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Interview with Suryoyena, a German web Magazine
I am glad to be invited to introduce myself and my book to your audience. The title of my book is: The Qur’an: Misinterpreted, Mistranslated, and Misread. The Aramaic language of the Qur’an. I am an attorney by profession, former member of the Lebanese Bar Association; Associate Member of the American Bar Associations, and New York State Bar. I give consultations on International Law, both: Public and Private. I wrote many article on the European Union Law, the Middle East Laws, and the Islamic Shari’a Law. Some of my articles are published on the Internet. You may log on http://www.gabrielsawma.blogspot.com; I wrote articles on the Aramaic language and its influence on Biblical Hebrew, and on the Qur’an. Some of them are published by Qolo Suryoyo in Holland, Aramnaharaim.com, and other journals and Encyclopedia.
What has compelled you to write this book?
For a long time, I have been doing a research on the development of the Arabic script. I realized that the Arabic script was developed from Aramaic form. Aramaic was the language of the populace throughout the Middle East, mainly in Syria and Mesopotamia. I started looking into the language of the Qur’an from Syriac-Aramaic perspectives rather than Arabic. In the last seven to eight years, I found out that the majority of the Qur’anic vocabulary has been recorded in the Hebrew Bible and the Syriac Peshito. My Syriac background helped in that process. As a deacon, I know the Syriac liturgy of the Syrian Orthodox Church, that helped me too. Later on, I found out that there are many Qur’anic words that Muslim commentators were unable to translate into English, they transliterate the same words in English without giving any meaning to these words. For example: “kalalat”. In Syriac the word is “kalto” (bride); Qur’anic word “rabiyyun”, Syriac (rabonoye); Qur’anic word “layalef Quraish”, Syriac “lo yolef Quraish”; Qur’anic “ra’ina” has been transliterated into English as “ra’ina”, Syriac “re’yono”; Qur’anic “bimama”, Syriac “bimomo”, or “bimama”. Even God of Israel “Yahweh” is recorded in the Qur’an as “yahuwa” but was given erroneous interpretation by Muslim commentators as ‘evil desire’, etc. The Qur’anic Fatiha “bismi Allahi alrahmani alrahim” is nothing more than ‘beshme aloho rahmono rhimo”, or Eastern Syriac “beshme alaha rahmana rhima”. Aramaic “bshm elh rhmn rhm”.
Muslims state that there are virgins in paradise who are waiting for them. What does the Aramaic language of the Qur’an say about this?
The Qur’an states the following: WAZAWWAJNAHUM BIHURI ‘INEN”, (Q. 44: 55). Muslim commentators render the following interpretations: 1- ‘We shall consort them with fair maidens, having wide, beautiful eyes’ (M. Sher Ali); 2-‘So: and we shall join them to Companions with beautiful big lustrous eyes’ (Abdullah Yusuf Ali); 3-‘Even so, it will be, and we shall wed them unto fair ones with wide, lovely eyes; (M. M. Pickthall). The Qur’anic word “wazawwajnahum” has been interpreted erroneously as ‘we shall consort them with fair maiden..’ Aramaic “zug” means ‘bright skin of grape’. The word is found in Biblia Hebraica (Num. 6: 4). Syriac “zugo” means the skin of the white grapes, (i.e. raisins), Arabic “zbib”. Aramaic letter /g/ shifts to Arabic /j/. The Qur’anic word “bihur”, translated erroneously by Muslim commentators as ‘wide’, big, lovely’. Aramaic “hur” means ‘to grow white’. The term is found in Biblia Hebraica, Isaiah 29: 22. Syriac “heworo” means white. The Qur’anic word ” ‘inen” has been interpreted erroneously as ‘beautiful eyes, lustrous eyes, and lovely eyes’. Aramaic ” ‘un” means ‘dwelling in heaven, spring water’ (Biblia Hebraica, Deut. 26: 15). Muslim commentators have done disservice to their Muslim community around the world, for giving them erroneous interpretations to this Qur’anic verse. Based on these false interpretations, Muslims around the world are killing themselves on the wrong belief, that they will be joined in heaven with women having “lustrous eyes”. Furthermore, the Arabic text of the Qur’an places the event in the ‘past tense’; the commentators reversed tha, they placed the events in the ‘future tense’ (shall, we shall, and it will). Muslim commentators not familiar with Aramaic, changed the Qur’anic word ” ‘een” to ” ‘ayn”. There is a big difference between the two words. In Syriac ” ‘ayno” means ‘eye’; ” ‘eeno” means ‘water spring’. The Qur’anic word is not ” ‘ayn”, it is rather ” een”. The Qur’anic verse following this, talks about eating all kinds of fruits. This verse is no exception, it says: ‘in their dwelling place, we have provided them with “zugo” (i.e. white raisins).
