quran in tamazight


It was shocking to me to read that the very first translation of the Quran into Tamazight is being published, funded by the Religious Affairs Ministry of Algeria and the Saudis. Considering the fact that North Africa has been Muslim since the Arabs arrived in the 7th century, I can't believe that it took that long.

Portions of the Bible were published in Tamazight as early as 1919, with equally old and even older translations in multiple other berber languages including Tachelhit, Kabyle, Tarifit, etc.

One of the things that always encouraged me to forge ahead when learning the prayer in Arabic was the story a friend once told me of his mother, a Kabyle berber who spoke no Arabic. Throughout her life she performed her prayer regularly, having memorized the basic verses and simplest prayer as a child in Arabic, but without ever understanding the words she said. While she clearly understood the general meaning, the Arabic words were as foreign to her as, say, Chinese.

1 comment:

Lameen Souag said...

It didn't take that long, actually. A Moroccan Tamazight translation was published several years ago, and I've read claims that Ibn Tumart put one together nearly a millennium ago. Whoever wrote the press release didn't do his homework.