1 Muhammad ibn `Abdullah, transliterated as Muhammed, Mohammad, Muhammad or Mohammed. ca. 26 April 570 – 8 June 632 (Monday, 12th Rabi' al-Awwal, Year 11 A.H.). Muhammad means "praiseworthy" and occurs four times in the Qur'an. He was born in city of Mecca and became a merchant, able statesman, ruthless social and political reformer and warrior. According to Muslim belief he was the final messenger sent by God to instruct people in the way of Allah in continuity with all previous prophets in the Giudaen-Christian tradition.
He is referred to by many titles: prophet, messenger, servant of God ('abd), announcer (bashir) (Q. 2:119), witness (shahid) (Q. 33:45) bearer of good tidings (mubashshir), warner (nathir), (Q. 11:2) reminder (mudhakkir), (Q. 88:21) one who calls [unto God] (dā‘ī), (Q. 12:108) light personified (noor) (Q. 5:15), and the light-giving lamp (siraj munir) (Q. 73:1), the enwrapped (al-muzzammil) in Q. 73:1 and the shrouded (al-muddaththir) in Q. 74:1, "Seal of the Prophets".
2 For the complete text of this poem please see the following page: Samuel Taylor Coleridge: "Kubla Khan".
3 This translation is similar to the French where we find the words "Allah égare qui il veut", and the Italian, "Dio svia chi vuole". It is not an isolated verse as the same concept can be found in Q. 2:7, 17. See also the verse 4:90 in perhaps what is the most reliable translation, that by A. J. Arberry: "How is it with you, that you are two parties touching the hypocrites, and God has overthrown them for what they earned? What, do you desire to guide him whom God has led astray? Whom God leads astray, thou wilt not find for him a way".These are the more classical translations. Arbery's translation is free from any perceptible bias.
It must also be pointed out that other English translations have a version of the same verse conveying a radically different meaning, that God does not lead astray but allows man to choose to go astray: "whomever God wills, He lets go astray; and whomever he wills, He places upon a straight way" (Muhammad Asad); "whom Allah willeth, He leaveth to wander: whom he willeth, He placeth On the way that is straight" (Abdullah Yusuf Ali). In general Yusuf Ali's translation of the Qur'an is less reliable as it suffers from an anti-semitic bias, especially in his commentaries. His translation was actually banned from use in the Los Angeles district schools but approved, unsurprisingly, by the Saudi government.
Muhammad experienced compulsion as he was forced to read the words received via the archangel Gabriel on the occasion of the first presumed revelation. The above translations overriding freedom of choice might well be a consequence of that initial experience. There is compulsion, at least of a sort, in the religion of Islam. It seems to be that it is the Islamic God who chooses who will be guided and man's use of his free will seems to be overridden. Translations meant for the western mindset attempt to reinterpret texts and adapt translations to conform. All this is meant to render the Qur'an more palatable to the western mind. In effect, however, those who do not know classical Arabic do not have access to what Islam considers the literal and unadulterated word of God. One might also legitimately ask to what extent Islam is truly a universal religion if there cannot be universal, unhindered and genuine access to the primary sources in the form of accurate translations of the original.
It is often thought that it was impossible to translate the Qur'an and until recently and translations were even forbidden. This explains the titles of the various translations, which instead of the simple title "Qur'an" we have titles such as "Towards Understanding the Qur'an" and "The Message of the Qur'an". These titles betray the fact that what we have in English are not translations but interpretations of the Qur'an, the words of God are intermingled with those of man and it is not easy to distinguish between the two. One of the great advantages or drawbacks (according to one's perspective) of this is that the more embarassing aspects are either mitigated or camouflaged - a sort of disguised censorship for the western world.
For the Christian it is not God who leads astray, but Satan. To read that it is God who leads astray creates a horrific, stunning and blaspemous effect on the reader as the work of Satan is attributed to God! This should be true also for the Muslim as it was Satan who led astray the first human couple: "And We said: "O Adam, live in the Garden, you and your wife, and eat abundantly of whatever you wish but do not approach this tree, or else you will be counted among the wrong-doers." But Satan caused both of them to deflect from obeying Our command by tempting them to the tree and brought them out of the state they were in ... (Q. 2:35,36).
It is therefore very difficult, to say the least, to accept verses such as the one quoted above and similar verses such as 2:7: "Allah has sealed their hearts and their hearing, and a covering has fallen over their eyes" and 2:26: "Thus He [God] causes many to go astray just as He directs many to the Right Way." The words that follow do not help either: "And he therefore causes to go astray only the transgressors". These last words are actually meaningless.
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 1 Introduction
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 2 Jihad, Meaning and Forms
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 3 The Qur'an
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 4 The Hadith
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 5 From Mecca to Medina
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 6 Muhammad and the Jews of Medina
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 7 Muhammad and the Jews Banu Qaynuqa
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 8 Muhammad and the Jews Banu Al-Nadir
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 9 Muhammad and the Jews Banu Qurayza
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 10 Jesus Christ and Muhammad: Opposition, Mockery and rejection
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 11 Jihad of the Sword, the Lesser or Greater Jihad
Jihad - Qital - Holy War: Part 12 The importance of Jihad available soon
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