Kanz ul-Iman - English Translation by Dawat-e-Islami

Discussion in 'Tafsir' started by sherkhan, Apr 16, 2019.

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  1. Unbeknown

    Unbeknown Senior Moderator

    perspectives

    الحمد لله for the glorious and unparalleled preservation of hadith and the tradition of tafsir. We have an unbroken chain to the era of the revelation and the Message is not subject to caprices of individual "translators" or "academics".
     
  2. sherkhan

    sherkhan Veteran

    Don't get me wrong, it is a commendable effort to translate it. I am just keen that it shows the same quality as the original and the English translation turns out to be the best out there.
     
  3. Haider Ali

    Haider Ali New Member

    Salām
    Hope all is well yā akhī
    Jum’ah Mubārakah

    Would you say that there is no difference between (قائم (کریں and قائم رکھیں?

    Wassalām ma’ al-Ikrām
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2019
  4. Haider Ali

    Haider Ali New Member


    Salām
    Hope all is well yā akhī
    Jum’ah Mubārakah

    It is not the final version - the purpose of it being uploaded and not printed (as per their policy of major projects) is that people make suggestions and mention anything which should be corrected.

    There are a few things which need ironing out - a few nooks and crannies as it were.

    Wassalām ma’ al-Ikrām
     
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  5. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    that is the point brother. if you do it from kanz, you are relying on urdu idioms and translating them, when it is not required. doing directly from arabic, and refer to kanz only to verify that we have understood properly is the right approach.

    Allah ta'ala knows best.
     
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  6. sherkhan

    sherkhan Veteran

    My point to you and Juwayni has been misunderstood.

    I had clarified at the outset that "I don't mean that the 2nd approach should be word-for-word clumsily phrased English". Originally Juwayni asked why AlaHazrat's English translations have to be direct/literal to which I responded "I see no reason why AlaHazrat's translation can not be rendered in English using its own idioms and usages". By which I meant that using properly chosen English idioms it "should be possible" to render the translation faithfully. Hence, my nitpicking with DI translation is primarily on account of lack of proper choice of idioms and wrong English usage (which betrays the fact that the translator lacks native/expert command over English).

    Your points are well taken. I am more or less in the same camp as you (i.e. the 3rd approach), except that I have no qualification in Arabic to say that translator needs expert understanding of Arabic (although that point itself is no-brainer).

    ----

    On the translation of Basmalah, it is difficult to replicate in English AlaHazrat's method of starting it with Ism-e-Jalala, without using dangling modifier and violating standard usage rules. A good English translator/reader will recognise this problem and eschew the literal approach.

    I had originally intended/drafted to post on this as well to contrast various translations of Basmalah. I include it below for sake of completion.

    Kanz ul-Iman: translated by Mawlana Aqib Faridi
    Allah – beginning with the name of – the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful

    Kanz ul-Iman: translated by Shah Faridul Haque
    Allah in the name of The most Affectionate, The Merciful

    Imdad al-Karam: by Pirzada Imdad Hussain (translated by Ather Hussain al-Azhari)
    Allah’s name (I begin with), the Utmost Kind, the Ever Merciful

    Dhiya ul-Qur’an: by Justice Pir Muhammad Karam Shah al-Azhari (translated by Iftikhar Ahmad Bajwa)
    I commence in the name of Allah, the Most-Kind, the Ever-Merciful


    Tafsir al-Qurtubi: translated by Aisha Bewley
    In the name of Allah, the All-Merciful, Most Merciful

    Tafsir at-Tabari: translated by Cooper, Madelung & Jones
    In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate


    -----

    Another example of word-for-word translation.

    Surah Baqarah Verse 3:

    Original Urdu:
    [​IMG]

    DI translation:
    Those who ... keep Salah (the five daily prayers) established ...

    Mawlana Aqib Faridi:
    ... and keep the (obligatory) prayer established ...


