Thoughts On Maulana Wahiduddin Khan’s Article, ‘Islam And Arab Culture’
By Asif Merchant, New Age Islam
29 May 2014
Apart from Islam, other religions have also had to face the conflict between the supremacy of the original language, and the need for people to understand what their religion says.
The Buddha understood this and therefore, preached in Maghadi, the language in general use in that part of the world, known as Magadh. The holy language of the Hindus was Sanskrit, which few could understand, but Maghadi was intelligible to the general population.
The Bible was written in Ancient Hebrew, with some of the later sections in Aramaic, the language spoken in northern Syria. The New Testament was written in Greek, that being the cultural language preferable to Latin, the language of the Romans, who were the rulers. Later, when Christianity spread through the Roman Empire, Latin translations were needed to make it intelligible to the general populace. The Bible remained in Latin till the early sixteenth century, when a German priest, Martin Luther translated the Bible into German, thus making it available to the general population of his country. For this, Martin Luther was excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church.