Fatwa ID: 01288
Answered by Mufti Abdullah al-Ma’mun
Assalam o Alaikum. I know that the Quran is the kalam of Allah. It was in Arabic when revealed and is written in Arabic and read in Arabic. But what if someone writes the whole Quran exactly in English, Urdu or some other language? Will it still be the kalam of Allah and will it still be Quran?
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Translating the Quran into other languages is without a doubt a very praiseworthy action as it creates ease for people who are not familiar with the Arabic language to understand the Quran better. However, it should be known that such translations MUST be accompanied by the original Arabic 'text' of the Quran i.e. the Rasm Uthmani. Producing translations without including the original Arabic text of the Quran is not permissible.
Hence it is mentioned in 'Al-Shatbee fee Mabaahith min Uloomil Quran':
''According to the Imams and all the scholars it is unlawful to […] translate it (the Quran) in languages other than Arabic.'' (Al-Shatbee Fee Mabaahith Min Uloomil Quran pg51, see also Jawaahir al-Fiqh vol1 pg97)
Moving on to your question, will the translation be considered the speech (kalam) of Allah?
Imam Abu Hanifa states:
''The Quran is the speech of Allah Most high: written in texts, memorized by hearts, recited by tongues and revealed upon the Prophet (upon him be blessings and peace).'' (Al-Fiqh al-Akbar pg89)
From the above text we can deduce that this only applies to the Arabic text as the Quran is not memorized in any other language nor does the act of 'Tilaawah' or 'reciting' apply to a non-Arabic Quran, (it may be considered 'studying' or 'reading') nor was the Quran revealed upon Prophet Muhammad in a non-Arab language.
Mufti Taqi Uthmani (Daamat Barakkatuhum) states:
''Ulama (scholars) have clarified that it is not allowed in Shari'ah to print or publish the translation of the Holy Quran without its Arabic text. It may be observed that the people of other religions have allowed to publish the translation of their Holy books without their original text and consequently the translations have spread so widely that the original text was ignored and it is not available today. In order to avoid such consequences it was held by the Muslim jurists that the translation of the Holy Quran should always be accompanied by the Arabic text of the Holy book.
However, it is generally observed that many people in our time do not observe this important ruling of the Muslim jurists and a number of translations have been published without the original text. Such translations cannot be held as the Holy Quran nor can the injunctions relating to the Holy Quran be attributed to these translations. If somebody goes through such translations he may have the reward of studying the Holy Quran yet the reward specified for its recitation cannot be achieved except by reciting the original text of it. Similarly such translations published without the original text can be held in hands without wudhu and if someone reads the translation of the verse of Sajdah, it is not incumbent upon him to perform the Sajdah of Tilawat because the translations of the Holy Quran do not carry the status of the Holy Quran itself and the rules regarding the Holy Quran cannot be attached to such translations.'' (Contemporary Fatawaa pg332)
To conclude firstly, it is not permissible to produce a full translation of the Quran without including the original Arabic text of the Quran. However, there is no harm in writing one or two verses without including the original Arabic text. (see Al-Durr al-Mukhtar pg67)
Secondly, only the original Arabic text of the Quran is considered the speech (kalam) of Allah. Therefore, Sajdah Tilawat will not be obligatory if the specific verse is read in any other language. Wudhu will also not be necessary to handle such texts.
Only Allah Knows Best
Written by Mufti Abdullah al-Ma’mun
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham.