qur’an is in a class all by itself. There is nothing like it in the annals of human thought and discourse. Nor can anyone produce anything like it no matter how hard they try.
This is an empirical conclusion and it is inescapably forced upon us by facts on the table regardless of whether or not someone believes the Qur’an is from God.
Qur’an Uses Most Precise Language: Another Living Miracle
No ordinary or scholarly (technical) document uses language more carefully, precisely and responsibly than does the Qur’an.
But after years and years – call it decade after decade – of systematic reasoning, research, analysis, agonizing and soul searching, I owe it to myself and to my readers to confess what I consider to be my rational and firmly held belief that it seems well nigh impossible to top or even match the Qur’an in saying what it says and how it says it. To get a sense of what I am saying, just go back and carefully review all the things I listed in the previous paragraphs.
Otherwise, how is it that no one in past or present has been able to produce a document like the Qur’an in part of full, even though the Qur’an itself repeatedly challenges all of humanity to try their hand at it and match the Qur’an in form or content or both?
It is clear that this is as much proof as human beings are ever likely to have in this world of the totally divine nature of the Qur’an. That means the only reason no one is able to meet the challenge of the Qur’an throughout history is because the Qur’an is God Almighty’s direct and pristine word in our feeble mortal hands.
But bear in mind that this is only an argument, even though it is quite a logical and powerful one. And for every argument, no matter how strong and seemingly solid, a counterargument of some kind is possible and conceivable.
That is why whether or not the Qur’an is from God is not a matter of pure science or empirical discovery or proof, but, ultimately, a matter of belief – or “faith” as people might call it – even though there is ample logical power and factual support for parts of that argument.
Final Answers Will Come on the Day of Judgment
It is no different from other related questions such as whether or not there is life after death; whether or not there is heaven and hell; and whether or not Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, is really a prophet of God.
None of these questions you can answer in a definitive manner that leaves no room for further doubt or dispute. That is not how Allah wants things to be. Allah is so kind, merciful and respectful of your rights as human beings – rights that he himself granted you – that he does not want to force you into believing anything you do not want to believe.
Did he not say so with crystal clarity in the Qur’an? Here is the Qur’an and my paraphrase of it: Laa ikraaha fiddeen: no coercion of any kind is allowed in matters of belief?
That is why Allah himself says in the Qur’an that people have to wait for the Day of Judgment for the final settlement of many of these beliefs and questions over which they have been fighting and arguing in this world.
Hear the Qur’an say it:
Inna rabbaka huwa yafsilu bainahum yaumal qiyaamati
Feemaa kaanoo feehi yakhtalifoon.
Without a doubt, your master himself will personally settle their
disputes on the Day of Judgment.
On that day, the question will be:
Li-manil mulkul yaum?
Who is the king today? Who in control today? To whom does
power belong today?
The answer will be:
Lillahil waahidil qahhaar!
Of course to God, the one, who has complete power, control
and domination over everything.
Is there a God?
And those disputes and arguments include the most basic question of all as to whether or not there really is a God.