    "qayam rakhein" has been translated separately for both; qayam as 'established' and rakhein as 'keep'.

    Why use "keep ... established" when "establish" suffices? Again, nothing egregiously wrong, but not perfect.
     
  7. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    yes. because it appears thus in the text (two times).
     
  8. Juwayni

    Juwayni Well-Known Member

    As an additional note, when going from Arabic to English, would be permitted to translate these words as:

    "...whether you warn them or not,..." as the usage of that form in English is indicative of how we use it today, would you have to include the word warn again?
     
  9. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    i would like to just remind that between the direct method, and the translation from kanz directly, there is a third approach that i have previously advocated and juwayni has also pointed here.

    that is translate from arabic and use kanz as a handy reference, an alignment guide. but going from kanz to english is fraught with danger. that is my opinion, feel free to disagree.

    ----
    your example proves my point (am copying your text below instead of quote):

    take s1:v6

    [​IMG]

    DI Translation:
    The Path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour. Not of those who were subjected to (Your) wrath, nor of those who are astray.

    Kanz ul-Iman: translated by Janab Aqib Farid
    The path of those whom You have favoured – Not the path of those who earned Your anger – nor of the astray

    Kanz ul-Iman: translated by Shah Faridul Haque
    The path of those whom You have favoured. Not of those who have earned Your anger and nor of those who have gone astray.

    Imdad al-Karam: by Pirzada Imdad Hussain (translated by Ather Hussain al-Azhari)
    The path of those whom You have favoured. Not of those who earned your anger or went astray

    Dhiya ul-Qur’an: by Justice Pir Muhammad Karam Shah al-azhari (translated by Iftikhar Ahmad Bajwa)
    The path of those whom You have blessed with Your favours; Not of those who earned Your wrath, nor of those who went astray

    ----
    in the urdu: "jin par ghazab huwa" is a literal translation of "maghDubi alayhim". when you read with "na un ka", it does not specify past tense. when translated directly from kanz, the 'huwa' is translated as past perfect.

    ----
    but going from arabic to english, using kanz as a guide:

    "na un ka jin par ghazab huwa, na bahke huwoN ka" - not of those, upon whom is Your Wrath; nor that of the astray.

    mawlana aqib once told me that his translation is NOT a translation of kanz per se, but is BASED on kanz.

    ----
    Allah ta'ala knows best.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 19, 2019
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  10. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    fair enough.

    let us start with the translation of basmalah itself.

    "Allah ke naam se shuru'" is good idiom in urdu; "Allah, in the name of" appears out of place. While I may have also tried this in (hopefully) a little better sounding construct, i am of the opinion that "in the name of Allah" sounds more coherent and is closer to the arabic original.

    i have tried: "Allah, in whose name I begin, the most Beneficent, the Merciful" but sounds incomplete. we can modify it slightly: "Allah, in whose name I begin, is the most Beneficent, the Merciful", but slightly alters the tense and shifts the emphasis from 'begin'.

    ---
    the second ayah of surah baqarah, (2:2):
    "dhalika'l kitab".

    s2v2a.png

    everyone goes by the explanation that 'dhalika', even though literally means 'that', in context here is referring to 'THIS book', i.e. the book on hand. english translations also say: 'this book'

    alahazrat said: 'Woh kitab' - whereby the literal 'woh'/that (instead of yeh/this) coincides with the meaning that it is used for emphasis as in: 'THAT book whose coming was promised to musa and yisa alayhima's salam' [see nasafi].

    translating it from kanz: That high-ranking Book (i.e. the Qur'aan); there is no room for doubt in it

    the qualifier phrase "high-ranking" is a translation of 'buland rutbah', which is not mentioned in arabic, even though that meaning is implicitl. and it goes with 'woh' to show the emphasis. the second idiom is "shak ki jagah" translated as "room for doubt". while the idiom is correct in both languages, the emphatic tone in urdu is lost when translated in english, as it sounds redundant. because, the idiom in urdu is paired with another: 'koyi' which means 'any': "there is no room for any doubt in it". as you can see, such a translation sounds clumsy and 'room' is crowding the space. hence the translators omit the 'koyi/any'.

    a simpler more direct translation is possible if you go directly from arabic to english.

