Muslim Community celebrates 25 years since Koran translated into Yiddish (yes, of course…)

(yes, of course, it is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at).

Group’s Israeli leader says aim was to show different face of Islam.

By Revital Hovel HAARETZ ISRAEL

Members of a Muslim Community that translated parts of the Koran into Yiddish are marking 25 years since that translation was published.

The president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Israel, Muhammad Sharif Odeh, said the group translated select parts of the Koran into Yiddish in order to present a different face of Islam. In addition, said Odeh, “We decided we had to make sure that our neighbors could also read the Koran.”

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only Islamic community that believes the Messiah has come. Adherents believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, born in 1835, was the “metaphorical second coming of Jesus … whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad,” according to the website. “God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace,” say believers.

There are some 2,000 Ahmadiyya Muslims in Israel; most of them reside in Haifa’s Kababir neighborhood. The sect says it has tens of millions of followers in more than 200 countries.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community translated parts of the Koran into Yiddish in 1987. The sect chose Yiddish, one of 100 languages into which it has translated parts of the sacred book of Islam, so that “Yiddish speakers who wanted to know about us would be able to do so without language being an obstacle,” Odeh explained.

The decision to translate the Koran into Yiddish was made by the community’s religious leader at the time, the fourth Caliph, Mirza Tahir Ahmad, who was living then in Pakistan. The current Caliph, the fifth, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, resides in the United Kingdom.

Odeh said the particular selections that were translated show that Islam is “not the way it is presented in Afghanistan.” He noted, for example, “Before the Koran, women did not have rights. The Koran gives women full protection on the spiritual level and gives her an independent status.” Odeh has been head of the local Ahmadiyya community for 13 years.

Most Israelis know little about the sect, which is considered peaceful and non-proselytizing. Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav has gone so far as to call them “Reform Arabs.” The community’s motto is “Love for all, hatred for none.”

“You don’t hear about us because we don’t throw rocks at buses,” Odeh said. “We believe that nothing can be achieved through hatred and hostility.” He said he is very worried about the talk of a possible war with Iran, and that the Caliph recently appealed to all world leaders, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to avoid a war. “Netanyahu didn’t respond, Queen Elizabeth actually did,” Odeh reported.

Odeh said the concept of secularism is foreign to the Ahmadiyya community. “Everyone prays, some come to the mosque and others pray at home.” Believers express their faith in concrete ways as well. Wealthier members tithe at least 10 percent of their monthly income to the community; everyone else gives six percent. The sect does not accept government funds, on principle. One quarter of the money collected from local members is passed on to fund the sect’s international activities.

Kababir is considered a mixed neighborhood, with a significant minority of Jews in addition to the Ahmadiyya majority, and city officials view it as a model of coexistence.

“Haifa is an example par excellence of living together,” Odeh said, adding, “It’s not coexistence, it’s monoexistence, as it were. What is coexistence? In my view it’s when everyone keeps their distinctiveness and does not seek to assimilate. Residents of the neighborhood don’t feel different, it’s a matter of education, that’s the idea of Ahmadiyya.” According to Odeh, there is a growing trend of West Bank Palestinians joining the Ahmadiyya community.

“Ideology is not fought with weapons,” he said. “Even if you’re under occupation Islam does not allow you to hurt others. Nothing can be solved with hatred.”

http://www.haaretz.com/jewish-world/jewish-world-news/muslim-sect-celebrates-25-years-since-koran-translated-into-yiddish.premium-1.461072

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community leader Muhammad Sharif Odeh with the Yiddish text in Haifa in August 2012. ‘We had to make sure our neighbors could read the Koran too.’ Photo by Haggai Frid

6 replies

  1. Thank you for this post, brother Rafiq and Jazakallah to brother Sharif!!
    True face of Ahmadiyyat the true Islam
    Allahu Akbar!!

  2. thanks brother for this post, mashaallah I’m grateful to my arab brothers for translating the holy quraan to yiddish.
    My question to the brother is what’s the difference between yiddish and hebrew and why only parts of the quraan was translated and not the whole book ? I’m just curious.

  3. Yiddish (ייִדיש yidish or אידיש idish, literally “Jewish”) is a High German language of Ashkenazi Jewish origin, spoken in many parts of the world. It developed as a fusion of Hebrew and Aramaic into German dialects with the infusion of Slavic and traces of Romance languages.[2][3] It is written in the Hebrew alphabet.

    The language originated in the Ashkenazi culture that developed from about the 10th century in the Rhineland and then spread to Central and Eastern Europe and eventually to other continents. In the earliest surviving references to it, the language is called לשון־אַשכּנז (loshn-ashknez = “language of Ashkenaz”) and טײַטש (taytsh, a variant of tiutsch, the contemporary name for the language otherwise spoken in the region of origin, now called Middle High German). In common usage, the language is called מאַמע־לשון (mame-loshn, literally “mother tongue”), distinguishing it from Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, which are collectively termed לשון־קודש (loshn-koydesh, “holy tongue”). The term “Yiddish” did not become the most frequently used designation in the literature of the language until the 18th century.

    For a significant portion of its history, Yiddish was the primary spoken language of the Ashkenazi Jews and once spanned a broad dialect continuum from Western Yiddish to three major groups within Eastern Yiddish, namely Litvish, Poylish and Ukrainish. Eastern and Western Yiddish are most markedly distinguished by the extensive inclusion of words of Slavic origin in the Eastern dialects. While Western Yiddish has few remaining speakers, Eastern dialects remain in wide use.

    Yiddish is written and spoken in many Orthodox Jewish communities around the world, although there are also a number of Orthodox Jews who do not know Yiddish. It is a home language in most Hasidic communities, where it is the first language learned in childhood, used in schools and in many social settings. Yiddish is also the academic language of the study of the Talmud according to the tradition of the Lithuanian yeshivas.

    Yiddish is also used in the adjectival sense to designate attributes of Ashkenazic Jewish culture (for example, Yiddish cooking and Yiddish music).[4]

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yiddish_language

    My remarks: It is interesting to note that Yiddish is more German than anything else. It sort of proves that most European Jews are in fact converts from the local population rather than originally Hebrew.

  4. There was a program to translate the Holy Qur’an into many or most of the languages of the world. As this could not be done ‘in total’ all at once first ‘selected verses’ were translated. Inshallah the full translation will follow.

  5. Mashallah!! This is the true representation of Islam. May Allah tala bless everyone in their efforts to do Kidmatedeen.

    Ooo so the Queen replied back huh. Looking forward to reading what she said in the Review of Religion.

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