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Sunday 22 November ,2020

The National Archives celebrates the Arabic Language Day and organizes a lecture on the language of the Holy Quran

The National Archives celebrates the Arabic Language Day and organizes a lecture on the language of the Holy Quran

The National Archives organized a lecture entitled: “Arabic, the Language of the Holy Qur’an, Translation Versus Exegesis” in celebration of the UN Arabic Language Day. The lecture shed light on the UAE’s interest in the Arabic language prompted by its concern to preserve the Arab identity. The lecture demonstrated this interest by quoting the words of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE: “Arabic language is the heart and shield of national identity, the soul of the nation, the essence of its authenticity and the repository of its thought and heritage.”

The National Archives pays special attention to the Arabic language as it safeguards the authentic values preserved throughout all its publications which document the glorious history and the deep-rooted heritage of the UAE and the Gulf region. Thus, the National Archives has taken the initiative to enlighten all its staff members about the value of the Arabic language and its rules, and urged them to read, organize workshops and lectures in the Arabic language and to use it in correspondences and media.

The lecture is delivered by Prof. Dr. Saddik Mohamed Gouhar, the Translation Expert in the National Archives. He pointed out the distinguished initiatives adopted by the UAE aiming at preserving the Arabic language, and underscored the importance of Arabic as the language of the Holy Qur’an and the significance of translating it since no more than 20% of Muslims speak Arabic and read the Qur’an in Arabic, whereas the remaining majority of Muslims study the translated Quranic texts. Since Arabic is a rich language in rhetorical, artistic, phonological and emotional elements unlike other languages, translators face many difficulties in translating the Holy Qur’an into other languages, including English.

The lecture focused on the beauty of the Arabic language and the linguistic inimitability in the Holy Qur’an, as well as the lexical, stylistic and rhetorical challenges with which translators are confronted when dealing with the Qur’an texts. The speaker gave examples of some Qur’anic verses which include words that translators find perplexing because of their diverse linguistic and rhetorical connotations. He gave examples of various translations of certain terms into English such as submissive, whispering, hissing, assuming the throne, barren, etc. The lecture also shed light on the linguistic inimitability of the Qur’an and the challenges and problems which constitute difficulties in semantics and structures. Furthermore, it emphasized that translation, at times , may lead to the loss of some stylistic features of Qur’anic verses, and it even gets harder when lexical alternatives are not available in addition to the failure in conveying certain meanings and the difficulty of translating figures of speech .

The lecture, which was organized via the Zoom application in line with the current necessary precautionary measures followed by all the National Archives’ staff members, discussed ways to improve the translations of the Holy Qur’an, stressing the importance of avoiding the ideological nature based on strict interpretations.