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The power of Arabic

The power of Arabic

Since Arabic is the language of the Holy Quran, it is important for Muslims to learn it to fully understand the message.

By Khwaja Mohammed Zubair

Published: Sun 28 Jun 2015, 12:42 AM

Last updated: Wed 8 Jul 2015, 3:16 PM

The Arabic language is the language of the Quran and, therefore, fully understanding the message of the Holy Quran demands a serious effort on the part of Muslims of the non-Arabic world to learn the language.

The original Arabic text of the Quran has been preserved from the time of its revelation. Translations have been made into various languages, but they all refer back to the original Arabic.

Since understanding Arabic is so important, Muslims should try to learn at least the basics. Arabic, however, is very unique. It is the language of the Quran and Sunnah. It is the medium through which the Islamic concepts and laws were conveyed to us. It is impossible to know what Allah wants us to do without knowing and understanding Arabic.

The importance of the Arabic language for Muslims all over the world is so obvious that it is hardly necessary to furnish any far-fetched argument to project it. It is the language in which the Holy Quran was revealed. It is the language which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last of the prophets, spoke. It is, therefore, the language in which stands recorded and preserved his sacred traditions. Thus, the two basic sources of Islam, the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, are available in the Arabic language.

A classic case in point is our five-times-a- day prayer which is offered in Arabic. Those of us who do not understand the meaning of the language cannot get the inner joy and thrill of Salah. Those who understand the language find an inward joy difficult to describe, as they proceed with their prayer.

How much greater is the joy and sense of wonder and miracle when the Quran opens our spiritual eyes. The meaning which we thought we had grasped expands. New worlds are opened out. As we progress, still newer and again newer worlds ‘swim into our ken’. The miracle deepens and deepens, and almost completely absorbs us.

Unity, fraternity and fellow feelings so desirable to pervade the entire Muslim world emanate from the common faith, Islam, which all Muslims profess. Close in importance to this common faith in the matter of Muslim brotherhood and cooperation comes the Arabic language.

It is, therefore, the duty of every Muslim to learn the Arabic language so that he may be able to understand the Holy Quran, the Sunnah and other literature on religious topics available in the Arabic language.

Allah has commanded all believers to understand and reflect upon the Holy Quran. How can a man ponder over the Holy Quran unless he understands the meaning of the verses of the Holy Quran, and for this understanding it is indispensable for him to learn the Arabic language.

The Holy Quran is a living miracle of Allah associated with Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It is unique in the beauty of its diction, expression and eloquence. It has a melody and symphony of its own that moved to tears even the most hard hearted enemies of Islam.

In addition to the many exhortations in the Holy Quran and the Sunnnah for the believers to learn and teach the Book of Allah, there is another indication in Allah’s scheme of things that in order to preserve the Divine Book genuinely pure and unaltered till the Day of Judgment, the believers should be provided facility to learn the Arabic language without any let or hindrance.

It is another clear miracle that Allah has in His grace protected the language of the Holy Quran from undergoing any drastic changes during the last 14 centuries. This is a period sufficient for a language to fall into disuse and become dead or at least become so drastically changed that it is very difficult to understand it without the guidance of an expert.

The Arabic language has been safe from such changes and will remain so till the Day of Judgment. The entire non-Muslim world is striving hard to estrange the Muslims from their religion and culture and they know that the most effective way to achieve this nefarious objective is to weaken and ultimately sever, the relation of the Muslims from the Arabic language.

The counter effort made in this respect by Muslim countries or Muslim associations in their respective capacities will not be effective.

This important issue must be studied and tackled on the international forum through organisations like World Musim League and the Organisation of Islamic Conference. They should have branches spread throughout the Muslim majority and minority countries to introduce a common syllabus for teaching the Arabic language by trained teachers, and to set up the requisite machinery to supervise, coordinate and promote the teaching programmes.

The responsibility of the Arabic speaking countries for launching and working these programmes is much greater and they should therefore step forward to play their due role in this important field without further loss of time.

(The writer is former Khaleej Times staffer)

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