    THAT book (the Qur'an), wherein there is no doubt or

    (The Qur'an is) that book, in which there is no doubt.

    the latter covers both meanings of "no doubt about the book" and "no doubt inside the book".


    ---
    another example is v6 of the same surah, (2:6):


    s2v6.png

    translated from kanz as: Undoubtedly, those who are destined to disbelieve, it is the same for them whether you warn them or warn them not; they are not to believe.

    a few issues in this translation which tries hard to align with urdu idiom, which is uncalled for.

    1. "woh iman lane ke nahiN" is an adroit translation of "la yu'minun", meaning "they will not believe". however, translating from urdu, it becomes: "they are not to believe".

    2. "inna'lladhina kafaru" - literally, "indeed, those who have disbelieved". but going by context, and the background of revelation (asbab al-nuzul), this is about THOSE disbelievers, who are not destined to accept faith, such as abu lahab.

    it is said that the verse appears generic but is actually talking about a specific set of disbelievers; those who are destined to go to hell it is in the Knowledge of Allah ta'ala that they will not accept islam and will die upon disbelief. Allah ta'ala has conveyed this to people without naming any specific individual. ibn abbas and kalbi have said that it refers to Huyyay ibn akhTab and ka'ab ibn ashraf, the jewish chieftains. rabi'y ibn anas says that it refers to those slain in badr and those who were in aHzab. the former (i.e. slain in badr) is more accurate. [qurtubi]​

    almost all translators, whether in urdu or in english do not make this distinction.

    beshak jo log kafir ho chuke (mahmud al-hasan)

    beshak jo log kafir ho chuke (thanawi)

    beshak woh log jinhon ne kufr apna liya hai (taqi usmani)

    beshak jo log kafir ho chuke (shafi usmani)

    yaqinan woh log jinhon ne kufr kiya (yusuf motala)

    (lekin) woh log jinhon ne (iman ki jagah) inkar ki raah ikhtiyar ki (aur sachayi ke sun'ne aur qabul karne ki isti'ydad kho di) (abul kalam azad)

    jin logon ne (in batoN ko taslim karne se) inkar kardiya, un ke liye yaksan hai (maududi)

    jo log kafir hain unheN tum naSihat karo ya na karo (fath muhammad jalandhari)

    a beginner, or a non-muslim reading this will think: what is the point of da'awah/inviting to islam, then? this shows the superiority of kanz.

    translating it from kanz directly:Undoubtedly, those who are destined to disbelieve, it is the same for them whether you warn them or warn them not; they are not to believe.

    'those who are destined to disbelieve' does not have an urgency as in 'here and now kafirs'; it sounds like 'destined to disbelieve in future'. this goes against observed behaviour. there are people who accept and believe, but they become apostates at a later date. they are 'destined to disbelieve'. imho, this is because of following kanz, whereas one could go from arabic to english, drawing from kanz.

    for those disbelievers (destined to die without faith) - it is the same whether you warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe.

    needless to say, alahazrat's idiomatic translation in urdu uses fewer words, is closer to the arabic and conveys the meaning perfectly:
    "woh jin ki qismat meiN kufr hai"

    Allah ta'ala knows best.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2019
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  11. sherkhan

    sherkhan Veteran

    Keeping aside the direct vs method translation for the time being.

    Take for example translation of Surah Fatiha, verse 6/7.

    DI Translation: The Path of those upon whom You have bestowed favour. Not of those who were subjected to (Your) wrath, nor of those who are astray.
    Original Urdu:
    [​IMG]

    Although not a glaring error, one may quibble that in "Not of those who were ...., nor of those who are ..." the 2 clauses don't follow parallel structure. Parallelism does add balance to sentence structure. This is just a case of poor usage, nothing more.

