Source: Asian Age
‘Earliest’ Quran in Chinese, from 1912, found
Dec 18, 2011 – K.J.M. Varma | PTI | Beijing
Researchers in China’s north-western Gansu prov-ince have found a hand-written copy of the Quran completed in 1912, which is said to be the earliest Chinese language version of the Muslim holy book.
The Quran, found among old archives by researchers with the Muslim Culture Institute of Lanzhou University, is believed to have been translated into Chinese by Sha Zhong and Ma Fulu, two noted imams and Arabic calligraphers in Lanzhou, Ding Shiren, head of the institute said.
Sha and Ma began translating the Koran in 1909 and completed their work in 1912, Ding said.
Sha then copied out the Chinese text and made three hand-written books, which were widely used in Lanzhou, Xinhua reported.
China has about 20 million Muslims spread out in Xinjiang and Ningxia Autonomous provinces. While the Muslim of Xinjiang were largely Uygurs of Turkik origin, Ningixa Muslims belonged to Hui community.
Ding said two other Chinese versions of the Koran were finished in Gansu in the 20th century. Ding and his colleagues are still making a comparative study of the three versions.
He said the translation by Sha and Ma is faithful to the Arabic version, though parts of the Chinese text used Lanzhou dialect.
Experts say Islam was introduced to China during the Tang Dynasty (618-907). But ancient Chinese scholars did not translate the Koran, out of fear they might misinterpret its text, Ding said. — PTI