Discussion:
Who is Allah
(too old to reply)
Oleg Smirnov
2016-01-11 08:28:22 UTC
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This makes a person Muslim. But it should be said in Arabic.
That's one of the things Islam is wrong about.
I mean, the deification of the certain language, Arabic. A certain
language is a material thing. Sound vibrations and letters on paper
are material, as material are the bits in the memory chips. Language
is a communication protocol established by an agreement of those who
use it. Languages are developing over time, news words appear, other
words become obsolete, language structures are changing.

Holy spirit isn't material, does not depend on a certain language.

And the 'sacred language' trap is not specific for Islam only.
Yusuf B Gursey
2016-01-11 10:55:37 UTC
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=D9=84=D9=85=D9=89 =D8=A7=D9=85=D9=8A=D8=B1, <news:8e3fa0c6-8052-4879-b98=
=20
This makes a person Muslim. But it should be said in Arabic.
=20
That's one of the things Islam is wrong about.
I mean, the deification of the certain language, Arabic. A certain
The idea is that the Qur'an was revealed in Arabic and it says so
in the text. So the Qur'an and key pious formulae are recited in
Arabic so as not to be tainted with later interpretation.

This does not mean that they should not be translated in order to
be understood. But these translations have the status of study aides
and not a new standard.

Personal prayers or religious study may be done are done in the
local language. =20
language is a material thing. Sound vibrations and letters on paper
are material, as material are the bits in the memory chips. Language
is a communication protocol established by an agreement of those who
use it. Languages are developing over time, news words appear, other
words become obsolete, language structures are changing.
=20
True, that is why recourse is made to the earliest possible
dictionaries and grammars and other sources in interpreting=20
the text.
Holy spirit isn't material, does not depend on a certain language.
=20
And the 'sacred language' trap is not specific for Islam only.
DKleinecke
2016-01-11 18:23:46 UTC
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Post by Yusuf B Gursey
=D9=84=D9=85=D9=89 =D8=A7=D9=85=D9=8A=D8=B1, <news:8e3fa0c6-8052-4879-b98=
=20
This makes a person Muslim. But it should be said in Arabic.
=20
That's one of the things Islam is wrong about.
I mean, the deification of the certain language, Arabic. A certain
The idea is that the Qur'an was revealed in Arabic and it says so
in the text. So the Qur'an and key pious formulae are recited in
Arabic so as not to be tainted with later interpretation.
The question about how good your Arabic has to be does not seem to
have gotten much attention.

I would imagine the rule to be that if you intend your speech to be
Arabic and do your best then your speech is Arabic.
Yusuf B Gursey
2016-01-11 19:55:39 UTC
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Post by DKleinecke
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
=D9=84=D9=85=D9=89 =D8=A7=D9=85=D9=8A=D8=B1, <news:8e3fa0c6-8052-4879-b98=
=20
This makes a person Muslim. But it should be said in Arabic.
=20
That's one of the things Islam is wrong about.
I mean, the deification of the certain language, Arabic. A certain
The idea is that the Qur'an was revealed in Arabic and it says so
in the text. So the Qur'an and key pious formulae are recited in
Arabic so as not to be tainted with later interpretation.
The question about how good your Arabic has to be does not seem to
have gotten much attention.
They teach tajwid, the art of reciting "correct" Classical Arabic,
based upon early phonological works, for Quranic recitation.
As I had indicated in a previous post, the standards for Quran
reciters are stricter than for media speakers or the like.

Qur'an codices also indicate assimilations accross word boundaries,
which is not part of the orthography otherwise.

Inevitabely, for the ordinary person, local traditions have
developed for the recitation of Classical Arabic based upon
the phonology of the local language.
Post by DKleinecke
I would imagine the rule to be that if you intend your speech to be
Arabic and do your best then your speech is Arabic.
There were complaints in early Muslim Spain and early conquest Bukhara
concerning the quality of the Arabic of the local popluation during
prayers and as a temperorary measure the vernacular was allowed.
The only bit that survives from this is a phrase in Sogdian (but
called Persian)saying "Rise up, rise up." in the work "The History of Bukhara"
written much later 943-44 CE.

