A number of doubts and objections arise within the young people who read them. Besides, it is unsuitable for those who, like us, have little religious knowledge, to read tafsirs and hadiths to learn Islam. It causes one to lose one's iman if an ayat or hadith is misunderstood or doubted. A tafsir or hadith cannot be understood only by knowing Arabic. He who considers those who know Arabic as savants is wrong. In Beirut and in other places there are many priests whose native language is Arabic and who know Arabic literature well. Yet none of them understands Islam. In a dictionary they published in 1956 and entitled Al- Munjid, they wrote Islamic names incorrectly, even the name of the Baqi cemetery in Medina, and even the death-date of our Sayyid Rasulullah.
A person who wants to understand, to learn the real meaning of the Qur'an must read religious savants' books on kalam [Its lexical meaning is word, speech.], fiqh and morals. All these books have been derived and written from the Qur'an and hadiths. Books written as translations of the Qur'an do not convey a correct understanding. They enslave the readers to the ideas and purposes of their authors and cause them to dissent from the religion.
It is impossible to write the Qur'an in the Latin alphabet. For this reason, the meaning becomes defiled. The transliterations thus read, become a meaningless crowd of noises rather than the Qur'an. This fact is written in the magazine al-Muallim, printed in 1986. For example, salat will be fasid (unacceptable), if one reads the word 'ehat' instead of 'ehad.'
Today, it is seen that many people offer such defiled translations and books under the name of The Turkish Qur'an. These books of dubious origin are given to youngsters and distributed in villages. They say, "The Arabic Qur'an is in a foreign language. Don't read it! Read this one, which is in our native language." When observed carefully, it is understood that many of those who say do not perform namaz or fast, that they have dived into the harams and even into irreligiousness, and that they are bonded to Islam only in words. Why do these people sing and listen to Beethoven's 9 th Symphonies, Mozart's Figaro and Moliere's poems in German, Italian and French on radios and in bars? Why don't they say, "They are in foreign languages. We should sing them in pure Turkish?" They do Turkish versions by not translating these symphonies and comedies into Turkish. They won't enjoy them in Turkish. Their Turkish version cannot be said to be Beethoven's or Chopin's work. By the same token, Muslims cannot enjoy these books as they enjoy the Qur'an; they cannot nourish their souls.
The facts which we have reported above are written in a splendid style in the preface of "The Turkish Ma'al of Qur'an-al-karim," prepared and published in 1381 [A.D. 1961] by the Directory of Religious Affairs in Turkey. The Director of Religious Affairs, H.Husni Erdem, the author of this preface says, "A book such as the Qur'an-al-karim, which has he balaghat-i ilahi (Divine Eloquence) and Ijazi ilahi (Divine Conciseness), cannot be translated, either into Turkish or any other language properly. The explanations made under the light of former tafsirs may be more suitably called ma'al. It is not permissible to consider the words used to contain the meaning of the Qur'an-al-karim as equal to the Qur'an itself or to recite these words in namaz (salat) or to use them to deduce hukm (Judgements) without having first grasped the original properly. No translation of the Qur'an is possible. There are expressions (words) in the Qur'an-al karim which have various meanings. In the process of translation all the various meanings are reduced to one meaning and it cannot be known if this meaning is the meaning Allahu ta'ala is expressing (Murad-i Ilahi). Therefore, one should not dare to call 'the translation of the Qur'an.' There are two different thoughts here: to translate the Qur'an into the form of a ma'al, and to attempt to replace the Qur'an-al-karim with its translation." It is written in the explanation after the preface (of the book we have named in the previous paragraph) that it is not possible to translate this divine book (Qur'an), which is above mankind and a mujiz, into Turkish (or any other language) properly. Therefore, the most correct way is perhaps to express in Turkish the meanings and ma'al, which is understood from the Arabic originals, instead of translating ayats word by word. In fact, it is not possible to translate the Nazm-i Jalil of the Qur'an while preserving its original Ijaz and Balaghat, but to translate it in the form of a ma'al is possible. It is not possible to indicate the features of both languages in a translation from one language into another. The first translation of the Qur'an in Europe was rendered into Latin in 537 (1141 A.D.). It was translated into Italian in 919 (1513 A.D.), into German in 1025 (1616 A.D.), into French in 1056 (1647 A.D.), and into English in 1057 (1648 A.D.). Today there are about thirty translations in all these languages, but in these translations made by individuals with certain tendencies, there are many wrong interpretations and even purposeful errors. It is permissible to translate the Qur'an into other languages, Yet one cannot learn all the rules of the din of Islam from a translation. There are also some other rules which are in Hadith ash-Sharifs, Ijma and Qiyas. These are learned in detail from books of fiqh.
