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|The Bible is read in translation.
The Qur'an is read in its original language.
The King James Bible is a translation. Almost nobody in America even thinks of reading the Bible in Hebrew or Greek. In fact, many people do not even realize that the King James Bible, like every other English-language Bible, is a translation; they seem to think that Jesus Christ and all of the ancient prophets spoke King James English. Many Americans are unaware that the English language did not exist 700 years ago, and that many modern European languages, along with some languages in other parts of the world, are new. Languages come and go like nations and tribes.
People have been reading the Bible in translation for more than 2,000 years. But the number of different languages into which the Scriptures have been translated did not expand much until the Protestant Reformation in the sixteenth century.
By 1450 there were 33 translations of the Bible. By the beginning of the nineteenth century, there were 71 translations. Today, the Bible is available in translations into hundreds of languages.
Translation changes the message. The Italians say: "Traduttori traditori" — Translators are traitors. You cannot translate from one language to another without changing the meaning.
Benjamin Lee Whorf, an unusually perceptive scholar of languages, observed that "all higher levels of thinking are dependent on language." "The structure of the language one habitually uses influences the manner in which one understands his environment. The picture of the universe shifts from tongue to tongue." [Whorf, Forward by Stuart Chase, page vi]
Muslims read the Qur'an in its original language. It is stated repeatedly in the Qur'an that it is "an Arabic Qur'an" — so that reading the Qur'an in any other language leads to a contradictory statement: "This is Arabic" and you are reading English or some other language.
It says in the Qur'an: "Surely we have made the Qur’an easy to understand and remember" ("al-Qamar" – "The Moon" – verses 17, 22, 23, and 40). Millions of Muslims have discovered that learning to read the Arabic Qur'an is not difficult. It is not just for the scholars.
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