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The Quran is the Quran in the original Arabic language. The beauty of the Quran, in its meaning, in its reading, and its recitation, is the beauty of the Quran in the Arabic language. Nothing can substitute that.
Its translation into the various languages of the world, like this in the Zulu language of Southern Africa, is therefore a mere shadow of the grandeur, nobility, beauty and elegance of the Quran in its original Arabic language.
Any translation of any book from one language to another loses a substantial portion of its meaning. Moreso with the Quran.
Therefore, my dear Zulu readers, your attempt to understand the Quran by this Zulu translation is highly laudable, because by implementing the pearls of the Quran, you have embarked on a journey of self discovery and self development and closeness to your Creator; as millions before you have done, including this humble servant.
But also remember in the light of the above statement, that this will be only the beginning of your journey. Hopefully it will be a stepping stone towards the understanding of the Quran in the Arabic language; and therefore acquiring the gems of Islam, its instructions for a correct and noble way of living, and its guidance and wisdom, from none other than the Quran in the original Arabic language, Insha Allah.
IDM undertook the task of translating the Quran into the Zulu language since 2006. A group of scholars have been working on this for several years. As this is not any ordinary book, there have been innumerable checks and re-checks. We are hopeful that the Quran in the Zulu translation will go to print at the beginning of 2013, Insha Allah.
Alhamdullillah (Praise be to Allah), this translation of the Holy Quran into the Zulu language is the culmination of tremendous efforts of many individuals committed to presenting Islam in its pristine purity to the general public.
The Zulu are the largest Southern African ethnic group with an estimated eleven million people, who live mainly in the Kwa Zulu Natal Province of South Africa. Small numbers also live in Zimbabwe, Zambia and Mozambique. Their language, IsiZulu or Zulu, is derived from the Nguni subgroup. In the Nguni languages, IsiZulu mean heaven or sky. Zulu is the most widely spoken home language in South Africa, with one in every 5 persons speaking this as their first language.
Nguni people are pastoralist groups, occupying much of the east, central and southern parts of Africa. They migrated southwards over many centuries, probably entering what is now South Africa around 2,000 years ago in sporadic settlements, followed by larger waves of migration around 1400CE. The major groups among the Nguni include the Zulu, Xhosa and Ndebele (in South Africa), Swazi (in Swaziland), Ngoni (in Malawi and Zambia), and the Ndebele of Matebele (in Zimbabwe).
The Zulu formed a powerful state in 1816 under the leadership of Shaka Zulu (ca 1828). Shaka Zulu united what was once a confederation of tribes into an imposing empire under Zulu hegemony. He was undoubtedly the greatest of the Zulu kings ruling for about ten years and uniting the Zulu sub-tribes into the beginnings of a nation that held sway of the large portion of the eastern part of Southern Africa between the Phongola and Mzimkhulu River. He has been called a military genius for his reforms and innovations.
Research continues on his life and influences. Chief Albert Luthuli, Nobel Prize Laureate, hails from this tribe.
Zulu people are either Christians, or a mixture of part-Christian and part-traditionalist, or pure traditionalist. Zulu religion includes belief in a creator, God (Nkulunkulu), who is above interacting in day-to-day human affairs. An important facet of the Zulu religion is cleanliness. Separate utensils and plates were used for different foods. Bathing often occurred up to three times a day. Going barefoot has often been a traditional sign of Zulu spirituality and strength.
The Nazareth Baptist Church, or the Shembe Church, is an African initiated Church founded by Isiah Shembe in 1910. With approximately a million members in Kwa Zulu Natal, it bans smoking, drinking, fornicating, dating, and keeping dogs and cats as pets. It also forbids shaving and believes in faith healing. It is seen as a mixture of Zulu tradition and Christianity. It is interesting to note some important elements of this religion sharing view points with Islam.
It is pertinent that two powerful and influential cultures, one on a global level and the other regionally, should interact and understand each others world views, for peace and harmony, for the sake of better understanding, and for better harmonious interfaith relationships.
Guided by it’s own commitment to serve the Quran, the Islamic Dawah Movement Publications Unit undertook this tremendous task, and completed this honourable work, Al Hamdullilah.
It is heartening and inspiring to witness the elucidation of Islam from none other than its original source, the Holy Quran, into the Zulu language; and transmitting, in Zulu, Islam’s life-giving articles of faith, its life-sustaining teachings and its life-enriching world view, in a manner best suited to the Zulu speaking and Zulu reading public. The Islamic Dawah Movement of Southern Africa (IDM) acknowledges, with appreciation, all those individuals who helped produce this monumental translation.
Praise and gratitude is due to Allah, the Lord and Sustainer of the World. May He accept this humble effort of ours. We beseech His help, His guidance, mercy and forgiveness.
The Quran in Zulu is available free of charge or at a nominal cost, or for a voluntary donation when stocks are available, be it Zakaat, Lillah, Sadaqah or other. By the same token, sponsors for the purchase of the Qurans are welcome and constitute an important Sawaabe Jaariah; so that the less fortunate can get their copies free of charge.