The translation of the Quran has done immense contributions with regard to conveying the message of the Quran. What can’t be translated is the amazing linguistic miracles that come with it. It is the linguistic style and presentation that demonstrates the linguistic superpowers of the Quran which can never be emulated.
So much so that went it was recited in Makkah the disbelievers either put their fingers in their ears, make loud noises or ran away. Simply because if they listen to the recitation they would be overcome by it. The answer is if they listen to the Quran they will be overcome by it. It would turn them from disbelievers into believers. This is the superpower or of the Quran that is lost. It is still there, but it can no longer be felt or seen because we rely on the translation of the Quran.
As a student of the Quran, this fact has changed how I think about the Quran. Like many many Muslims, I too inherited an unquestionable acceptance that the Quran is divine. Living in a Muslim majority country they are some questions that you asked because the response is going to be something like this “Astaghfirullah you don’t believe the Quran is from Allah what is wrong with you”
After embarking on a self-study on classical Arabic guided by several teachers, my ‘unquestionable acceptance’ has to turn into an unwavering conviction that the Quran can only come from God. Now, I find it amusing when people argued that the Quran is anything less than superhuman.
You don’t need to go into the Quran and analysed its composition to see why the Quran can never be translated fully. Let’s take the composition of the Quran which is made of two components which is Surah and Ayah. An Ayah which is often translated as verse can never give you the true picture of its meaning. All it gives you us a glimpse of what an Ayah could mean
A verse gives you the impression of short parts of a poem or a holy book. The Cambridge definition is one of the series of short parts that the writing of a holy book is divided into. Ayah in the Quran clearly does not fit this definition, simply because the operative word in the definition of a verse is short.
Let’s take the word Ayah and see whether it fit this definition? One ayah in the Quran can consist of ten sentences like in Ayatul Kursi, 3 alphabets as in Surah Al Baqarah or just one word as the first Ayah in Surah Ar-Rahman . So it can be misleading to call an ayah a verse. The difference in length is only one aspect of how these two words are not similar.
So it is nothing like a verse, the word verse has been used by translators of the Quran to drive association for people like me and you who are, secularly educated and oblivious to the message that was sent down us and how it has been unrivaled in presentation, in content, delivery, and eloquence.
This is just be comparing the word verse and Ayah in terms of length and versatility. If you go the meaning of the word Ayah it is even more fascinating. At the very least the word Ayah carries 9 different meanings. In the Quran, the word Ayah has been used to refer to the sun, moon, events, experiences, and much much more.
The word Ayah int the Quran has been used to mean:
We just look at one word in the Quran, it is so rich in meaning and substance. Just this one word ‘Ayah’ can never be translated. You can take all the translation of the Quran but they would not come close. The only way for you to appreciate the Quran is to understand it in Arabic.
Shahfizal Musa is the Founder and Managing Editor of Halalop. He graduated with a Law degree from Thames Valley University London. He is an award-winning journalist covering topics such as human trafficking, Muslim research discoveries, and exceptional Muslims.
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