April 2005: Page 1, 2, 3, 4

Rabi I 1426

Volume 21 No 4

In the name of God, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Submitters Perspective

Monthly Bulletin of the International Community of Submitters Published by Masjid Tucson

Punishable By Death!

Sometimes in our Quran studies we argue over a certain word, whether this or that is the best way to translate it. Occasionally the discussions get heated. But through it all, the one thing we all agree on is how fortunate we are to have a translation that’s easy for us to read and comprehend. No one argues the fact that we have the best translation easily accessible. Well, I think we need to be even more appreciative of that fact and thank God for the blessing.

I recently read an article in a periodical called Old News. It was about a man named William Tyndale who lived in England in the 1500’s. His lifelong ambition was to translate the New and Old Testaments of the Bible from Latin

into English. It seems like a reasonable thing to us, but at that time in that place, just to have the idea was punishable by death! Yes, death.

There were lots of reasons given why it was heretical to translate the Bible, but the bottom line was that the religious leaders were terrified of losing their control over the people if any common person, even women, were able to read the Gospels for themselves. There was great fear that if people could read the book, they would discover not just what it said, but what it didn’t say. There is no reference to celibacy of priests, no trinity, no intercession of a father confessor. Many of the very basic tenets of the Catholic faith would be questioned.

At that time, the Bible was like a treasure chest kept locked up for safekeeping. The preacher would take out a single gem of wisdom for his sermon but keep the whole treasure away from the common man.

William Tyndale was an ordained preacher, but he couldn’t understand this attitude. He asked the unanswerable question: “Why may we not write in English the gospel?” And he said, “The truth of God standeth not in one language more than in another.” He was arguing with one learned man who proclaimed that people would be better off without God’s law than without the Pope’s!

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