Thursday, August 11, 2005

Definition of Sufism.Koran translations.

Bismi'llah ar-Rahman ar-Rahim...for the sake of Prophet Muhammad saws and Sheikh Nazim may Allah protect his secret.

The other day I was looking at the article on sufism in Wikipedia and came across this beautifully succinct and clarifying quote;
Sufism has been explained and is explained by many people in different ways. Sufism is, in fact, the purification of our baser instincts, heart and soul as prescribed in the holy Qur'an by Allah. Allah says,

"Khadh aflaha man tazakka" (the one who has purified (his nafs) has won. Quran:87:15).

When I went back to look for it, somehow, strangely, it had gone.I saw that the article had been changed on the same day that I looked at it and even wondered if I had inadvertently changed it. I don't think so .. but. Anyway, it seemed so perfect that I looked it up in my Yusuf Ali Koran. It was not exactly the same.This morning I looked it up on MSC's version with three translations concurrently running side by side. They were not the same.
Arabic is such a rich language, with its tri-lateral root system linking one word to up to twenty odd others with similar links and overtones, that it is impossible to make a straightforward translation. Add to that the fact that the Koran is a Divine Revelation with thousands of hidden meanings according to one's spiritual insight and you begin to get the picture. On top of that the Koran which can be read from a book is known as a "Mushaf" or copy because the original is really with Allah. It is said to be uncreated like Allah Himself .. it is said to be a "blueprint for the universe" (and much more besides).Here are the three other translations, along with the verses that follow to the end of the chapter, which put it in a historical context.

087.014 YUSUFALI: But those will prosper who purify themselves, PICKTHAL: He is successful who groweth, SHAKIR: He indeed shall be successful who purifies himself,
087.015 YUSUFALI: And glorify the name of their Guardian-Lord, and (lift their hearts) in prayer. PICKTHAL: And remembereth the name of his Lord, so prayeth, SHAKIR: And magnifies the name of his Lord and prays.
087.016 YUSUFALI: Say (behold), ye prefer the life of this world; PICKTHAL: But ye prefer the life of the world SHAKIR: Nay! you prefer the life of this world,
087.017 YUSUFALI: But the Hereafter is better and more enduring. PICKTHAL: Although the Hereafter is better and more lasting. SHAKIR: While the hereafter is better and more lasting.
087.018 YUSUFALI: And this is in the Books of the earliest (Revelation),- PICKTHAL: Lo! This is in the former scrolls. SHAKIR: Most surely this is in the earlier scriptures,
087.019 YUSUFALI: The Books of Abraham and Moses. PICKTHAL: The Books of Abraham and Moses. SHAKIR: The scriptures of Ibrahim and Musa.

I wonder where that Wikipedia translation came from .. and, where it went to?


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