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August 10th, 2009

Translation of “Al-Akhira”

Here is the Urdu translation of the words referring to Al-Akhira occurring near the beginning of Sura Baqara of the Holy Quran. These are images scanned from the published translations.

Translator 1:


Translator 2:


What is the difference between the two translations above?

Translator 1 is accused by a group of deliberately violating the command of the Promised Messiah by translating Al-Akhira in this way.

Translator 2 is regarded by the same group as a true successor of the Promised Messiah.

20 Responses to “Translation of “Al-Akhira””

  1. 1. Who is translator 1 and who is translator 2?

    2. How did HMGA define akhireen in this verse(in urdu)?

    3. How did Hazrat Noorudin define akhireen(in urdu)in this verse?

  2. August 12th, 2009 at 3:08 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Let us remain with the point that I have raised:

    Translator 1 writes: aur akhirat per woh yaqeen raktay hain

    Translator 2 writes: aur woh akhirat per yaqeen raktay hain

    A group spends years saying that Translator 1 knowingly went against the Promised Messiah by translating these words in this way. Years pass. Then Translator 2 becomes the head of that very group and a few years later he translates these words as above.

    I am sure you can deduce who Translator 1 and Translator 2 are.

  3. Bashir has a valid point regarding #2 and #3 in his post. I have researched this.

  4. August 13th, 2009 at 5:44 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    So why did the late Mirza Tahir Ahmad revise the Qadiani Jamaat Urdu translation of these words to the traditional Akhirat?

  5. Akhirat has a dual meaning if you read the ‘Qadiani’ commentaries. Also in the various English translations from our jamaat,  some have it as ‘Hereafter’ and others as ‘something yet to come in the latter days’. The dual meaning based on how one interprets the Arabic has been fully accepted by Ahmadis, going back to pre-Split days.

  6. I am totally against Koranic verse which have dual meanings. If allah wanted a verse to have multiple meanings he would have revealed another verse to fill that need.

    This goes back to another thread where I wrote that Koranic verses as interpreted by the classical mufassirs should be used a reliable source of information. I am totally against the “picking and choosing” theory that most religions use.

    For example: Ahmadis(q) used Suyuti’s tafsir as reliable wherein he quotes Ayesha in support of prophethood continous. But they dont explain what suyuti’s personal position on prophethood was, or his opinion of the second coming of jesus. In other words, the ahmadis(q) use suyuti when they need to, other than his sporadic writings, they reject his opinions on important matters, like if jesus is dead or alive, prophethood, jihad, abrogation, etc etc.

    In terms of 4:69, the classic mufassirs were at a consensus of opinion on the meaning of this verse.
    HMGA came along and adopted a new meaning(circa 1891 or so). In the 1891-1901 period HMGA claimed(both sides agree) that this verse meant that the qualities of the prophets were achieveable in terms of muhaddassiyya. HMGA also connected this verse to Surah fatiha and the favours as described therin.

    This was all new to the muslims at large. The aaiil cling to this belief to this day. The ahmadis(q) implemented a new definition to this verse in 1915. HMBMA explained that this verse meant that prophethood(follower-type) was attainable to the entire ummah. This was a favour that was to exist forever.

    HMBMA did not explain if HMGA changed his position on this verse or not. HMGA did not mention this verse in EGKi at all. HMBMA did not explain if HMGA changed his position on 2:5/6 or not, in 1901.
    That would be changes to 3 verses of the Koran.

    Maybe if the Koran was clearer, then maybe muslims wouldnt be able to invent new meanings of the Koran.
    The purpose of the Koran was so that all muslims would be able to understand the communications of allah. It seems that every scholar has a different interpretation of the Koran, that is not the true spirit of the Koran as preached by the HP.

  7. August 15th, 2009 at 7:48 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    In both Tafseer-i Kabeer and Tafseer-i Sagheer, akhirah is translated as ‘the things that are promised to come’ (a’inda honai wali mau`ood batoon), with explanation in Tafseer-i Kabeer as to why this meaning suits the context (p. 144, column 2).

    In the 1990 and later editions of Tafseer-i Sagheer there is a Publisher’s Note saying that as objections had arisen that the translation at certain points was explanatory rather than being the basic translation, therefore at those points the basic translation is now given and the explanatory translation made into a footnote. This, it says, has been done personally by Mirza Tahir Ahmad. At the back of the book there is a list of such verses.

    The above verse is one of these, whose translation now just says akhirat, and the previous translation (a’inda honai wali mau`ood batoon) is now a footnote. The online version of Tafseer-i Sagheer is still the older edition (see link).

