Karachay Bible translator Lyudmila came to the IBT Moscow office from the village of Kyzyl-Pokun in the Karachay-Cherkessia region of the North Caucasus in order to audio record her first translated Bible portion – the book of Jonah. Her younger daughter Farida, who lives in Moscow, read the translation aloud while Lyudmila listened and made suggestions for improving the reading. At the end of their two day working session, I asked the translator to share how she joined the Bible translation project.
“I grew up in the Soviet era, when our Muslim people didn’t particularly flaunt their commitment to traditional religion. Nevertheless, Muslim rituals were present in my childhood in one way or another, and two things always struck me about them: the need to repeat prayers in Arabic without understanding their meaning, and the tradition of standing up respectfully when pronouncing the name of the Prophet Muhammad, even though there was no similar custom to do the same when pronouncing the name of Allah Himself. One more thing I was curious about as a child: what is this mysterious word Amen that is used at the end of Muslim rituals (as well as at the end of Christian prayers)?