Arabic and the message of the Qur’an cannot be separated.Infact Qur’an’s direct translation is not possible, because so much of the potency and splendor of the words and their meanings which are inextricably linked to the Arabic language are lost in English or any other language. Indeed to even appreciate the poetic beauty of the Qur’an one needs to have an understanding of Arabic.
Remember that for the Arabs in the time of the Prophet(PBUH) who were masters of eloquence and poetry, the words of the Qur’an itself were so unique compared to the poetry of the most eloquent of them that many came to Islam recognizing that the Qur’an could not be the handiwork of even the best human poet, rather it could only come from Allah. The language itself was one of the miracles of the Qur’an.
Languages usually evolve. Just look at the difference between Shakespearean English and modern day English. In many ways it seems like two totally different languages and a man from England in Shakespearean times and a man from modern day England would find it extremely difficult to communicate. But the Arabic language is not just ‘a language’. This is why the Sahabah and the early generations of Muslims strove to preserve the classical Arabic language. It was Ali (RA) who noticed on the tongues of some of the Arabs a slight change in dialect and ordered for the grammar rules of Arabic to be recorded in a universal form. He knew that the preservation of the Arabic language was part of the preservation of Islam itself.
Scholars throughout the ages, from the Companions to the present day, encouraged the Ummah to learn the Arabic language.
Ubay ibn Ka’b (RA) said,
|“Teach Arabic like you teach the memorization of the Qur’an!”|
And ‘Umar (RA) once passed by a group of archers who missed their targets.
|He admonished them and they responded that they were only beginners, but in answering back they made a grammatical mistake in their wording. He told them, “Indeed, your mistakes in Arabic grammar are more difficult to bear than your mistakes in archery!”|
Imam ash-Shaafa’ee said,
|“It is imperative that every Muslim should strive to learn Arabic as hard as he can, so that he can testify the shahada, and recite the Book of Allah and say the invocations that are mandatory upon him, such as the takbeer, tasbeeh, tashahud and other prayers. And the more he learns the language that Allah Himself chose to be the language of him who sealed the Prophets (PBUH), and to be the language of His final revelation, the better it is for him!”|
The great 8th century scholar Shaykul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah(RA) even went so far as to say that,
|“The Arabic language is part of the Religion, and knowing it is an obligation.”|
Unfortunately, we have become comfortable with simply relying on translations and spending all of our time and efforts in studying other things(other languages even!) which may not even benefit us in the hereafter and have forgotten that the Qur’an is in a very approachable language and we all have the ability or rather the responsibility to study and understand it. If you knew that Allah (SWT) had a message for you, personally, then would you not want to understand it in its original form?
Think about it…we have the last revelation to mankind, the only communication from our Lord and Master, which is preserved in its original form, and yet in our life time we do not give it the attention,that it deserves. We should realize that Allah has honored us with the Qur’an and chosen for us the noblest of languages. Attention to Arabic is attention to the Book of Allah so we should make learning it, a priority.
It helps in tasting the sweetness of Allah’s words in Salaah- One of the definite benefits of learning Arabic is that it adds Khushoo’ or consciousness in salaah and helps us to improve all of our worships. Taraweeh prayer in Ramadan becomes a new experience!
Alhamdulillah with all the teaching aids and easy access to information that we have, learning Arabic does not necessarily mean traveling on arduous journeys to distant lands as it once used to. With discipline and commitment, the student can study much in his own time
Here are some tips to help you along the way:
May Allah help us all to master the language of the Qur’an and to aid its spread throughout the Ummah.
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Hafidh-ul-Quran Sheikh Kajjaj AbdurRahman
has more than 20 years of experience in teaching Arabic and Qur’an. He provides variety of books selection for all level from beginners to advance.