    So now, quite correctly of course, the main meaning is given as akhirat. And it was done because people objected to the other translation.

    So why for decades was all the fuss raised that Maulana Muhammad Ali by translating it in the traditional way as akhirat has contradicted the so-called forcefully held opinion of the Promised Messiah? Now due to objections of non-Ahmadis (as plainly admitted above) the Qadiani Khalifas revert to akhirat.

  8. My point  is more to do with the meaning as interpreted by Ahmadis througout the decades going back to time of Promised Messiah and Khalifa I.
    Lahoris dogmatically assert this word cannot have any other meaning, whereas Qadianis see both interpretations. The reason is of course the other meaning conflicts with Lahori views.

  9. August 16th, 2009 at 8:26 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    The fact is that Mirza Tahir Ahmad has downgraded this interpretation by recognising, in response to non-Ahmadi objections, that the word akhirat could not be translated in the way that it had been.

    If the Promised Messiah had attached any importance to this interpretation he would have written about it somewhere or would have mentioned it in some talk or speech as reported in the newspapers.

  10. It sounds like Koranic verses are being defined in a number of ways to fit the needs of the time. I am totally against this way of thinking.

    I am deeply saddened by all of this re-interpretation or dual meaning business.

    Why not just create an alternate Koran? Why is the Koran open to so much interpretation? If the Koran was perfect, why did the muslims not understand it? Allah was suppose to protect this book, what happened?

  11. Ahmadis(q) have contradicted themselves in this respect. I have always read the argument that jesus died a natural death based on the fact that the word mutaffika(i cant remember the exact word) universally denotes death. The ahmadis(q and L) adhere to this principal. The ahmadis(q and L)this word was used universally to communicate death.

    Well, if we use the same “standard candle”(see edwin hubble) approach then all words in the Koran must be used universally.

    But, everytime akhireena has been used in the Koran it means “hereafter”. Then the ahmadis(q) have broken their own rule of decoding the Koran.

    Similarily the word khatam/khatim both mean sealing off, everytime these words appeared in the Koran they meant sealing the hearts, mouths, ears, eyes, then finally in 33:40 it meant sealing off of prophethood. 33:40 was the last recorded utterance of the word khatam/khatim. These words never meant a stamp or the best of.

    So it seems that ahmadis(q) are using double standards in terms of interpreting the Koran.

    If I am wrong please correct me…..

  12. ^ Shortly after writing the above I found that the word akhireena when it appears in 62:3 does not communicate the hereafter.

    Can someone clarify this. I initially thought that akhireena only meant “hereafter”.

    In this verse I am not even sure as to what it means. Suyuti, Ibn Abbas, M. Ali and HMBMA have not translated akhireena as hereafter. That’s 4 sources.

  13. August 18th, 2009 at 5:39 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Bashir, in 62:3 the word is akhareena, with fatha (i.e. zabar) on the letter kh, and not kasra (i.e. zair). The word here is not akhireena.

    The difference is that akhir refers to “last”, but akhar means “other”. That is why each and every translator will translate akhareena as “others”.

    There are a large number of examples of akhar in the Quran, translated as “other”:

    “Do not make any other a god with Allah” (17:22).

    “And the other said” (12:36)

    “…was not accepted from the other” (5:27)

    It is also used in the dual form in 5:106 and 5:107, as akharan, meaning “two others”.

    However, Allah’s attribute in 57:3 is akhir, thus translated as “last” by everyone.

    People may be pleased (or disappointed!) to know that the difference between akhar and akhir is not a controversial matter.

  14. ZA. thanks for the clarification.

    I have learned alot through this blog and my education continues. Everytime this word appears in the Koran it has a universal meaning, can the ahmadis(q) confirm that this is correct. After that, then we can move forward with this investigation.

    Once again I am totally against dual meanings or new meanings.

    The biggest problem is that the Koran was decoded until 300 years after it was revealed.

    Another big problem is that we are not sure what the first publishing company was.

    I thought I saw an old Koran somewhere on the internet, these Korans did have zairs and zubbers.

    Hazrat Uthman only made 5 copies of this Koran. I ask again, what company began publishing Korans?

  15. ^ I meant “did not have zairs and zubbers”.

    If the first 5 korans didnt have these vowels how does that affect the usage of these words?