There was a call to prayer in Berber during one of the Berber dynasties
of North Africa and Spain. Also a very unpopular attempt at Turkish
call to prayer 1932-1950 in Turkey.

Abu Hanifa was at first an advocate of vernacular in prayer, and held that
Quran translations be handled with the reverence as the Arabic, but he
lost the disputes which followed.
Oleg Smirnov
2016-01-11 22:39:11 UTC
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Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Oleg Smirnov
This makes a person Muslim. But it should be said in
Arabic.
That's one of the things Islam is wrong about.
I mean, the deification of the certain language, Arabic.
The idea is that the Qur'an was revealed in Arabic and it
says so in the text. So the Qur'an and key pious formulae
are recited in Arabic so as not to be tainted with later
interpretation.
This does not mean that they should not be translated in
order to be understood. But these translations have the
status of study aides and not a new standard.
Personal prayers or religious study may be done are done
in the local language. =20
Should one believe that God literally dictated the text in
then Arabic, and prophet Muhammad remembered and retold it
'mechanically' without exact understanding of exact meaning?
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Oleg Smirnov
A certain
language is a material thing. Sound vibrations and
letters on paper are material, as material are the bits
in the memory chips. Language is a communication protocol
established by an agreement of those who use it.
Languages are developing over time, news words appear,
other words become obsolete, language structures are
changing. =20
True, that is why recourse is made to the earliest
possible dictionaries and grammars and other sources in
interpreting=20 the text.
We usually tend to keep and preserve important old texts as
is, because there is a possibility that someone in the future
might be more wise and knowning than we are today, and will be
able to reveal more information / more accurate meaning from
the preserved.

However, fetishization of a certain language (the idea that
speech in a certain language - which certainty is implemented
in physical objects - makes more sacred effect) resembles the
vulgar 'magic' (ie. when one is supposed to know / pronounce
certain magic spells to produce supposed magic effects).
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Oleg Smirnov
Holy spirit isn't material, does not depend on a certain language.
Yusuf B Gursey
2016-01-12 10:50:23 UTC
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Raw Message
Post by Oleg Smirnov
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Oleg Smirnov
This makes a person Muslim. But it should be said in
Arabic.
That's one of the things Islam is wrong about.
I mean, the deification of the certain language, Arabic.
The idea is that the Qur'an was revealed in Arabic and it
says so in the text. So the Qur'an and key pious formulae
are recited in Arabic so as not to be tainted with later
interpretation.
This does not mean that they should not be translated in
order to be understood. But these translations have the
status of study aides and not a new standard.
Personal prayers or religious study may be done are done
in the local language. =20
Should one believe that God literally dictated the text in
then Arabic, and prophet Muhammad remembered and retold it
'mechanically' without exact understanding of exact meaning?
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Oleg Smirnov
A certain
language is a material thing. Sound vibrations and
letters on paper are material, as material are the bits
in the memory chips. Language is a communication protocol
established by an agreement of those who use it.
Languages are developing over time, news words appear,
other words become obsolete, language structures are
changing. =20
True, that is why recourse is made to the earliest
possible dictionaries and grammars and other sources in
interpreting=20 the text.
We usually tend to keep and preserve important old texts as
is, because there is a possibility that someone in the future
might be more wise and knowning than we are today, and will be
able to reveal more information / more accurate meaning from
the preserved.
However, fetishization of a certain language (the idea that
speech in a certain language - which certainty is implemented
in physical objects - makes more sacred effect) resembles the
vulgar 'magic' (ie. when one is supposed to know / pronounce
certain magic spells to produce supposed magic effects).
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Oleg Smirnov
Holy spirit isn't material, does not depend on a certain language.
Let me add that the Qur'an has rhyme and some rythme and makes use
of the art of Arabic rhetoric, so it loses a lot in translation.

