A Chinese translation of Qur'an 1:5 (link) says

Wǒmen zhǐ chóngbài nǐ, zhǐ qiú nǐ yòu zhù,

I'm unclear about 右助 which YouDao translates to "the right to help". The sentence mostly makes sense directly, approximately translating to:

We [我们] only [只] worship [崇拜] you [你]; only [只] beg [求] you [你] the right to help [右助].

However, the last bit doesn't quite make sense (I would expect it to say "only beg you for help"). It's also a bit odd that ("right") here means "right" in the sense of "I have rights", instead of "right hand"; I haven't encountered that before.

Question: Why is 右助 in this Chinese translation of Qur'an 1:5?

The Arabic and one English translation is:

إِيَّاكَ نَعْبُدُ وَإِيَّاكَ نَسْتَعِينُ (Qur'an 1:5)
It is You we worship and You we ask for help.

It's similar in Qur'an 1:7: 你所右助者的路 ...

  • 2
    I suppose it's a typo of 佑, meaning bless.
    – user4072
    Jun 22, 2018 at 3:10
  • 3
    maybe misprint,could be 祐助 see bkrs 祐助 保佑帮助。 如:「感谢上天佑助,让我顺利脱险。」 help; aid; assist islamicity.com/cqse/surah_s.asp?surahno=1 1 : 7 你所祐助者的路,不是受谴怒者的路,也不是迷误者的路。
    – user6065
    Jun 22, 2018 at 3:19
  • 佑,祐 are interchangeable (see dictionaries)
    – user6065
    Jun 22, 2018 at 4:53
  • 1
    Note that YouDao glosses the translation with 以上为机器翻译结果 (This translation was generated by a machine). It's inaccurate.
    – dROOOze
    Jun 22, 2018 at 9:31

1 Answer 1


According to dictionaries like this one (definition 7), in ancient Chinese, 右 and 佑 in this usage are interchangeable.

  1. 古同“佑”,帮助,偏袒。

In modern simplified Chinese system, we use 佑 for this usage.

But not sure if this is the case in other regions where traditional characters are still in use.

  • The translation given is in Simplified Chinese, 右 hasn't been used interchangeably with 佑 since the Song Dynasty, and the language of the translation given is in Modern Standard Chinese sprinkled with a few archaic/religious terms. While technically true that 右 and 佑 were interchangeable, it doesn't apply to this situation.
    – dROOOze
    Jun 22, 2018 at 9:30
  • @droooze, I agree it looks odd to replace 佑 with 右 in those sentences. But for some reason, most of dictionaries still have this particular definition including the latest version of 新华字典. So, I won't stick my neck out and say it's wrong if I see others use it like that. I am not a linguist, but I would suggest foreign Chinese learners use 佑 in those sentences.
    – dan
    Jun 22, 2018 at 9:53
  • You misunderstand me. I would expect for comprehensive dictionaries to give the old definition (that is fine), but these old definitions are no longer productive in generating new words, because they have lost that meaning. By the time that 佑助 was invented as a word, 右 was already far from being associated with the meaning 佑, and that's why (I'm betting) that 新华字典 won't have 右助 as a word, and also why treating 右助 as an alternative spelling of 佑助 is unlikely to be the real explanation.
    – dROOOze
    Jun 22, 2018 at 10:01

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