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Quran, not Arabic, is at fault (message 1 of 3)

Reader comment on item: Will Americans Learn What Israelis Already Know?
in response to reader comment: I verified DNM's description of why Muhammad's answer to the question re women's intellect

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Dec 14, 2022 at 11:40

Dear Dr Pipes,

I have often found that Quran is very obfuscated and difficult to understand. Islamic apologists have blamed the nature of the Arabic language for the ambiguity of Quran. I have always found this argument a bit unbelievable because if God had to choose one language to talk to mankind for His one last message, He will probably not choose a deficient language for that purpose (assuming that Arabic is deficient).

But I wanted to verify if Arabic is indeed ambiguous or deficient. . For this experiment, I took an ancient religious text (I picked Leviticus 10:1 randomly) and translated it to Arabic using Google's translation service. I, then, took the Arabic translation and translated it back to English. I do not know Arabic but both the original English and the translated English made perfect sense. Here are the pieces of text that I translated:

The original English of Leviticus 10:1 from bible study tools:

Aaron's sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered
unauthorized fire before the LORD, contrary to his command.

Its Arabic translation by Google translation service:

وأخذ ابنا هارون ، ناداب وأبيهو ، مبخرهما وأضرما فيهما نارًا وأضفا البخورًا. فاصعدوا نارا غير مأذون بها امام الرب خلافا لامره.

Translation of the above translated Arabic back to English:

And Aaron's sons, Nadab and Abihu, took their censers and lit a fire in them, and added incense. So they made an unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command.

The readers will note that both the original and final English texts are in agreement with each other and make sense. If the intermediate Arabic were to be wrong, then, the two texts could have agreed. So, I have reasons to believe that Arabic language cannot be the cause why Quran is difficult to understand. Quran is obfuscated by its own doing! It is Quran and not Arabic that is responsible for Quran's vagueness.

The above is a very limited experiment. Though I picked Leviticus 10:1 randomly, it may have been an easy verse to translate. The readers can do their own experiments before they believe me completely.

My humble thesis about the Quran is that it was hurriedly compiled by one single man in the middle of many destructive wars. Further, it was reassembled as a book from the memory of many people who supposedly remembered the original text after Muhammad died. I am not surprised that due to these two reasons, it is a badly written book.


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