Remembering Dr. Zohurul Hoque
Dr. Hoque’s approach to the Holy Qur’an was immensely refreshing, endowed, as he was, with very rational, scientific and proper Islamic perspectives within the scope of the broad understanding of Sunnah, and without prejudice towards any particular school of thought.
A translator of the Holy Qur’an in English, Bangla and Assamese languages, Dr. Zohurul Hoque, died at the age of 92 in Muscat, Sultanate of Oman on 18th January 2017.
Dr. Hoque was born in Assam province of India on 11th October, 1926, in a devout Muslim family. His parents took extra care to teach him Arabic from his childhood. He studied Arabic as his classical subject, and when he graduated from high school, he scored highest marks in Arabic in the whole state of Assam. He was recipient of merit scholarship which continued till the end of his student life.
His keen interest in Islamic studies started in the early 1950s when he was still a student in the medical school. What started with initial jotting down of points, notes, observations on the Holy Qur’an and Hadith, partly from reading books and partly from discussions held with others, over time, developed into a systematic approach to understand the intricacies of the Divine message in the light of rational thinking.
At times, he was dumb-founded at the scientific truths revealed to the Holy Prophet (saws) in the dark ages and contained as gems in the Holy Qur’an. His deep-rooted Islamic values and ideologies guided him constantly in his pursuit of spiritual knowledge.
His interest in writing was partly triggered by an old Remington typewriter that he had purchased (and still owns) as a school student during World War II. The typewriter was his constant companion churning out pages after pages of thoughtful writings. In the early 1990s, a computer ‘replaced’ his Remington typewriter.
This Remington still sits beside his desk, while several computers departed with less grace over the last fifteen years. At age 70, he took a fascination to, and learnt quickly, Adobe PageMaker and Photoshop. Using these two softwares, he did the entire page formatting of the Translation and Commentary on the Holy Qur’an, and shared a major part of the painstaking task of setting the Arabic verses included in this book
In the seventies, Dr. Hoque felt a pressing need for a Bengali translation of the Qur’an to serve, particularly, the four million Bengali-speaking Muslim population in Assam. Dr. Hoque’s approach to the Holy Qur’an is immensely refreshing, endowed with very rational, scientific and proper Islamic perspectives within the scope of the broad understanding of Sunnah, and outside any bias towards any particular school of thought.
In 1985, and as the culmination of twelve years of strenuous work, Dr. Hoque published his Bengali translation of the Holy Qur’an.
Meanwhile, he engaged himself in translating the Holy Qur’an in Assamese, the language of the native people of Assam province of India. In eight years of arduous work, Dr. Hoque published the Assamese translation of the Qur’an in three volumes during 1991-93.
In his professional career, Dr. Hoque is a medical doctor having special training in Public Health and Family Planning. He studied Public Health at the University of Calcutta in India, and Family Planning at the University of Michigan in U.S.A.
He has written several books and scores of published articles on these subjects. He worked with the Assam Government and retired as Director of Health Services for the state of Assam, India, and as a National Consultant to World Health Organization. He retired in 1990 on superannuation from these jobs, and after that devoted completely in research and study of Islam.
He had already published the Bengali and Assamese translations. By doing so, he gained knowledge and experience of translating the Holy Book. Desktop publishing and computer-composing was then available in the market.
This encouraged him to take up the preparation of an English version of the Holy Qur’an. He did the job meticulously and as perfectly as was possible. In the year 2000, this translation was published from the USA. Thereby, he earned recognition from the Jeddah University of Saudi Arabia as the only translator in the world to have translated the Quran in three different languages.
The Assamese translation published by Bina Library, Guwahati, Assam is in its third edition already and has become immensely popular as an authentic translation of the Holy Qur’an in Assam.
In the year 2005, he was invited by the Diwan of Royal Court, Sultanate of Oman to deliver a talk on any topic of his choice on Islam. In a packed hall, in the auditorium of Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, he delivered two lectures with audio-visual support on the multiple marriages of Prophet Muhammad (saws).
In January 2013, the highly popular Hi magazine of Oman carried a profile on his life and works as the lead content in their weekly magazine.
For the past several years, he had been living in the Sultanate of Oman with his eldest son. Even till the age of 86, he was keeping himself occupied on revising and preparing detailed footnote commentary of the three translations of the Holy Qur’an.
Dr. Zohurul Hoque’s translations of the Qur’an can be seen online at www.qurtantoday.com.
[Courtesy: Muzahid Ahmad, s/o Dr. Zohurul Hoque, POB # 3305, Postal Code 112, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. Contact Number: 00-968-99774608. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zohurul_Hoque, http://www.qurancommentary.com/zohurul.html ]