FACT-CHECK: Who Was the First Person to Translate the Qur’an Into Igbo language?
On Friday, July 1, 2022, reports emerged that the first translation of the Qur’an into the Igbo language has been published in Nigeria.
The translated Qur’an titled “Nso Koran” was launched at the Ansar-Ud-Deen Mosque, Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, where Muhammad Murtala Chukwuemeka told the BBC it took him five years to translate the sacred Islamic text into Igbo from Arabic.
While the news was gaining rounds with commendation from Social Media circles, it emerged that there could be a dispute on who actually owns the right to lay claim of being the first translator of the Holy Qur’an into Igbo language.
The publisher of Daily Nigerian, Jaafar Jaafar reported that the credit for the first Qur’an to be translated into Igbo language in 1984 goes to Professor Jumbo Ugoji.
“His daughter, Ngozi Ugoji, drew my attention to this fact, saying Sheikh Chukwuemeka’s claims were wrong. She shared with me the cover and some pages of the Qur’an,” Jaafar posted on his Facebook wall.
The development triggered more reactions from commentators.
However, while investigating the matter, what PRNigeria could ascertain for now is that there aren’t enough resources on the internet about the issue.
Meanwhile, PRNigeria has gathered the following facts:
(1). The first translation was in 1988 as seen on Amazon and extracts of the soft copy that
was published by Islam International Publications Limited and printed by Raqeem Press with offices at Islamabad and Surrey among others.
(2). From comments and sentiment analysis, nobody has disputed that Professor Jumbo Ugoji was not the first to have translated the Quran to Igbo language.
(3). Professor Ugoji translated the full Qur’an (919 pages), which was published by Islam International and sponsored by Ahmadiyya Movement. Ahmadiyya is known to have also sponsored similar translations in other Nigerian languages especially Yoruba (1957), Igbo (1988) and Hausa (1992), coming after Sheikh Gumi’s translation of 1979. This is besides the over 72 languages worldwide in which it has sponsored the Qur’ans translations.
(4). Professor Ugoji’s copy of the Quranic translation was from English to Igbo signed in the extracted copy online with ISBN 1 85372 047 x .
(5). Professor Jumbo Ugoji is a Muslim and reportedly still alive
(6). The translated copy by Jumbo was listed on Amazon and it has 919 pages and was published in 1988 (though it’s out of stock on the site now).
(7) The ISBN given on Amazon for Jumbo’s translation include: ISBN-10 1853723088 and ISBN-13 978-1853723087
(8) PRNigeria discovers that Sheikh Chukwuemeka was a Deeper Life pastor before he converted to Islam in 1989.
(9) Chukwuemeka has also converted over 300 people since he started Islamic preaching (Da’awa).
(10) Chukwuemeka’s translation was from Arabic language
Igbo is primarily spoken in south-eastern Nigeria, where the majority of people tend to be Christians. Nigeria is Africa’s most-populous nation and has a mainly Muslim population in the north, with the south being largely Christian.
Conclusion: PRNigeria is still investigating both claims and will report findings as the story develops.
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