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Islamic Reminder Question

Why Muslims Should Learn Arabic

Assalamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

IN THE NAME OF ALLAH, THE MOST BENEFICENT, THE MOST MERCIFUL

Allah ﷻ chose Arabic as the liturgical language of Islam. Thus, the Quran, hadeeth and all Islamic teachings were provided in Arabic. It was chosen out of all the languages in the world, used in the past, present and future. This fact alone should suffice as a reason to learn Arabic, especially since this has been confirmed in the Quran:

Allah the Most High said: إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

Verily, we have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an in order that you may understand. {12:2} Ibn Katheer said concerning this verse: The Arabic language …is the most eloquent, plain, deep and expressive of the meanings that might arise in one’s mind. Therefore, the most honorable Book, was revealed in the most honorable language, to the most honorable Prophet and Messenger, delivered by the most honorable angel, in the most honorable land on earth, and its revelation started during the most honorable month of the year, Ramadan. Therefore, the Qur’an is perfect in every respect.

This verse implies that Arabic was chosen as it is a language that every human has the capability of understanding. Further, it has qualities and features that make it unique in comparison to other languages. If Allah ﷻ had wanted to reveal the Quran in every language, he could have. However, He chose Arabic, and that is sufficient of a reason. The Arabic Language is a Language which Allah has chosen for this Religion and has revealed the Great Qur’an with it.

Do not let anyone who is busy with the seeking of knowledge have doubt about the importance of learning the Arabic Language because by having understanding of it, one is able to arrive at having understanding of the speech of Allah, His Messenger and the Pious predecessors.

REASONS WHY MUSLIMS SHOULD LEARN ARABIC

Allah, the Almighty and Wise, chose and singled out Arabic from amongst all the languages of the world – past, present and future – to be the vehicle for His final Revelation to the whole of humanity. This fact alone should constitute sufficient reason for Muslims to learn Arabic. Certainly, if Allah so wished He could have revealed the Qur’an not only in any language but in every language but as He Himself states in the Holy Qur’an: “Verily, We sent It down as an Arabic Qur’an in order that you may understand”. This verse implies that Arabic has certain unique features which make it superior to all the languages of the world and which enable it to convey the subtleties and mysteries of Allah’s Speech in a manner that no other language can. Furthermore, it is Allah who endowed Arabic with these features and made it superior to all other languages.

If Allah is who He is – the Creator of the worlds – and His Messenger (Peace and Blessings be upon him) is who he is – the Best of Allah’s creation – should not every Muslim in this world attempt to learn Arabic to understand Allah’s Words and those of His Messenger? The Qur’an – even though it is in this world – is not from this world but rather from the Lord of the worlds. Allah, Most High says: “Verily It (i.e. the Qur’an) is a Revelation from One, All Wise and All Knowing”. How can any Muslim live in this world finding time to do so many things and yet not find time to study the language of Allah’s Holy Book and the Sunnah of His Holy Messenger (Peace and Blessings be upon him). How many of us spend so much time, effort and money on learning the sciences of this world but in comparison spend absolutely zero on learning the sciences of the Next world. If we really know who Allah is and who His Messenger is we would not hesitate one second to learn the language of Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger. The Qur’an and Sunnah contain so much wealth – Real Wealth – but most of us prefer to remain poor and deprived forever.

Apart from the Qur’an and Sunnah that are in Arabic there is also the vast and rich Islamic Legacy. This is the legacy left behind by the world’s greatest minds. Without Arabic we would deprive ourselves of the fruits of almost fourteen centuries of Islamic scholarship. All of this scholarship was directed at serving Islam and the Muslim Ummah. Numerous sciences sprung up after the advent of Islam with the principal aim of preserving and explaining the Primary Islamic Sources. These sciences are still being studied and taught up to today in Islamic institutions and circles around the world – the result is an ever-expanding heritage. Had it not been for the past Muslim scholars then we would not have known Islam as we know it to today. May Allah reward them abundantly for the great service they have rendered to Islam and the Muslim Community?

‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said:

“Learn the Sunnah and learn Arabic; learn the Qur’an in Arabic for it is in Arabic”.

He also said:

“Learn Arabic for it is part of your Religion and learn how the estate of the deceased should be divided (al-Faraa’id) for these are part of your Religion”.

Imam al-Shafi‘iyy is reported to have said that he studied Arabic for twenty years (from its pure sources) in order to understand the Qur’an

Some scholars also maintain that learning Arabic is compulsory on every Muslim. The reason for this ruling is that learning the Qur’an and Sunnah is compulsory on every Muslim and since the Qur’an and Sunnah cannot be learnt without Arabic it follows that Arabic is also compulsory.

Al-Aîmu‘iyy is reported to have said:

‘What I fear most for a student of knowledge – if he does not know Nahw – that he may fall in the category of those mentioned in the hadeeth: “Whosoever intentionally contrives a lie in my name, then let him prepare or reserve for himself a seat in the Fire”, because the Messenger of Allah (Peace and Blessings be upon him) never used to make grammatical errors in his speech so anything that you report from him and you make grammatically errors in it then you would have contrived a lie in his name’.

