Abdullah Yusuf Ali: Translator of the Qur'aan in English

Discussion in 'Islamic Discussion' started by Globalpeace, Mar 6, 2007.

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  1. Globalpeace
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    Asslamo Allaikum,

    I was talking to Br Mabsoot last night & he thought Abdullah Yusuf Ali was a Sufi....In reality Abdullah Yusuf Ali was a Bohra (Dawoodi, Shia); here is his brief life-story...so as discussed with Br Mabsoot...Its far worse!

    Abdullah Yusuf Ali

    Abdullah Yusuf Ali was born in 1872 to a Bohra family of Surat, his father was a local police chief ennobled by the Raj for his services. He was educated first in a Bombay Muslim school set up along semi-modern lines, and then in a Scottish missionary college. A remarkable academic aptitude allowed him to take his first degree at the age of 19, whereupon he won a scholarship to study law at Cambridge. On his return to to India he was appointed a magistrate in Saharanpur in the United Provinces and then at Bareilly.

    He visited Britain again in 1900 and married an Englishwoman, Teresa Shalders. He grew in popularity as a spokesman for Indian Muslims, winning a medal for his lectures to the Royal Society of Arts, and being hailed in the Times as a ‘very talented member of the Indian Civil Service and a representative of the great Mohammedan community.’ In 1934 the first instalment of his Qur’anic translation appeared in the bookshops of Lahore. He spent his declining years in London where he eventually died in extreme poverty in London in 1953, and was buried near Pickthall in the Muslim cemetery in Woking.

    More to follow...
  2. Globalpeace
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    What/who are the Bohras?

    Asslamo Allaikum,

    Bohras are a secretive society & no Sunni exactly knows what goes on behind the scenes. I have tried hard for years & failed to come up with what exactly what happens!

    All I know is that most Dunkn Donut owners in US are either Aga Khanees or Bohras!

    :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dawoodi_Bohra

    But based on their Aqeedah most Sunni scholars including Shaykh Bin Baaz (RA) have called them Non-Muslims because they are even more extreme then the Shias in their deviance

    As a community Bohras are highly progressive, wealthy and do great charity work (and spread their Aqeedah to poor Sunnees while doing it)….They are highly educated, secular, well known and integrated

    There are many either deviant Non-Muslim sects amongst the Gujratees of India such as Khojaas etc and a famous Ex-Khoja was the founder of Pakistan Quad-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah (RA) but he reverted to Islam and took Shahdah as evident by his Janaza Salah being led by Shyakh Shabbir Usmani (RA) and rumours are that the Shaykh is the one that gave Muhammad Ali Jinnah (RA) although in my personal opinion he could have been influenced by Dr Allama Iqbal (RA).

    More to follow...
  3. Globalpeace
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    Which Translation to read?: 1st Revsion by Saudia

    Asslamo Allaikum,

    If you have read the biography of Abdullah Yusuf Ali, his Aqeedah, his upbringing then it should leave you in no doubt that you should stay away from the original translation...

    Fortunately the original translation have been out of print & most Mosques carry the updated Saudi version (you know the big thick GREEN one) i.e.

    Yusuf ‘Ali, Abdullah. The Holy Qur-an : English translation of the meanings and Commentary. Revised & Edited by The Presidency of Islamic Researches, IFTA. King Fahd Holy Qur-an Printing Complex. (Al Madina Saudi Arabia) 1410 A.H.

    This is given out by the Saudi Governement as a gift to English speaking Hajees when they go for Hajj & also sent to Mosques around USA/Europe as a gift in boxes for distribution...You can see the words that I have described on the copy
  4. Globalpeace
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    Which Translation to read?: 2nd Revsion in USA

    Asslamo Allaikum,

    This one is a revision based on the original Saudi revision...it is lucid and easy to read...

    PREFACE TO THE NEW EDITION
    It has been more than half a century since the first appearance of 'Abdullah Yusuf 'Ali's superlative work, The Holy Qur’an: Text, Translation and Commentary. Since that time, there have been innumerable reprinting and millions of copies distributed throughout the world. It is, by far, the best known, most studied, and most respected English translation of the Qur'an. It was the first monumental and authoritative work of its kind and it subsequently inspired many such similar endeavors. The eloquent poetic style of the translation and the authenticity of the extensive commentaries and explanatory notes, have, no doubt, contributed greatly to its much deserved reputation as the English translation of the meaning of the Qur'an.

