Suprise presents

Khushwant Singh | Hindustan Times | January 09, 2010

It is not customary for non-Christians to exchange presents on Christmas. Hindus do it on Diwali, Muslims on Eid-ul-Fitr. Last Christmas, I was in for a pleasant surprise. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan sent me two of his latest publications through his daughter Fareeda: A New translation of The Quran (Goodword) and The Prophet of Peace: Teachings of the Prophet Mohammed (Penguin).

I have great respect for Wahiduddin as a scholar of Islam who interprets his faith for the modern generation and at the same time points out follies of Mullah-minded Muslims for ever pronouncing fatwas on non-issues and calling for jihad against anyone they do not approve of. Among the many honours conferred on him was one by Virender Trehen’s Foundation for Amity and National Solidarity.

I have a few translations of the Quran in English including Pickthall’s and Amir Ali’s — the first recognised as lyrically the most readable, and the second, as the most accurate. I spent a few hours reading Wahiduddin’s renderings of my favourite  passages, particularly the last short suras  which are in lyrical prose. All I can say is I found them more readable than any translations I had read earlier. I recommend it to Muslims and non-Muslims alike.