Kaana Yakoonu Fee Mihnati Ahlih!
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur’an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It —
And which One Does Not?)
The first thing that struck me was the sound of it – Kaana Yakoonu Fee Mihnati Ahlih.
I just loved the sound of it. And I repeated it to myself several times. And each time it sounded more sweet, more wonderful.
I was but a child. But my grasp of Arabic language was pretty tolerable.
I had never seen or heard anything like it before. I was fascinated.
And I am to this day, after the passing of several years and decades.
And then when I understood what it meant, I was overwhelmed – totally overpowered by the nature of the concept behind those words:
Kaana Yakoonu Fee Mihnati Ahlih.
At that time, I did not know how to translate this expression, even though I knew what the words meant.
Now, I know not only what those words mean, but also how to come up with a translation that I could be comfortable with.
In the meantime, I had aggressively moved on from “Translation” to “Paraphrase,” when it came to rendering Qur’an and Hadith into English.
I had been working on it for quite a long time – both personally and academically. After much research, I had arrived at the conclusion that rendering text from one language into another was a task fit only for Hercules.
In other words, it was a herculean undertaking, well nigh impossible for others. And I wrote a “scientific” paper for a professional-academic conference showing precisely that.
What I came to realize by this exercise was that the best anyone could do when expressing ideas from one language into another language was to look at it more as a “Paraphrase” than a “Translation.”
From this point of view, it was fair to say that all translations – every single one of them – were in different ways, and to different degrees, nothing but paraphrases.
In other words, strictly speaking, translations were impossible to do and paraphrase was the way to go.
So, I settled down to doing paraphrases, rather than translations, of the Qur’an and Hadith – and of texts from other languages.
So, for the longest time, I tasted and enjoyed the sound of those words Kaana Yakoonu Fee Mihnati Ahlih.
Now, I began to experience the awe and wonderment of the meaning behind those words.
So, how will I paraphrase that most magical expression now? Here it is.
- He used to be busy doing chores for his family.
- He was busy doing things for his family.
- He used to be engaged in the service of his family.
The awe and the wonderment come from the fact that this was the most powerful man on earth at that time.
And he was also the most loved and admired man.
And he was the greatest hero of his time – of all times.
And this is how he used to spend his free times?
- Running errands for his wife and children?
I cannot easily wrap my head around this concept as they say. To me it is nothing short of a miracle, and a most amazing one at that.
A family man to the core?
This is what this man did, and this is how he lived his life?
Doing things for his family whenever and however he could, whenever he had a “free” moment.
Kaana Yakoonu Fee Mihnati Ahlih?
A man who was the most powerful and popular leader in the history of humanity?
A man who spent most of his life praying and worshipping God – during day as well as during night?
A man who was the head of state?
A man who was the chief-of-staff of armed forces?
A man who was the chief justice of the realm?
A man who was a personal friend and guide and counselor to tens of thousands of his followers, whom he called his “Companions” and friends?
This man, such a man, he spent his free time:
- Attending to, and taking care of, the needs and requirements of his family?
What a man!
Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam!
Whether or not he was God’s messenger to the human race, people can debate all they want.
That is their right, by virtue of having been born as human beings.
And that is a right given to them by their creator – God Almighty: Allah, Jalla Jalaaluhu!
But empirically speaking – based on facts on the ground – there certainly does not appear to have been a more amazing human being ever on the face of this earth.
In the entire history of the human race!