Ramadan Kareem! Ramadan, in the era of Covid19, means new challenges to rise to. Mine includes practicing patience with my children (who are there at all waking hours), planning menus far in advance (in case groceries are scarce), and finding new ways to celebrate with friends and family. That being said, our international crisis has brought me closer to the true meaning of Ramadan. Inner peace.
This month, I’m looking forward to pouring over the pages of The Sublime Quran translated by Laleh Bakhtiar. It is the first translation of the Quran done by an American Muslim woman, Sufi, writer, and theologian.
A few reasons why I purchased this translation:
She offers a new translation for the hotly debated “beat” in Chapter 4, Verse 34: “explain”
The words “beat them (f)” in Chapter 4 verse 34 have denied Muslim women their rights given in the Quran for almost 1500 years. Muslim women have challenged it in articles, essays, lectures, and books, but none have translated it in a complete translation of the Quran the way the Prophet understood it as shown by his behavior until I was blessed to translate the Sublime Quran. Islam teaches that whenever a person becomes aware and conscious of an inconsistency in Islamic teachings, he or she must speak out. — Laleh Bakhtiar
Bakhtiar discovered over 3,600 Arabic verbs and nouns, which translated into more than 5,800 unique English translations. This results in a much more accurate translation. I find this beautiful because each word of the Quran holds significance. If you are reading for quick comprehension and not focused on meditation, I think you are missing 99% of the story.
Let me give you an example. In Bakhtiar’s translation, 2.89 “infidels” and “unbelievers” are now “ungrateful ones.” And what is gratitude? To be pleased with an action. So infidels and unbelievers are now, “those unpleased ones.” I could spend hours thinking about my life in context to those “ungrateful.”
But please note, most of the criticism of this book (outside of the thin sheets of paper) is that readers found it hard to comprehend because her English is esoteric and ancient. But shouldn’t the Quran words take a lifetime to truly understand?
Laleh Bakhtiar is certainly a force to be reckoned with. The greatest lesson I’ve learned from reading Laleh Bakhtiar’s writing: you can’t have free will until you have a will. Free will is not following your desires. In Islam, free will is being the master of your internal will.
The Sublime Quran is available on Amazon.
Peace & Salam,