This was crossposted in ARI, here's my response:


There is no claim made that Muhammad did not understand it.

The Qur'an says that Qur'an was revealed in Arabic so that
his audience could understand it. From this it was later
decided that the Qur'an could be translated to help others
understand it but that these do not constitute
sacred texts but human interpretations of the Qur'an.

Muslims believe, as stated explicitly in the Qur'an that
God sent each nation a Messenger delivering the same
revelation (except for some specific differences in
some details of some commandments that he deemed apporpriate
for only a particular time and place)in the language of that
nation. For Moses and the Israelites it was in Hebrew, for
Jesus in Aramaic and so on. The Qur'an says it does not mention
all of them (Muslims give the generous figure of 124 000). The
Arabs recieved it last in Arabic and this was meant
as the final revelation for all mankind as well, one that will
not be corrupted over time.

As I said this is what Muslims happen to believe, I'm not forcing it
or advocating it.

Christianity is rather exceptional in that it does not make
recourse to a sacred text in a particular language. Rather
various sects have their own standards from various translations.
In fact, most denominations rely on the Greek LXX rather than the
Hebrew Tanakh.
Post by Oleg Smirnov
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Oleg Smirnov
A certain
language is a material thing. Sound vibrations and
letters on paper are material, as material are the bits
in the memory chips. Language is a communication protocol
established by an agreement of those who use it.
Languages are developing over time, news words appear,
other words become obsolete, language structures are
changing. =20
True, that is why recourse is made to the earliest
possible dictionaries and grammars and other sources in
interpreting=20 the text.
We usually tend to keep and preserve important old texts as
is, because there is a possibility that someone in the future
might be more wise and knowning than we are today, and will be
able to reveal more information / more accurate meaning from
the preserved.
It's rather logical and in fact common practice to look at the
original wording in the original language for laws, treaties etc.
Post by Oleg Smirnov
However, fetishization of a certain language (the idea that
speech in a certain language - which certainty is implemented
in physical objects - makes more sacred effect) resembles the
vulgar 'magic' (ie. when one is supposed to know / pronounce
certain magic spells to produce supposed magic effects).
True. Some Muslim views developed in this direction as well, but
there were also views expressed that were more straightforward
like what I wrote above.

Recourse to a single liturgical language also reinforces
a sense of common identity among Muslims.
Catherine Jefferson
2016-01-12 14:30:29 UTC
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Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Muslims believe, as stated explicitly in the Qur'an that
God sent each nation a Messenger delivering the same
revelation (except for some specific differences in
some details of some commandments that he deemed apporpriate
for only a particular time and place)in the language of that
nation. For Moses and the Israelites it was in Hebrew, for
Jesus in Aramaic and so on. The Qur'an says it does not mention
all of them (Muslims give the generous figure of 124 000). The
Arabs recieved it last in Arabic and this was meant
as the final revelation for all mankind as well, one that will
not be corrupted over time.
As I said this is what Muslims happen to believe, I'm not forcing it
or advocating it.
I know that a certain amount of what you say above is based on specific
Hadith (not the Qur'an itself). Could you specify the important Hadith,
and perhaps tell people where those Hadith can be found? There's quite
a bit of misunderstanding of how Islamic theology is formed among
non-Muslims, so some background is helpful.
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Christianity is rather exceptional in that it does not make
recourse to a sacred text in a particular language. Rather
various sects have their own standards from various translations.
In fact, most denominations rely on the Greek LXX rather than the
Hebrew Tanakh.
Not quite right. Christians recognize the Hebrew and Aramaic original
texts of the books of the Jewish Bible (what we call the Old Testament)
as the source documents, and the Koine Greek text of the New Testament
as the source documents. English speakers customarily refer to
different translations of the original texts as "versions", a bad habit
which has led some non-Christians (and probably a few uneducated
Christians) to think that these translations are considered the
equivalents of the original texts. They are not. :)
--
Catherine Jefferson <***@ergosphere.net>
Blog/Personal: http://www.ergosphere.net
Yusuf B Gursey
2016-01-12 15:38:33 UTC
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Post by Catherine Jefferson
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Muslims believe, as stated explicitly in the Qur'an that
God sent each nation a Messenger delivering the same
revelation (except for some specific differences in
some details of some commandments that he deemed apporpriate
for only a particular time and place)in the language of that
nation. For Moses and the Israelites it was in Hebrew, for
Jesus in Aramaic and so on. The Qur'an says it does not mention
all of them (Muslims give the generous figure of 124 000). The
Arabs recieved it last in Arabic and this was meant
as the final revelation for all mankind as well, one that will
not be corrupted over time.
As I said this is what Muslims happen to believe, I'm not forcing it
or advocating it.
I know that a certain amount of what you say above is based on specific
Hadith (not the Qur'an itself). Could you specify the important Hadith,
and perhaps tell people where those Hadith can be found? There's quite
a bit of misunderstanding of how Islamic theology is formed among
non-Muslims, so some background is helpful.
I don't know the specific source of the figure 124 000,
which is not in the Qur'an, but that each nation was
given a Messenger (rasu:l) to give the revelation
in their own language and the continuity of revelation is very
explicitly stated in the Qur'an a number of times. The Qur'an also
states that Muhammad is the "Seal of the Prophets".

