Muslims have always been clear on the status of the Qur’an and Qur’anic translations. The Qur’an is scripture only in the Arabic language, translations of the Qur’an into other languages are only representations of the Qur’an, they are representations of scripture but not scripture in and of themselves. As such, a Muslim’s salaah or prayer is only valid if one recites the Qur’an in Arabic, the original language in which it was revealed. A Muslim fully understands that the English translation of the Qur’an can be wrong, as a translation depends on the understanding of the translator. Therefore, a translation is representative of someone’s understanding of the Qur’an from its original language to a different language. Whereas the Qur’an itself in Arabic is as God has revealed it. This is why, when missionaries criticise the Qur’an, they immediately go to the English translation which best suits their understanding as opposed to the primary text of the Qur’an in Arabic. Christians have boasted that the Bible is a scripture regardless of what language it is in. The New Testament originally written in Greek, is equally scripture alongside an English or Chinese translation. Whereas, for a Muslim, the Qur’an in Arabic is scripture and the Qur’an in English is a representation or interpretation of the scripture, they are not equal.
This however, may no longer be the case with Pastor Samuel Green. Posed with a question concerning a Syriac version of the New Testament, instead of defending it as scripture, he discarded the Syriac version as merely a translation which is not the same as the original. Pastor Samuel, has indeed now accepted the Muslim belief that only the original is scripture and the translation is not! I was very surprised to see him using this view, knowing that I have never heard him say this before.
For once, we Muslims can agree with the Pastor. Translations should be treated as translations and scripture treated as scripture!
and Allah knows best!