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Is Arabic Sacred in Islam?

Questioner

Anonymous

Reply Date

Apr 09, 2017

Question

The Prophet Muhammad spoke Arabic and wrote Arabic purely as coincidence; so much of the faith shouldn’t have Arabic within it. So is it that Arabic is sacred in Islam? Please explain.

Consultant

Answer


Salam,

Thank you for your question.

I think that observation is basically correct. The Quran says that God sent messengers to every people speaking their languages.

And that makes sense, because, say it makes no sense for a Chinese prophet to be speaking Arabic because the Chinese people receiving that message would make no sense of it. A Chinese prophet would be speaking Chinese.

And so too a Prophet who is sent in the Arabian environment spoke Arabic so that the initial addressee would need to understand his message.

And they could translate his message and take it to every part of the world. And where we have failed as a Muslim community, we failed to translate the message.

So, if we will to speak of Islam in China, we would still want to speak of it in Arabic terms, instead of translating and making the message accessible to every people.

We do this in numbers of different ways. For example, we have preserved the prayer, the standard ritual Muslim prayer throughout the day, in Arabic. 

So, no matter where people are, Muslims being born in all parts of the world, speaking wide variety of languages, but they’re taught to pray in Arabic.

Even though initially they don’t understand what they are saying, they just repeat the words; eventually they may learn what the meanings are of these things that they recite, but sometimes they don’t.

And this calls for a great degree of stultification in the thinking of Muslims about what their faith really is.

And of course, it fails to animate us as a population; the dynamism that comes with understanding of what we are saying is lost.

I hope this helps answer your question. Please stay in touch.

Salam.

Please continue feeding your curiosity, and find more info in the following links:

10+ Non-Arabic Languages in The Arab World

Would God Make Me Speak Arabic?




About Dr. Shabir Ally

Dr. Shabir Ally holds a B.A. in Religious Studies from Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, with a specialization in Biblical Literature. He also holds an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Toronto with a specialization in Quranic Exegesis.

He is the president of the Islamic Information and Dawah Centre International in Toronto where he functions as Imam. He travels internationally to represent Islam in public lectures and interfaith dialogues. He explains Islam on a weekly television program called "Let the Quran Speak". Past episodes of this show can be seen online at: www.quranspeaks.com.


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