The Quran Can Only be Understood in Arabic... Part 2 of 2 - Granite Grok

The Quran Can Only be Understood in Arabic… Part 2 of 2

Shariah versus the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

It is an irony that, as a Saudi, Osama bin Laden was a native Arabic speaker. In fact most of the leaders and foot soldiers in his al-Qaeda brotherhood are devout Muslims. Many critics of Islam are Arabic speakers as well. Apologists often ignore this fact. The apologists find only Arabic linguistic skills relevant when critics lack them.

But then again

An apologist might offer the claim: The Quran can only be understood in Classical Arabic. This is an obscure Quraish dialect. Quraish is not in common use; it has not been in over a thousand years. Only a few hundred people alive today know it. Most of them are Wahabbi scholars. Interestingly, progressives criticize those Wahabbi scholars for taking the Quran too literally.

Circular logic or intentional deception

Is it plausible that the differences between classical and modern Arabic are of such significance? Does it make sense that peace and tolerance can be confused with terrorism? Even if this were true, it merely begs the question. Why would such a “perfect book” be virtually impossible for the rest of us to learn? Why would it be susceptible to such horrible misinterpretation? How is it possible that Allah allows this to continue in an on-going basis?

It isn’t hard to see through the game. The rules apply only to detractors and not to advocates. Apologists never claim that Arabic is a barrier to understanding Islam when it is lauded as a religion of peace. It does not seem to matter how much less knowledgeable the fans are than the critics.

They do not qualify the claim that Islam is “the religion.” They never include the caveat that new converts, and probably the vast majority of existing Muslims, don’t understand Islam. Because you see, they can’t read the Quran in Arabic.


The reason for this myth is that we are in the Information Age. Technology is making the full history and texts of the Islamic religion more available. As the audience becomes broader and the contents are better understood, there may be a point of questioning. The highly embarrassing portions of the texts will not longer be cloaked. Pretending that different meaning exists in Arabic is a means of self-assurance and saving face. The question is whether change can come.