Answering Islam Email Dialogs

Topic: Must one learn Arabic?

Received: 31 October 2004

Subject: Errors in the Quran

I truly believe that Mr. Katz should learn the arabic language before he endeavours to make criticisms about the Quran. This advice goes for any other book that is written in a language that is foreign to him.

Our answer:

Dear ...,

Thank you for your feedback.

Let me ask you a couple of questions that may already give you a preliminary answer to your critique.

1. Do you believe that everyone who wants to think about the Quran and then perhaps intends to express his critical thoughts about it must first learn Arabic before he should be allowed to do so? Or was that a rule that you wanted to set up only for me?

In either case: Why should anyone not be free to express one's thoughts about the Quran, even if they are critical thoughts?

2. Would you think that the same rule should hold for those who criticize the Bible? I.e. no Muslim should be allowed to criticize the Bible before he is fluent in Hebrew and Greek, the languages in which the Bible was originally inspired and written down?

If you want to apply this same rule to the Bible, have you complained to the various Muslim polemicists who attack the Bible publicly (Ahmed Deedat, Jamal Badawi, Shabir Ally, Zakir Naik, Hamza Malik, etc.) about this issue? If not, why not?

If you do NOT think that the same rule should be applied to Bible and Quran, would you be so kind to explain to me why not?

Finally, does this mean you are in full agreement that Arab Christians, i.e. people for whom Arabic is their native language, are welcome to critique the Quran?

In any case, if you think that any of my critical thoughts about the Quran are misguided and factually wrong, I will be most happy to hear your correction and I promise to correct any of the webpages that I have written, if you can show me wrong in my statements.

Looking forward to hear from you.

Jochen Katz

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