While comparing various English translations of the Qur’an I stumbled upon a version that was different than any other, and extremely disturbing. After a little research, I found this description of “The Noble Qur’an in English Translation by Halali and Khan” from Wikipedia:
The Hilali-Khan translation has been criticised by several prominent Western Muslims.
Khaleel Mohammed has taken the translation to task for “[reading] more like a supremacist Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian polemic than a rendition of the Islamic scripture,” while Sheila Musaji complains that it “is shocking in its distortions of the message of the Qur’an and amounts to a rewrite not a translation.” Dr. Robert (Farooq) D. Crane states that it is “Perhaps the most extremist translation ever made of the Qur’an.”
Khaled Abou El Fadl attacks what he calls “grotesque misogyny” in the translation.
The Hilali-Khan translation could be called an amplified translation, as it adds parenthetical comments into the text for the sake of clarity. However, these parenthetical comments are the source of much of the controversy.
As an example, Khaleel Mohammed condemns the Hilali-Khan translation of the final two verses of the very first sura, Al-Fatiha:
Guide us to the Straight Way
The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace,
not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews),
nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).
Get that? Those words in parenthesis (highlighted red) are NOT in the original Arabic Qur’an! This “translation” is corrupt from the very first surah! Consider what the real Qur’an says about Jews and Christians:
And We verily sent Noah and Abraham and placed the prophethood and the scripture among their seed, and among them there is he who goeth right, but many of them are evil-livers. Then We caused Our messengers to follow in their footsteps; and We caused Jesus, son of Mary, to follow, and gave him the Gospel, and placed compassion and mercy in the hearts of those who followed him. (Qur’an 57:26-27)
The Qur’an explicitly states that some Jews went in the way that is “right” and some erred. Jews as a whole are not accurately portrayed as “those who earned [God's] anger.” Yet that is the impression one gets from the Halali-Khan insertion in the Fatihah. Of course there is mixed testimony in the Qur’an, which makes it all the more important to refrain from presenting just one view. Here is another example of what the authentic Qur’an actually teaches concerning Jews and Christians (note that Arabic speaking Jews and Christians referred to God as Allah at the time the Qur’an was written):
Those who believe, and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the Sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. (Quran 2:62)
Imagine how a Muslim (or a Christian for that matter) would feel if he found a (per)version of the Bible that added these words in parentheses:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe (like the Muslims) is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
Why do Muslims allow their Holy Book to be corrupted like this? When will they rise up and demand a pure translation? Such corruption leads to hatred, war, murder, and death. This is extremely important, given that this article Assessing English Translations of the Qur’an in the Middle East Quarterly (an excellent read) reports the Halalli-Khan version to be one of the most widely distributed translations:
Now the most widely disseminated Qur’an in most Islamic bookstores and Sunni mosques throughout the English-speaking world, this new translation is meant to replace the Yusuf ‘Ali edition and comes with a seal of approval from both the University of Medina and the Saudi Dar al-Ifta Whereas most other translators have tried to render the Qur’an applicable to a modern readership, this Saudi-financed venture tries to impose the commentaries of Tabari (d. 923 C.E.), Qurtubi (d. 1273 C.E.), and Ibn Kathir (d. 1372 C.E.), medievalists who knew nothing of modern concepts of pluralism. The numerous interpolations make this translation particularly problematic, especially for American Muslims who, in the aftermath of 9-11, are struggling to show that Islam is a religion of tolerance.
I beg all Muslims everywhere in the world to protest and reject this corrupted translation of the Qur’an.
As-Salam Alykum — Peace be upon you