Category: Basic Tenets of Faith
Fatwa#: 26254
Asked Country: Pakistan

Answered Date: Sep 29,2018

Title: Muhammad Asad's translation of the Qur'aan

Question

I want to ask about Muhammad Asad's Translation of Quran "The Message of Quran". Whether it is a certified Translation. Do you recommend it.

Answer

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salaamu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullaahi wa-barakaatuh.

Brother in Islaam,

The author in reference holds extremely problematic beliefs that are not in accordance to the beliefs of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaa’ah. Hence, it would be best to avoid all his works, including his translation of the Qur’aan.

Hereunder, we list a few of his deviated beliefs:

  • Muhammad Asad was a perennialist, i.e. followers of other religions will also be successful in the Hereafter[1].
  • Jinns are legends and/or Jews.
  • Prophets are not innocent and are fallible[2].
  • Sayyiduna ‘Isa (‘Alaihis salaam) was not raised up to the heavens and has already passed away[3]. Hence, he will not return.
  • Sayyiduna ‘Isa (‘Alaihis salaam) did not give life to people or treat them[4].
  • Sayyiduna Moosa (‘Alaihis salaam) did not split the Red Sea[5].
  • Birds did not attack Abrahah and his army of elephants[6].
  • The angels did not aid the Muslims in the battles[7].
  • He denies miracles. Any verse which denotes miracles are all metaphorical[8].

It should be noted that Muhammad Asad was greatly influenced by Rashid Ridha, Muhammad ‘Abdo, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qaadiyaani and their likes.

 

And Allaah Ta’aala Knows Best.

Muajul I. Chowdhury

Student, Darul Iftaa

Astoria, New York, USA

 

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

 

 

 


[1] http://www.muhammad-asad.com/Message-of-Quran.pdf

http://ir.amu.ac.in/2936/1/T%206706.pdf

 

Refer to Surah Ma’idah v.48

66 The expression "every one of you" denotes the various communities of which mankind is composed. The term shir'ah (or shari ah) signifies, literally, "the way to a watering-place" (from which men and animals derive the element indispensable to their life), and is used in the Qur'an to denote a system of law necessary for a community's social and spiritual welfare. The term minhaj, on the other hand, denotes an "open road", usually in an abstract sense: that is, "a way of life". The terms shir'ah and minhaj are more restricted in their meaning than the term din, which comprises not merely the laws relating to a particular religion but also the basic, unchanging spiritual truths which, according to the Qur'an, have been preached by every one of God's apostles, while the particular body of laws (shir'ah or shari'ah) promulgated through them, and the way of life (minhaj) recommended by them, varied in accordance with the exigencies of the time and of each community's cultural development. This "unity in diversity" is frequently stressed in the Qur'an (e.g., in the first sentence of 2:148, in 21:92-93, or in 23:52 ff.). Because of the universal applicability and textual incorruptibility of its teachings - as well as of the fact that the Prophet Muhammad is "the seal of all prophets", i.e., the last of them (see 33:40) - the Qur'an represents the culminating point of all revelation and offers the final, perfect way to spiritual fulfilment. This uniqueness of the Qur'anic message does not, however, preclude all adherents of earlier faiths from attaining to God's grace: for - as the Qur'an so often points out - those among them who believe uncompromisingly in the One God and the Day of Judgment (i.e., in individual moral responsibility) and live righteously "need have no fear, and neither shall they grieve".

 

[2] Refer to Surah Saad v.21

22 The story which, according to the oldest sources at our disposal, is alluded to in verses 2l-26 affects the question as to whether God's elect, the prophets - all of whom were endowed, like David, with "wisdom and sagacity in judgment" - could or could not ever commit a sin: in other words, whether they, too, were originally subject to the weaknesses inherent in human nature as such or were a priori endowed with an essential purity of character which rendered each of them "incapable of sinning" (ma'sum). In the form in which it has been handed down from the earliest authorities (including, according to Tabari and Baghawi, Companions like 'Abd Allah ibn 'Abbas and Anas ibn Malik, as well as several of the most prominent of their immediate successors), the story contradicts the doctrine - somewhat arbitrarily developed by Muslim theologians in the course of the centuries - that prophets cannot sin by virtue of their very nature, and tends to show that their purity and subsequent sinlessness is a result of inner struggles and trials and, thus, represents in each case a moral achievement rather than an inborn quality.

 

[3] Refer to Surah Nisaa v.155

 172 Cf. 3:55, where God says to Jesus, "Verily, I shall cause thee to die, and shall exalt thee unto Me." The verb rafa ahu (lit., "he raised him" or "elevated him") has always, whenever the act of raf' ("elevating") of a human being is attributed to God, the meaning of "honouring" or "exalting". Nowhere in the Qur'an is there any warrant for the popular belief that God has "taken up" Jesus bodily, in his lifetime, into heaven. The expression "God exalted him unto Himself" in the above verse denotes the elevation of Jesus to the realm of God's special grace - a blessing in which all prophets partake, as is evident from 19:57, where the verb rafa nahu ("We exalted him") is used with regard to the Prophet Idris. (See also Muhammad 'Abduh in Manar III, 316 f., and VI, 20f.) The "nay" (bal) at the beginning of the sentence is meant to stress the contrast between the belief of the Jews that they had put Jesus to a shameful death on the cross and the fact of God's having "exalted him unto Himself".

