Supplicating within the Prayer in other than the Arabic Language – Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen
What is the ruling of supplication within the prayer in a language other than Arabic; specifically for a man who is not good in the Arabic language?
Supplicating in other than the Arabic language for a person who does not know Arabic is permissible, whether it be in the prayer or outside of the prayer. This is because this person who does not know Arabic, if he was made to supplicate in Arabic then this would be burdening him with that which is not within his scope. Allaah has said:
لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللّهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَه
Allaah burdens not a person beyond his scope. (Al-Baqarah 2:286)
If someone were to say: We will teach him; then we say: If you teach him the phrases but he does not know the meanings then what is the benefit? At any rate, it is permissible for a person to supplicate in his tongue (i.e., language); meaning, in the tongue of the one supplicating; in the Arabic language or other than the Arabic language. As for the Qur’aan, it is not permissible for anyone to utter it in other than the Arabic language, whatever the case may be (i.e., he understands or not). As for the statements of remembrance which have been narrated (i.e., in the Qur’aan or the Sunnah), then if one has an excuse for not learning them in the Arabic language then there is no harm in a person reciting them in his tongue. However, as you know the Name Allaah, for example, it is not possible to change it to other than the Arabic language. If it is not possible then he can supplicate in other than the Arabic language.
So the categories (of statements within the prayer) are how many? Three:
The First: That which is not permissible except in the Arabic language. This is the Qur’aan
The Second: That which is permissible in Arabic as well as other than it for the one who does not understand Arabic, and it is to supplicate to Allaah with that which has not come (in the Qur’aan or the Sunnah).
The Third: Supplicating with that which has been narrated, such as the statements of remembrance or other than it. We say: If the person has the ability to say them in Arabic then they are to be in Arabic. If he is unable then (he may say them) in his language.
Translated By: Raha ibn Donald Batts