Inserting an extra "Allah" into the Qur'an

Surah al-Baqarah (2:2)

Pickthall Yusufali Shakir Sher Ali Rashad Khalifa
This is the Scripture whereof there is no doubt, a guidance unto those who ward off (evil). This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear God; This Book, there is no doubt in it, is a guide to those who guard (against evil). This is a perfect Book; there is no doubt in it; it is a guidance for the righteous, This scripture is infallible; a beacon for the righteous;

Transliteration of the current Arabic version: Thalika alkitabu la rayba feehi hudan lilmuttaqeena

What part of the Arabic in the Qur'an does Yusuf Ali translate by "fear God"? The word "Allah" is not found in the Arabic, or else the other translators would certainly not have left it out. Interestingly, the Saudis who revised the translation of Yusuf Ali and who have changed it considerably in various places, still present us with the translation of this verse as

This is the Book; in it is guidance sure, without doubt, to those who fear Allah;

Maybe muttaqeena could mean something like the general adjective "god-fearing" (devoutly religious, and intent to live righteously to pleasing to God), and then Yusuf Ali's original translation could be defended, though barely. But the text certainly does not contain the specific name "Allah" as the revised Saudi version would make the reader believe.

One could dismiss all the above as the work of ignorant translators, and insist that the Qur'an is the Qur'an only in Arabic. However, it is interesting to observe, that this phenomenon of inserting "Allah" into the text where it was not found in old manuscripts happens even in the modern Arabic versions of the Qur'an, not only in translations into different languages.

Have a look at the insertion of the word "Allah" into contemporary printings of the Arabic Qur'an while it is missing on pages 90, 92, 108 118, and 252 in the Samarqand manuscript, one of the oldest Qur'an manuscripts available (see middle of page 63 on that web page and following).


The translation of Hilali & Khan goes even further, by inserting an extra two "Allah" into their text. They write:

This is the Book (the Qur'n), whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqn [the pious and righteous persons who fear Allh much (abstain from all kinds of sins and evil deeds which He has forbidden) and love Allh much (perform all kinds of good deeds which He has ordained)].

However, since this is in parentheses as a sort of commentary and not the translation of the text itself, it is not as serious as with Yusuf Ali's version.


Qur'an Versions
Answering Islam Home Page