    I think arabic was a very primitive language, it had no code whatsoever, thats why its so hard to interpret. If you mix in un-organized Koran, and a 300 year gap, then you have mass chaos. Thats why it is so important to comply with “consensus of opinion” matters.

    Examples of CONSENSUS of opinion

    1. Jesus will physically descend in the latter days.
    2. Prophethood has ended, up until the time of Jesus.

    Once again, nobody knows as to what company was publishing korans in the first 300 years of Islam.

  16. August 19th, 2009 at 5:44 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    While discussing “publishing companies”, we might also discuss which bookshops it was sold in (perhaps Borders Books, Barnes and Noble, or online at Amazon).

    Then of course there is the ISBN which books carry. What was that?

    There is also the question of who held the copyright. If Allah was registered as holding all the rights, then the copyright hasn’t expired because it expires fifty years after the death of the author.

    More seriously, would you care to prove from philological and linguistic sources that “Arabic was a very primitive language”?

  17. Bashir: What do you exactly mean by “un organized Koran” and that Arabic “had no code whatsoever”?

    I don’t think the absence of vowels in early Qurans would have been a big problem. If I am not mistaken, usually Arabic is written without vowels (just like Urdu is). The reader knows the word by context and recognition. Present Quranic texts are “written” with complete vowels, presumably to ensure the reader does not make a mistake as majority of the Quran readers today are not native Arabs (while in the early days they would have been).

  18. My points were as follows:

    1. Arabic was not a sophisticated language that was spoken by the enlightened people. Pre-islamic arabic was rarely used by poets. Arabic was the language of the nomad.

    2. After the first 5 Korans were sent out, what company or group was in charge of publishing additional Korans? Did every muslim have a koran in their house? Or in their family? During the ummayad dynasty Islam was not even an important situation.

    3. WIthout vowels, akhira, could mean others or the hereafter, the same with KA TA LOONA, without the neccessary vowels we are lost. Then of course we have the argument that khatim and khatam are very different(q). Vowels are very important. I have to wonder as to who added vowels.

    4. The koran is severely un-organized, that is a fact. 4:69 is a good example, this verse is totally isolated. It seems that the people who inserted this were just guessing as to where to insert it.

    5. The new testament/old testament are chronologically arranged. Bukhari is not even chronologically arranged.

  19. I don’t get your point:

    Is your criteria of a langauge being “sophisticated” based on the enlightenment of people speaking it and the existence of poetry?

    Enlightenment came fast to Arabia, and the language did not evolve much in that time…so where does that leave us then? And was not Arabic poetry a rich and well developed art before the advent of Islam (wine, women, and horses being favorite subjects)???

    Regading vowels, agreed that changing vowels changes meanings, but over which word in the Quran is there a major disagreement over the placement of vowels? Quran was oft recited and committed to memory: and that would have been the final check for placing vowels. Surely, if some one decided to change a vowel to change the meaning, that would have become a controversy. Shortly, the Holy Prophet “added” the vowels when he recited the Quran to his followers, and thereafter the words have been preserved to date by memorisation and publishing by many differant people and “publishers”. As there is no diagreement, one can safely say the vowels when inserted were as how the subject word was recited by the Holy Prophet (pbuh)

  20. Usman, thanks for the feedback.

    1. Hazrat Mirza Bashir-uddin Mahmud Ahmad wrote that there is a difference between khatim and khatam.

    1.a. I have proven that there isnt. Everytime the word khatam or khatim has occurred in the Koran it meant the sealing of the hearts, minds, mouths, etc etc.
    33:40 is the final instance of this word occuring in the Koran.

    2. Akhira and akhara have two different meanings. Akhira=hereafter and akhaar=others.

    2.a. This proves that in some cases vowels do change the meanings of these primitive words.

    3. The 5 Korans that Hazrat Uthman sent out to the various locations did not have vowels.

    3.a. I will never know as to what agency began to publish Korans. Hazrat uthman used the qurashee harf when compiling the Koran, but the oldest korans in existence do not have any of these vowels.

    4. There are 10 arabic qiraat (pronunciation styles). There is also a famous hadith where Hazrat Umar was upset with another muslim for pronouncing the Koran in a different qiraat then what Hazrat Umar was accustomed to. The HP heard the dispute and ruled that the alternate pronunciation was adequate.

    5. Arabic was not a perfect language 1400 years ago. It was the language of the desert dweller who was always short on water. There are very few records of the arabic language pre-islam. I cant rely on arabic as a language that perfectly transmits the message of the writer.

    These are some of the facts that I have compiled. I have yet to get conclusions from these facts.