Is there any drawback to reading the translation of the Quran?

The Details of the Question

There are some people who say it is objectionable to read the translation of the Quran while others say it is enough to read only the translation of the Quran. What should the criterion regarding the issue be?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

There are two extremist views and a moderate view in this issue like in many other issues.

One of the extremist views is reading only the translation of the Quran.

I describe this view as follows:

To deduce decrees by reading the translation of the Quran without knowing Arabic and methodology, and without making use of the vast knowledge of fifteen centuries; to aim to attain the knowledge on faith, worship and good manners. 

It is certain by strong evidences that it is not a healthy method that will enable a believer to reach his target.

I find it enough to mention the following from our Book without listing all of the evidences:

- Our Book orders us to obey the Prophet (pbuh) so that it will be understood correctly and we will not make mistakes in practice. (There are many verses regarding the issue.)

- Our Book also advises us to apply to scholars (the vast knowledge) to understand it and to find the truth when there are disagreements in practice.

- Translation is made by preferring one of the possible meanings of many words and sentences; the other possible meanings that exist in the text of the Quran are not included in the translation.

Therefore, translations and interpretations (tafsir) are read; it is very useful and blessed to read them; however, it is necessary to know Arabic, methodology and the order and arrangement of the Quran in order to deduce decrees.

The representatives of the other extreme end prohibit reading the translations and interpretations of the Quran. They claim that they will divide Muslims and that many different religions will occur; therefore, they say it is necessary to give up reading translations and interpretations of the Quran and to learn the religion from religious (ilm al-hal) books.

The moderate way is to read both the translations and interpretations of the Quran along with the other books written by reliable scholars, especially ilm al-hal books, and to obtain true, deep and conscious religious knowledge that can enable one to differentiate between what is human and what is divine. This method has been used throughout history; thus, those who read and listened like that did not deviate from the true path and the great majority of the ummah remained as believers with the creed of Ahl as-Sunnah.

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