Quran in Ukrainian: Needed?

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Olga Prilutskaya
19/11/2010
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... All these acts of the extremists which shelter behind Islam, certainly, caused not only my negative reaction. And the word "a Muslim" got some ominous coloring. Somehow it was forgotten that in my lineage there were and there are Muslim; that my neighbor and my schoolmate are Muslims, too. Only later in my head there appeared a thought, that Muslims are not guilty in it. It is just necessary for someone to explain collisions between people and civilizations by religious distinctions.

"The grief came to their good, amicable family unexpectedly. And when it is expected? Four days prior to Garaev's fifty-seventh birthday he and his wife lost their son. Igor was thirty two. He was going to get married. They were happy for him, dreamed about grandsons... Their son with his bride flied from Sochi to Moscow, hastened to birthday of their father and future father-in-law. And suddenly - plane explosion in the air, act of terrorism. From their son remains practically nothing. And from the family, as it appeared, too.

Garaev not to forget hatred in his wife's eyes when she, always quiet and moderate, shouted after funeral to his face, "These are your compatriots, your appraised Islamites who killed our son! Go and thank them! You always were so proud that you did not renounce nationality of your father!! Where is your father, where is him?! Maybe he took our boy away?" Yes, Alexander Ruslanovich Garaev never hid his origin, wherever and whatever time he lived. On the contrary, at times he even emphasized it, for what relatives named him bullhead. Some with disappointment, some with love and admiration..." This is a fragment from my story "Affair on the Internet". The story about much and about many. But Sasha Garaev became one of its heroes. The son of a Polish mother and a Chechen father, who found himself in severe northern edge…

I was born and have grown in the multinational country with the uniform state language - Russian. I came to Ukraine at seven-year age from Yakutia. I got an "excellent" mark in the Ukrainian language at school, being able to speak it easily with my neighbor in a ladder platform Serezhka Ziganshin and my schoolmate Radik Fahretdinov. I still do not know if they speak the language of their ancestors. But they know Ukrainian for sure! And, I'm sure, better than Russian. The most surprising is that me, having Russian roots, studying at the institute in Siberia, at times during session (because of weariness, probably), falling asleep, mentally argued in the Ukrainian language. No, my roots are not only Russian. In my family, as I know, there are the Poles who very long time ago were sent from Poland to Siberia. Who only were not deported there at all times. People of different nationalities found their home with warmth and difficult happiness in cold and permafrost places! And not color of eyes, not the language reduced them together or parted far away from each other in hard life. The main thing is that the person was good! And whatever God he prays is not so important. I read Dostoevsky's works where he reflects his impressions from endured on penal servitude… I read the well-known Polish patriot, the writer and the public figure of the XIX-th century Shimon Tokarzhevsky (Tokazhevsky) who was in the same place together with the great Russian writer. Both of them write that near to them side by side lived the Lezghins and the Kabardians who underwent unbearable punishment, and remained, despite of everything, freedom-loving, peaceful and kind to those who did not harm them. In the minutes of rest the Russians and the Poles-co-prisoners with delight listen to stories and songs of mountaineers, admiring extraordinary melody and expressiveness of the heard. They do not know the language of these nationalities, and their faith is alien to them. But songs and prayers fascinate Europeans, amazing with their unusual beauty. Somewhere among these prisoners there was also my ancestor Hmelevsky. A little I know about him. After penal servitude he stayed in Russia, having married a maiden in northern Kazakhstan. No one from my relatives whom I knew never saw her portrait. But maybe because of her our relatives together with round and white faces have broad faces, as if caressed by the steppe sun. It is quite probable that her parents were Muslims. She, for certain, had to convert to faith of her Catholic husband. The same as my Russian great-grandmother Hmelevsky whom I saw and remember. In the course of time I wish to learn about my roots more and more. What they were, of what they thought, what worried them in their life? How many, what religions intertwined in my family? I think I am not the only one like that…

