Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Terse Personal Reflections Prior to Ramadan 2012

(Can the title be more straight-to-the-point?)

So Ramadan has descended upon us once again....

...& this Ramadan I vow to finish reading the entire English translation of the Qu'ran, in hopes of easing the cognitive dissonance that befalls my brain most nights & some days (especially in these last few months).
(I've got in my possession "Towards Understanding Qu'ran: an abridged version of Tafhim al-Qu'ran by Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi, in case you are wondering. A gift from the father, naturally).

Though, one's faith & spirituality is a continuum, right?
I suspect it's not as black & white as we make it out to be. The binaries of "religious" & "non-religious" are far too simplistic.

Just like all social constructs.

Wish me so much luck.

4 comments:

Denise Bomfim said...

Salam, dear Urooba! Good Luck and Peace be upon us all over the world.

Do not forget me in this Ramadan...

رمضان مبارك

Ramadan Mubarak,
your friend from Rio, Brazil.

Aylah Medina said...

Ok, I admit...I googled your name after our little tweet convo #TheAlchemist. No regrets cuz I found your blog! As an aspiring blogger I'd love it if you took a look at a post of mine #RamadanReflections prior to publication. I warn you, terse is not a adjective I would use to describe my writing style. (Fire me an email if you can aylah.medina@gmail.com)

Clearly this twitter noob can't get enough of #hAsHtAgS

Salam + <3 + you-gettin-through-that-English-translation has been added to my post-taraweeh dua list + Ramadan Mubarak!

Your sis,
Aylah

Anonymous said...

salam
reading a translation? why on earth? it is soooo far from the real thing. You are clearly an intellectual interested in authenticity - why would you read a broken english version, coles notes style, of one of the great classics of philosophy, let's say, when you know it will only confuse and confound...
another example: imagine reading a chinglish (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-497544/Chinglish-Hilarious-examples-signs-lost-translation.html) version of a law textbook, because you want to become more familiar with the law; or a Chinglish version of Wordsworth, to appreciate the subtlety of his message.

unfortunately, english translation not only are FAR from the real Quran, they also diminish its greatness, perhaps due to lack of skill on the part of the translator or the wrong approach in translating (there are many approaches in translating and most of the translators of Quran unfortunately, thinking it would be more pious, were afraid of translating by meaning - they chose to do a more literal, textual translation which is not even how we translate from french to english - you just lose the naturalness and lose a lot of meaning if you insist on doing it word for word (or as close to word for word as possible) - the result is a very stilted, strained language - which is SO far from the majesty and beauty of the Arabic Quran.
Allah mentions how the Quran is in a fluent Arabic - this is for a reason. it is not meant to be read in translation.
Add to the basic translation issues i mentioned, when you translate, you impart some of your own views. The male translators by and large imparted to the resulting text their patriarchal assumptions.
how are you going to get away from that? it colors their entire translations....
you need to access the real thing if you really want to understand and really enjoy it too...it feels completely different, it reads completely differently. i honestly felt like it is a whole other Book when i got the chance to understand it in Arabic. that has been possible thanks to sitting with a person who is very good at Arabic, a real poet actually. I read the verses to this person, and this person asks me to say the meaning in English, and then explains where i cannot understand. so we are going through the Quran word by word and the meanings are so stupendously rich and vast. it has been an incredible, illuminating experience and i feel totally differently about so many things.
I feel that Allah is much Greater than what i thought before. subhanAllah. YOu feel His love and Mercy and Greatness when you read and understand the Arabic.
find someone to do this with - even online! Or risk distorting your views and coming out feeling bitter and confused.
i refused and still refuse to accept some man's interpretation of God's Words to me.
i will not allow some man to make a barrier between me and God. I want to understand what God says, for myself!

Zara Haque said...

I FIGURED IT OUT. I just want to wish you GOOD LUCK on this big task you have definitely taken upon yourself this holy month.
Will be impatiently waiting on your next post for some enlightenment!