I see the phrase "interpretation of the meaning" repeatedly in Islam Q&A fatawa. One random example (from here):

...as Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allaah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself”

[al-Nisa’ 4:79]

Question: What does "interpretation of the meaning" signify?

It seems to be used before quoting the Qur'an. Perhaps it means something like "this is paraphrased", but I'm not sure.

  • 2
    That's is based on the "Qur'an is revealed in Arabic, and anything else is not Qur'an" rule. i.e., that particular English translation is not Qur'an, but the meaning the translator has understood.
    – ozbek
    Oct 17, 2016 at 1:04
  • 1
    @ozbek are you just too lazy to answer or what. Many of your comments include a useful hint which would be the basis for an answer.
    – Medi1Saif
    Oct 17, 2016 at 17:39
  • Lazy? Definitely maybe :) But most of the time I am on mobile and I don't have the references at hand.
    – ozbek
    Oct 18, 2016 at 0:36

1 Answer 1


The general idea is that the Qur'an was revealed in Arabic: Any English translation, no matter how accurate, is the work of man rather than the Unfailing Word of the Almighty.

It is common to lampshade this by pointing out that, as a translation, this is in fact only an interpretation of the meaning. Given that the Qur'an emphasises the importance of speaking only the truth when speaking of Allah (e.g. Al-A'raf 169, Al-Nisaa 171), this is especially prevalent where the wording could imply the direct words of Allah otherwise (such as when quoting the Qur'an).

In other words, and using the example provided in OP, Allah did not say "Whatever of good reaches you, is from Allaah, but whatever of evil befalls you, is from yourself" (or if He did, we don't know about it so can't really claim so). He did, however, say "ما أصابك من حسنة فمن الله وما أصابك من سيئة فمن نفسك وأرسلناك للناس رسولا وكفى بالله شهيدا".


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