Knowledge of Arabic makes one’s devotion and worship much more meaningful. This is especially the case when performing îalaah, reciting and listening to the Qur’an, listening to khutbahs, making du‘as, etc. In short, knowing Arabic obviates the need for a mediator or interpreter between Allah and us. In other words, Arabic enables us to listen to the Qur’an and Prophetic statements first hand.

The problematic nature of translations is another reason why Muslims should learn Arabic. Much of our Islamic heritage is still inaccessible to the non-Arabic speaking Muslim population and so it will continue to be for a very long time. Translations also have their own deficiencies and shortcomings. These range from gross misinterpretation to poor quality and sub-standard translation.

Language being a conduit of culture has an indelible influence on its speakers. Arabic being the conduit of Islamic culture likewise has a positive Islamic influence on its speakers. No doubt, the Qur’an and Prophetic Sunnah have left a permanent mark on the Arabic language and are – to a large extent – also responsible for Arabic remaining fundamentally unchanged over the past fourteen centuries.

The Quran was revealed in Arabic. Thus by learning this language, you will have a better appreciation for the Quran, its subtleties, and meaning. When one understands the words, they form a deeper connection with the Quran. This not only assists in the reading of it but also memorisation. When you understand the words, it becomes easier to implement it into your daily life. When it is understood, you are forming a direct connection with Allah ﷻ, as they are His words and commands.

“And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?” (Quan, 54:17)

The Quran is the pinnacle of eloquence and sophistication and no human has the ability to produce anything on of the same level of the Quran. It is unrivaled in its stylistic output and to truly appreciate this you must understand Arabic. Otherwise, you are deprived of its greatness and you won’t have the ability to comprehend the depths and precision of its language.

The revelation of the Book is from Allah, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” (Quran, 45:2)

Islamic teachings: The vast majority of Islamic teachings are in Arabic. This includes the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the Sunnah, and hadeeth that he has provided us with. Furthermore, many of the analytic aspects of the Quran and Hadeeth are in Arabic. Although some of these have been translated into English, there is a lack of flow with the meaning, and a true understanding will only be achieved through Arabic. The books of tafsir, commentary on hadith and any books on Islamic Jurisprudence can only be truly appreciated in Arabic. Translations will always be deficient as they are human approximations of Allah ﷻ Divine Speech. Much of the Islamic heritage has been and will remain inaccessible to the non-Arabic speaking Muslims, especially since the majority has not been translated.

“This is a blessed Book which we have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” (Qur’an, 38:29)

Increase in devotion: When one does not understand what they are saying, it is practically impossible to form a connection. On the contrary, understanding Arabic will help increase you in devotion and spirituality. This is evident when one performs salah, recites and listens to Qur’an, listens to the Friday sermon (khutbah) or makes a supplication (Dua) to Allah ﷻ. When Arabic is used and understood in these circumstances, it creates a deep connection with Allah ﷻ. This, in turn, can result in you increasing in worship as a love for your religion continues to grow the more you understand and reflect upon your religion.

Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an, or are there locks upon [their] hearts?” (Qur’an, 4:24)

When you understand Arabic, the language of Qur’an, you can quickly eliminate any misconceptions and incorrect facts, especially about your religion. This has become extremely common, as many like to use the Quranic verses out of context, or state incorrect facts about our religion or provide sub-standard interpretations. This issue can be quickly resolved by having your own, true deep understanding of both your religion and the Holy Qur’an. This matter is very important, especially since a lot of people have come to rely on translated versions of the Qur’an and other Islamic teachings, making themselves prone to being denied the real teachings and meaning of Islam, due to one’s inability to directly communicate with the Qur’an (without a translator/translation).

Improves cognitive ability

Learning a new language, without doubt, directly benefits your cognitive abilities, especially your memory. There have been various studies that have found that those who are bilingual or multilingual have greater critical thinking abilities, are better communicators and have sharper memories. Moreover, learning Arabic will open the gates to Islamic culture and further your knowledge, providing you with a more global and intercultural understanding.

Imam Baihaqi (May Allah have mercy on him) narrates that Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) said:

“Learn Arabic for it strengthens the mind and enhances chivalry.”

If certain non-Muslims (Orientalists) – spurned on by their hatred for Islam and the Muslims – studied Arabic for the purpose of destroying Islam and gaining control over the Muslims then why should Muslims – spurned on by their Eemaan (faith) and love for Islam and the Muslim Ummah – not study Arabic for the purpose of defending Islam against anti-Islamic forces and Islamophobia?.

With the advancement of technology you can Learn Arabic at the comfort of your home, click the below links to start learning the language of the Qur’an:

1. Link 1

2. Link 2

“MAY ALLAH, increase us in knowledge.” Ameen.


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