Indonesia to Improve Gender-friendly Al-Quran Translation

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Indonesia to Improve Gender-friendly Al-Quran Translation

Quranic Translation is improving through times and context. Ministry of Religious Affairs of Indonesia initiated an improvement towards gender-friendly Quran translation.

The Ministry of Religious Affairs invited the Language Center of the Ministry of Education and Culture in the process of improving the Indonesian Al-Quran translation. For the participation of the Language Center, 100 vocabulary words or terms contained in Al-Quran are included in the Indonesian Dictionary. The conference also adressed the idea of improving Quranic translation towards gender-friendly.

Dora Amelia, the representative of the Language Center revealed the initiative in her remarks at the opening of the Conference of Quranic Scholars in Bandung, Monday, July 8, 2019.

“For the involvement of the Language Center in this program is to improve the Al-Quran translation, 100 new terms are included in the KBBI (the Great Dictionary of the Indonesian Language),” explained Dora, welcomed by the gathering participants.

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The new terms referred by Dora are religious vocabularies or terms in the Quran. This was confirmed by the explanation of the Chairman of the Commision of Mushaf Examination (Lajnah Pentashihan Mushaf Al-Quran), Muchlis Hanafi. Muchlis added, the absorption 100 words are the contribution of the Quran to enrich the Indonesian language.

In addition, this is also one of the efforts of Quranic expert teams so that the meaning of the Quran is not distorted, so there are several words that must be absorbed first into the Indonesian Dictionary, in which detailed definition will provide.

The inclusion of 100 Quranic vocabulary into the Indonesian Dictionary is the work of the scholars in compiling the improvement of the Ministry of Religion’s Al-Quran translation which is facilitated by the Conference of Quranic Scholars.

Among the major agendas carried out in the conference is the improvement of Quranic translations toward gender-friendly vocabulary. Some of the improvements made are related to words that are less elegant or imply negative connotations in society.

This was conveyed by Prof. Dr. Abdurrahman Mas’ud as Head of Department of Research and Development Ministry of Religion.

“Irreverent translations are improved to become more elegant and polite, like a full-breasted girl,” said Abdurrahman Masud.

Abdurrahman Mas’ud also mentioned that another prominent thing was that the improvement of gender-biased words became gender-friendly.

“Like the term azwaj which was previously translated with wives into pairs,” he continued.

The depictions of promised rewards in heaven often portrayed with depiction of woman body. We might refer to a term ‘Kawa’ib’ which commonly translated as full-breasted companion in Surah An-Naba; 33. In addition, terms of azwaj mostly understood as either wives or beautiful womans, as part of promised pleasures for the Muslims in heaven.

This year’s Conference of Quranic Scholars took the theme “Al-Qur’an Translation Validity Test for Improved Edition” and was attended by 110 participants consisting of ulama  – Islamic scholars, academics, and researchers of Qur’anic studies and exegesis from elements of the Ministry of Religion of the Republic of Indonesia, Indonesian Ulama Council, Ministry of Education and Culture, Islamic university lecturers, Islamic scholars and stakeholders of pesantren (Islamic boarding schools), Al-Qur’an Science Association, and Al-Qur’an Study Center.