The Qur'an also states that Qur'an is in Arabic so that it will
be understood and that Muhammad is an Arab Prophet (he spoke
Arabic), that other sources used a foreign tongue. It also
states that not all of the Messengers / prophets are mentioned,
adding that some nations have been given more than one.

So what happened is that later writers went into the histories
and legends of various peoples and tried to discover who these
messengers were. See for example Rashiduddin's "Compedium of
Histories", a first attempt at World History in the 14th cent.,
which contains introductory chapters for each nation on this
subject.

The other minor points are from exegetical writings mostly
based on Qur'anic passages.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Christianity is rather exceptional in that it does not make
recourse to a sacred text in a particular language. Rather
various sects have their own standards from various translations.
In fact, most denominations rely on the Greek LXX rather than the
Hebrew Tanakh.
Not quite right. Christians recognize the Hebrew and Aramaic original
texts of the books of the Jewish Bible (what we call the Old Testament)
as the source documents, and the Koine Greek text of the New Testament
as the source documents. English speakers customarily refer to
I don't want to go off topic but for example the Churches teach that
the mother of the Messiah "3alma" is to be read as parthenos as in
the LXX and hence "virgin". There is dispute about the status of
the portions found in the LXX and not in the Tanakh and the Book
of Jubilees is in the Ethiopic Canon and not in any other canon.
In the NT you have the long and short versions of certain gospels.
I also understand that Catholics reject the version of the Armenian
Orthodox Church.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
different translations of the original texts as "versions", a bad habit
Nevrtheless many churches have "Authorized Versions". There are no
"Authorized" Qur'an translations of particular sects or nationalities.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
which has led some non-Christians (and probably a few uneducated
Christians) to think that these translations are considered the
equivalents of the original texts. They are not. :)
I believe there was at the least former teaching that certain translations,
at least the LXX were divinely inspired. In Islam you can't claim
this after Muhammad.
Catherine Jefferson
2016-01-12 16:33:35 UTC
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Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Catherine Jefferson
which has led some non-Christians (and probably a few uneducated
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Christians) to think that these translations are considered the
equivalents of the original texts. They are not. :)
I believe there was at the least former teaching that certain translations,
at least the LXX were divinely inspired. In Islam you can't claim
this after Muhammad.
An authorized translation isn't the same thing as the original text.
It's just a translation that was supposedly checked for accuracy and
authorized by church officials or occasionally secular authorities.
(Such as the King James Version in English.) There is a saying among
certain English-speaking Christians that, "If the King James Version was
good enough for St. Paul, it's good enough for me," but that is a
*joke*. <G>

You're right that there aren't nearly the complexities with establishing
the text of the Qur'an that there are with the Jewish or Christian
Bible. Caliph Uthman ensured that by establishing an official text and
removing a great many variant texts from circulation. The original text
is also all written in one language and was recorded within a relatively
short period (less than 100 years) instead of the Bible's three
languages and much longer period of production (1700 years).

