Translating a matter in which there is a difference of opinion


May Allah preserve you noble Shaykh, if I had to translate for a Shaykh, and he mentioned a statement which other than it is more correct in the midst of his lecture, or perhaps a position which is wrongful.

Can we just translate the speech of the shaykh or do we need to mention the correct position in that which we are translating in the language we are translating to?

Or is this falling short in the trust that is upon the translators in their conveyance of what is being said?


It is a must upon the translator to be strong and trustworthy in what he is translating to the people; because he is informing about the speech of another, and he is responsible for that.

Allah, the Most High, said:

(إِنَّ خَيْرَ مَنِ ٱسْتَـْٔجَرْتَ ٱلْقَوِىُّ ٱلْأَمِين)

“Verily, the best of men for you to hire is the strong, the trustworthy.”

He is to be strong; whereby he is firmly grounded in both languages.

Trustworthy; in narrating.

And it is possible that which is considered more correct is with the lecturer, and that which the translator has followed him up with is that which is in-fact lesser in correctness, his action would then make him dishonest.
And in Sahih Muslim:

(من غشنا فليس منا)

“Whoever deceives us, is not from us.”

Then he fell short in three different angles.

  • 1- Fell short in regards to the lecturer by attributing to him what he hasn’t said.
  • 2- Fell short in regards to the listeners due to him not being trustworthy in regards to transmitting the lecturers speech upon the manner he intended it.
  • 3- Fell short in regards to the religion, whereby he added to the religion what is not from it, under the guise of the people of the religion (knowledge).

And if the evidence were clearly in opposition to the statement of the lecturer; then after he translates the speech, he adds saying: this is what the lecturer said, but what is considered correct is that which the evidences point towards, and then mentions the evidences.

And if the lecturer is present, then he notifies him on his mistake before translating, due what is found in the hadeeth:

(الدين النصيحة)

“The religion is sincere advise”

Being with this:

  • An advisor to the lecturer.
  • An advisor to the listeners.
  • An advising to the religion.

And Allah knows best.

Answered by:

Shaykh Abu Hatim Yusuf Al-‘Inaabi Al-Jazaa’iree – may Allaah preserve him.


Answered on:

11th, Safar, 1438H

Translated by:
Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani