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Quranic word al-amanati translated at 'deposit' in V. 4:5. Feedback needed.

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Author Topic: Quranic word al-amanati translated at 'deposit' in V. 4:5. Feedback needed.  (Read 36 times)
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« on: May 12, 2021, 02:08:03 pm »

Wa'salaam dear Sister Ruhi.     I think Pickthall's translated choice of the word "deposit" is not too accurate in this Verse of Surah An-Nissa.  

The sahih International translates it better:

"Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice.  Excellent is that which Allah instructs you.   Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing."  4:58  An-Nissa.

"al-amanati" means trust rather than 'deposit.'   The word deposit generally carries the monetary or financial definition.   But that isn't what Allah refers to in this Verse.  Instead, Allah Almighty commands that those people who are honorable, honest, virtuous and reliable are the ones who must be trusted .. that trust must be restored to the trustworthy. The other part of this Verse is about justice which is of course correctly translated by Pickthall and I'm sure you understand it;  it's about promoting the concept of justice. 
I found A.A. Maududi's commentary on this Verse very helpful.


Muslims are warned that they should avoid those evils in which the people of Bani Israel were involved. They gave away the positions of trust to incompetent and dishonest people. They began to entrust positions of responsibility and religious and political leadership to inefficient, bigoted and immoral persons. As a result, the whole community became corrupt. The Muslims are being cautioned against such missteps and told to entrust responsibility to trustworthy and competent people who are deserving of it.

Another evil that was prevalent among the Jews was injustice. They had lost the very sense and spirit of justice and become utterly inequitable and dishonest  without any pangs of conscience. The Muslims were personally having a bitter experience because of the bias of the Jews in al-Medinah. These Jews were supporting the idolaters of Quraysh against the Muslims who believed in Tawheed though comparing the lives of the pagans with the followers of Monotheism, it was obvious that the former were the misguided ones and the latter were the ones rightly guided.  On the one side, they saw the pure lives of the Final Messenger (pbuh) and his followers; on the other, they witnessed the immoral lives of their enemies who buried their daughters alive, married their step mothers and went round the Ka`bah in naked state. Still these "people of the Book" preferred the idolatrous people to the Believers, and brazenly declared that the pagans were more rightly guided than the believers of Allah, The One and Only.   Allah Almighty warns the Believers against this sort of injustice and enjoins them always to say what is fair, true and right, and to judge between the people with justice whether they be friends or foes.


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