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Quran, not Arabic, is a fault (message 2 of 3)

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in response to reader comment: Quran, not Arabic, is at fault (message 1 of 3)

Submitted by Prashant (United States), Dec 18, 2022 at 22:26

Dear Dr Pipes, I am trying to debunk the Islamic apologist's the idea that incomprehensibility of Quran is due to difficulty of Arabic language. The apologists want us to believe that Quran is ambiguous because Arabic is ambiguous. My contention is that if Arabic is indeed a complex language, all knowing Allah would not have picked Arabic as the language of his last instruction to mankind.

I am trying to illustrate that Arabic is a sufficiently rich language and can express complex ideas with clarity. In my first message on this topic I took an English text and translated it to Arabic using an AI translator (google translator). Then, I translated the Arabic translation to English, again using another AI translator . My conclusion was that not much was lost in translated and twice translated English (first to Arabic and then back to English) was close in meaning to the original English.

In this message I did a slightly different experiment. I found a sufficiently complex text from the Coptic Arabic bible (Colossians 1:15 and 16). It is unknown to me who did this translation and when. I then found the same text in English at a different site. My hypothesis is that if I translate the Arabic version of Colossians 1:15 and 16 and translate it to English using an AI-based translator, then if the translator is sufficiently good and if Arabic is sufficiently expressive than the English translation of the Arabic must have the same meaning as the human created English. Here are my findings:

Colossians 1:15 and 16 in Arabic: (human written Arabic)
1:15 الكل به وله قد خلق. الذي هو صورة الله غير المنظور بكر كل خليقة.
1:16: فانه فيه خلق الكل ما في السموات وما على الارض ما يرى وما لا يرى سواء كان عروشا ام سيادات ام رياسات ام سلاطين.

Colossians 1:15 and 16: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created that are in the heavens and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. Everything was created by him and for him.

Now translation of the above Arabic to English using google translate:

1:15 All things were created through him and for him. Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
1:16: For in him all things were created, that is in the heavens and that are on the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, dominions, principalities, or powers.

In my judgment, once again, nothing was lost in translation. This small example suggests that Arabic is a sufficiently rich language to express complex religious ideas unambiguously and the ambiguities in Quran must be the faults of Quran itself and not those of Arabic.

My explanation is that Quran was compiled by zealots in the middle of greedy and complex wars. That could have contributed to the ambiguity of Quran.


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