We will begin learning the Quran in five languages, English, Romanian, German, Persian and Russian (or use the Quran to learn five languages, depends on your perspective).
Why the Quran?
Well, first of all, I am not a Muslim, in the sense that I was not born into a Muslim family and haven't testified my faith in the traditional manner (I'm not saying that I would not, I'm just saying that I have not done so). I was bapthised, this making me a Christian, however I don't actually consider myself a Christian. I believe in the one true God and no matter what I do on this Earth, I will never come close to knowing His true Glory. Another thing I wish to say is that God gave us a mind with which to do a great deal of things, among which to search for Him, to examine every piece of this Universe and know it's laws, and, to understand ourselves. A true believer is a rational believer but because we live in a world where rationality is becoming synonymus with arrogance, very few people will understand the meaning of the phrase. At the moment I am studying the Quran so this is the main reason for starting with it here, with time we will be researching other books including the Bible and various ancient philosophical texts.
Why the five languages?Romanian is my first language and the one I use the most in daily activities while English I use mostly to read, write and think. I started to learn Persian (Farsi) around two years ago and at present I use it to read news from Iran along with poems and various literary and philosophical texts. German is a language I began to learn a couple of years ago but sadly had to give up due to lack of time while Russian... well, I've just began with this one. As you see, this will be a learning experience for me also, that is why I would like this series to be more interactive, let's share knowledge (use the comment box). If some of you would like to exemplify with other languages, please feel free to use the comment box.
Note: By using five languages which can be traced to a common Proto-Indo-European root while in the same time being of different branches (maybe with a small exception regarding English and German) this will offer us the opportunity of not being too unfamiliar with them (even if Persian is nothing like Russian) while in the same time offering the degree of difference needed in order not to confuse one another (which would be the case with learning Romanian, Italian and Spanish at the same time).
Note 2: Get familiar with all of the languages first. At the bottom of the article I will give you some links. The grammar will slowly be discussed here also.
Surat Al-Fatiha 1:1
[ro] În numele lui Allah Cel Milostiv, Îndurător
[en] In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful.
[fa] به نام خداوند بخشنده بخشایشگر
[ge] Im Namen Gottes, des Gnädigen, des Barmherzigen.
[ru] Во имя Аллаха, Милостивого, Милосердного!
- name (en) = nume (ro) = Namen (ge) = имя (ru) = نام (fa)
This is the word "name" in all five languages. What you will probably observe first is that the words "name", "nume", "namen" are relativelly similar, that is because of their Latin ancestor "nomen". "имя" on the other hand is traced directly to the Proto-Slavic "*jьmę". As for the Persian "نام", the word can be traced back to the Old Persian cuneiform "" (nam). All the five languages have a common descendent which is from Proto-Indo-European, "*h₁nḗh₃mn̥".
- God (en) = Dumnezeu (ro) = Gott (ge / "Gottes" in Genitive) = бог (ru / "бо́га" in Genitive) = خداوند (form of خدا).
- beneficient (en) = milostiv (ro) = gnädigen (from the noun "Gnade" plus the sufix "-ig" used to make adjectives out of nouns) = بخشنده (fa) = Милостивого (ru).
- merciful (en / "mercy" + "-ful" used to form adjectives out of nouns) = îndurător (ro) = Barmherzigen (ge / "Barmherzigkeit" is the noun "mercy") = بخشایشگر (fa) = Милосердного (ru)
- in (en) = în (ro) = im (ge) = Во (ru) ≠ به (fa) / I want to point out the fact that the preoposition "in" has a different meaning here, it's not like "in the house", it does not indicate a place or a time interval (ex: "in three hours"). This is the reason why in Persian we don't also say ("در" = in) but "به" (usually translated as "to" or "according to" = "به گزارش" / where "گزارش" is the noun "report, story").
This is called the Basmala which in Arabic is "بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم". This phrase is recited before each sura (chapter) with the exception of the ninth. Some scholars believe it to be the first verse of all but the ninth sura while others consider it as coming before the first verse.
"The three definite nouns of the Basmala—Allah, ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim—correspond to the first three of the traditional 99 names of God in Islam. Both ar-Rahman and ar-Rahim are from the same triliteral root R-Ḥ-M, "to feel sympathy, or pity". According to Lane, ar-raḥmān is more intensive (including in its objects the believer and the unbeliever) and may be rendered as "the Compassionate", while ar-raḥīm has for its peculiar object the believer (considered as expressive of a constant attribute), and may be rendered as "the Merciful".
The Basmala has a special significance for Muslims, who are to begin each task after reciting the verse."
Russian grammar reference
Persian Grammar Reference
Also, there are some articles on Thoughts in Perspective
German grammar reference
Basic German Grammar
Basic English grammar
PS: Feeling the enormous weight of this task? That's good, this is exactly what you should be feeling, but don't be scared, it's achievable. If you only know English, try to go through the links above, slowly and give yourself a number of consecutive days to acquaint with each language at a time, if you wish, you can also concentrate only on one or two and then come back to the rest. There will be two weeks in which you should slowly familiarize yourself with basic gramar and phonetics of the languages you choose after which we will continue with the verses and talk a little about grammar using the verses as examples.