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Essay: Translation of Quotations from the Prophet and Commenting on Ideological Problems

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  • Translation of Quotations from the Prophet and Commenting on Ideological Problems
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In this paper I will mention some information about translation, ideological and religious translation, and I will translate some religious texts. So as it is known, translators face a lot of problems while they translate. I chose to translate the Sayings of the Prophet from Arabic to English language from “Al Ja’ama AL Sahih Sharh Mosned AL.Imam AL.Rabee bin Habib” by Noor AL.Deen AL.Salmi, which be related to the Ibadhism Sect, then I commented on the Ideological Problems. This idea came to me during the years of my study and I liked it because it is related to my religion. In the end I hope from any translator to try to translate like this text to help in spreading our religion.

Chapter 1


1. Overview:

In this chapter, Thirty Sayings of the Prophet will be translated from Arabic into English language. Also I will comment on ideological issues while I translate the Saying of the Prophet.

2. Translation in General:

Generally, translation is a group of processes. The purpose of it is to make the communication between two different languages easy. So the processes of translation can be shortened in transferring the meaning from one language to another; for example, from English language into Arabic language. So by translation people can communicate and understand each other’s culture, and make the relationship between countries. In this regard, there are a lot of definitions of translation. One of the most important definitions is by Catford (1965:20), replacement of the source text by searching for the equivalent which gives us the target text. Also, it has been defined by Newmark (1988) as “a process of replacing one written statement in a Source Language (SL) by the same message in the Target Language (TL)”. More ever, it was defined by Reiss, (2000:160) as a process of communication by two different languages, and it aim to make the targeted language have the same meaning of the source language. We can see that all these definitions say that translation is a process that helps to understand other languages and make the communication easy.

2.1. Religious Translation:

Translation is involved in every single aspect of our lives, in art, economy, culture, science, religion, etc. I will focus on religious translation which is deal with religious texts only. Without religious translation, people who want to learn about Islam, for example, and they do not know Arabic, they will face a lot of difficulties. This tells us that translation was active for a long time ago, even before Islam; according to Elewa (2014) translation of religious texts is a great thing which helps in distributing the God message through the history. Also it was functional to teaching the important thing about the religion and to show the beauty of faith and morality around the world. Also, we must know that religious translation is needs a lot of attention. That is because if you understand one word wrong your translation becomes wrong. Hervey, Higgins, and Dickins, (2002:178) argues that, the subject matter of religious texts tell us that the spiritual world is existent, and it is not something fictive; because it has its own exterior realities and truths. So the translators know that he is not free to give anything for the subject matter, but he must do what he can to explore it and give the reader the excellent translation. So a translator must be aware while translating religious texts.

In this regard, the idea comes to translate a number of the Sayings of the Prophet from Arabic to English language and commenting on the ideological problems. Also it is to find the solution for the problems.

3. Readership:

Translation like other aspects will not stop at one point. It is still developing. In this study I will translate the Saying of Prophet and there are a lot of people who need to learn it. So the target reader of my translation will be any person who does not understand Arabic but understands English. And he or she wants to learn the Saying of the Prophet. Also it can be students of English Translation or anyone who is interesting in religious translation.

4. Purpose of Translation:

There are four purposes of this translation. Firstly, a short-term objective, which is that I am a student of English translation and this, will be my final year project. Secondly, a long-term objective, which is that I want to serve my religion by this translation, and to see my translation read by other people who need it and who will benefit from it. The last one is that this translation may pave a way for me into translating more texts or even books.

5. Text Type:

The type of the text is Religious. As known, it needs full understanding while reading it or trying to translate it. A religious text is something that is related to spirits so it needs a lot of focus, according to Katchen (2008) when a person tries to work with the background of any religious text to present the chant patterns, and if he does any change in that text he must be so careful because any replacement of any synonym by another could be exactly incorrect translation. So the translator must be aware while he translates it.