I remember, since my childhood I was afraid of Bassmachis. Because I watched a lot of Soviet films of that time which showed how severely they treated their enemies-aliens. And before still there was an invasion of the Mongol-Tatars, their yoke … For certain, teachers spoke about the members of the Horde. But in children's consciousness they were for some reason identified with Muslims. And Griboedov was killed …

Later I heard about Islamic fundamentalism. And from it my soul became restless... After some time sounded an expression "Islamic threat". It became known about atrocities of mojaheds, whisper about war in Afghanistan, open war in the Chechen Republic, executions, explosions, unfamiliar word "extensions", captures of hostages... And outside Russia let more rare, but there were similar problems - Nagorniy Karabah, former Yugoslavia, September, 11th in America … All these acts of extremists which sheltered behind Islam, certainly, caused not only my negative reaction. And the word "a Muslim" got some ominous coloring. Somehow it was forgotten that in my lineage there were and there are Muslims; that my neighbor and my schoolmate are Muslims, too. Only later in my head there appeared a thought, that Muslims are not guilty in it. It is just necessary for someone to explain collisions between people and civilizations by religious distinctions. It is easy to believe in it to those who know history not so well, do not reflect that in our country, as well as all over the world, throughout millennia Christians and Muslims lived side by side very peacefully, establishing joint families, surprising culture, science, art.

Islam is one of the most ancient traditional religions of the world. As in physics there is a law of attraction of heteronymic charges so the Orient since long time drew to itself interest and minds of Europeans. The Quran (from Arabic "quran" literally that means "reading") is the Holy Scripture of Islam and the first written monument of the Arabic-Muslim literature. With this collection of sermons, ceremonial and legal establishments, spells and prayers, instructive stories and parables said by Muhammad in the shape of "prophetical revelations" in Makkah and Medina between 610 and 632, started the religious doctrine of Islam. In Europe for the first time they were familiarized with it on Latin processings of XII-XVI centuries. In 1647 there was a French translation of the Quran of A.Du Rie. In Russia the first Russian translation was made from French by P.Posnikov in 1716, in 1790 - M.Verevkin, in 1792 - A. V.Kolmakov, in 1864 - K.Nikolaev. Directly from the Arabic language the Quran was translated by D. Boguslavsky in 1871, G.S.Sablukov in 1878, A.E.Krymsky ("Suras of the oldest period") in 1905, I.Yu.Krachkovsky. The first attempts of translation of the Quran on the Ukrainian language were done by the well-known Ukrainian orientalist, scholar Agatangel Krymsky. His look and talent turned to the Quran I.V. Goethe in "West-Eastern Diwan". Great Pushkin wrote in 1824 "Imitations of the Quran".

One year ago I was in Crimea at the first international literary festival "Slavic traditions-2009". At that time half of my story "Affair on the Internet" was ready. But the essence of the beginning of Alexander Garaev's stories, the succeeding Russian publisher, was a bit different. According to my first version suddenly dies his ill wife.

And I also was not determined about his origin - my soul was torn between "flashpoint" of the present - the Chechen Republic - and habitual for Yakutia, living there for long time, Tatars. One thing I knew precisely: mother of Sasha Garaev, the student of the father of the main heroine is Polish. Also imagine that in the first opening day of the festival among the judges of the competition on the scene appeared a person absolutely unfamiliar to me. He took microphone in his hands and told about unification of international cultures following words, "My mum is the Polish; my dad is the Tatar… I was born in Russia, I spent my childhood on the Far North, having moved to Ukraine later..." I burst out laughing in my soul - the beginning of my Garaev. Instant later I hardly jumped up from my place: the speaker was the known Ukrainian publisher! Further I almost did not hear that he is a writer, a poet, a translator … This man whom I thought up … is here before me! Just his name is Valery Basyrov, instead of Alexander Garaev. I heard from the scene the story of Basyrov how he worked for ten years over the Quran translation into Ukrainian, and thought that "we cannot foresee, how our word will respond"… And I was absolutely embarrassed when back home, having seized upon the Internet, I tried to discover everything concerning this person. I with horror read a story that his wife is seriously ill for long time, how they struggle with her illness. What is that, I know firsthand … And then I instantly made a decision to alter the history of the hero. His wife is all right, she is healthy, alive! But the grief all the same overtakes this good family, comes therefrom, whence it was not awaited for. Their only son, the continuer of lineage who has Muslim roots, perishes from hands of terrorists who undermined the plane with hundreds of innocent people. Women-terrorists sheltered behind Islamic banner …

