Is A True Translation of The Qur’an Possible?
Twelve years ago (1931) I heard that a fearsome and obdurate atheist had instigated a conspiracy against the Qur’an, which was to have it translated. He said: “The Qur’an should be translated so that everyone can know just what it is.” That is, he hatched a dire plan with the idea of everyone seeing its unnecessary repetitions and its translation being read in its place. However, the irrefutable proofs of the Risale-i Nur proved decisively that “A true translation of the Qur’an is not possible, and other languages cannot preserve the Qur’an’s qualities and fine points in place of the grammatical language of Arabic. Man’s trite and partial translations cannot be substituted for the miraculous and comprehensive words of the Qur’an, every letter of which yields from ten to a thousand merits; they may not be read in its place in mosques.” Through spreading everywhere, the Risale-i Nur made the fearsome plan come to nothing. I surmise that it was due to the idiotic and lunatic attempts of dissemblers to extinguish the Sun of the Qur’an on account of Satan by puffing at it like silly children having taken lessons from that atheist, that I was inspired to write this Tenth Matter while under great constraint and in a most distressing situation. But I do not know the reality of the situation since I have been unable to meet with others. (Please click to read “A Flower of Emirdag”)
SECOND ADDITION: After our release from Denizli Prison (1), I was staying on the top floor of the famous Shehir Hotel. The subtle and graceful dancing of the leaves, branches, and trunks of the many poplar trees in the fine gardens opposite me at the touching of the breeze, each with a rapturous and ecstatic motion like a circle of dervishes, pained my heart, sorrowful and melancholy at being parted from my brothers and remaining alone. Suddenly the seasons of autumn and winter came to mind and a heedlessness overcame me. I so pitied those graceful poplars and living creatures swaying with perfect joyousness that my eyes filled with tears. With this reminder of the separations and non-being beneath the ornamented veil of the universe, the grief at a world-full of deaths and separations pressed down on me. Then suddenly, the Light the Muhammadan (PBUH) Reality had brought came to my assistance and transformed my grief and sorrow into joy. Indeed, I am eternally grateful to the Muhammadan Being (PBUH) for the assistance and consolation which alleviated my situation at that time, only a single instance of the boundless effulgence of that Light for me, like for all believers and everyone. It was like this:
By showing those blessed and delicate creatures to be without function or purpose, and their motion to be not out of joy, but as though trembling on the brink of non-existence and separation and tumbling into nothingness, that heedless view so touched the feelings in me of desire for immortality, love of beautiful things, and compassion for fellow-creatures and life that it transformed the world into a sort of hell and my mind into an instrument of torture. Then, just at that point, the Light Muhammad (Peace and blessings by upon him) had brought as a gift for mankind raised the veil; it showed in place of extinction, non-being, nothingness, purposeless, futility, and separations, meanings and instances of wisdom to the number of the leaves of the poplars, and as is proved in the Risale-i Nur, results and duties which may be divided into three sorts:
The First Sort looks to the All-Glorious Maker’s Names. For example, if a master craftsman makes a wondrous machine, everyone applauds him, saying: “What wonders Allah has willed! Blessed be Allah!” Similarly, the machine congratulates the craftsman through the tongue of its disposition, through displaying perfectly the results intended from it. All living beings and all things are machines such as that; they applaud their Craftsman through their glorifications.
The Second Sort of the Instances of Wisdom looks to the views of living creatures and conscious beings. Beings each become an agreeable object of study, a book of knowledge. They leave their meanings in the sphere of existence in the minds of conscious beings and their forms in their memories, and on the tablets in the World of Similitudes, and in the notebooks of the World of the Unseen, then they depart from the Manifest World and withdraw to the World of the Unseen. That is, they leave behind an apparent existence, but gain many existences pertaining to meaning, the Unseen, and knowledge. Yes, since Allah (God) exists and His knowledge encompasses everything, in the view of reality, in the world of believers there is surely no non-being, extinction, nothingness, annihilation, and transitoriness, while the world of unbelievers is full of non-existence, separation, nothingness, and transience. This is taught by the saying, which is on everyone’s lips, “For those for whom Allah (God) exists, everything exists; and for those for whom He does not exist, nothing exists; for them there is nothing.”
IN SHORT: Just as belief saves man from eternal extinction at the time of death, so it saves everyone’s private world from the darknesses of annihilation and nothingness. Whereas unbelief, and especially if it is absolute unbelief, both sends man and his private world to non-existence with death, and casts him into infernal darknesses. It transforms the pleasures of life into bitter poisons. Let the ears ring of those who prefer the life of this world to that of the hereafter! Let them come and find a solution for this, or else let them enter belief and be saved from these dreadful losses!
Glory be unto You! We have no knowledge save that which You have taught us; indeed, You are All-Knowing, All-Wise. (2)
From your brother who is in much need of your prayers and misses you greatly,
S a i d N u r s i (11th Ray)
(1) Bediuzzaman Said Nursi was sent to prison many times because of writing and spreading The Risale-i Nur.
(2) Qur’an, 2:32.