Friday, 1 April 2011

Hadīth Translation Errors (2/2)

Ḥadīth 3

عن أبى سعید الخدري رضى الله عنه قال سمعت رسول الله صلى الله علیه و سلم یقول: من رأى منكم منكرا فلیغیره بیده فإن لم یستطع فبلسانه فإن لم یستطع فبقلبه و ذلك أضعف الإیمان-رواه مسلم

This Ḥadīth is translated as follows in Chapter 2 of Virtues of Tablīgh: Whoever sees a forbidden thing being done, he must prevent it by the use of his hand; and if he has no power for this action, then he should prevent it with his tongue, and if he cannot do this even, then he should at least consider it a vice in his heart, and that is a very low level of one’s faith.”

1. Munkar is better translated as, “bad/evil/vice/disliked thing” instead of, “Forbidden thing.”
2. Falyughayyirhu means “change” not “prevent.”
3. Aḍ‘aful īmān means weakest faith, not just “a low level”

Ḥadīth 4
 عن أنس رضى الله عنه قال قال رسول الله صلى الله علیه و سلم :
 غدوة فى سبیل الله أو روحة خیر من الدنیا و ما فیها- رواه البخاري

This Ḥadīth is quoted as Ḥadīth 59 in the section of Da‘wah and Tablīgh of Muntakhab Aḥādīth, where the correct translation is give, “A morning or evening spent in the Path of Allāh is better than the world and all that it contains.” 
It is noticed that many quote that Ḥadīth as, “A little while spent in the morning and evening …”

Ḥadīth 5

The commentary of Ḥadīth No. 5 of Aḥādīth on Virtues of Kalimah Ṭayyibah [misspelt, “Tayyabah] of Virtues of Ẓikr ends thus, “According to another Ḥadīth, two Kalimahs are such that one does not stop reaching the Throne of Allāh, and the other fills the Heaven and Earth with its light or reward: one is لا إله إلا الله and the other is لا إله إلا الله" 
It is amazing that nobody ever questions if a senior scholar of the status of Shaykhul Ḥadīth Mawlānā Zakariyyā raḥmatullāhi ‘alayhi could write such an illogical statement. Referring to the original Urdu, we discover that he actually wrote, “One is لا إله إلا الله and the other is الله أكبر"

Ḥadīth 6

Hadīth III of the part, “Rewards of Jamaat,” of Virtues of Ṣalaat,” is a narration of ‘Abdullāh bin Mas‘ūd رضي الله عنه commending Ṣalāh in the Masjid and denouncing its abandonment. The second last paragraph of the Arabic narration is:

و لقد رأیتنا و ما یتخلف عنها إلا منافق معلوم النفاق و لقد كان الرجل یؤتى بها یهادى بین الرجلین حتى یقام فى الصف

The translation given is: During the lifetime of the Prophet (Sallallaho alaihi wasallam) no one would miss Jamaat except an open munaafiq or a real invalid. A better and fuller translation would be: I can still picture us, and no one would miss it i.e. Ṣalāh with Jamā‘ah except an open munaafiq. A man would be led between two men until he stood in the Ṣaff. Even with the different translation it is clear that the hypocrites did not attend the Masjid. The next paragraph commences, “wa fī rawāyatin,” i.e., “and in another narration.” This means that another narrator has related the above words of Ibn Mas‘ūd رضي الله عنه in a different way and not that his speech is continuing. This wrong impression was created when the translator omitted to translate, “wa fī riwāyatin.” The other riwāyah is:

لقد رأیتنا و ما یتخلف عن الصلاة إلا منافق قد علم نفاقه أو مریض إن كان الرجل لیمشى بین الرجلین حتى یأتى الصلاة و قال إن رسول الله صلى الله علیه و سلم علمن ا سنن الهدى و إن من سنن الهدى الصلاة فى المسجد الذي یؤذن فیه

The translation given is: Even the munaafiq dared not miss the Jamaat and a sick person who could be taken to the musjid with the help of two men would be helped to join the Jamaat. This translation contradicts the first and is the opposite of what Ibn Mas‘ūd رضي الله عنه actually said. The proper translation is: “I can still picture us, none would miss Ṣalāh [with Jamā‘ah] except an open hypocrite or a sick person who would in fact walk between two men until he came for Ṣalāh [with Jamā‘ah].” He [Ibn Mas‘ūd رضي الله عنه] also said, “Indeed Rasūlullāḥ صلى الله عليه و سلم taught us practices of guidance and amongst these practices of guidance is Ṣalāh in the Masjid wherein Azān is proclaimed.” What is clear from the Arabic is that Ibn Mas‘ūd رضي الله عنه condemned the hypocrites who did not attend the Masjid. This is understood from the first translation, but is contradicted by the second incorrect translation. 

This is further understood from the final Ḥadīth given in the commentary of Mawlānā Zakariyyā: It is said in another Ḥadīth, “Ishā and Fajr are very heavy on those who are munaafiq. If they knew the reward of the Jamā‘āh, they would go to the Masjid and join the Jamā‘ah even if they had to crawl.” Again, it is clear that the hypocrites were not attending. Some have explained this translation error by saying that perhaps the known hypocrites did not attend and the unknown hypocrites did in fact attend. The reply to this is quite simple. Firstly, even if true, that does not change the fact that the translation is wrong according to the original Arabic. Secondly, why should an assumption be accepted as opposed to the clear narration of a most senior Ṣaḥābī, a narration authenticated by al-Imām Muslim and al-Imām Abū Dāwūd? May Allāh guide us all.

سليمان الكندي

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