Originally Posted by Woodrow
The article you cited is worthy of a good read but to my mind you have been very selective in choosing passages from it and one wonders if you are forcing the point to the place where it deliberately misleads - I will select just a few sections to show this but I urge anyone who wants to get a fuller picture to read the whole article.
By the ninth century, this began to change. Muslim jurists, increasingly opposed to reliance upon Jewish lore, created new sayings from the Prophet and his companions that contradicted the original allowances. In one of these apocryphal traditions, Muhammad's face changes color when he sees his follower Umar reading the Torah. Muhammad declares that had Moses been their contemporary, he, too, would have followed the Muslim prophet. An alternate version claims that the Prophet asked Umar, "Do you wish to rush to perdition as did the Jews and Christians? I have brought you white and clean hadiths."Despite the unreliability of this hadith, it has evolved into a position that any Muslim who questions it could be accused of heresy.
The 1955 translation of Arthur Arberry (1905-69) was the first English translation by a bona fide scholar of Arabic and Islam. A Cambridge University graduate, he spent several years in the Middle East perfecting his Arabic and Persian language skills.... His title, The Koran Interpreted, acknowledged the orthodox Muslim view that the Qu'ran cannot be translated, but only interpreted. He rendered the Qur'an into understandable English and separated text from tradition. The translation is without prejudice and is probably the best around.
Among those Qur'an translations which found Saudi favor and, therefore, wide distribution, was the Abdullah Yusuf 'Ali (1872-1952) rendition that, from its first appearance in 1934 until very recently, was the most popular English version among Muslims. While not an Islamic scholar in any formal sense, Yusuf 'Ali, an Indian civil servant, had studied classics at Cambridge University, ...... He sought to convey the music and richness of the Arabic with poetic English versification. While his rendering of the text is not bad, there are serious problems in his copious footnotes; in many cases, he reproduces the exegetical material from medieval texts without making any effort at contextualization. Writing at a time both of growing Arab animosity toward Zionism and in a milieu that condoned anti-Semitism, Yusuf 'Ali constructed his oeuvre as a polemic against Jews.
Now the most widely disseminated Qur'an in most Islamic bookstores and Sunni mosques throughout the English-speaking world, this new translation by al-Hilali and Khan and is meant to replace the Yusuf 'Ali edition and comes with a seal of approval from both the University of Medina and the Saudi Dar al-Ifta. Whereas most other translators have tried to render the Qur'an applicable to a modern readership, this Saudi-financed venture tries to impose the commentaries of Tabari (d. 923 C.E.), Qurtubi (d. 1273 C.E.), and Ibn Kathir (d. 1372 C.E.), medievalists who knew nothing of modern concepts of pluralism. The numerous interpolations make this translation particularly problematic, ...
From the beginning, the Hilali and Muhsin Khan translation reads more like a supremacist Muslim, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian polemic than a rendition of the Islamic scripture. In the first sura, for example, verses which are universally accepted as, "Guide us to the straight path, the path of those whom You have favored, not of those who have incurred Your wrath, nor of those who have gone astray" become, "Guide us to the Straight Way, the way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace, not (the way) of those who have earned Your anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians)."What is particularly egregious about this interpolation is that it is followed by an extremely long footnote to justify its hate based on traditions from medieval texts.
Contemporary political disputes also pollute the translation, marring what should be a reflection of timeless religion. Whereas the Qur'an reports Moses's address to the Israelites as "O my people! Enter the Holy Land that God has assigned unto you,"this Saudi version twists the verse with modern politics, writing, "O my people! Enter the holy land (Palestine)."
The appendix includes a polemical comparison of Jesus and Muhammad, reporting that the former had no claim to divinity. From a Muslim perspective, what Jesus did or did not do should be drawn from the Qur'anic text, not an appendix, ..... this Saudi-sponsored effort, undertaken before 9-11, is a serious liability for American Muslims in particular, it still remains present in Sunni mosques, probably because of its free distribution by the Saudi government.