Sloppy Speech?
Rehana Matri sparked a response when she expressed: I wish Muslims would stop speaking English sprinkled with Arabic terminology because every word that is in Arabic can also be said in English. Why this mix of language, it does not help anyone who is not learned in the Arabic language. Just read someone writing about the concept of Ibadah. What is Ibadah? Even if a Muslim knows the meaning of the word a non Muslim would stumble on the word and will have no clue what the article is all about. So why be so sloppy in your speech?

Closer to Allah
Saima Waqas: Most people think as the Quran (Muslim Holy Book) was revealed in Arabic, if we call him in Arabic he will pay more attention or they feel closer to Allah when they say Masha’Allah (beautiful, all appreciation to God), Alhamdolillah (all praise is due to God alone), Suhban’Allah (Glory to God).

Wisdom First
Rehana Matri: Yes they turned the Arabic language into a sacred language just because God chose to make it an Arabic Qur'an. People worship the person or the language that God chose to deliver His guidance to mankind. God has said that He made it an Arabic Qur'an so we may learn wisdom, not so that we may not understand.

Arabic First
Lamia Alami: One has to learn Arabic in order to read Allah’s words. It should be mandatory for all Muslims (more mandatory than learning English as a first or second language).

Lighting Candles
Rehana Matri: If it cannot be translated you cannot learn the true meaning. Only when you translate a word can someone who is not born Arab get the meaning. The Qur'an is the Light that has come down from God, contained in the Arabic ayats (verses from the Quran). That Light of Allah can be passed on in another language too just as you can light one candle from another candle.

Translation Terrors
Lamia Alami: It's a translation linked with someone's point of view and interpretation hence one has to be careful. I've read translations in French and English and was appalled (some words were even a contradiction of the Arabic word). Allah wrote it in Arabic for many reasons, so one has to learn Arabic. The Quran contains the lights, but translations are not that pure light, otherwise Allah would have sent it in many languages.

Light Language
Rehana Matri: Allah revealed Ayats. These Ayats contain the Light of Allah. You cannot take individual words and translate it without considering the entire Ayat as to its meaning. The way the words are placed and in what context all has to be considered in translation. Allah didn’t write it in Arabic, it came down in the form of Light to the heart of Muhammed. The writing was done by scribes.

Touched by Revelation
Just translating a particular word is totally misleading. There may be translations that are misleading as to its true meaning but knowing the meaning of a word does not mean you now know the meaning either. It is a matter of revelation!

Too Simplistic
Lamia Alami: The Quran, the light of Allah, the words of Allah were descended in Arabic and the writing was done by Mohammed SAS with his right hand (the ayats are clear on that). Learning the Arabic language and going deeper into the metaphors and meanings go hand in hand. English is unfortunately too simplistic of a language to encompass the Arabic metaphors of the Quran plus the fact that the words of Allah are stained by someone's personal interpretation. The miracle of the Quran is that it touches one's soul (even its Arabic recitation) even if one doesn't understand a word. But Allah says read, which means many things but also read Allah's words. Insha’Allah (if God wills it) Muslims will make efforts to read, learn and understand the Arabic language of the Quran so as to follow Allah's command of read, not read someone else’s interpretation and translation. Allah told us that it was descended in Arabic for us to ponder and mediate about that fact. Allah Akbar means more than God is great, but God is greater than. We as Muslims, have to encourage the study of Arabic, not limit ourselves to all the other language derivatives of the Quran.

Second Hand
Saima Waqas: We should learn Arabic to understand the Quran because a translation is second-hand knowledge. Even in the translation you see the explanation in brackets. This is the translator’s understanding so it is better to learn Arabic. As for as using Arabic terminologies, people think when using these terminologies they are good Muslims and this has become the standard of a good Muslim.

Jimoh Basheer Olawale: The Arabic language is the richest language. This is why Allah said in the Holy Quran 41 verse 44: And if we had sent this as Quran in foreign language other than Arabic they would have said, Why are its verses not explained in detail (in our language), and Quran 12 verse 2: Verily we have sent it down as an Arabic Quran in order for you to understand. So it is a must for every Muslim to understand Arabic even if it’s a little that he or she will be using when praying.

Rehana Matri: By learning the Arabic language you may understand the Arabic Qur'an but it does not guarantee you that you are getting the revelation. For the Qur'an is what is within the Arabic verses, the light, the knowledge, the instruction, the revelation and that is by the grace of God. Only those who are clean can touch the Qur'an, meaning you can get to the Light, the knowledge, the instruction the revelation.

Lost in Translation
Susan McKenzie:I have been a book editor and one of my functions was to arrange for the translation of books from Japanese to English and Korean to English – it used to take many months because the Japanese publishers always felt we had lost the nuances in various passages and we had many emails going back and forward trying to agree the exact meaning and keep the nuance. There were even times when the Japanese publishers would not even approve some parts of the translations – they did not feel we had done justice to the Japanese. We are supposed to follow the Sunnah (way of life) – the Sunnah would be Arabic and so therefore we should study Arabic if we are Muslim. As for using Arabic words in our conversations – we should be respectful and explain the Arabic meaning. By the way Ibadah means worship.

About Rehana Matri
German-born Rehana Matri is a mother, a grandmother, an artist and an interior designer. Raised in a liberal Christian family, after Rehana studied comparative religion, she embraced Islam.

Author's Bio: 

I am an English specialist with I CAN READ. I have worked for major British institutions: British Council, British High Commission, British Railways Board and Linguaphone. I am a London-trained lawyer and have been the public affairs officer at the British High Commission, Singapore, as well as an editor in an international book publishing house and a national magazine. I am also co-author of two law books: English Legal System and Company Law, published by Blackstone, Oxford University Press. I am an Ambassador of Peace (Universal Peace Federation and Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace). Connect: Email!/abetoday