Cairo initiates Hebrew translation of Quran

CAIRO — Egyptian Minister of Endowments (Awqaf) Mohamed Mokhtar Gomaa introduced on Dec. 1 the beginning of the Quran’s translation into Hebrew to counter misinterpretations and mistranslations. He mentioned educational professors and specialised translators, whom he didn’t title, will probably be concerned in correct translations that befit meanings within the Quran.

“The ministry is working to translate the meanings of the Quran into foreign languages through the translation of a book called al-Muntakhab that includes an interpretation of the Quran verses,” Abdullah Hassan, spokesperson for the ministry, informed Al-Monitor by telephone. He mentioned the interpretation just isn’t concerning the Quran itself.

“The Quranic verses will stay as are in Arabic, however the interpretation of the verses is the one which will probably be translated into completely different languages,” he added. “Over the past years, the interpretation of the Holy Quran was translated into a number of foreign languages, especially English, French, Chinese, Russian and Indonesian.”

He noted that the ministry “will be finalizing the translation and interpretation of the Quran into the Greek language over the next two weeks, before starting to translate the interpretation of the Quran into the Hebrew language to make it available to everyone willing to study and have a deeper and accurate understanding of the Quran in Hebrew.”

Commenting on the misinterpretations in earlier translations of the Quran, the official mentioned, “There are Orientalists (specialists who learn languages and cultures of Southeast and East Asia ) who inaccurately translated the Holy Quran, especially into the Hebrew language. The goal behind this translation is to have a correct text based on a moderate enlightened thinking, free of any mistranslation, misinterpretations or extremist interpretation.”

Speaking to TEN satellite tv for pc channel on Dec. 1, the minister mentioned, “The goal behind translating the meaning of the Quran into Hebrew is to correct the wrongs made over the past years. … Following a discussion with a number of intellectuals from different countries, we found out that the Hebrew translation of the meanings of the Quran by some Orientalists was marred by major mistakes, which could be intentional or due to inaccuracy.”

Al-Roeya newspaper reported on Oct. 15, 2020, “Over the past centuries, there were several initiatives to translate the meanings of the Holy Quran into Hebrew in the Jewish arena. According to specialists, they varied in terms of accuracy and linguistic and stylistic skills in conveying the meanings of the Quran to Hebrew readers.”

Ahmed al-Bahansi, an Egyptian researcher specializing in Jewish research, defined in a report revealed in mid-October 2018 that “Jewish scholars, translators and Orientalists took the lead in translating into Hebrew the meanings of the Holy Quran, either partially or completely, for mainly religious and political reasons so as to debate with Muslims about religion and fight them intellectually and politically.”

In October 2017, Raseef 22 wrote that “the first translation [of the Quran] was done by Jacob ben Israel ha-Lev. It was not a direct translation from Arabic but rather from an Italian version that is, in turn, a translation of the meaning of the Quran from Latin.”

The rapporteur of the language, translation and civilization dialogue committee on the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Saeed Attia, informed Al-Monitor by telephone, “The committee monitored seven Hebrew translations of the Quran’s interpretations, all made by groups and individuals in Israel. But the Israeli translator is not fully familiar with the Arabic language, which made the translation inaccurate.”

He added, “I submitted to the [Egyptian] endowment minister a proposal to translate “al-Muntakhab fi Tafseer al-Quran” into Hebrew, after translating it into a number of languages together with the Greek language most not too long ago. The Greek textual content is being finalized.”

He famous there are a number of goals behind translating the interpretation of the Quran into overseas languages. It primarily seeks to allow an trade of data and switch of Islamic information and tradition from Arab nations to overseas.”

Attia mentioned of the interpretation of the interpretation of the Quran into Hebrew, “Translation takes time, and it may take us about two years to complete the Hebrew text.”

Abdul Karim Saleh, head of the Quranic interpretation committee at Al-Azhar Islamic Research Academy, informed Al-Monitor, “The decision to translate the interpretation of the Quran into more than one language helps spread the correct concept of the Islamic religion and to communicate it to the West.”

Saleh defined that “some translations of the interpretation of the Quran are inaccurate. Hence, translations into overseas languages ​encompass a proactive step to stop any mistranslation or misinterpretation.”

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