Can I Say the English Meaning of the Prayer Formulas?

20 August, 2020
Q When reciting the surahs in prayer, can i say the English meaning as well? For example, after saying Alhamdulillahi Rabb al-`alameen, can i say the meaning ''All praise is due to Allah, Lord of the worlds –" out loud? Or , after saying 'Subhana rabbiya al-Azheem' during bowing, can I say the meaning 'Glory be to Allah who is my Lord, the Greatest' out loud? Also, I read a hadith that during night prayer the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to interact with the verses that he recited. If he recited a verse that praises Allah, he would say Subhan Allah. If the verse mentions seeking refuge in Allah, he would seek refuge in Allah. So, can I interact with the verses in English? For example, if a verse talks about refuge, can I ask for refuge in English? Is this interaction with verses only limited to night prayers? Or can I do this in obligatory or sunnah prayer as well?

Answer

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:

It is not forbidden to say the English meanings of the prayer formulas in your mind without articulating the sounds.


In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

It is not forbidden to say the English meanings of the prayer formulas in your mind without articulating the sounds. There is nothing wrong if one is offering supplications in one’s language after reading the prescribed formulas or words.

Many scholars view that in prayer, especially obligatory prayers, one should use only the Arabic and avoid any other language. However, others allow it to offer supplications and reading phrases such as those you mentioned.

Having said this, I would like to state: Once you have mastered Arabic enough to read the prescribed portions of the Quran or the Prophetic duaas in Arabic, you may offer extra supplications in your language.

Almighty Allah knows best.