Allahu ta'ala declares in the Qur'an al-karim, "My book is in Arabic." He declares, "I sent the Qur'an down to Hadrat Muhammad in the Arabic language." Then, the total of the words, letters and meanings which Allahu ta'ala sent down through an angel is the Qur'an. The books that are not so cannot be called "the Qur'an." He who calls these books "the Qur'an" will lose his iman. He will become a disbeliever. If it is translated into another language or even into Arabic it is called an explanation of the Qur'an. Also, if one of its letters is changed even without the meaning being defiled, it is not the Qur'an anymore. Moreover, if any change is made in reading it without any letter being changed, it is not called the Qur'an.
This is written in Riyad-un-nasihin. The Qur'an which follows the rules of Arabic grammar and which doesn't change the meaning, but which is unlike the one which was collected together by Hadrat 'Uthman, is called "Qiraat-i Shazza." It is not permissible to read it during namaz or at any other place; it is a sin. A few of the Ashab-i kiram (radi Allahu ta'ala 'anhum ajmain) have recited the Qiraat-i Shazza, but there was no unanimity. It is not called "Qiraat-i Shazza" to recite in a fashion in which none of the Ashab-i kiram is said to have recited. It is necessary to imprison or to thrash a person who recites so. It is an act of disbelief to recite in a fashion in which none of the religious savants have recited, even if it does not defile the meaning or the words."
Translations of the Qur'an in other languages are not called the Qur'an. They are called ma'al or explanations of the Qur'an. If they have been prepared by devout Muslims who are experts and who have good intentions towards the subject, they can be read in order to understand the meaning of the Qur'an. There is nothing wrong in this. They cannot be read as the Qur'an itself. It is not reward-deserving to read them as the Qur'an. It is a sin, instead. Muslims should read the Qur'an as Allahu ta'ala revealed it. It is reward-deserving also to read it without understanding the meaning. Certainly it is all the more reward- deserving and better to read it and to understand the meaning.
The Arabic spoken in Egypt, Iraq, Hijaz and Morocco is not the same in each of these countries. In which of these dialects of Arabic will the Qur'an be explained? For understanding the Qur'an, it is necessary to know Quraish Arabic, not today's Arabic. For understanding the Qur'an, it is necessary to wear out the elbows with studying for years. We should understand it by reading the interpretations, the explanations written by Islamic savants who have understood it by studying so.
Youngsters who read the jerry-made translations will consider the Qur'an as a book consisting of mythological stories, unnecessary and useless thoughts, or only ordinary words. Taking a dislike to the Qur'an, to Islam, they will become disbelievers. That seems to be a new tactic, a new trick of Islam's enemies who want Muslim children, martyrs' children, to be trained irreligiously by offering the Qur'an's translations to them by saying, "Read the Qur'an in pure Turkish. Do not read the Arabic Qur'an, which is in a foreign language."
Hadrat Ibn-i Hajar-i Makki writes on the thirty-seventh page of his book Fatawa-i Fiqhiyya: "It is haram according to the unanimity (of savants) to write the Qur'an in any letters other than Arabic or to translate in into any other language and then read it instead of Qur'an al-karim. Hadrat Salman-i Farisi (radi Allahu 'anh) did not write the Surat-ul-Fatiha in Persian for the Iranians. He did not write its translation, either. He wrote the Persian explanation of the Surat-ul-Fatiha. It is haram to write it in letters other than Arabic or to read the Qur'an which is written so. It is haram according to the unanimity even to change the Qur'an by writing it in Arabic letters as it is read. To write so would mean to dislike what the Salaf-i salihin, that is, the early Muslims did, and to regard them as ignorant. For example, in the Qur'an the word ribu is pronounced and read as riba, but it is not permissible to write it as it is pronounced. When the Qur'an is translated into other languages, the ijaz of Allah's word is defiled, and the divine poem changes. It is haram to change the places of the ayats in each sura, for the order of the ayats is certainly correct. But the correctness of the order of the suras is established through supposition. For this reason, it is makruh to read and write it by changing the order of the suras. It is incorrect to say that writing the Qur'an in other letters or writing or reading its translation will facilitate learning it. Even if it were correct, that would not cause it to be permissible."
