Dr. Hamid Choi Yong Kil made history after he became the first native Korean-Muslim to fully translate the Quran from Arabic to Korean.
The detailed project took approximately seven years to complete and finally, Korean-Muslims will be able to read the holy book in their language. This is extremely important as it helps to eradicate the language and semantic barrier that a lot of Korean-Muslims and non-Muslims face when learning about Islam. There’s only so much one can do when using translation apps in order to convey accurate meanings of the Quran, but it can be extremely difficult as a lot of people run into misunderstandings because of direct translations.
However, thanks to Dr. Choi, this will be a problem of the past for a lot of Koreans. According to Economy.PK, he studied at the Islamic University of Madinah, and at that time the leader, Samahatusy Shaykh Abdul Aziz bin Baz rahiimahulloh, was said to have been “very impressed with him, especially the depth of his knowledge and moral dignity.”
Alongside being a translator, Dr. Choi is also a lecturer in Islamic Studies and Arabic at a university in South Korea.
The news comes at a time when the number of Muslims in South Korea is slowly on the rise. Even though the religious group remains a minority in the country, it has seen a substantial growth in the past decade due to tourism and reversion.
According to an estimate by the Korean Muslim Federation, the number of Muslims currently stands at about 200,000, which is only 0.38 per cent of the overall population. The majority is made up of students and workers who have come from Turkey, Pakistan and Uzbekistan and have now claimed Korean citizenship. However, in the digital age, more South Koreans are looking into Islam after coming into contact with Muslim travellers who are more frequently visiting tourist hotspots around the country.