Friday, March 31, 2017

Interfaith Relations ~ meditation on Surah 29.46

Allah: A Christian Response ~ by Miroslav Volf (2011), from page 25: governed by the injunction in the Qur'an about debating with Jews and Christians:  "Do not contend with people of the Book except in the fairest way" (Al 'Ankabut, 29:46).

When I read that line, I got out my two copies of the Qur'an to compare translations and interpretations.  Then I read that the translation by Abdullah Yusuf Ali is considered to be the most faithful rendering available in English, so I downloaded it onto my Kindle while writing this post.  Here are the three versions I now have to compare with Volf's version of Surah 29:46 above:

The Holy Qur'an ~ by Abdullah Yusuf Ali (1934), from Loc. 4196:
Chapter 29
46.  And dispute ye not with the People of the Book, except with means better (than mere disputation), unless it be with those of them who inflict wrong (and injury): but say, "We believe in the revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our Allah and your Allah is one; and it is to Him we bow (in Islam)."
The Message of the Qur'an: The Full Account of the Revealed Arabic Text Accompanied by Parallel Transliteration ~ translated by Muhammad Asad (2003), from pages 684-685:
Surah 29
And do not argue with the followers of earlier revelation otherwise than in a most kindly manner ― unless it be such of them as are bent on evildoing ― and say:  "We believe in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, as well as that which has been bestowed upon you: for our God and your God is one and the same, and it is unto Him that we [all] surrender ourselves."  {46}
English Translation of the Message of The Quran ~ by Syed Vickar Ahamed (2007), from page 223:
29.46.  And you do not argue (or dispute) with the People of the Book, except with better ways (reasons and facts); Unless it is with those of them who cause injustice (or injury): But say (to them), "We believe in the Revelation which has come down to us and in that which came down to you; Our God (Allah) and your God is One; And it is to Him we bow (in Islam)."
Meditating on what these say:  "People of the Book" means the three monotheisms of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.  Each of these religions has a holy book.
  • Judaism has the Tanakh, holy scriptures made up of the Torah (the Law, also known as the five books of Moses), the Prophets, and the Writings.
  • Christianity has the Bible, which contains the Hebrew scriptures (usually called the Old Testament) and the New Testament with four Gospels and other writings.
  • Islam has the Qur'an, made up of 114 Surahs or chapters.  I've read the scriptures of the other two religions, and now I plan to read the Qur'an with a couple of friends.
We worship the same God, according to this verse.  Many would disagree, but I think we do.  If you want my reasoning, it will take another post to share all that.

1 comment:

Helen's Book Blog said...

Translations of any book, but certainly religious texts, are interesting as they can give different meanings depending on the translation.