Category Archives: Arabic Language

Becoming accustomed talking to one another in a language other than Arabic : Ibn Taymiyyah

Sheikh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah :

BECOMING accustomed talking to one another in a language other than Arabic ‎ so much so that it becomes a habit in the land, with one‎s family, with one‎s friends, in the marketplace, when addressing government representatives or authority figures or when speaking to the people of knowledge ‎ is undoubtedly Makrooh (disliked). Arabic is a symbol of Islam and the language of the Qur‎’an.

When early Muslims went to live in Syria and Egypt, where people spoke Byzantine Greek, and in Iraq and Khurasaan, where people spoke Persian, and North Africa (Al-Maghrib) where people spoke Berber, they taught the people of those countries to speak Arabic. Arabic then became the prevalent language in those lands. All people, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, spoke Arabic.

This was also the case in Khurasaan in the past. Later, they became lax with regard to language and got used to speaking Persian until it became prevalent and Arabic was forgotten by most of them. This is without doubt disliked.

It is best to be accustomed in speaking Arabic. Young people will learn it in their homes and schools, and the symbol of Islam and its people will prevail. This will make it easier to understand the Qur‎an and Sunnah, and the words of the Salaf (pious predecessors – Sahabah, Tabi‎een etc).

Language has a clear and strong effect on one‎s thinking, behavior and religious commitment. It also helps one to resemble with the early generations of this Ummah, the Companions and the Tabi‎een. Being like them improves one‎s thinking, religious commitment and behavior.

Moreover, the Arabic language itself is part of Islam, and knowing Arabic is an obligatory duty. If it is a duty to understand the Qur‎an and Sunnah ‎ and they cannot be understood without knowing Arabic ‎ then the means needed to fulfill the duty also becomes obligatory.

Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) wrote to Abu Moosa Al-Ash‎aree (May Allah be pleased with him), ‎Learn the Sunnah and learn Arabic. Learn the Qur‎an in Arabic for it is Arabic.‎

Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) also 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, to learn Arabic and the Shariah 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.

Iqtidaa‎us-Siraatil-Mustaqeem (2/207). Ibn Taymiyyah (d. 728H) is one of the great and exceptional scholars known in Islamic history.

source: An article in the Saudi Gazette Newspaper, 17 Shawwal 1429 H edition.

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