View Full Version : Can a Muslim speak other Languages besides Arabic what I mean is that some Non Muslim

12-10-2014, 06:39 AM
As Salaam Alaikum my question is can a Muslim speak other Languages besides Arabic what I mean is that some Non Muslims claim Islam is an Arab Religion or that it wants to force Arab culture/Arabic Languages as a native tongue and identity on Non Arabs they know most Muslims are not Arabs but they claim Non Arab Muslims must act or have an Arab identity ? In Caliphate if there was one today could Non Arab Muslims speak Languages other than Arabic ? Also Quran or the Meaning of the Quran can be translated but still not the Quran

My question is does Muslim have to learn or speak whole Arabic Language thank you ?


Saleem Ahmed, Ph.D. President, Pacific Institute of Islamic Studies, Honolulu and author Islam: A Religion of Peace?
The Qur’an clarifies that God sent messengers to all parts of the world. Consider, for example, the following verses:
To every people was sent a messenger (Qur’an 10:47);
We assuredly sent among every people a messenger (with the command): ‘Serve God and eschew evil’ (Qur’an 16:36);
To those who believe in God and His messengers and make no distinction between any of the messengers, We shall soon give their (due) reward (Qur’an 4:152);
Each one (of the men of faith) believes in God, His angels, His books and His messengers. “We make no distinction (they say) between one and another of His messengers (Qur’an 2:285);
Those who believe (in the Qur’an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians, and the Sabians – any who believe in God and the Last Day and work righteousness – shall have their reward with their Lord (Qur’an 2:62);
Nothing is said to you (O Muhammad) that was not said to the messengers before you (Qur’an 41:43); and
We did, afore time, send messengers before you (O Muhammad). Of them, there were some whose story We have related to you, and some whose story We have not related to you (Qur’an 40:78).
Reinforcing these broad-minded affirmations, the prophet clarified that God sent 124,000
messengers the world over (Masnad Ibn Hambal 21257, quoted by Muzammil Siddiqi, www Pakistan
Link, Nov. 24, 2007).
All these 124,000 messengers probably spoke in their local language. For example, Abraham, Moses, David, Solomon and the other Old Testament prophets must have spoken in Hebrew. Similarly, other messengers (such as Amida Buddha, Lao Zi, Mahavira, and Zoroaster?), must have spoken in their own local language. Similarly, other messengers, in (what we now all) the Americas, Africa, Australia, Europe, Polynesia, etc., must have spoken in their own language. Thus shouldn’t all these other languages, spoken possibly by other “People of the Book,” be also considered to be God’s languages?
Since all languages have evolved out of human experience, none of them can be considered to be “perfect” – be they Indo-European, Sino-Tibetan, Niger–Congo, Afroasiatic, Austronesian, Dravidian, Altaic, Japonic, or belonging to any other language family. Each language has its idiosyncrasies, strengths, and weaknesses.
For example, while Arabic is a very rich and expressive language, it does not have two very common sounds — “p” and “v” – commonly used worldwide. Thus, you can never “park” your car; you can only “bark” it. Similarly, you cannot play a “violin;” you can only play a “wiolin.”
Recognizing this deficiency in the Arabic language, scholars of Persian, Urdu and many other Arabic-based scripts added a “p” alphabet. But, in the process, they replaced (at least in Urdu) the “w” sound with “v”. Thus, in Urdu, while you correctly “park” your car, you don’t say “what”, “when”, and “where”, you say “vot”, “ven”, and “vere”.
To overcome a similar problem, the Japanese developed an entirely different set of characters (called Katakana) for foreign words to distinguish them from “pure” Japanese (hiragana) characters.
I believe Arabic linguistic scholars might consider including “p” and “v” sounds in Arabic also. This will not, in any way, minimize Qur’anic language; it will only open up an excellent way to add two other common sounds used in conversation worldwide. Similarly, other languages might consider including the special sounds found in Arabic.


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12-10-2014, 07:58 AM
I have been a muslim all my life and I have not learnt to speak Arabic. It is not a MUST but it sure would help you understand.

This 'theme' of Arab culture and identity is misunderstood. Islam is a 'religion' or deen as some call it, and Arabs as a whole follow this. It was brought to the Arabs, and what it said was what was explained in the Quran and the Hadeeths. Why did it say this? It was because the Arabs needed to change their ways. So, the Arab culture changed with the advent of islam.

It then spread out to the rest of the world. The Arabs started it, hence their influence on the change. But it is NOT Arab culture. Women have to cover their body, the Christian Nuns do this (but not followed by the Christians themselves) only their attire is different, but the philosophy is the same, can we accredit this to the Arabs too? It is what was taught to the people of the Books, via the Torah, Bible and the Quran.

Here in Malaysia we follow the code of dressing as what is required by the law of Islam, but we don't dress as Arabs! We have never dressed as Arabs and I don't think we ever will. We don't speak Arabic, (although some words have assimilated into our language) and it is known as Malay language, not Arabic. We used the Arabic text (as we did not have our own to write our language, but it was not Arabic) until the Brits colonized us when we changed the text to alphabets in the mid 1900s (and we don't call it English either, it remains Malay).

Yes, during the rule of the caliphate, people did learn Arabic and it became widely spoken, just like English, when they ruled the world. That made it easier to communicate with the 'rulers' then. If you did not speak their language, you would not not be able to communicate with them. Hence better if you learnt the language.

You only have recite in Arabic the verses from the Quran during prayers and ensure that you are properly covered and with ablutions. Nothing Arabic about that at all. The rest of our daily activities are done as what you would normally do, not follow the Arabic way (whatever that may be).

Please don't fall for the bait that non muslims say.. . .and they can say anything they want, rightly or wrongly.