That said, the actual scholars of the Jewish Bible, Christian Bible, and
Qur'an all share similar understandings of how you establish an
authoritative text, and that translations by their very nature can never
be exact. What I think Islam has done better than either Judaism or
Christianity is propagate that understanding to non-scholars in the
community.
--
Catherine Jefferson <***@ergosphere.net>
Blog/Personal: http://www.ergosphere.net
Yusuf B Gursey
2016-01-12 17:01:29 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Catherine Jefferson
which has led some non-Christians (and probably a few uneducated
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Christians) to think that these translations are considered the
equivalents of the original texts. They are not. :)
I believe there was at the least former teaching that certain translations,
at least the LXX were divinely inspired. In Islam you can't claim
this after Muhammad.
An authorized translation isn't the same thing as the original text.
It's just a translation that was supposedly checked for accuracy and
authorized by church officials or occasionally secular authorities.
(Such as the King James Version in English.) There is a saying among
certain English-speaking Christians that, "If the King James Version was
good enough for St. Paul, it's good enough for me," but that is a
*joke*. <G>
You're right that there aren't nearly the complexities with establishing
the text of the Qur'an that there are with the Jewish or Christian
Bible. Caliph Uthman ensured that by establishing an official text and
removing a great many variant texts from circulation. The original text
Nevertheless the variants, recorded and discovered, are not that great.

So far nothing of the equivalent of say the Gnostic Gospels has been found
for the Qur'an.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
is also all written in one language and was recorded within a relatively
short period (less than 100 years) instead of the Bible's three
languages and much longer period of production (1700 years).
That said, the actual scholars of the Jewish Bible, Christian Bible, and
Qur'an all share similar understandings of how you establish an
authoritative text, and that translations by their very nature can never
Nevertheless you haven't gone into the issue of the upholding
of certain versions by certain sects, particularly until recently.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
be exact. What I think Islam has done better than either Judaism or
Judaism upholds a Hebrew (on occassions Aramaic) canon, so there
should be no issue for Islam upholding an Arabic canon.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Christianity is propagate that understanding to non-scholars in the
community.
--
Blog/Personal: http://www.ergosphere.net
DKleinecke
2016-01-13 17:21:23 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Catherine Jefferson
which has led some non-Christians (and probably a few uneducated
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Christians) to think that these translations are considered the
equivalents of the original texts. They are not. :)
I believe there was at the least former teaching that certain translations,
at least the LXX were divinely inspired. In Islam you can't claim
this after Muhammad.
An authorized translation isn't the same thing as the original text.
It's just a translation that was supposedly checked for accuracy and
authorized by church officials or occasionally secular authorities.
(Such as the King James Version in English.) There is a saying among
certain English-speaking Christians that, "If the King James Version was
good enough for St. Paul, it's good enough for me," but that is a
*joke*. <G>
You're right that there aren't nearly the complexities with establishing
the text of the Qur'an that there are with the Jewish or Christian
Bible. Caliph Uthman ensured that by establishing an official text and
removing a great many variant texts from circulation. The original text
Nevertheless the variants, recorded and discovered, are not that great.
So far nothing of the equivalent of say the Gnostic Gospels has been found
for the Qur'an.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
is also all written in one language and was recorded within a relatively
short period (less than 100 years) instead of the Bible's three
languages and much longer period of production (1700 years).
That said, the actual scholars of the Jewish Bible, Christian Bible, and
Qur'an all share similar understandings of how you establish an
authoritative text, and that translations by their very nature can never
Nevertheless you haven't gone into the issue of the upholding
of certain versions by certain sects, particularly until recently.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
be exact. What I think Islam has done better than either Judaism or
Judaism upholds a Hebrew (on occassions Aramaic) canon, so there
should be no issue for Islam upholding an Arabic canon.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Christianity is propagate that understanding to non-scholars in the
community.
This has drifted off the original point I was concerned with - not
whether one does the Islamic liturgy in Arabic or English or whatever -
but how good one's Arabic must be to be considered Arabic.

