February 20, 2010

Qusthan Abqary

“Father, in what language that the Isa A. S., received revelations from God through the angel?” Asked the innocent Artema to father.

Father’s mind raced as fast as the memory of a few decades ago. It was a dialogue between himself and the grandpa of Artema which stunned him. Grandpa, at that time, was not able to answer this question.

Father, before asking it, scanned some reading materials, as implied by the grandpa before discussion. Grandpa, as a religious leader in the village, was claiming never thought about it. Grandpa’s inability to answer the questions is something that encourages fathers to explain the history of the Western version.

In 15 BCE until 96 CE, the ruling dynasty in Jerusalem is Herod who previously appointed by the Roman Empire. However, much previous centuries, precisely in 586 BCE, the Neo-Babylonian Empire invaded Jerusalem which was ruled by the Kingdom of Judah. Many Jews are forced to move to Babylonia. They are required to learn Aramaic and forbidden to use the ancient Hebrew language. Babylon roughly located in Syria at the present time, so not surprising that a few years ago, Israel – with any banal reasons – accomplish their historical revenge.

Thus, according to the father, we might said that ancient Hebrew language has experienced many changes since the sixth century before Isa A. S., was born into the world.

Grandpa criticizes, “… and even then if we – for now – accept that the Prophet Isa A. S., is the same with Jesus; while the initial determination of AD calendar was dropped on the birth of Jesus, even though Jesus was actually born about four years BC.” Father affirms the grandpa’s criticism.

However, the father went on, imagining that Isa A. S., spoke, and then received a revelation in Latin is an odd thing for most Muslims. Perhaps it is similar but not equal to the assumption that the level of illiteracy was very high in the Indonesia’s Old Order regime. What languages are illiterate: just Latin or about all letters? Did not it bias if the inability to read text which is written in Latin letters worthy to be called “illiterate”? Aren’t most Indonesian Muslims in the Old Order regime and the previous scriptures can read even the yellow book to Arabic bald? Those kinds are odd if not biased.

As if to reinforce the argument that there was a shift of the Ancient Hebrew language; father compared with other languages. Approximately of 10th century, Yiddish’s language was developed around the Rhine River, German. This language used by the Jewish community there. Some people claim that Yiddish is a language typical of the built and developed by the Jewish community, but other people believe that this language is only a kind of derivative of German. It might be similar to the Alemannic dialect of German spoken in some regions of Switzerland, although the development of Yiddish in the next part is used by some Jewish communities in Canada.

Then, the father rhetorically asked, how could the religious teachings which derived in a particular language – whether ancient Hebrew or Latin – who lately “died” or “being not use” during several centuries; still be trusted for its purity? Grandpa was stunned to hear this and get ideas for challenging the discussion. Isn’t the same thing also happened to Moses and the Jewish teachings delivered in ancient Hebrew? Grandpa helped to replied rhetorically.

“Exactly,” said my father. Hebrew was “revived from the dead” in the 19th century, in tandem with the plan to form the state of Israel. That is now recognized by some as Modern Hebrew language. If we arbitrarily assume that the Ancient Hebrew language has not been used since 586 BC, then, it has been dead approximately 25 centuries! How does the Jewish community make some accounts for this situation?

On the other hand, the Muslim unconsciousness about the reality of language differences among the three divine religions just show the lack of reflections. “While we realize that Arabic, which the medium for the teaching of Islam is, experienced no significant changes since the revelation was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad,” father patronizes grandpa.

Not willing to simply lecture by her son, grandpa responded immediately, “…and the Arabic language is the most complex of any side, so that the Arabs are very proud with this language.”

“However,” the father objected, “how could the Arab community who once famous to became ignorant, able to develop a language that until now is the most complex one?” Grandpa said, “There is no secret. Literary contests were intensively conducted mainly around the Ka’bah. It is a literature that develops language and not vice versa,” grandpa hypothesized. “However,” grandpa continued, “consider that ignorance as a source of inspiration for the development of literature is a silly opinion, like a lot of young writers shared on some of our days,” grandpa consider carefully.

Dad did not simply give in to grandpa’s sentence. Then, what other factors might contribute to the development of Arabic language complexities until fairly well established to use as the medium for the transfer process of revelation? Grandpa is pushed and answering, “some people believe that Arabic is the language that has been prepared by God to be a medium for teaching his last.

Heehehehe … and then father laughed softly. “It does not seem like an adequate answer, and only seems as an act raising the white flag in the battle to find meaning in the flood of history.”

Perhaps, we must ask the question to those who claim or being claimed to be experts of comparative religion. “Of the many universities, institutes, and religious high schools; how come that no one can give a satisfactory answer,” heeheehee … father laughed with amusement.

In a moment, Artema hold father’s hand while swinging it.

“I will answer it, but Artema had to promise that this story should not be given to other religious people,” said the father.

“Why?” Artema asked in a tone of a whisper.

“For the sake of peace among religious believers,” the father replied with expression which restrain laughter.

Tentang Penulis

Qusthan Abqary - I am a lecturer and teach some subjects such as Ethics and Social Awareness, Corporate Governance and Ethics, Business Ethics, Critical and Creative Thinking and others. My research interests are political philosophy, ethics, peace, and war.

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