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Do I Have to Speak, Read and Write Arabic to Be Muslim?

06 July, 2021
Q Is this true that in order for us to be Muslims we have to learn Arabic? I am a Muslim but I do not speak Arabic. I have read Qur'an and have lived in an Islamic country most of my life, but I had never faced such an important issue. Please clarify this matter through the noble Qur'an.


In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

Although learning Arabic is so important, as it’s the language of the Quran, there is nothing in the sources of the Shari`ah to indicate that it is a prerequisite for conversion to Islam or being a Muslim. However, non-Arab Muslims have to learn as much as they need to be able to perform prayer.

Answering the question in point, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

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Although Arabic is the language of the Quran, the final revelation to humanity, and, as such, every Muslim should consider learning it a priority, there is nothing in the sources to indicate that learning Arabic is a prerequisite for being a Muslim; nor do we know of any recognized scholar of Islam who considers it a prerequisite for being a Muslim.

The definition of a believer is one who believes in Allah and the angels, the Books, the Messengers, the Last Day, the fact that good and bad are decreed by Allah; as regards practices, a believer upholds the five fundamental pillars, namely, the five daily prayers, offering zakahfasting the month of Ramadan and performing Hajj—provided one can afford it.

Allah says, {Whoever surrenders his purpose to Allah while doing good works, they will surely have their rewards with their Lord, and they will have no reason to fear or grieve.} (Al-Baqarah 2:112)

In conclusion: It is absolutely wrong to insist on knowledge of Arabic as being an absolute requirement in Islam.

Shedding more light on this issue, we’d like to cite for you the following fatwa:

As for making Arabic compulsory for all Muslims, this is a rather complex question. It is Allah who has made us speak different languages. He says in the Quran that this is one of His signs which manifest the greatness of His creation. He puts it on the same level as other signs such as the creation of the heavens and the earth. He says,

{And of His signs are the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your tongues and your complexions. In all that there are signs for those who are endowed with knowledge.} (Ar-Rum 30:22)

What is required of every Muslim is to be able to read surat Al-Fatihah and some other passages of the Quran in Arabic to enable him/her to offer his/her prayers.

However, it is to the advantage of every Muslim to understand Arabic, because that would enable him to have a better insight into his faith.

There is no doubt that you will understand the Quran and the Sunnah better, if you know Arabic. This applies to any work which you may be able to read in its original language or in translation.

No translation could give an exact meaning of the original text because of the different associations and connotations of the words used in each language.

Almighty Allah knows best.