Tuesday, October 23, 2007

It's all in the translation

by Leslie Scrivener from The Toronto Star

Chapter four, verse 34, with its prescriptions for managing "rebellious" women, is one the most controversial sections in the Qur'an. Here are three English translations - the first, by American scholar Laleh Bakhtiar, takes a woman's point of view, the second is a traditional interpretation from Saudi Arabia, and the third is generally regarded as a "progressive" translation by Muhammad Asad, who was a convert to Islam and esteemed for his efforts to illuminate Islam for the West:

But those whose resistance you fear, then admonish them and abandon them in their sleeping place then go away from them; and if they obey you, surely not look for any way against them; truly God is Lofty, Great.
The Sublime Quran, translated by Laleh Bakhtiar

As to those women on whose part you see ill conduct, admonish them (first), (next) refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly if it is useful); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them means (of annoyance). Surely Allah is Ever Most High, Most Great.
The Noble Quran, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Da'wah and Guidance

And for those women whose ill-will you have reason to fear, admonish them (first); then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!
The Message of the Qur'an, translated by Muhammad Asad

1 comment:

Abu Daoud said...

Laleh's mistranslation most certainly represents fitna (mischief) and she has no place calling herself a Muslima.