Modifying the Qur'an

Having already spent a year in prison, Ahmad Ghaws Zalmai is facing the death penalty in Afghanistan for "modifying the Qur'an," according to this article by Heidi Vogt of the Associated Press. But his alleged crime, more specifically, is that he was responsible for the printing of a translation of the Qur'an that "did not include the original Arabic verses alongside the translation."

Vogt continues, "It's a particularly sensitive detail for Muslims, who regard the Arabic Quran as words given directly by God. A translation is not considered a Quran itself, and a mistranslation could warp God's word."

The article doesn't explain exactly how Zalmai's translation "modifies" the Qur'an, just that it does.

I've touched on this belief that the Qur'an cannot be translated in a previous post, in which I quoted a passage from Irshad Manji's The Trouble With Islam Today. In that post I wrote,
On the one hand, many Muslims insist that the Qur'an cannot be translated, per se, and that any attempt inevitably corrupts the meaning of the text. On the other hand, the teachings of the Qur'an are often thought to be particularly clear. Manji asks, "if the Quran is as straightforward as the purists tell us, then aren't its teachings easily translated into a thousand tongues?" (24).
It's a good point. But it's a rational argument -- and if religious extremists could be persuaded by rational arguments, they wouldn't be extremists, would they?

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