I cannot articulate an ayin. Am I unable to speak "Arabic" until I
learn how? Must I learn certain kinds of 'l' sounds before I can say
the shahada?

I guessed before that intention matters more than precise articulation.
Yusuf B Gursey
2016-01-13 19:16:03 UTC
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Post by DKleinecke
=20
This has drifted off the original point I was concerned with - not
whether one does the Islamic liturgy in Arabic or English or whatever -
but how good one's Arabic must be to be considered Arabic.=20
=20
I cannot articulate an ayin. Am I unable to speak "Arabic" until I=20
You can and did if you ever retched, you just did not do it in=20
a controlled manner for speech.
Post by DKleinecke
learn how? Must I learn certain kinds of 'l' sounds before I can say
Only two. The usual palatal l and the velarized l of Allah.
Post by DKleinecke
the shahada?
The only difficult phoneme for non-Arabs is the Ha' of Muhammad.
Post by DKleinecke
=20
I guessed before that intention matters more than precise articulation.
For the majority of people that is so, but it is still
considered meritious to make the extra effort. As I said before,
high standards are required of proffessional Qur'an reciters.=20
At least nowadays, there are even internationl competitions.
People from non-Arabic speaking countries like Turkey
even do well in them. Some are known to preserve archaisms
like the lateralized Dad.

Simplified pamphlets summarizing the works on phonolgy=20
of the medieval grammarians are made available for this=20
purpose.

In Arab countries the standards for Qur'an reciters are=20
higher than for the speech of radio-TV announcers and=20
the like.=20

As I said, most non-Arab Muslims make do with some local adaption
of Arabic to the local phonology. I know this from Turkey.
In countries like Turkey one could sometimes tell people who
have had an intensive religious education when they carry over their=20
typically Arabic sounds l=C4=B1ke Ayn into their native speech.

If standards were too strict, few would be considered Muslim=20
or considered to have made valid prayers.
Yusuf B Gursey
2016-01-14 14:12:13 UTC
Permalink
Raw Message
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Post by Yusuf B Gursey
Post by Catherine Jefferson
which has led some non-Christians (and probably a few uneducated
Post by Catherine Jefferson
Christians) to think that these translations are considered the
equivalents of the original texts. They are not. :)
I believe there was at the least former teaching that certain translations,
at least the LXX were divinely inspired. In Islam you can't claim
this after Muhammad.
An authorized translation isn't the same thing as the original text.
It's just a translation that was supposedly checked for accuracy and
authorized by church officials or occasionally secular authorities.
(Such as the King James Version in English.) There is a saying among
certain English-speaking Christians that, "If the King James Version was
good enough for St. Paul, it's good enough for me," but that is a
*joke*. <G>
You will rarely hear a Christian preacher going back to the Hebrew,
Aramaic or Greek version of a Biblical passage to make a particular
point. They will instead use the version prefered by their
denomination.

In the Muslim world someone trying to make a point about a
Quranic pasage without demonstrating a command of the Arabic
won't be taken seriously by anyone.

The scholars of Al-Azhar were publishing a translation
of the Qur'an in English in the 1930's at the same time
they were criticizing the project of Kemalist Turkey
at Turkish translation. The real resaon was suspicions
that the government in Turkey will impose its translation,
make an "authorized version", which it eventually didn't.
Post by Catherine Jefferson
That said, the actual scholars of the Jewish Bible, Christian Bible, and
Qur'an all share similar understandings of how you establish an
authoritative text, and that translations by their very nature can never
be exact. What I think Islam has done better than either Judaism or
Christianity is propagate that understanding to non-scholars in the
community.
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