It is written in Mawduat-ul-'Ulum: "Teachings in the Qur'an are of three categories. The first category comprises facts which He has not imparted to anybody. Nobody besides Allah Himself knows Him, His Names and Attributes. The second type of knowledge He has intimated only to Hadrat Muhammad. No one besides this exalted Prophet and the superior savants, who are his inheritors, can explain this type of knowledge. Examples of this are the ayats called 'mutashabih'." The third category embodies teachings which He has communicated to His Prophet and has commanded him to teach them to his Ummat (Muslims). This knowledge also is of two parts. The first part contains Qisas (histories), which describe the states of the past people, and the Akhbar (news), which explains the things that He has created and will create in this and the next worlds. These can be understood only after being explained by Rasulullah (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam). They cannot be understood through the mind or experimentation. The second type can be understood through the mind, experimentation and by learning Arabic. Such is the case with deriving rules from the Qur'an and understanding scientific knowledge. Imam-i Nasafi 'rahmatullahi ta'ala alaih' writes in Aqaid, "Meanings are to be given according to the Arabic teachings. It will be ilhad [To go out of the religion by misunderstanding one or more parts of the Qur'an. He who does so is called a Mulhid.] and disbelief to give other meanings as the aberrant Ismailis (one of the groups of Shiites) did."
Those who make corrupt interpretations according to their own minds and opinions are of five types:
1 - The ignorant who do not know the prerequisites that are necessary for interpretation.
2 - Those who interpret ayats that are mutashabih [see above].
3 - Those in the aberrant groups and religion reformers who interpret according to their corrupt thoughts and wishes.
4 - Those who interpret without understanding well enough through proofs and documents.
5 - Those who interpret incorrectly by following their nafs and the devil.
Errors in ijtihad; Greatness of Imam-i Azam
26 - All the rules of Islam are derived from the Qur'an. The Qur'an incorporates within itself all the rules contained in the books sent to all Prophets (salawatullahi 'alaihim) and even more. Those with blind eyes, little knowledge and short brains cannot see this fact. These rules in the Qur'an are of three types.
Men of reason and knowledge can easily understand the first type of rules through a verse, through a signal, through denotation, through inclusion, through necessitation and through the conclusion of the Nass. That is, every ayat has various meanings and edicts with respect to its sentence, signal, denotation, inclusion, necessitation and conclusion [To understand this point more clearly an example must be given: An Ayat of the Qur'an declares, "Do not say, 'Ugh!' to your parents!" What this Ayat points out through these words is: 1- The verse: Do not use this word "ugh!" towards your parents. 2- Signal: Do not use the words hat will hurt your parents' hearts. This is what this ayat points out through these words. 3- Denotation: Do not do anything that may hurt your parents' hearts. 4- Inclusion: Do not beat or kill your parents. 5- Necessitation: Do favors for your parents. 6- Conclusion: Offending your parents causes disasters; pleasing parents causes happiness. Six types of meanings, as exemplified above, have been derived from each ayat that communicates rules.]. (Nass) means ayats and hadiths with clear and obvious meanings.
The second type of rules in the Qur'an cannot be understood clearly. They can be derived through ijtihad [Ability to understand the meaning of symbolic ayats in the Qur'an.] and istinbat [It means to extract the essence of something.].
In the ahkam-i ijtihadiyya (rules of the second type that can be understood through ijtihad), any one of the Ashab-i kiram might disagree with the Prophet. Yet these rules could not have been defective or doubtful during the time of our Prophet because if a wrong ijtihad was formulated, Hadrat Jabrail would descend and the wrong ijtihad would immediately be corrected by Allahu ta'ala. In this way, right and wrong were immediately differentiated from each other on the spot. However, rules that were derived after our Prophet (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) honored the next world were not so, and the correct and incorrect ijtihads remained mixed. It is for this reason that it is necessary both to do and to believe in the rules that were derived during the time of wahy [Allah's commands that come to prophets directly or through an angel. The entire Qur'an is wahy that has come through the angel Jabrail.]. It is necessary to do the rules that were derived after our Prophet also. Yet it does not spoil one's iman to doubt about an ijtihad on which there has been no ijma [Unanimity of the Ashab al-kiram on a religious matter that has not been explained clearly in the Qur'an or hadiths.].