12-10-2014, 02:13 PM
Assalaamu alaikum truthseeker,

I don't think it's an absolute must to learn Qur'anic Arabic in order to be a Muslim. However, I would encourage anyone with the capacity to learn Arabic, to do so. (smile) It is a way to understand God's Will more completely, and to get closer to Him, in my opinion.

I make a difference between Qur'anic Arabic and the modern Arabic languages. They are not the same, though there is a Modern Standard Arabic that is fairly close to Qur'anic Arabic. Incidentally, this is a taught language, and not what Arabs usually speak in their daily lives. (smile) All languages drift over time.

(smile) It is not just Arabs, but people in general who tend to feel that a newcomer to a religion or ideology should adopt their particular cultural understandings in order to be a proper adherent of that particular ideology. We humans tend to be biased towards what we ourselves do and identify with.

As for the text you posted: well, it has some interesting points. (smile) But I wonder if it doesn't also have a little bias in it. I don't think it is necessary for Arabic to adopt new sounds just because some other languages have them. Whenever non-native speakers of a language adopt a word, they change it a bit (or a lot!). Consider the phrase amir albahr (also amir al-ma'), which was adopted into English as Admiral (you can find a discussion of this and other Arabic loanwords in: Europe Speaks Arabic by V. Abdur Rahim. You can find it through www.goodwordbooks.com). Should English adopt the 'ain sound and the rolled ra sounds (not to mention pure vowel sounds and the harder haa!) in order to pronounce a more faithful rendition of the original?

May Allah, Al-Haqq (the True/Sound/Real/Fair/Authentic/Reasonable), Guide us from the darknesses of division into the Light of His Unity.

12-10-2014, 04:18 PM
Although Arabic is the language of the Quran and is good to know, the other languages of the world still hold status as what they are, languages of different peoples that these people speak. By being Muslim, the purpose of different languages is not removed and people are to still speak these languages, not simply Arabic. A Muslim is not specifically an Arab and cannot be enforced to speak Arabic and still has his own language as his main language which was given to him by God. If everyone were to know Arabic, why would these languages, even be created and given to the different generations of humanity?

"And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge." (Quran 30:22)

Did not all the prophets preach in their own language? Didn't Jesus (pbuh) preach in his own language? Did not Moses and Solomon (pbut) speak in the language of their people, the Jews? Each revelation is in the common and understood tongue, and all languages spoken by Muslims are still their languages. The Arabs spoke Classical Arabic and as the first recipients of the Quran, found it in Arabic, but that does not remove the position of the rest of all these languages.

"And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them, and Allah sends astray [thereby] whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise." (Quran 14:4)

This Ummah has spoken multiple languages, and Islam has to speak clearly for them. The English and Chinese and those of whoever have their own language, and despite the real Quran being in Arabic, all Muslims need to preach (and have taken over preaching as a role after all Prophets (pbut) have left) in the language of those they are preaching to and have those people understand in their own language. You can't preach Islam in Arabic to Non Arabs because they do not speak it, and can't expect Non Arabs to accept foreign languages. So no, Non Arabs do not need to know Arabic, however, knowing it would be great as it really helps in knowing the original Quranic verses.

"So, [O Muhammad], We have only made Qur'an easy in the Arabic language that you may give good tidings thereby to the righteous and warn thereby a hostile people." (Quran 19:97)


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12-11-2014, 04:49 AM
A little like asking "does a person need to understand english to program software"?
well sort of since source code and html etc are in english.
Does that mean that computers are an english thing and not for people of other languages?
Well, no, of course not.

However someone who doesn't speak fluent English can still be an excellent programmer, though familiarity with the language is useful - and all who speak english are not computer programmers.

With that said - Since prayer is uniformly in Arabic, it is essential that we try to learn and understand Quranic Arabic, as those who are entrusted with the Law of Allah and don't fulfill their obligations are described as being similar to donkeys who carry scrolls as burdens but don't understand their meaning in surah al Jumu'ah, and people who pray and don't understand what they are saying are similar to drunks in surah Nisaa, verse 43.

Amazingly there was a DRUNK sahabah whose name was Abdullah and whose nickname was......DONKEY! but the Prophet pbuh is reported in Sahih al Bukhari to have told his companions not to curse him because of his love for Allah and His messenger and/or because satan shouldn't be helped by cursing a Muslim for a fault due to weakness.

So we see that it's never black and white (as usual) but advisable to learn as much as is reasonably possible/easy since it is imposible to get a purely accurate translation of word and spirit (especially of a semitic language), and parables/analogies/slang in one language don't always make full rendering in another.

Still, we can do our best to learn the source language while reading translations, we can also see that Allah swt used translations of lingo while catching the spirit of what was spoken by Musa and Pharaoh in egypt, bani israil, ibrahim in babel, the people of lut in sodom etc etc.

Scripts of the Quran also existed in different dialects including Makki and Madani, but when there was difference over meaning and dispute, 'uthman (ra) is reported to have told zaid (and his team of reciters and scribes) if you come face confusion in a verse, write in the language of Quraish. This was obviously for uniformity and avoidance of confusion, since most of the original reciters who knew more of the Quran were from Quraish (the first 13 years were in Makkah).

The written Word of Allah, and the Spirit and will of Allah go hand in hand, that's where Jesus pbuh is sent to clarify that ye cannot be saved unless ye have the Word and Spirit of God within you (you'll think me an evangelist if you neglect either the word or spirit of what i just said ;) ) - and he is also Abdullah.

So let's try not be drunk donkeys, and let's not curse drunk donkeys who love Allah and His messenger who try since they may be finding it difficult despite a lot of effort and we certainly don't want to help satan against Abdullah.

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