 

[4] Refer to Surah Aali ‘Imraan v.47

37 Lit., "[something] like the shape of a bird (tayr); and then I shall breathe into it, so that it might [or "whereupon it will"] become a bird...". The noun tayr is a plural of ta'ir ("flying creature" or "bird"), or an infinitive noun ("flying") derived from the verb tara ("he flew"). In pre-Islamic usage, as well as in the Qur'an, the words ta'ir and tayr often denote "fortune" or "destiny", whether good or evil (as, for instance, in 7:131, 27:47 or 36:19, and still more clearly in 17:13). Many instances of this idiomatic use of tayr and ta'ir are given in all the authoritative Arabic dictionaries; see also Lane V, 1904 f. Thus, in the parabolic manner so beloved by him, Jesus intimated to the children of Israel that out of the humble clay of their lives he would fashion for them the vision of a soaring destiny, and that this vision, brought to life by his God-given inspiration, would become their real destiny by God's leave and by the strength of their faith (as pointed out at the end of this verse). 38 It is probable that the "raising of the dead" by Jesus is a metaphorical description of his giving new life to people who were spiritually dead; cf. 6:122 - "Is then he who was dead [in spirit], and whom We thereupon gave life, and for whom We set up a light whereby he can see his way among men - [is then he] like unto one [who is lost] in darkness deep, out of which he cannot emerge?" If this interpretation is - as I believe - correct, then the "healing of the blind and the leper" has a similar significance: namely, an inner regeneration of people who were spiritually diseased and blind to the truth.

 

[5] Refer to Surah Taha v.77

61 Referring to the phrase "strike out (idrib) for them a dry path through the sea", Tabari explains it as meaning "choose (ittakhidh) for them a dry path". See also 26:63-66 and the corresponding notes 33 and 35.

 

[6] Refer to Surah Al-Feel

2 Lit., "with stones of sijjil". As explained in note 114 on 11:82, this latter term is synonymous with sijjil, which signifies "a writing" and, tropically, "something that has been decreed by God]": hence, the phrase hijarah min sijjil is a metaphor for "stone-hard blows of chastisement preordained", i.e., in God's decree (Zamakhshari and Razi, with analogous comments on the same expression in 11:82). As already mentioned in the introductory note, the particular chastisement to which the above verse alludes seems to have been a sudden epidemic of extreme virulence: according to Waqidi and Muhammad ibn Ishaq - the latter as quoted by Ibn Hisham and Ibn Kathir - "this was the first time that spotted fever (hasbah) and smallpox (judari) appeared in the land of the Arabs". It is interesting to note that the word hasbah - which, according to some authorities, siignifies also typhus - primarily means "pelting [or smiting"] with stones" (Qamus). - As regards the noun ta'ir (of which tayr is the plural), we ought to remember that it denotes any "flying creature", whether bird or insect (Taj al- 'Arus). Neither the Qur'an nor any authentic Tradition offers us any evidence as to the nature of the "flying creatures" mentioned in the above verse; and since, on the other hand, all the "descriptions" indulged in by the commentators are purely imaginary, they need not he seriously considered. If the hypothesis of an epidemic is correct, the "flying creatures" - whether birds or insects - may well have been the carriers of the infection. One thing, however, is clear: whatever the nature of the doom that overtook the invading force, it was certainly miraculous in the true sense of this word - namely, in the sudden, totally unexpected rescue which it brought to the distressed people of Mecca

 

[7] Refer to Surah Al-Anfaal v. 12

14 The following is, again, addressed to the believers (Razi). Verse 10 of this surah makes it clear that the aid of the angels was purely spiritual in nature; and there is no evidence anywhere in the Qur'an that they did, or were meant to, participate in the battle in a physical sense. In his commentary on the above verse, Razi stresses this point repeatedly; among modern commentators, Rashid Rida emphatically rejects the legendary notion that angels actually fought in this or any other of the Prophet's battles (see Manar IX, 612 ff.). It is mainly on the basis of Razi's interpretation of this passage that I have interpolated, in several places, explanatory clauses between brackets.

 

[8] Refer to Surah Aali ‘Imraan v.37

In spite of all the legends quoted in this connection by most of the commentators, there is no indication whatsoever either in the Qur'an or in any authentic Tradition that these provisions were of a miraculous origin. On the other hand, Tabari quotes a story to the effect that when, in his old age, Zachariah became unable to support Mary by his own means, the community decided to assume this responsibility through another of its members, who thereupon provided her daily with food. Whether this story is authentic or not, Mary's answer to Zachariah reflects no more and no less than her deep consciousness of God as the ultimate Provider.

 

Refer to Surah Al-Qamar v.1

While there is no reason to doubt the subjective veracity of these reports, it is possible that what actually happened was an unusual kind of partial lunar eclipse, which produced anequally unusual optical illusion. But whatever the nature of that phenomenon, it is practically certain that the above Qur'an-verse does not refer to it but, rather, to a future event: namely, to what will happen when the Last Hour approaches. (The Qur'an frequently employs the past tense to denote the future, and particularly so in passages which speak of the coming of the Last Hour and of Resurrection Day; this use of the past tense is meant to stress the certainty of the happening to which the verb relates.) Thus, Raghib regards it as fully justifiable to interpret the phrase inshaqqa 'l-qamar ("the moon. is split asunder") as bearing on the cosmic cataclysm - the end of the world as we know it - that will occur before the coming of Resurrection Day (see art. shaqq in the Mufradat)

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