6. Global strategies:

Global strategies mean the way that the translator uses it while he or she translates. According to Jääskeläinen (1993: 116) global strategy is the general strategy accepted by the person who translates a text to deal with the full text that needs to be translated. Therefore, I used the dynamic equivalence and that is because I translated a religious text. So If I translated it word by word I cannot get the full meaning in the targeted text. Also, at times, I used a little of the literal translation.

Chapter 2

Literature Review

1. Introduction:

Translation is a large field. It can be found in political, art, religion, etc. There are different aspects which can be translated accordingly. Ideology is one aspect of how we can translate. I would define ideology as the opinion or belief of one person or nation. People have different definitions of the ideology according to their understanding. So we cannot say that our definition is the best, because we know that ideology is not something that has one aspect at which all people must follow.

2. Ideology Definitions:

Ideology has been defined by a large number of translation theoreticians. This makes it more understandable by people from different socities. Following are some of the definitions: Sartori (1969: 402) defined it as “A typically dogmatic, i.e., rigid and impermeable, approach to politics”.

It has also been defined as a collective of ideas, owned by a particular group, that propose certain attitudes or ideas as they think it should be. They try to promote, realise, pursue or maintain these ideas (Hamilton 1987: 39). Moreover it has been defined as, “the reflection of process and structure in the consciousness of those involved–the product of action” (Nettl 1967: 100). Webster’s Third New International Dictionary (1993) defined it as, an organized structure or arranged body of a group of ideas or definitions, which is related to human life and culture, a way or the content of thinking characteristic of a person, group or culture. Van Dijk (1998) defined it as “Ideologies are the essential views of one group and its members”. Another definition shows a negative meaning of ideology that people understand in a false way. It is describes as “a form of cognitive distortion, a false or illusionary representation of the real” (Gardiner apud Beaton, 2007: 272).

There is another definition of the ideology, which is a group of views, behaviors, and values; the way of thinking about society and man. We may talk about all of a person’s ideology or of his specific ideology about different parts of social life, such as: economics, politics, minority groups, religion, etc (Adorno et al. 1950:2). According to Geertz (1964/1973: 220), the definition of ideology is “Maps of problematic social reality and matrices for the creation of collective conscience”. Also Pecheux believes that, in general ideology, as we have seen it is not recognized in the ideological state apparatuses, so it cannot synchronize with the historically real ideological formation. Also it is not the same thing as the dominant ideology (1975: 103). And by this definetion we can say that when we define the ideology in general it would make it possible to think of man as an ideological animal, for example to think his ‘specificity as a part of the nature’ (ibid).

We know that each person will understand ideology in his/her own way, so each society or nation will define it according to their understanding. According Gerring says that “Ideologie is used about 50 times, but no normative, descriptive or real definition is given.” Most of the events cannot be seen with certainty so it is not possible to know exactly what the writer intended to say. (1997: 963).

As I said before each person has an ideology, so I found that ideology can have any individual or group. In the end, a lot of writers use the word of ideology as a possession that might be owned by any single person. Whereas, it has always been known as a central side of the ideologies which they share.This dose not go on other ideological features (example, political orientation, action orientation, coherence ,etc). There may be no reason that justifies as to why we cannot be found the person who may share his/her ideas or opinions. In fact, we in all time speak of ‘X’s ideology’, as if it were special from all others (Gerring, 1997: 970).

A lot of people talk about ideologies from different sides to make it clearer to them. So I have read about the organization of ideologies any way their form, the ideological beliefs are usually not organized in an arbitrary way. As we know about the mind and the memory which propose the order and organization, though sometimes we see that there are ways which we still do not understand (Van Dijk, 1998: 17). So we see that ideology has been organized and they see it as many groups. Each group contains something related to our thinking or beliefs. Also I have been reading about how they divide the ideology scheme types of the ideologies:

  • Membership of the standards: Who does/not fit?
  • Characteristic events: What do we do?
  • General goals: What we are wanted? Why we are doing it?
  • Averages and principles: It is good or bad for us?
  • Location: What are the connections between us and others?
  • Funds: Who has entered to the resources of our group? (Van Dijk, 1998: 17).