I do not know, whether by my change of the chapter content I saved the wife of Basyrov. But I thought: why the man who never saw his Muslim father, who grew up among Europeans, knowing Ukrainian and not speaking the Tatar language, decided to do this titanic work - having comprehended creatively, to translate into the Ukrainian language the Quran? What should happen in his life, what should he overcome to feel such strong need for this work? To sacrifice to it ten years of his life? For ten years he had to carry in himself an inspiration vessel not to spill it, as precious water at the height of drought. And consequently partly it was impossible to speak loudly about it for some time. How many days and nights spent this person alone with the Almighty Who by His will directed him for work with the Holy Scripture? For what?! Why?

I do not know, whether there were claims at Islamites, Pushkin's contemporaries, to his "Imitations of the Quran". But I know that in Uzbekistan three Islamic fanatics in 2007 killed the director Mark Vail who staged this fine product of the great poet. They did not like it... They interceded for the Quran? They got permission for these actions in this Holy Scripture? Perhaps, someone once dinned into them its wrong sense? They had no possibility to read the Quran in their mother tongue? A.S.Pushkin wrote:

From the heavenly book the list is given

To you, the Prophet, not for the obstinate:

Easily announce the Quran,

Without inducing the impious!

The thought of this poem is conformable with suras "Repentance", "The Pilgrimage", "The Private Apartments", "The Beneficent", etc. I read, "And spend of your substance in the cause of Allah, and make not your own hands contribute to (your) destruction; but do good; for Allah loveth those who do good" (2: 195), "If two parties among the Believers fall into a quarrel, make ye peace between them: but if one of them transgresses beyond bounds against the other then fight ye (all) against the one that transgresses until it complies with the command of Allah; but if it complies then make peace between them with justice and be fair: for Allah loves those who are fair (and just)." (49: 9)

So, maybe this translation is made to prevent such killings?

Or V.Basyrov translated the Quran on the state language of Ukraine that such as I were not afraid of Islam, having read Islamic precepts in that language which we know?

I am sure, for centuries our roots were weaved from many nationalities and creeds. Maybe I decided to get acquainted with the Quran because somewhere very long time ago my ancestor Hmelevsky married a Muslim woman; aunts of my grandmother married the Turks? Maybe because of that the Quran called to itself Valery Basyrov, whose grandfather was the Imam? And I will dare to assume something not assumed and not proved before. Perhaps because of that Alexander Sergeevich Pushkin who started his lyrical cycle of poems wrote to his brother, "I work for the sake of glory of the Quran", is due to their great-grandfather whose name was Ibrahim?

Yes, all of us are different. But we should be tolerant one to another, should understand each other. At least because for centuries it is taught by the Bible and the Quran which precepts have much in common. It is necessary just to hear all that. For this reason is needed a correct, comprehended, accessible to everyone in the mother tongue, translation of the Holy Scripture which was made in Ukraine by Valery Basyrov. I believe to great Pushkin that having opened "the shining Quran, we will come to the light, and the fog will fall down from our eyes".

Olga PRILUTSKAYA, Rostov-on-Don, Russia

Specially for "Poluostrov"

Related Links:

Meaning Translation of Quran into Ukrainian Published

In Ukraine is Finished Full Quran Translation

Ukrainian Arabist from Ostrog Academy Translates the Quran

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