    The tremendous impact that this work has made upon the English-reading Muslims (as well as, many non-Muslims) of the world, has never been greater than it is today and shall continue-insha'a Allah (Allah willing)-for generations to come. It has enabled interested readers of English, who do not have a proficiency in reading and comprehending Qur'anic Arabic, to greatly enrich their understanding of the meaning and the incomparable beauty and perfection of the Glorious Qur'an. It has given them a more authentic and reliable translation and commentary from which they could make a serious study.

    ‘A. Yusuf 'All was quick to point out that there can be no absolute or perfect rendition of the meaning of the Qur'an and, at best, only an interpretation of its understood meaning can be offered. Probably, he never envisaged how universal his work would someday become, for he was primarily attempting to explain his understanding of the Qur'an to his fellow-countrymen-both Muslims and no Muslims alike. Therefore, he was apt to occasionally use references, which could not be easily appreciated outside the milieu of the Indian Subcontinent.

    Although it may not have been the intention of the author to reach such a wide range of readers as exists today, there nevertheless has long been a need for a revised new edition reflecting the needs and demands of today's enthusiastic readership. In response to this need, the present edition represents the first major revision since the initial printing over fifty years ago.

    Revisions have been made in both the content and form of the original work. Where necessary, the content has been brought up-to-date and within the current understanding and interpretation of the Qur'an. In the translation, the Surah introductions, and the commentaries, such changes were relatively few and infrequent and have been noted as having been revised. The reader will however, find such notable changes as the use of the name 'Allah' for the word 'God' (as used in previous editions) since it was felt that the use of this Most Glorious Name is more widely understood and accepted by the general reader today. In addition, the word 'Messenger' has been given preference over the word 'Apostle' for the meaning of the original Qur'anic word in Arabic 'Rasul'. The reason being, it was felt, that the former term more clearly expresses the Islamic usage of the term without any negative connotations, which may be associated with the latter term resulting from inaccuracies in its use by other religious or historical works.

    The explanatory footnotes and the appendices, however, were subject to more frequent, and occasionally more substantial, changes than those in the translation and the commentaries. The reason being there was a greater need of general updating of information and clarification of certain explanations, which were subject to misinterpretation. There were also a few instances in which certain portions of the material were deleted, either due to its out datedness or due to its proneness to misinterpretation.

    The form of this newly revised edition has undergone a more dramatic change in style and has been vastly improved in order to facilitate its readability and study. The type for the English text has been completely reset for the first time, thereby making the character definition more legible after many years of reprinting.

    In addition, the spelling has been modernized and the system of transliteration of Arabic into English has been modernized and standardized. For reasons of practicality, the title of each Surah appears in its transliterated form at the head of each page within the Surah. This should enable the non-Arabic reader to not only become more familiar with the names of the Surahs in Arabic but also to begin to associate the content of what he/she is reading with the name of the Surah in which he/she is reading. In addition, the 'Abbreviated' Letters (or al Muqatta'at) have been transliterated as they are spelled out in Arabic to make it possible to learn their pronunciation.

    Furthermore, anew system of Qur'anic notation of the Surah and Ayah numbers used in the English text has been adopted. The Roman numerals used in the original system have been converted to Arabic numerals thus making it easier for most readers to readily understand the notations and to encourage them to investigate the frequent references and cross-references found in the Table of Contents Index, and Footnotes. In this edition (1416/1995), anew and comprehensive index for the translation and the commentary has been added to the book to facilitate its use and maximize the benefits of the work. Finally the method of indicating each Juz' (or 1/30th part of the Qur'an) has been modified in order to incorporate the more conventional method of notation commonly used today and thereby reduce the potential for confusion to the reader.

    In sum, the editors have acted out of a sincere desire to improve upon this great work. It is hoped that this will-insha a Allah- help in furthering the aim of 'Abdullah Yusuf 'Ali by enhancing the usefulness and relevance of his work to the ever-changing needs and demands of the countless readers of today. May Allah bless him for his truly extraordinary efforts in producing this invaluable work of translation and commentary.

    International Institute of Islamic Thought (IIIT)

    Herndon, Virginia U.S.A.

    Jumada al Akhirah,1409 A.H./January,1989 A.C.

    Herndon, Virginia U.S.A.
  5. mahdi
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    aslam

    sorry but i didn't undestand , i read the translation of yusuf ali, are u telling me to stop reading it,
  6. virtualeye
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    AssalaamuAlaikum,

    Then what is the translation in "QuranViewer" (software by DivineIslam) . The main translation is by Yusuf Ali. Does it mean it is by that person "Abdullah Yusuf Ali"? Kindly removed this confusion.

