A translation of the Holy Quran into Hebrew, approved by the Saudi authorities, has been found to contain more than 300 errors, a number of which appearing to support Israel’s narrative over its claim to Palestine and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Amongst the most serious errors, discovered by the Palestinian news agency Shehab, is the omission of the name of the Prophet Muhammed (pbuh), who is mentioned at least four times in the Muslim holy text. Equally serious is the translation of Al-Aqsa Mosque to “The Temple” which is the Jewish name for the Muslim holy site.
The website of the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Quran, which produces about ten million copies of the Quran every year in 74 different languages, displayed the error strewn copy on its website.
In response to queries about the mistakes, the King Fahd Complex said that the concerns had been presented to “competent authority in the complex, and is awaiting the appropriate procedure by the complex management after verification and study.”
A copy of the translation was made available to the public in a PDF format until last Saturday evening, before Shehab’s publication of a video alerting to the errors.
In the video, researcher on Israeli affairs, Aladdin Ahmed, is shown raising alarm over the mistranslation, many of which contain doctrinal implications. The name Al-Aqsa Mosque was replaced in the seventh verse of Surah Al-Isra (17th Surah) which tells of the miraculous event in which Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) is transported from Mecca to Jerusalem.
The Hebrew translation contains a parenthesis alongside the translation of Al-Aqsa Mosque to “The Temple” in which it is stated that it is the same place as where the temple of Prophet Suleiman (pbuh) is located.
Muslims are very likely to see this as a dangerous mistranslation, giving the impression that the Islamic holy text itself endorses a fundamentalist Jewish reading of history while at the same time justifying Israel’s attempt to demolish the holy site in order to rebuild the ancient temple.
Many are unlikely to see, what is thought to be a “Judaised” reading of the Quran, as being a mere coincidence. Saudi-Israel relations are at a crossroads at this current moment. Under Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, the kingdom appears to have turned its back on the Palestinians by signalling that he is ready for political normalisation with Tel-Aviv even if it means complete abandonment of the Palestinians.
It was the Saudis, in fact, that led the Arab Peace Initiative in 2002 which offered full normalisation with Israel in exchange for a full withdrawal from the occupied territories (including East Jerusalem) and a “just settlement” of the Palestinian refugee problem based on UN Resolution 194.
Israel’s ability to forge new relations with the Saudis despite not conceding to any of the demands in the Arab initiative has been presented by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as a victory for him and a demonstration of Israel’s strength in the region.
Israel has been accused of removing the connection of Islam and Christianity to Jerusalem in an attempt to cement its exclusive claim to the occupied territory. In addition to passing laws reducing non-Jews to second class status by declaring Israel to be a Jewish state, lawmakers in Tel-Aviv have also banned the Muslim call to prayer, and regularly blocks and abuses worshippers in the holy sites.