In the German translation of the Qur’an we read in Sura 5,18:
The Qur’an says the following: “Laqad kafaru alladhina qalu inna Allah huwa al Massih ibn Maryam” (Q. 5: 18). This theology is adapted to the Nestorian Church, according to which, Jesus has two distinct natures: Divine and Human. The Nestorian Church, popularly known as the Assyrian Church of the East, has all along believed that in Jesus there are two natures; that Mary is considered, according to their beliefs, mother of Jesus “Christotokus” (the human being), not mother of God “Theotokus”. Muslims interpreted the status of Jesus in this verse to be a human being, similar to what the Assyrian Church of the East believed. But the Assyrian Church of the East does not deny the fact that Jesus is God. They argue that since Jesus has two natures, he is human being on one side, but he is a divine person on the other side. The Qur’an does not distance himself from the same belief that Jesus has two natures: one of them is represented by the verse mentioned above (Q. 5: 18); the Divine nature of Jesus is represented by the following verse: “O Jesus the Son of Mary! Recound My favor to thee and to thy mother. Behold! I strengthened thee with the Holy Spirit, so that thou didst speak to the people in childhood and in maturity. Behold! I taught thee the Book and Wisdom, the Law and the Gospel. And behold! thou makest out of clay, as it were, the figure of a bird, by My leave, and thou breathest into it, and it becometh a bird by My leave, and thou HEALEST THOSE BORN BLIND, and the lepers, by My leave. And BEHOLD! THOU BRIGEST FORTH THE DEAD BY MY LEAVE…” Q. 5: 113, translated by Abdullah Yusuf Ali, the meaning of the Glorious Qur’an, vol. 1, Dar Al Kitab Al Masri, (Cairo); Dar Al Kitab Al Lubnani (Beirut). Not only that, in the Qur’an we read the following: “Issa Bnu Maryam, Wajihan fi Aldunya wa al Aakhirati wamina Al muqarrabin” (Q. 3: 46), translated as ‘Jesus, son of Mary, Honored in this world and in the next, and of those who are granted nearness to God (M. Sher Ali’s translation, The Holy Qur’an). The translator inserted the word ‘he was granted’. He purposely, doe not want to agree with what the Qur’an is proclaiming. The Qur’anic word ‘wajihan” has been interpreted erroneously as ‘honored’. Syriac “gho, gha” means ‘deliverer, the one who sets free, cure’; Aramaic “ghh” means ‘to set free, to heal, to cure’, the word is used in Biblia Hebraica (Hos. 5: 13, Prov. 17: 22). The Qur’an admits that Jesus is a ‘deliverer’. The Qur’anic word “muqarrabin” has been interpreted erroneously as ‘he was granted nearness’. Aramaic root “wnqrb” means ‘he shall be brought unto God’ (Biblia Hebraica, Exod. 22: 7). The principal theme, of the Qur’an is that the Messiah is coming to deliver mankind from the power of sin, death, and Satan through his action. In other words, the Qur’an is saying that the Messiah is coming for “salvation”, and “redemption”. That notion is expressed in the Old Testament, where God raises up deliverers from his people when they suffer oppression or stand in danger as was the case with the Jews who were delivered under the leadership of Moses from the Egyptian bondage. Muslim commentators do not understand Aramaic to appreciate the meaning of this Qur’anic verse. By not being able to give the right interpretations to the Qur’an, Muslim commentators did disservice to the Muslim community around the world. If there was ever a “clash of Civilizations”, it would be the result of misinterpreting, mistranslating, and misreading the Qur’an. The Qur’an is considered by Muslims, a Holy Book, but unfortunately, it was given erroneous interpretations by those who pretend to know a language, which is alien to them.
