YES or NO ?

Surah `Abasa (80:23)

There are two seriously different translations of this verse:

  Nay, but (man) hath not done what He commanded him.   [Pickthall]
              He shall uphold       His commandments.   [Rashad Khalifa]

Is it past tense or future? Obedience or disobedience?

... and nearly every year a new and different Qur'an version comes out...

At least that is the approach how many Muslims try to attack the Bible, ... find two translations that look different, then claim that there are new versions every year. The case of ongoing Bible corruption established, right?

Changing a "no" to a "yes" is certainly a serious inversion of meaning. I don't know what the Arabic says here, or if that is another case of different versions of the Arabic again, but it is quite strange.

What do I mean with the above remark?

There are some 5-7 places in the Qur'an where Muslim scholars not only traditionally translate "yes" instead of "no" but where later Qur'an editions have even changed the Arabic text, because the original makes no sense.

Maybe, the above example is just a translation error of Khalifa, since all the other translators more or less agree among each other as this table shows:

Pickthall Yusufali Shakir Sher Ali Rashad Khalifa
Nay, but (man) hath not done what He commanded him. By no means hath he fulfilled what God hath commanded him. Nay; but he has not done what He bade him. Nay ! he has not yet carried out what God commanded him to do. He shall uphold His commandments.

However, chapter XI of "A `Perfect' Qur'an" will present plenty of evidence that many current Qur'an editions have removed alifs from the original text in order to transform a "no" into a "certainly" because the meaning was offensive in the original.

Forget the above example of Sura 80:23, but you should certainly seek an explanation why Muslim publishers are corrupting the Arabic text of the Qur'an.

Qur'an Versions
Answering Islam Home Page