We were studying the importance of the Arabic language and how Qur'an is the biggest proof of why Arabic is the best, and I saw a sentence in the book that confused me. It says that Qur'an mustn't be translated. My question is: is that true and why?
Calling Arabic "the best language ever" is one's opinion, I call English as the best language, because it is the language in which the entire world is compelled to speak. (Anyways, these are personal opinions). Language is just a tool for communication. If at all you can teach a dumb person Qur'an just by making signs, then perfect. For him, Qur'an got down in that language(in which he understood).
Prophet (pbuh) said we must pray our Salah in Arabic, and not in other languages so as to maintain the emphasis of Arabic language, and thereby it's true meaning. If amateur translators have right then translated the Qur'an and made the translations final, then the original word of God would have been faded away, like other scriptures(e.g. Bible). But, you see the questions in your right hand side of this page under the heading 'Related', even today translators couldn't find perfect words in English to correctly describe the Arabic words, and so people asked those questions in the right even in the light of today's great knowledge. Today people are compelled to read the Qur'an in it's true form to get it's true meaning.
But, not every Muslim understands Arabic, non Arabic speaking people are analogous to those handicapped (dumb who cannot speak) and cannot speak Arabic. As many die being dumb, many die not knowing Arabic. So, that shouldn't stop them from knowing something at least not everything(perfectly) from the word of God. But, anyways, no matter how many translations occur, the original "Word of God(in it's perfect form i.e. Arabic)" has to be preserved, because if so called "My favorite - Best Language - English" would get wiped out from this world and if everyone just spoke Mandarin, then Qur'an can be made understood to those handicapped Mandarin speaking people who couldn't have the fate to learn and understand Arabic.
May the creator guide us all.
For referring something to be "best" requires a criteria. Whatever the criteria would be, would decide, what is what and what is not. As for the translation of Quran, First we need to understand that translation of any language into another, perfectly, is impossible, because a language can't necessarily contain the same idiom or phrase. Now one can say that "He is a boy." Can be translated to any other language, and indeed it can be... But to translate, "On to a bridge once more..." would not generate the same feeling in any other language. So literal sentences can be translated, but phrases and idioms creates trouble. Quran is written in classical Arabic, a language which is difficult to understand by the natives themselves. Arabic, being a semitic language, have many meaning to a single word. Above that for a particular feeling, Arabic posses a different word. for example, "Shak" in Arabic means "Doubt that came and went away." Another word "Raib" means "Doubt that comes to a heart and stays, and emerge time to time." then there are other words to tell different levels of doubt, only. And above that, the meaning of Arabic words changes from place to place... meaning the structure of the sentence have an influence over the meaning of the word. Therefore, translation of Quran is considered to be impermissible, because it would change the Commandments of Allah and make people follow their desires by translating the words according their own understanding/requirements.