Now I will speak about ideological attitude and knowledge. At first the ideological attitude, as I read it mostly, we see that the theoretical ideologies do not appear in the text and not talked about in a direct way. This means that we essentially want the ‘intermediary’ pictures or something that is between ideologies and discourse. As we have seen it before, ideology is a form of public understanding, so it may represent the ideological suggestions as functioned to specific public areas. For example, we could apply a ‘feminist ideology’ in the place of the work market, in the area of reproduction, or in education. So from this way we may have feminist or antifeminist attitudes about the abortion (Van Dijk, 1998: 19). Then the knowledge ideology, as I read; also, group of the ideologies may touch knowledge. This looks opposing; this is because the knowledge traditionally has been often defined exactly as it is away or free from the ideology. The ideological knowledge is often known as an opposing in terms, and it was known just as a type of ideological belief. Therefore, if some racialist psychologists say that Whites brain is large than the Blacks so they are more intelligent than Blacks, and they might notice this like knowledge. So this was taken by what racialist psychologists see as methodical proof, but others may well see this saying is unfairness, and they see that there is some mistake in what the racialist psychologists say (Van Dijk, 1998: 19). There are ego and alter class of ideologies, “Ego-ideologies organize the character of the subjects; alter ideologies communicate one class to another as relational subjects” (

3. Ideological Conflict:

As I said before that ideology is a large field that leads to people having some confusion about or sometimes even causing conflicts due to misunderstandings by other people. As I read about it I found that the meaning of the ideological conflict is that a lot of people may have some confusion about the ideology at the level of personal experiences which make the difference in the ideological position while we identify with some groups or formations in the same time. So, for example you are a woman, and at the same time you are a mother, and a professional writer, and a member of the community, and a feminist and an atheist, etc. Thus, our representation of our personal life experiences requires some opinions or ideas which are not well-matched every time with these different identities and ideologies. We also found that persons may have a long variety of the conflicting in their opinions about one small issue (Van Dijk, 1998: 23).

4. Ideological Institutions:

We know that the ideological thinking came or was created from a group of people. So as I read about the ideological institutions the best reproduction of the ideologies usually requires not only a group of people with same attitudes and same aims, ideological principles or values. Surely, institutionalization is a group organization which may be crucial, like the history of the efficiency of some current NGO’s such as Amnesty International or Greenpeace, or the Catholic Church (Van Dijk, 1998: 34). Also I read that likewise, there are some institutions which are more effective than other ideological institutions in the modern institutions, and they are the schools and mass media. The imitation of the everyday activities in some communities has been acquired from their fractional ideologies by other people, but in fact that ideologies are mostly acquired as this, and it is not only as a specific form of the behavior or any action through discourse. The mass media and the schools can do that role more than other institutions, as it was once fulfilled by the church (ibid).

5. Process of Ideology:

We can understand that ideology is not just a theoretical thing but it is something we can practice and we can deal with. Ideology considered as a material process. It is not mostly understood as ideas in the head of people, but it is as a social\material practice institutionalized in apparatuses (

6. Mechanism of Ideology:

As I said before that ideology is not only theoretical thing, it is also something that we can control. So we can consider it as a tool. While I read about ideology I found that, the most important mechanism that the ideology functions is to imitate social relation by the material process of the ideological device through the ‘transforming individuals into subjects’ (

7. Ideology and Discourse:

People have difficulty to distinguish between discourse and ideology. While I read about it I found that they are different from each other, for example in the meaning as Ideology means a group of ideas connected to a person’s aims and to a group of ideas that relate to a person’s goals and targets. On other hands, discourse means the debate or oral explanation of some principal or phenomenon. Also there is a difference in the aims of each one which are the ideology goals to bringing some change in the society. On the other hand, the discourse goals to making people understand some principles of science or religion (Aron). So we can understand that ideology is a tool which helps to change the society, but discourse is a tool which helps in developing the society. On the other hand, there is a relation between them, according to (Eagleton, 1991) it may help to say that ideology is less as a particular set of the discourse than being as a particular set of the effects within discourse. Middle-class ideology has this particular discourse on stuff, so that we see in the way when we talk about the soul, this treatise on jurisprudence and the kind of words one overhears in pubs where the owner wears a military tie.

