As the second largest religion in the world, Islam adherents consist of 1.62 billion people or 23% of the human population on earth. That is really a huge number. Originated in the Middle East as the place where the religion was born and introduced, these Islam adherents, called Moslems, spread all over the world nowadays. In fact, only about 20% live in the Middle East, where the religion originally grew. It’s not surprising that Islam is considered as the fastest growing religion in the world as more and more people convert to Islam regardless of any negative personification it’s recently labeled with.
With 80% of its adherents live outside of the Middle East, we can’t expect that all Moslems know Arabic, which is often considered as the root language of the religion. Many activities of the religion are performed in Arabic. For instance, Moslems’ prayer called shalah is performed five times a day in the Arabic language. Various original sources related to the root are also available in Arabic since the religion was introduced by an extraordinary man of Arabic, Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). More importantly, its holy book, Quran, which is the words of God and also the prime source of Islam, is written in Arabic.
While learning from Quran is an obligation each Moslem is burdened with, it is also a challenge in itself. Since the Quran is written in Arabic, not all Moslems can understand it because they are not the native speakers of the language. Indeed, it is very much advised to learn Arabic or at least to be able to read the Quran written in Arabic. However, for non-Arabic Moslems, mastering a new language is not something that can be achieved overnight. Not to mention that Arabic is a language with its own writing system and complex grammatical rules. Luckily, for Moslems outside of the Middle East who are lacking the understanding of Arabic, many Quran translations are now available, both in the physical book form or digital form, one of which you can access in http://learn-quran.co.
Unlike other holy books, Quran is still written in Arabic despite being translated into various languages. It is believed that what written in the Quran is the words of God. Therefore, it is essential that the message is preserved in its correct form. Besides, reciting Quran in Arabic is also considered as a noble act of piety.
It’s just that the Quran is now featured with translations to make it easy for non-Arabic Moslems to understand the message in the holy book. While the Quran translations help the readers to better understand the Quran, the Arabic version is to preserve the original form. Thus, you will not find any alteration in the Arabic Quran although the translations are altered because of the different methods of translation over time.
Isn’t it just beautiful how Quran is preserved as it is? There has never been any alteration in the holy book even after centuries. The content is still exactly how it was when first revealed to Prophet Muhammad by the Angel Gabriel. It is just as Allah has promised that the purity of Quran will always be preserved. Indeed it is.
Meanwhile, nowadays we found many forms of Quran translations in various languages. Then comes a question: is it okay to only read, for instance, Quran in English without reading the Arabic version because it is hard and we don’t understand Arabic, so we are going to have to read the translation to understand the content anyway?
Translations give a guide to the meaning of the Arabic. It is indeed very helpful in learning Quran, especially for non-Arabic Moslems. But, Quran in English is not “the original” Quran. Besides, reading the Quran in Arabic is considered to be a noble act that Allah promises to give a reward to if someone reads it. It is narrated by Abdullah ibn Mas’ud: The prophet (SallaAllahu ‘alayhi wasallam) mentioned that “hoever recites one letter from the book of Allah, then for him is a reward, and a reward is multiplied by ten” [Reported in Tirmidhi]
Imagine, one letter is rewarded ten-fold. How generous is that?
However, if mastering the Arabic is beyond us, it’s alright to read the Quran in English. Although it is to be noted that learning in Islam is an obligation, so while now read the Quran in English, better try to learn to read the Arabic version because that is the original Quran that we are muslims blessed with.
With that being said, being a non-Arabic muslim is not an excuse for us not to learn Arabic. After all, what is better than understanding the holy book in its original language? Translations may alter over time, the English words used may vary depending on the translators of the Quran, but if you read the Quran in Arabic, it is guaranteed that you read what was given to Prophet Muhammad [peace be upon him] centuries ago. Besides, reciting the Quran in Arabic will please Allah more. Isn’t that the best motivation? So, don’t stop learning.