All Praises are Allah’s, who has honored us with the Qur’an, and chosen for us the noblest of languages, The Arabic language. It is part of Islam, and knowing Arabic is an obligatory duty. If it is a duty to understand the Qur’an and Sunnah, and they cannot be understood without knowing Arabic. According to a hadith narrated from Umar (RA), he said; “Learn Arabic for it is part of your Religion, and learn how the estate of the deceased should be divided (faraaid) for these are part of your Religion.”
This command of Umar (RA), to learn Arabic and the Shari’ah combines the things that are needed, as Religion involves understanding words and actions. Understanding Arabic is the way to understand the words of Islam, and understanding the Sunnah is the way to understand the actions of Islam. With these and more in mind, below are some genuine reasons every Muslim should learn Arabic.
It’s the language of the Quran
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 means for His Final Revelation to the whole of humanity. This fact alone should be 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 mysteries of Allah’s Speech in a manner that no other language can. Besides, it is Allah who endowed Arabic with these features and made it superior to all other languages.
To Understand the Message of the Quran and Hadith
I always envy those Imams of the mosque in Saudi Arabia. When they recite some verses of the Qur’an, they understand what those verses mean, so they can feel the connection. They can feel the miracle of the Qur’an, the powerful words of Allah SWT, even to the level of breaking into tears as some verses of the Qur’an are recited. The point is that, wouldn’t it be nice if we can understand the verses being recited during our prayer, instead of just yawning and thinking about other things.
It’s Obligatory upon every Muslim
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. ‘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 for these are part of your Religion”. In addition, it was also reported that he studied Arabic for twenty years (from its pure sources) in order to understand the Qur’an.
Increase Muslim in Devotion
Knowledge of Arabic makes one’s devotion and worship much more meaningful. This is especially the case when performing Salaah, reciting and listening to the Qur’an, listening to khutbah (sermon), making dua’s, etc. In other words, Arabic enables us to listen to the Qur’an and Prophetic statements first hand, without the need of translation which can never sufficiently explain the meaning of the words of Allah. Moreover, what constitutes the Qur’an is not its mere meaning but rather its meaning together with the specific wording in which it is written. Meaning no matter how close a particular translation is to the actual meaning of the Qur’an it still does not constitute the Qur’an which is the Divine and Uncreated Speech of Allah.
Avoid Being Deceived or Deviated from Truth
The multiple problems that arise from translations of the Holy Quran is another reason why Muslims should learn Arabic which ranges from gross misinterpretation to poor quality and sub-standard translation. It was said by the holy Prophet (SAW) that the religion of Islam will be broken into different deviant sects. This is a saying that has come to pass as more and more of Muslims depend on translated versions of the Quran, making them prone to being denied the real meaning and teachings of Islam due to their inability to communicate directly with the Quran without an intermediate party(translator).
The Arabic language is the language of the Noble Qur’an, which was revealed to seal of the Messengers, Muhammad (SAW). So attention to the Arabic language is to have attention to the Book of Allah the Most High, which would enhance in understanding of the Noble Book of Allah as well as the narrations of our Prophet (SAW). It is also the language of our esteemed Islamic law (As-Shari’ah), so when we defend, it we are not following on a path of nationalism, racism or culturalism, but instead we are proudly defending the language of our religion (way of life).