Some Misleading Translations of Qur’ānic Verses
Question asked by .
Answered by Dr. Shehzad Saleem

The following verse points out that Islam was gradually perfected. Until that time, are we to suppose that Islam was not a perfected religion?

This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion: Yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion. But if any is forced by hunger, with no inclination to transgression, Allah is indeed Oft-forgiving, Most Merciful. (5:3)

My second question pertains to the following verse of the Qur’ān:

O ye who believe! Do your duty to Allah, seek the means of approach unto Him, and strive with might... (5:38)

Some people claim mediation from this verse. They use this verse to justify their invocation of certain pious personalities and even criticize those who ask Allah for help directly. Is this true?


In 5:3, the word akmaltu (perfected) actually means ‘completed’. It is used in this shade in the English language, though this usage seems to have been overshadowed by other ones, in particular by the one which means ‘ultimate’ or ‘supreme’. For your own understanding, you can read the verse thus:

This day have I completed your religion for you (5:3)

In other words, verse is  implying that the religion whose revelation started 22 years ago has today been completed.

In 5:38, the correct translation of the word Wasīlah is ‘nearness’. It does not mean ‘the means of approach’, which is actually its Urdu meaning. In other words, the verse is directing the Muslims to seek the nearness of Allah. There is no question of any mediation in this regard. He listens directly.

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