WHAT ARE WE DOING WITH THESE
WORDS ANYWAY? *
(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?)
Once upon a time – not so long ago -- English was not our mother tongue. Nor was English, at that time, an Islamic language. English, as a matter of fact, was home to Christianity. As a result, when words were translated from the Islamic language of Arabic into English, a good bit of Christian ideas and imagery came along with the new words. That is because people were mostly translating words, not ideas. Here are some of those English words with a Christian legacy and content which Muslims have been using freely, even though some of them at least are, in my view, clearly un-Islamic:
MANKIND. Good news! For the past few years, that expression is frowned upon. In non-Muslim circles, that is. In Islam -- in Qur’an and Hadith – there is no such thing as “mankind.” There is only Annaas, and that includes men as well women. Fourteen hundred years ago, Allah set us free; three hundred years or so ago, we allowed ourselves to be enslaved by an alien culture and its Christian legacy. Now, in Muslim Britain, America and Caribbean, it is time to Islamize the English language. So what should we say, then? How does “people” sound? For, that is what Annas means: PEOPLE.
VERSE for an Aayah of the Qur’an. Right! Allah says Qur'an is NOT poetry. Muslims say it is verse. Thank you Muslims. Preferred translation? Aayah. And for those with non-Arab background, Aayat.
RIGHTEOUS STUFF. Deeds and all that. The expression in Islam -- Qur’an and Hadith -- is Amal Saalih. The right stuff, not righteous stuff. For righteousness, you need priests, for right stuff, all you need is some clear guidelines and an active conscience.
PRAYER. Of course, Salaah contains some of the most amazing prayers known to man – Oops! To the “human,” as the Qur’an puts it, al-Insaan. But it is much more than mere prayer as anyone can see. It is simply Salaah. Period.
HOLY. Typically Christian, I am afraid. Qur’an is not Alkitabul Muqaddas. Nor is the Rasool, Sallallahu alaihi wa Sallam, the Rasool Muqaddas. So where did this “Holy” stuff come from?
RELIGION. The Christians have their own system. Their world is neatly divided into “sacred” and “secular,” God and Caesar. But not so the world of Islam. In Islam, Allah is the maker and master of the worlds. He wants us to live our entire life, individual and collective, according to his directives. He calls it the Deen. There is no religion in Islam, only Deen.
SERVANT. The Qur’an uses the expression Abd, which means slave. That may make some people uncomfortable, but the word servant does not cut it. We are not talking about Allah hiring people here, but about Allah owning people. And I don’t think there is much we can do about it.
* For some of the more adventurous among us, do you detect some shirk, kufr and that kind of stuff here? Just thought, I would ask.
© 2001 Syed Husain Pasha
Dr. Pasha is an educator and scholar of exceptional
talent, training and experience. He can be reached at DrSyedPasha [at]
AOL [dot] com or www.IslamicSolutions.com.