Friday, March 23, 2007

"Idrib" : to beat, to push away or to go away?

Reuters/Stuff.co.nz - Wellington, New Zealand
Friday, March 23, 2007

A new English-language interpretation of the Muslim Holy book the Koran challenges the use of words that feminists say have been used to justify the abuse of Islamic women.

The new version, translated by an Iranian-American, will be published in April and comes after Muslim feminists from around the world gathered in New York last November and vowed to create the first women's council to interpret the Koran and make the religion more friendly toward women.

In the new book, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, a former lecturer on Islam at the University of Chicago, challenges the translation of the Arab word "idrib," traditionally translated as "beat," which feminists say has been used to justify abuse of women.

"Why choose to interpret the word as 'to beat' when it can also mean 'to go away'," she writes in the introduction to the new book.

The passage is generally translated: "And as for those women whose illwill you have reason to fear, admonish them ; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!"

Instead, Bakhtiar suggests "Husbands at that point should submit to God, let God handle it – go away from them and let God work His Will instead of a human being inflicting pain and suffering on another human being in the Name of God."

Arabic Language Professor at the American University in Cairo Siham Serry said her interpretation of the word "idrib," was "to push away," similar but slightly different from Bakhtiar's "to go away."

Bakhtiar writes in the book that she found a lack of internal consistency in previous English translations, and found little attention given to the woman's point of view.
In other changes to the text, she cites the most accurate translation of the word traditionally translated to mean "infidel" as "ungrateful."

And she uses "God" instead of "Allah," saying that God is the universal English term.

Bakhtiar has been schooled in Sufism which includes both the Shia and Sunni points of view. As an adult, she lived nine years in a Shia community in Iran and has lived in a Sunni community in Chicago for the past 15 years.

"While I understand the positions of each group, I do not represent any specific one as I find living in America makes it difficult enough to be a Muslim, much less to choose to follow one sect or another," she writes.

The new text is published by Islamic speciality bookseller Kazi Publications, which has a store in Chicago and online.

2 comments:

Sergey Sechiv said...

Hello,
I translated Colman Barks' book "The Essential Rumi" in Russian and published it in the Gayatri Publishing House in Moscow, Russia. ISBN 5-9689-0073-3.
Here is the link-list of the translation in my blog: http://hojja-nusreddin.livejournal.com/387935.html
The translation's web-page on the Publisher's site: http://livebooks.ru/page.php?id=540

Irving said...

Alhamdulillah, that such a translation is finally here. Perhaps one can be sent to that woman German judge who ruled that a Muslim could beat his wife without being charged with domestic violence since it is part of their culture and in the Koran, instead of following German law. It was an outrage that this translation may correct, inshallah.

Ya Haqq!

Friday, March 23, 2007

"Idrib" : to beat, to push away or to go away?
Reuters/Stuff.co.nz - Wellington, New Zealand
Friday, March 23, 2007

A new English-language interpretation of the Muslim Holy book the Koran challenges the use of words that feminists say have been used to justify the abuse of Islamic women.

The new version, translated by an Iranian-American, will be published in April and comes after Muslim feminists from around the world gathered in New York last November and vowed to create the first women's council to interpret the Koran and make the religion more friendly toward women.

In the new book, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, a former lecturer on Islam at the University of Chicago, challenges the translation of the Arab word "idrib," traditionally translated as "beat," which feminists say has been used to justify abuse of women.

"Why choose to interpret the word as 'to beat' when it can also mean 'to go away'," she writes in the introduction to the new book.

The passage is generally translated: "And as for those women whose illwill you have reason to fear, admonish them ; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!"

Instead, Bakhtiar suggests "Husbands at that point should submit to God, let God handle it – go away from them and let God work His Will instead of a human being inflicting pain and suffering on another human being in the Name of God."

Arabic Language Professor at the American University in Cairo Siham Serry said her interpretation of the word "idrib," was "to push away," similar but slightly different from Bakhtiar's "to go away."

Bakhtiar writes in the book that she found a lack of internal consistency in previous English translations, and found little attention given to the woman's point of view.
In other changes to the text, she cites the most accurate translation of the word traditionally translated to mean "infidel" as "ungrateful."

And she uses "God" instead of "Allah," saying that God is the universal English term.

Bakhtiar has been schooled in Sufism which includes both the Shia and Sunni points of view. As an adult, she lived nine years in a Shia community in Iran and has lived in a Sunni community in Chicago for the past 15 years.

"While I understand the positions of each group, I do not represent any specific one as I find living in America makes it difficult enough to be a Muslim, much less to choose to follow one sect or another," she writes.

The new text is published by Islamic speciality bookseller Kazi Publications, which has a store in Chicago and online.

2 comments:

Sergey Sechiv said...

Hello,
I translated Colman Barks' book "The Essential Rumi" in Russian and published it in the Gayatri Publishing House in Moscow, Russia. ISBN 5-9689-0073-3.
Here is the link-list of the translation in my blog: http://hojja-nusreddin.livejournal.com/387935.html
The translation's web-page on the Publisher's site: http://livebooks.ru/page.php?id=540

Irving said...

Alhamdulillah, that such a translation is finally here. Perhaps one can be sent to that woman German judge who ruled that a Muslim could beat his wife without being charged with domestic violence since it is part of their culture and in the Koran, instead of following German law. It was an outrage that this translation may correct, inshallah.

Ya Haqq!