Mistranslations of Qur'an 67:5

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Muslims often blasphemy Islam by mistranslating or misinterpreting Qur'anic verses. This article charts the evolutionary process of one such verse.

Translations[edit]

Literal[edit]

We begin with the transliteration and literal meaning of verse 67:5. It discusses the Jinn (mythical ethereal creatures that are believed by Muslims to live among humans)[1] and stars from the "lowest heaven" which are used as missiles against any mischievous jinn that attempts to eavesdrop on conversations between angels.[2] It is one of many verses which clearly demonstrates the non-scientific nature of the Qur'an.

Transliteration: Walaqad zayyanna alssamaa alddunya bimasabeeha wajaAAalnaha rujooman lilshshayateeni waaAAtadna lahum AAathaba alssaAAeeri

Literal: And certainly We have beautified the heaven nearest with lamps, and We have made them (as) missiles for the devils, and We have prepared for them punishment(of) the Blaze.[3]

Honest[edit]

Here are the three most popular and readily available translations of this verse by Muslims.

Pickthal: And verily We have beautified the world's heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles for the devils, and for them We have prepared the doom of flame.
Shakir: And certainly We have adorned this lower heaven with lamps and We have made these missiles for the Shaitans, and We have prepared for them the chastisement of burning.
Yusuf Ali: And we have, (from of old), adorned the lowest heaven with Lamps, and We have made such (Lamps) (as) missiles to drive away the Evil Ones, and have prepared for them the Penalty of the Blazing Fire.

The following four translations are by non-Muslims whose work are sometimes viewed with suspicion among Muslims, yet their renditions match those of the three generally accepted and popular translations.

Arberry: And We adorned the lower heaven with lamps, and made them things to stone Satans; and We have prepared for them the chastisement of the Blaze.
Palmer: And we have adorned the lower heaven with lamps; and set them to pelt the devils with; and we have prepared for them the torment of the blaze!
George Sale: Moreover We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and have appointed them to be darted at the devils, for whom We have prepared the torment of burning fire:
JM Rodwell: Moreover we have decked the lowest heaven with lights, and have placed them there to be hurled at the Satans, for whom we have prepared the torment of the flaming fire.

A further twelve Muslim translations also confirm this.

Abdel Haleem: We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps and made them [missiles] for stoning devils for whom We have also prepared the torment of a blazing fire.
Muhammad Ahmed - Samira: We have adorned the lowest sky with lamps, and made them missiles against the devils, for whom We have prepared a torment of most intense fire.
Qaribullah: We have adorned the lower heaven with lamps, and We made them a stoning for the satans, We have prepared the punishment of the Blaze for them.
Faridul Haque: And indeed We have beautified the lower heaven with lamps, and have made them weapons against the devils, and have kept prepared for them the punishment of the blazing fire.
Syed Vickar Ahamed: And indeed, We have decorated the lowest heaven with lamps, and We have made them (like) missiles to drive away the Satans, and have prepared for them the penalty of the blazing Fire.
Muhammad Taqi Usmani: And We have decorated the nearest sky with lamps, and have made them devices to stone the devils, and We have prepared for them the punishment of Hell.
Muhammad Sarwar: We have decked the lowest heavens with torches. With these torches We have stoned the devils and We have prepared for them the torment of hell.
Hamid S. Aziz: And certainly We have adorned this lower heaven with lamps and We have made these missiles for Satan, and We have prepared for them the chastisement of burning.
Muhammad Mahmoud Ghali: And indeed We have already adorned the lowest heaven with lamps and made them outcast (meteorites) for Ash-Shayatin (The ever-vicious "ones", i.e., the devils) and We have readied for them the torment of the Blaze.
Ali Quli Qara'i: We have certainly adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and made them missiles against the devils, and We have prepared for them punishment of the Blaze.
Abdul Majid Daryabad: And assuredly We have bedecked the nearest heaven with lamps, and We have made them missiles for satans: and for them We have gotten ready the torment of the Blaze.
Sher Ali: And verily, WE have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps, and WE have made them the means of driving away satans, and WE have prepared for them the punishment of the blazing Fire.

Modified[edit]

The following two translations attempt to correct the mistaken idea of stars being made for the purpose stoning jinn, by claiming the missiles are made out of/from the stars, but are not the stars themselves.

Umm Muhammad (Sahih International): And We have certainly beautified the nearest heaven with stars and have made [from] them what is thrown at the devils and have prepared for them the punishment of the Blaze.
Ali Ünal: And, indeed, We have adorned the lowest heaven (the heaven of the world) with lamps (stars), and made (out of) them missiles to drive away devils; and for them We have prepared (in the Hereafter) the punishment of the Blaze.

The next two translations even fail to include their modifications within brackets, giving the false impression that their erroneous understanding of the verse was already, in essence, conveyed by the original Arabic.

Aisha Bewley: We have adorned the lowest heaven with lamps and made some of them stones for the shaytans for whom We have prepared the punishment of the Blaze.
Al-Muntakhab: And We decorated the lowermost heaven with lamps (or heavenly bodies), some of them adapted to be like weapons in pursuit of the evil ones for whom We have prepared torture in the blazes of Hell.

In the following two translations, the lamps and the projectiles used against the devilish jinn are referred to as separate entities, while the more honest translations of this verse have shown them to be one and the same.

Khalifa: We adorned the lowest universe with lamps, and guarded its borders with projectiles against the devils; we prepared for them a retribution in Hell.
Progressive Muslims: And We have adorned this universe with lamps, and We made it with projectiles against the devils; and We prepared for them the retribution of the blazing Fire.

Reimagined[edit]

It would seem that the following translators simply decided to discard the original verse and reimagine a new which was more to their liking.

Maulana Ali: And certainly We have adorned this lower heaven with lamps and We make them means of conjectures for the devils, and We have prepared for them the chastisement of burning.
Shabbir Ahmed: And indeed, We have beautified the sky of the world with shining lamps. And made them objects of futile guesses for the satans. (15:17), (37:6-9), (72:8). And for them We have prepared the doom of blazing flames.

The next three translations go a little further by claiming the devils/evil ones refer to the human cohorts and not to the jinn.

Asad: And, indeed, We have adorned the skies nearest to the earth with lights, and have made them the object of futile guesses for the evil ones [from among men]: and for them have We readied suffering through a blazing flame –
Farook Malik: And, indeed, We have adorned the skies nearest to the earth with lights, and have made them the object of futile guesses for the evil ones [from among men]: and for them have We readied suffering through a blazing flame.
Amatul Rahman Omar: We have, certainly, adorned the lowest heaven with (stars-like) lamps and We have made them as means of conjecture for the evil ones (and the astrologers who invent good or bad omens from the movement of the stars). (Remember) We have prepared for these (soothesayers) the punishment of the blazing Fire.

Scientific[edit]

The following translator decided he would insert some science into the Medieval text himself. The only redeeming feature of this translation is the inclusion of brackets.

Bijan Moeinian: God has adorned the lowest universe with the sources of light [probably a reference to the Quasars], being used as missiles against the devils [perhaps the reference is to anti-matter which will be destroyed immediately in contact with the matter] and prepared for them a blazing fire.

Conclusion[edit]

In conclusion there is little that is needed to be said, as this article is more focused on the variances among available translations and how far they differ from the original text, rather than the content of the original text itself. However it is important to note that the translations which have been labelled as "honest" in regards to this one verse, are not necessarily honest when dealing with other verses. Each Muslim translator is unique and has a different set of verses which they must personally find troublesome. For example; Yusuf Ali, who dishonestly added "lightly" to the verse which commands men to beat their wives, has provided us with an honest translation here.

See Also[edit]

  • Genies - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Genies
  • Mistranslated Verses - A hub page that leads to other articles related to Mistranslated Verses

References[edit]

  1. Mawdudi, Sayyid Abul Ala, Tafhim ul Quran, Markazi Maktaba Islami, Delhi, 1995, vol. 6, p.110
  2. "...The Jinns would go to the lowest heaven and listen to the Angels conversing amongst themselves about events of the Future which they heard from Allah. The Jinns would then inform the fortune-tellers. This is why before the time of the Prophet (saws) many fortune-tellers were very accurate in their predictions. However, upon the Prophet's arrival the heavens were guarded intensely by the Angels, and any Jinn who tried to listen was attacked by meteors (shooting stars)..." - The World of Jinn - Invitation to Islam, Issue 4, January 1998
  3. Word-by-Word Grammar - Verse (67:5) - The Quranic Arabic Corpus