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I got this in an email so it's immediatly suspect, but I haven't been able to confirm whether it's factual or not. If anyone knows about this, I would like to hear about it. Here's the email:

"Subject: A Muslim translates Book of Mormon back to Egyptian and is

Reflections of Sami Hanna as recorded by Elder Russell M. Nelson.

My neighbor, Sami Hanna, is a native Egyptian. He is an academic
scholar who moved into our neighborhood to accept an assignment with
the university as a specialist in Middle Eastern Studies and the
Semitic group of languages such as Arabic, Abyssinian, Hebrew, Aramaic,

and Assyrian. Being a newcomer into our community, he felt the Mormons
were a bit of a curiosity.

Upon learning the name Mormon came from our belief that the Book of
Mormon is divine scripture, he was intrigued by the existence of the
Book of Mormon. He had erroneously thought this was American
literature. When he was told that the Book of Mormon was translated
from the ancient Egyptian or modified Hebrew type of hieroglyphic into
the English language by the prophet Joseph Smith, he became even more
engrossed, for this was his native language and he knows much about the
other Semitic languages as well as the modern languages. So challenged
was he by this book that he embarked on the project of translating the
Book of Mormon from English to Arabic. This translation was different
from other translators, for this was to be a translation back to the
original language of the book. To make a long story short, the process
of this translation became the process of his conversion; for he soon
knew the Book of Mormon to be a divine document even though he knew
virtually nothing of the organization of the Church or of its programs.

His conversion came purely from the linguistics of the book which he
found could not have been composed by an American, no matter how
gifted. Some of these observations I think will be of interest to you,
as they were to me, for they clarify some of the unique aspects of the

1. Jarom 2: "It musts needs be..." This expression, odd and awkward
in English, is excellent Arabic grammar. Elsewhere in the book the use
of the compound verbs "did eat", "did go", "did smile" again awkward
and rarely used in English, are classical and correct grammar in the
Semitic languages.

2. Omni 18: "Zarahemla gave a genealogy of his fathers, according to
his memory. Brother Hanna indicates that this is a typical custom of
his Semitic forebearers to recite their genealogy from memory.

3. Words of Mormon 17: Reference is made here as in other parts of the
Book of Mormon, to the "stiffneckedness " of his people. Brother Hanna
perceives that this word would be a very unusual word for an American
youth, Joseph Smith, to use. An American would likely prefer an
adjective such as stubborn or inflexible. But the custom in the Arabic
language is to use just such a descriptive adjective. Stiffnecked is an

adjective they use in describing an obstinate person.

4. Mosiah 11:8 "King Noah built many elegant and spacious buildings and
ornamented them with fine work and precious things, including ziff."
Have you ever wondered about the meaning of the word " ziff" referred
to in this scripture? This word, although in the Book of Mormon, is not

contained in dictionaries of the English language. Yet it translates
freely back into the Arabic language, for ziff is a special kind of
curved sword somewhat like a scimitar which is carried in a sheath and
often used for ornamentation as well as for more practical purposes.
The discovery of the word "ziff" in the Book of Mormon really excited
my neighbor, Brother Hanna.

5. Alma 63:11 Reference is made to Helaman, son of Helaman. Why did not

Joseph Smith interpret this as Helaman, Jr., which would have been more

logical for him, bearing the same name as his father, Joseph, and being

named Joseph Smith, Jr. In Arabic, Brother Hanna explains, there is no
word "junior" to cover this circumstance. Their custom is to use the
terminology Joseph, son of Joseph; Helaman, son of Helaman, etc.

6. Helaman 1:3 Here reference is made to the contending for the
judgment seat. Brother Hanna observes that the use of the term
"judgment seat" would be quite strange to an American who might have
used a more familiar noun such as governor, president, or ruler. Yet,
in Arabic custom, the place of power rests in the judgment seat and
whoever occupies that seat, is the authority and power. The authority
goes with the seat and not with the office or the person. So, this, in
the Semitic languages, connotes the meaning exactly.

7. Helaman 3:14 In this verse, there are a total of eighteen "ands."
Reviewers of the Book of Mormon have, on occasion, been critical of the
grammar in such a passage where the use of the word "and" seems so
repetitious. Yet Brother Hanna explains that each of the "ands" in this

verse is absolutely essential to the meaning, when this verse is
expressed in Arabic, for the omission of any "and" would nullify the
meaning of the words.

8. Helaman 3:18-19 Have you wondered why the Book of Mormon cites a
numbering system such as this? Do we say "forty and six, forty and
seven, forty and eight?" No! Joseph Smith's natural interpretation
would; more appropriately have been forty-six, forty-seven, forty-eight

without the ands". Brother Hanna excitedly observes that the use of
"and" in forty and six" is pecisely correct Arabic. Remember they
number, as well as read, from right to left and recite their numbers
with the "and" to separate the columns.

Well, I have just cited a few of these examples. There are many more!
As Latter-day Saint leaders, we are aware of the Semitic origin of the
Book of Mormon. The fact that an Arabic scholar such as this sees a
beautiful internal consistency in the Prophet Joseph Smith's
translation of the book, is of great interest. The Prophet Joseph did
not merely render an interpretation, but a word for word translation
from the Egyptian type of hieroglyphic into the English language.
Brother Hanna said the Book of Mormon simply flowed back into the Arabic language."
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