    In QuranViewer it reads: Yusuf Ali's English Translation is most widely used. Translated during 1934-37 in Lahore by Yusuf Ali, a learned Sunni Muslim Scholar.


    JazakAllah.


    Wassalaam,
    VE
  7. saqlawi
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    I've never heard this ever before.

    I don't know where it's from, but I have to say I love Abdullah Yusuf Ali's translation and I have found nothing wrong with it.

    He best captures every Arabic word, better than any translator I have read.
  8. Globalpeace
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    Stop reading Abdullah Yusuf Ali's ORIGINAL work!

    Asslamo Allaikum,

    I think I have provided all the necessary information in 3 posts.

    Yes brother after providing details about the man's background, his beliefs, his eductaion in Christian Missionary schools I would highly recommend that you STOP reading his original translaton/commentary.

    Please read his biography & note that he was NOT a scholar.

    Please also note that his translation/commentary has been revised to get rid of the errors & I have specifically mentioned the revised editions, years and everything else.

    I have also mentioned that most Qur'aans in circulation are the revised editions.

    I have also admitted that his translation is very lucid and easy to read.

    After providing all the details if you want to continue to read the original translation done by a Non-Scholar with Bohra views (considered Non-Muslim by scholars); you have the choice.

    Please check your versions & you are more then likely to find that you have a revised version!
  9. mahdi
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    salam

    how will i know his old translation and his revised one, what is the difference
  10. Abdul-Raheem
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    :salam2:

    Like Globalpeace said, the old translation has been out of print for a long time. Most of us will have probably never come across it.

    wasalam
  11. saqlawi
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    :salam2:

    You say he was born to a "Bohra family of Surat"

    So what? No where does it say he was one of them himself. I will read up on his biography a bit after what you said, I have a book.

    And he was a very learned man in the Arabic and English languages, I would take that translation over a scholar's.


    I don't see that any revisions dealt with Bohra ideas or anything...



    wassalam
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    :salam2:

    I read further into the subject...

    This is a lie, Abdullah Yusuf Ali was absolutely NOT a Bohra. Wikipedia is lying about him, and many sources that I found do, his views are entirely sunni.


    The Bohra themselves claimed he was one of them after his death and his fame, because they wanted to attribute this respectable man to their sect.

    By the way I do not see anything in the revision notes relating to Bohra views, just some words that were substituted with better ones.


    I know your intentions are good brother globalpeace, but please either edit your first post or have an admin delete this thread as it is misleading.

    wassalam
  13. Abdullah101
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    Why condem someone who is already gone?

    :salam2:

    I wonder why our bros and sisters are disagreeing about. No man is perfect, only Allah will judge him for what he used to do. Scholar or not, Abdullah Yusuf Ali has left the earth. It is up to each individual Muslim like us who are still alive to make the effort to study tafsir directly from Islamic scholars at our mosques and Islamic institutions.

    Studying or reading a translation of the Quran is no way equal to someone who is an Islamic scholar who knows Arabic and who can relate and explain the relevant Hadiths related to it.

    Prophet Muhammad (saw) had raised the status of scholars of Islam,

    "The scholars of this religion are inheritors of this religion. When the young and non qualified walks amongst them this Ummah will be destroyed".

    Many people will say different things but it is up to each of us to find out the truth ourselves.
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    AssalaamuAlaikum,

    As I mentioned before:

    "In QuranViewer it reads: Yusuf Ali's English Translation is most widely used. Translated during 1934-37 in Lahore by Yusuf Ali, a learned Sunni Muslim Scholar."

    There are two points contradicing. The source is mentioning that the translation was done in 1934-1937 (not mentioning revision), and at the same time it is mentioning that he was 'Learned Sunni Muslim Scholar'.

    I think Either Abduallah Yusuf Ali did not have Bohra views from start Or he must have changed his views.
    We need to research this issue and try to find out that there must be a reason that not many scholars opposed Yusuf Ali's translation and most of scholars accepted it, that is why it is most widely used.

    Wassalaam,
    VE
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    I told you it is a lie invented by the Bohra themselves...
    Abdullah Yusuf Ali is a learned Sunni Muslim scholar


    That is true, but reading a translation is still important- even if you know arabic you should read some comments by someone.
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