The third group of rules in the Qur'an are so profound, so well hidden that human power falls short of understanding and deriving them. They cannot be comprehended unless they are explained by Allahu ta'ala. And this fact has been shown and explained only to our Prophet (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam). It has not been explained to anybody else. These rules also are derived from the Qur'an, yet since they have been explained by the Prophet (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam), they are called Sunnat. Concerning the rules of the first and third types, nobody can disagree with the Prophet. All Muslims have to believe and follow them. But on the ahkam-i ijtihadiyya, every mujtahid [He who understands the hidden, symbolic meanings in the Qur'an.] has to follow the rule that he has derived. He cannot follow the rules of other mujtahids. A mujtahid cannot say that another mujtahid has gone wrong, or that he has dissented from the righteous way on account of his ijtihad. For each mujtahid, his own ijtihad is correct and right. Our Prophet used to command his Sahabis whom he sent to distant places to act according to the rules of the Qur'an on matters they would be confronted with, but if unable to find them in the Qur'an, to look them up in hadiths, and if unable to find them there, to act according to their own opinions and ijtihads. He used to forbid them from following others' opinions and ijtihads, even if they were more learned and greater than themselves. No mujtahid, none of the Ashab-i kiram (radi Allahu ta'ala anhum ajmain) has ever discounted as wrong another's ijtihads. They have not uttered such evil terms as 'sinner' or 'aberrant' to those who disagreed with them.
The greatest of the mujtahids succeeding the Ashab-i kiram (radi Allahu ta'ala anhum ajmain) is Imam-i azam Abu Hanifa (radi Allahu 'anh). This great leader had wara' and taqwa in his every action. In everything he did he followed our Prophet in the fullest sense of the word. He reached such a high grade in ijtihad and istinbat that no one else could be compared with him.
[There had been people before him who were more learned and greater than he. Yet during their lifetimes aberrations had not spread; therefore, they had not prepared gauges to differentiate what was correct from what was incorrect. Instead they had dealt with more valuable matters].
Hadrat Imam-i Shafi'i [The leader of the Shafi'i madhhab, which is one of the four righteous madhhabs in Islam.] said, "All mujtahids are Imam-i azam Abu Hanifa's children." He said this because he understood something of the genius of this great leader of ijtihad. Hadrat 'Isa (Jesus), after descending from heaven in a time close to the end of the world, will act according to Hadrat Muhammad's Shariat and will derive rules from the Qur'an. Hadrat Muhammad Parisa, one of the great Islamic savants, says, "All the rules which such a great Prophet as Hadrat 'Isa will derive through ijtihad will be in agreement with the rules in the Hanafi madhhab; that is, they will conform with the great leader's ijtihad." This shows how accurate and how correct the great leader's ijtihad is. The awliya [ Person or persons whom Allah loves.] said that they saw through the heart's eye that the Hanafi madhhab was like an ocean, while the other madhhabs were like small rills and brooks. Hadrat Imam-i azam Abu Hanifa surpassed everybody also in following the sunnat in his ijtihad, and he took even Mursal [ Kinds of hadiths are explained in the second fascicle of Endless Bliss.] hadiths as well as Musnad [ Kinds of hadiths are explained in the second fascicle of Endless Bliss.] hadiths as documents. He also held the words of the Ashab-i kiram superior to his own opinions and findings. He understood better than anybody else the greatness of the grades which the Ashab-i kiram (radi Allahu ta'ala anhum ajmain) had attained by having the honor of being together with our Prophet (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam). No other mujtahid was able to do so. Those who say that Imam-i azam derived rules from his own mind, that he was not dependent upon the Qur'an and hadiths are disparaging millions of Muslims, who have been worshipping for centuries on the earth, with having been on a wrong and fabricated path and even with having been outside of Islam. Only block-headed and ignorant people who are unaware of their own ignorance or the enemies of Islam, who want to demolish, to spoil Islam, will say something of this sort. A few ignorant people, a few zindiqs, memorizing a few hadiths and presuming that Islam is no more than that, deny the rules of which they have not heard and of which they have no knowledge. Yes, an insect that has remained in the cavity of a rock will consider the earth and the sky as consisting of only that hole.
The chief of the Ahl as-sunnat and the founder of fiqh is Imam-i azam Abu Hanifa (rahmatullahu ta'ala 'alaih). Three-fourths of the rules of Islam that are carried out all over the world belong to him. He also has a share in the remaining one-fourth. He is the host, the chief of the family in the Islamic Shariat. All the other mujtahids are his children.
