Strengthening My Faith

by Amalia

Faith, like shoes, need to be polished each time. For someone like me, who easily gets bored and forgetful, polishing my faith is a must. I do that by attending Islamic study at the mosque or via Skype. Honestly I don’t attend it regularly, but when I do attend, it means that I really want to.

Recently, I have been caught up with a lot of things that I put this as my secondary activity. It’s bad, I can tell you, because I constantly need a fuel and it’s running out. I suddenly remember, "hey, why not start watching YouTube videos?!" I hadn’t watched them for a little while, so I guess it’s the best time to do it again.

So I’ve been watching a lot of videos related to Islam by many people like Hamza Yusuf, Nouman Ali Khan, and Yusha Evans. I can’t be thankful enough, I’ve been learning so many things from them. To be honest, I find it more effective to listen/watch these videos because when I lost my concentration, I could replay again the parts that I missed. Somehow, it’s hard for me to focus when it comes to religious studies, including those that I attend at the mosque. Watching them on YouTube is a much better approach for me. I can listen to them over and over again, take some notes and make some summaries. I can’t be happier :). I should make this a once- or twice-a-week thing for me.

During my self-study (which was not limited to only YouTube videos, but also blogs, for example the one owned by Suhaib Webb), I found this article about English translations of the Qur’an. I was really surprised to learn that there are two variations of the English translations: the Saudi-endorsed & —financed and the non-Saudi-endorsed. It turned out, there were quite a bit of differences in both translations. The former has some political sentiments inserted (anti-Jews and anti-Christians), as can be seen in the following example.

The last two ayats from Surah Al-Fatihah is supposedly translated as:

Guide us to the straight path. The path of those upon whom You have bestowed favor, not of those who have evoked [Your] anger or of those who are astray.

But in the Saudi-endorsed translation, it is translated as:

Guide us to the Straight Way. The Way of those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace , not (the way) of those who earned Your Anger (such as the Jews), nor of those who went astray (such as the Christians).

There’s NO mention of "such as the Jews" or "such as the Christians" in the original Arabic version!!! So this is misleading!

I wasn’t very happy upon learning it, to be honest. How can the Saudi government do this to the noble Qur’an?! They’re doing it for the sake of their own political agenda!!! I still have to go to the Haram Mosque and see the translation myself and prove that they added something that they shouldn’t have added. But still, I was upset. So I did my own research, exploring different translations, and decided to purchase myself the English translation of the Qur’an by Muhammad Asad, titled The Message of the Qur’an. I just need to make sure I wouldn’t bring this to Saudi Arabia, because this book was banned there hahaha. Yet another reason to put an end to my Saudi residence permit *sigh*.