Te reo Māori translation of Qur’an shown at Rotorua Night Markets

Maryana Garcia

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Maryana Garcia

10 Oct, 2022

Imam Sabah Al-Zafar (second-left) with volunteers from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Photo / Maryana Garcia

Imam Sabah Al-Zafar (second-left) with volunteers from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Photo / Maryana Garcia

Copies of the first and only te reo Māori translation of the Qur’an were displayed at the Rotorua Night Markets last Thursday.

The initiative to translate the Qur’an into te reo Māori took translator Shakil Monir 25 years.

Monir learned Māori while living in Nigeria, using an English-to-Māori dictionary, te reo Māori Bible and a grammar book as his starting points.

The copies were displayed as part of the Meet a Muslim Roadshow organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to challenge preconceptions of Islam and its teachings.

“We’re trying to be more reachable, more accessible by removing misunderstandings, building bridges and sharing our teachings,” Imam Sabah Al-Zafar told the Rotorua Daily Post.

Copies of the first and only te reo Māori translation of the Qur'an, known as Kur'ānu Tapu. Photo / Maryana Garcia
Copies of the first and only te reo Māori translation of the Qur’an, known as Kur’ānu Tapu. Photo / Maryana Garcia

Al-Zafar said sharing the sacred gift of the Qur’an with the community was only one of many ways the roadshow hoped to build bridges.

“People who have questions can come and catch up with us over a cup of coffee in their local cafe.

“There are no questions that are too controversial. You can ask us anything. We won’t be offended.”

Al-Zafar said everyone had a right to ask questions and think critically when they encountered ideas that did not match their values.

“Sometimes people who do hold negative ideas have never met a Muslim. We want to give them the opportunity to ask their questions.”

As of Thursday, the roadshow had visited 22 cities and towns, some of them multiple times.

“It’s been a wonderful journey across New Zealand. We’ve already had an overwhelming response.”

The te reo Māori translation of Qur'an took 25 years to complete. Photo / Supplied
The te reo Māori translation of Qur’an took 25 years to complete. Photo / Supplied

But Al-Zafar said an undercurrent of anti-Muslim sentiment did exist.

“Some people think Islam tells Muslims to kill all infidels, that Islam promotes terrorism and extremism.

“In reality, killing human beings is completely forbidden. It does not make sense.”

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Al-Zafar said those who want to use or abuse religion for political motives tended to twist the teachings of Islam to suit political motives but he believed people were receptive to the truth.

“Compassion and mercy are the cornerstones of the teachings of Islam.”

Al-Zafar pointed out how each chapter of the Qur’an began by invoking the name of Allah, “the most gracious and ever merciful”.

“As Muslims, we are taught to embody the attributes of Allah.”

source https://www.nzherald.co.nz/rotorua-daily-post/news/te-reo-maori-translation-of-quran-shown-at-rotorua-night-markets/CR4JEGLO5LXGLBJBILDOP5QROM/

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