Christopher Luxemburg’s “the Syro-Aramaic Reading of Qur’an” was criticized by many people. How were the reactions to your book?
The book is not released yet, it will be released in mid April, 2006. So far the early comments I received, are encouraging.
The author of the other book assumed a pseudonym while you are writing under your real name. Are you not afraid to disclose your identity to Muslim fanatics?
The reason I did not use a pseudonym is beacause, I feel that the book is not written to offend the religion of Islam or the Qur’an. The Qur’an is written in a language I understand. A language, which is alien to the Arab readers. The language of the Qur’an has been in the last fourteen centuries and still is Aramaic. There is absolutely no correct interpretation to the Qur’an without Aramaic. The brighest and the most learned men among Muslim commentators are unable to decipher the Qur’an. The reason is due to the fact that the language of the Qur’an is Aramaic, not Arabic. Muslims allow themsleves, in this twenty-first century to call Christians, Jews and others “qirada khasi’een” (Q. 2: 66), translated by Muslim commentators as ‘apes, despised and rejected’ (Abdullah Yusuf Ali’s commentary on the Qur’an). Muslims allow themselves, in this twenty-first century to call on fellow Muslims to: “kill the ‘mushrikun’ wherever you find them and take them prisoners” (Q. 9: 5). In other words, they are using the erroneous interpretations of the Qur’an to give themselves a license to kill. Muslims allow themselves, in this twenty-first century to declare that Jews and Christians “shall be gathered unto Hell” (Q. 8: 37). Why do these people give themselves the absolute right to do so, in violation of every single norm of a civilized society, and deny others to tell them that the Qur’an has been misinterpreted, mistranslated, and misread. The language of the Qur’an is and has always been Aramaic, not Arabic. The people, who Muslims call “apes, or deserve to be killed, or their adobe is Hell” are the ones who make the trucks, the airplains, tv sets, computer, satellites, etc for the Muslims. They did not choose the name calling for themsleves, Muslims chose to call them as such.
Do you have a message to our people in Germany?
For the Syriac speaking people in Germany: The Qur’an is written in a language you understand, you should be able to decipher every single verse of the Qur’an. Remember that the “Garshouny” was introduced throughout the Near East because of the fear of Islamic persecution. During the Middle Ages, Christians were not allowed to read their liturgy in their Syriac language. To avoid persecution, they had to read their Holy Books in Arabic, written in the Syriac script. That is how “Garshouny” came into existence. Be teachers in what you know, and do not let ignorance override your knowledge. Here is what the Prophet of Islam said about your language: In his book “Kitab Al Massahif”, Ibn Abi Dawood, a Muslim commentator in early centuries of Islam wrote the following: “The Prophet Muhammad asked Zaid Ibn Thabit, do you speak Syriac? Zaid answered, no but I can learn it in 28 days. Then the Prophet told him: GO AND LEARN IT”. In his book “Sirat Rassul Allah” by Ibn Ishaq, who lived in the eighth century, and was the first Muslim writer to record the life of Muhammad. He also described how the revelations descended on Muhammad. He writes the following: “When the pagans of Mecca tried to clean the Ka’aba, they found two books written in Syriac. They did not know how to read tem. They called a Jewish learned man to translate the books”. (See Sirat Rassul Allah, recorded by Ibn Hisham). Ih his book “Al Itqan fi ‘Ulum Al-Qur’an”, al Suyuti, an early Muslim writer of the Hadith admits that there are vocabulary in the Qur’an of Syriac and other origins. (See Jalal el Din Al Suyuti’ Itqan). Thank you again. Gabriel Sawma. To see the interview on the Internet please log on: http://urhoy.info/sawma.html; for the German version go to:http://www.suryoyena.info/articles.php?action=viewarticle&artid=145