Chapter 3


1. Overview:

In this chapter, ideological issues have been faced in the translation process supported by examples and comments.

Source Text 1:

“لا إيمان لمن لا صلاة له، ولا صلاة لمن لا وضوء له، ولا صوم إلا بالكف عن محارم الله”.

Targeted Text: “He who does not pray is not a believer and he who does not do ablution, his prayers are meaningless, and there is no fasting without avoiding what the God has prohibited”.

Annotation 1:

Source Text 2:

“إذا دخل أحدكم المسجد فليركع ركعتين قبل أن يجلس”.

Targeted Text: “If any one enters the mosque he must pray two rak’ahs before he sits down”.

Annotation 2:

Source Text 3:

“صلوا تنجحوا، وزكوا تفلحوا، وصوموا تصحوا، وسافروا تغنموا”.

Targeted Text: “Through pray you will succeed, through AL Zakat you will win, through fasting you will be healthy, and through travel you will have riches”.

Annotation 3:

Source Text 4:

“الغسل يوم الجمعة واجب على كل محتلم”.

Targeted Text: “Every grown man has the duty to bathe on Friday”.

Annotation 4:

Source Text 5:

“على المقيم سبع عشرة ركعة، وعلى المسافر إحدى عشرة ركعة”.

Targeted Text: “the resident prays seventeen rak’ahs a day, and the traveler prays elven rak’ahs a day”.

Annotation 5:

Source Text 6:

“من صلى صلاة لم يقرأ فيها بأم القرآن فهي خداج”

Targeted Text: “Who prays without reading the mother of the Holy Quran his\her prayer’s is incomplete”.

Annotation 6:

Source Text 7:

ما جاء في وعيد المار بين يدي المصلي:

Targeted Text: What has been mentioned about the punishment of walking between the hands of the person who pray:

Annotation 7:


In conclusion, we see that there are some differences between Arabic and English language. And that is normal because they come from different cultures. Therefore, while translating, I was aware of each word and its meaning to translate it without making any difference in meaning between the source text and the target text.

In this project I have translated thirty of the Sayings of the Prophet and then I had commenting on the Ideological problems. And I tried to make it perfect to be benefitial to pepole who like to know a lot of things about Islam and our Prophet.

Finally, I wish for my target readers to understand what I was translate. Also, I wish that my reader would correct any thing that may appear to be imperfect. At last I want to tell all translators who translate religious texts to make sure that they understand the source text very well before they start to translate it. Also, they should be sure that they think like their target readers in order for their texts to be understood. This is because the religious translation needs a lot of focus and attention and not just any one can translate.


Al Salmi, A. (2004). AL Ja’ama al sahih sharh mosned al.imam Al Rabee bin Habib. Oman-Al Seeb: library of AL.Imam Noor AL.Deen AL.Salmi
Aron,’Difference between ideology and discourse’. N.p., 2011. Web. 2 Oct. 2015
Dweik, B., & Abu Shakra, M. (2010). Strategies in translating collocations in religious texts from arabic into english. Retrieved 15 June 2015, from
Eaglfton, T. (1991). Ideology an introduction. Retrieved 15 June 2015, from
Elewa, A. (2014). Features of translating religious texts. Retrieved 16 September 2015, from
ElShiekh, A. (2011). Translation versus transliteration of religious terms in tontemporary islamic discourse in western communities. Retrieved 16 September 2015, from:
Gerring, J. (1997). Ideology: a definitional analysis. Retrieved 6 July 2015, from
Katchen, J. (2008). Problems in the musical translation of religious texts: church slavonic/greek to english. Retrieved 16 September 2015, from
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Pecheux, M. (1995). Language, semantics and ideology. Retrieved 15 September 2015, from
Petrescu, C. (2009). Ideology and translation. Retrieved 14 September 2015, from
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