[All the rules which a mujtahid has derived are called a Madhhab. Out of hundreds of Ahl as-sunnat madhhabs, today, only four Imams' madhhabs have been transferred into books, and the others have been partly forgotten. The names and the dates of the deaths of the four Imams are: Abu Hanifa 150, Malik bin Anas Asbahi 179, Muhammad Shafi'i 274, and Ahmad bin Hanbel 241.
Non-mujtahids have to follow one of these four madhhabs in all their actions and worships. This means to say that our Prophet's (sall Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam) way is the way shown by the Qur'an, and the hadiths, in other words, by the sunnat and by the ijtihad of the mujtahids. Besides these three documents, there is Ijma'-i ummat, which is, as it is written under the subject of 'Imprisonment' in Ibni Abidin, the words of the Ashab-i kiram (rahmat Allahu ta'ala 'alaihim ajmain) and those of the Tabiin [A person who saw the Prophet at least once when he was alive is called a Sahabi. It goes without saying that a disbeliever could not be a Sahabi or Ashab. Ashab means Muslims who saw the Prophet at least once. All of the Ashab are called Ashab al-kiram. When we say Ashab al-kiram, we mean all the Muslims who were with him, spoke to him, listened to him, or, at least, saw him. If a person did not see the Prophet, but if he saw one of the Ashab al-kiram, he is called a Tabi'. The plural form of Tabi' is Tabiin. When we say the Tabiin, we mean all the Muslims each of whom saw one Sahabi at least once. A person who saw one of the Tabiin is called Taba'-i-Tabiin. When we say Salaf-i-salihin, we mean the Ashab al-kiram, the Tabiin and the Taba'-i-Tabiin. ]. That is, they are the things which none of them refuted or denied upon seeing them. The Shiites' claim in the book Minhaj-us-salihin is not correct. They say it is not permissible to adapt ourselves to a dead person.]
Islamic religion has come to us through these four documents. These four documents are called "Adilla-i Shariyya." Everything outside these are bidat, irreligiousness, and false. The inspirations and the kashfs that occur to the hearts of great men of tasawwuf [see articles 35 and 40, respectively] cannot be proofs or documents for the rules of the Shariat. [Kashf will be explained in the following pages.] Correctness of kashfs and inspirations is judged by their compatibility with the Shariat. An Awliya who is in high grade of the tariqat or wilayat has to follow a mujtahid, like Muslims in lower grades. The Awliya such as Bastami, Junaid, Jalaladdin-i Rumi and Muhyiddin-i Arabi were raised in rank by adapting themselves to a madhhab as everybody did. Sticking to the rules of the Shariat is like planting a tree. The knowledge, the marifat, the kashfs and tajallis, the divine love and muhabbat-i zatiyya [Love for only Allah without including His attributes. Divine love is love for Allah together with His attributes.] that occur to the Awliya are like the fruits of this tree. Yes, the purpose in planting the tree is to get the fruit. But, it is necessary to first plant the tree for obtaining the fruit. That is, unless there is iman and the rules of the Shariat are carried out, there can be no tasawwuf, tariqat or awliya. Those who claim so are zindiqs [A person who endeavors to defend and spread his own thoughts under the name of Islam, though they are, in fact, incompatible with Islam.] and irreligious. We should be aware of such people more than we would be of a lion. A lion will only take away our life. But such people will take away our faith and iman. [It is written in the book Maraj-ul-Bahrayn, which quotes Ahmad Zarruq as saying that Imam-i Malik (rahmat Allahu ta'ala 'alaih) said: "Anybody who dives into tasawwuf without learning fiqh becomes a zindiq (renegade); and anybody who learns fiqh and yet is not aware of tasawwuf, goes astray; but those who obtain knowledge of both fiqh and tasawwuf attain the truth. Anybody who learns fiqh correctly and who tastes the sweetness of tasawwuf becomes a 'perfect kamil'." All the early men of tasawwuf were in the madhhab of a scholar of fiqh before they attained perfection. The statement, "People of tasawwuf don't have a madhhab" does not mean that they left their madhhabs, but rather it means that they knew all the madhhabs and that they always took into consideration all of them. They performed their duties according to what was best and what was on the safe side. Junaid-i Baghdadi was in the madhhab of Sufyan-i Sawri; Abdul Qadir Geilani (Jilani) was a Hanbali; Abu Bakr Shibli was a Maliki; Imam-i Rabbani and Jariri were in the madhhab of Hanafi; Haris-i Muhasibi was a Shafi'i (Qaddas-Allahu ta'ala Asrarahum/may Allahu ta'ala make their secrets very sacred.)]