    There is nothing in the original Urdu translation to suggest that "who were subjected to (Your) wrath" should be past tense, while the 2nd clause "nor of those who are astray" should be present indefinite.

    Was the translator consciously trying to distinguish the 2 clauses, by meaning that "those who were subjected to (Your) wrath" incurred wrath/anger/punishment in past (on several or continual occasions), while "those who are astray" are in state of permanent/continuous straying?

    ----

    I looked up few other translations for sake of comparison.

    Kanz ul-Iman: translated by Janab Aqib Faridi
    The path of those whom You have favoured – Not the path of those who earned Your anger – nor of the astray

    Kanz ul-Iman: translated by Shah Faridul Haque
    The path of those whom You have favoured. Not of those who have earned Your anger and nor of those who have gone astray.

    Imdad al-Karam: by Pirzada Imdad Hussain (translated by Ather Hussain al-Azhari)
    The path of those whom You have favoured. Not of those who earned your anger or went astray

    Dhiya ul-Qur’an: by Justice Pir Muhammad Karam Shah al-azhari (translated by Iftikhar Ahmad Bajwa)
    The path of those whom You have blessed with Your favours; Not of those who earned Your wrath, nor of those who went astray



    Tafsir al-Qurtubi: translated by Aisha Bewley
    The Path of those whom You have blessed. Not of those with anger on them, nor of the misguided

    Tafsir at-Tabari: translated by Cooper, Madelung & Jones
    The path of those on whom You have bestowed favour. Not of those who have incurred Your wrath, nor of those who are astray

    probably more can be added from alTafsir.com

    ----

    In most of the above cases, translators have used parallel present/present or past/past structure.

    DI's translation is just a case of minor usage problem; it is not an egregious error.
     
  12. Juwayni

    Juwayni Well-Known Member

    Perhaps that translating from an Urdu translation into English, the translator would have to maintain cognizant of both Urdu and Arabic usage. Whereas you might find skilled Urdu to English translators, they might not have the skills with Arabic to be true to Ala Hazrat's translation as he was also an expert in Arabic and likely made that work with his mastery in Urdu. In essence, you need someone good in both Arabic and Urdu as well as English to translate Kanzul Iman properly. Whereas using alaHazrat's methods doesn't presuppose an in-depth knowledge of Urdu and hence you'd probably get differing results.
     
  13. sherkhan

    sherkhan Veteran

    How will the 2 approaches (one using method, other using translation) yield different results? Can you show by means of example? I don't mean that the 2nd approach should be word-for-word clumsily phrased English.

    No, I am not trying to attempt a translation on my own (when I suggest that translation wouldn't be impossible in the hands of capable translators). I dare not.

    The point I was making is that it "should be" relatively easier to translate what has already been elucidated in succinct translation than to master (and use) the "methods" of AlaHazrat.

    The DI translation doesn't comply with right usage (prepositions, in few instances, are incorrectly used) and standard grammatical constructs (like parallelism etc.). Also the word choice could easily have been better in few cases.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
  14. abu Hasan

    abu Hasan Administrator

    i have been saying for ages what juwayni said:
    urdu is closely related to arabic, and inherits numerous expressions and idioms from arabic. the reason alahazrat's translation is far far superior to any other urdu translation is his command of both languages. that is only the linguistic part. his knowledge of tafasir, the ulum al-qur'an, ahadith, his knowledge of hanafi fiqh and other madhahib, his knowledge of kalam and insight concerning aqidah issues and astuteness in addressing them in the translation is impressive.

    the more important issue with qur'an translations is conveying the meaning of the verse, that fulfills, among other conditions:

    - does not conflict with established sunni creed.
    - does not conflict with established and generally accepted rulings of haram and halaal
    - cognisant of the context and to whom the ayah is addressed to
    - consistent with arabic idiom, according to accepted and well-known commentaries
    - at least minimises ambiguity, if it cannot be eliminated completely
    - is aware of contemporary usage/issues, and does not provide fodder for islamophobes, (however, be frank and truthful - don't be hypocritical)​

    ====
    in my opinion, anyone who has not read al-tahbir, al-itqan, al-burhan, jamal al-qurra', funun al-afnan, tibyan, tizkar, a few works of nasikh-mansukh, works on qira'at, mufradat, gharayib, asbab al-nuzul, etc. should not attempt a translation. though, i am tempted to add books on iyjaz, ma'ani, majaz, tanasub-al-suwar, istinbat etc. two other superb works to add to this list are: basayir dhawi't tamyiz of fayruzabadi and asrar al-takrar of kirmani (on the repetition of verses in the qur'an). feel free to add any important work/genre i have left out from this list.

    ---
    one may argue that 'stand on the shoulder of giants'; i.e. assuming alahazrat has covered these, let us take his translation and render in english. this will work well provided:

    - one has a very good understanding of urdu idiom;
    - one is able to refer to any of the well-known tafasir for cross verification; qurtubi, ibn kathir, nasafi, baydawi/shaykhzadah, kash'shaf/tibi, razi, ibn ashur, alusi among others.
    ---
    last but not least, one should have a native ease with the target language. it is desirable to have read (for literary value): faulkner, poe, orwell, camus, joyce, twain, tolkien, arthur-clarke, asimov, russel, agatha christie, conrad, chomsky - or shakespeare, dickens, etc. if you are a classics lover. (disclaimer: the names i could recall in the last few minutes. not a definitive list.)

    Allah ta'ala knows best.
    wa billahi't tawfiq.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2019
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  15. Tariq Owaisi

    Tariq Owaisi New Member

    There already is A perfectly good English translation available at Alahazrat.net and has been for many years. Not seen any complaints against it. There is also another one on a different site ahadees.com although the Alahazrat.net translation is much better.
     
  16. sherkhan

    sherkhan Veteran

    I see no reason why AlaHazrat's translation can not be rendered in English using its own idioms and usages. But translators like aH, et al. are more qualified to comment on the challenge of this task. I reckon it would be relatively easier than trying to directly translate the holy Qur'an (using the method), since Kanz ul-Iman's tafseeri tarjuma already succinctly captures the most suitable meaning/interpretation.

    In my opinion (please feel free to correct me), even the Urdu used in Kanz ul-Iman is deliberately simple and understandable to laymen compared to the more sophisticated level of Urdu prevalent in those times (or even found in AlaHazrat's own works).
     
  17. Juwayni

    Juwayni Well-Known Member

    Might be a strange question but is there any reason in particular Kanzul Iman is being translated in English rather than an English tarjuma that tries to use Alahazrat's methods but emphasizes English idioms and usage in trying to be the best translation possible?
     
  18. sherkhan

    sherkhan Veteran

    Jazak Allah for linking to the last discussion on its draft version.

    If this is the finished volume that has been released on DI website, then its English is still inadequate (aH put it as 'clumsy' in parts) even though I am not yet quibbling about ability to convey the original meaning. I'm not being a snob, but it reads like it has been translated by a subcontinent scholar whose 1st language is not English. I probably (hope) am not the only one with such impression.
     
  19. Aqdas

    Aqdas Staff Member

    Discussed here.
     
  20. sherkhan

    sherkhan Veteran

    Just came across this new translation of Kanz ul-Iman by Dawat-e-Islami here. The translation covers paras 1 to 9.

    What do you make of the translation quality? Although simple English has been used, it doesn't have the same authority and ability to convey the original meaning as a literary (more sophisticated) English. That's my quick opinion after looking at translation of few select verses.

    Nonetheless, it is commendable that Dawat-e-Islami has attempted to translate it for the benefit of English readers.
     

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