ARABIC – The Key to the Quran

6 Apr

We all feel touched when we open up a good translation of the meaning of the Qur’an and we ponder and wonder at the beauty of the words and the deep meanings within. But in reality we are just seeing a glimpse of the real treasure that the Qur’an is. Imagine how you’d feel if you could understand the words of Allah in the form in which they were sent down and not just rely on a translation of the meaning in English. Imagine the power of the words and the directness of the message then! The potency would be awesome!

The Qur’an is the word of Allah; a direct message from Allah to us His creation and Allah chose the Arabic language as the language of this message. Indeed Allah tells us this in the Qur’an emphasising to us that to understand the message in its fuller form one must understand the language:

“Indeed we have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an, in order that you may understand”
(Surah Yusuf, Aayah 2)

“And thus we have inspired to you an Arabic Qur’an so that you may warn the mother of towns and all around it”

(Surah ash-Shura, 7)

Arabic and the message of the Qur’an cannot be separated and translators throughout the ages have tried to convey to the non-Arabic speaking people the beauty of the meaning of the Qur’an but have always called it ‘The translation of the meaning of the Qur’an’, emphasizing the fact that the Qur’an’s direct translation is not possible, because so much of the potency and splendor of the words and their meanings which are inextricably linked to the Arabic language are lost in English or any other language. Indeed to even appreciate the poetic beauty of the Qur’an one needs to have an understanding of Arabic.

Remember that for the Arabs in the time of the Prophet (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) who were masters of eloquence and poetry, the words of the Qur’an itself were so unique compared to the poetry of the most eloquent of them that many came to Islam recognizing that the Qur’an could not be the handiwork of even the best human poet, rather it could only come from Allah. The language itself was one of the miracles of the Qur’an. Allah challenges mankind:

“And if you are in doubt about what we have sent down to our servant, then produce a chapter like it and call your witnesses besides Allah if you are truthful. But if you do not do it, and you can never do it, then fear the Fire whose fuel is men and stones, prepared for the disbelievers”
(Surah Baqarah, aayaat 23-24)


A Priority for all of us

Scholars throughout the ages, from the Companions to the present day, encouraged the Ummah to learn the Arabic language.

Ubay ibn Ka’b (radiallaahu ‘anhu) said, “Teach Arabic like you teach the memorisation of the Qur’an!”

Abu Bakr (radiallaahu ‘anhu) said,


“That I recite and forget (a portion of the Qur’an) is more beloved to me than to make a grammatical mistake!”

And ‘Umar (radiallaahu ‘anhu) once passed by a group of archers who missed their targets. He admonished them and they responded that they were only beginners, but in answering back they made a grammatical mistake in their wording. He told them, “Indeed, your mistakes in Arabic grammar are more difficult to bear than your mistakes in archery!”

Imam ash-Shaafi’ee said, “Therefore it is imperative that every Muslim should strive to learn Arabic as hard as he can, so that he can testify the shahadah, and recite the Book of Allah and say the invocations that are mandatory upon him, such as the takbeer, tasbeeh, tashahud and other prayers. And the more he learns the language that Allah Himself chose to be the language of him who sealed the prophets (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), and to be the language of His final revelation, the better it is for him!”

The great 8th century scholar Shaikul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) even went so far as to say that, “The Arabic language is part of the Religion, and knowing it is an obligation.”

Unfortunately, we have become comfortable with simply relying on translations and spending all of our time and efforts in studying other things, (other languages even!) which may not even benefit us in the hereafter and have forgotten that the Qur’an is in a very approachable language and we all have the ability or rather the responsibility to study and understand it.

If you knew that Allah (subhaanahu wa ta’aala) had a message for you, personally, then would you not want to understand it in its original form?

Think about it…we have the last revelation to mankind, the only communication from our Lord and Master, which is preserved in its original form, and yet in a 70 odd year life we do not give it the attention, which it deserves. We should realise that Allah has honoured us with the Qur’an and chosen for us the noblest of languages. Attention to Arabic is attention to the Book of Allah so we should make learning it a priority.

I remember the feeling of tasting the sweetness of Allah’s words in my Salaah when I first embarked upon my Arabic studies. I just repeated the same aayah of the Qur’an again and again savoring the words and suddenly feeling a deep emotion that I’d never felt before though I had read the same aayah many times before studying Arabic, it was as though a light had been lit for me and I’d suddenly discovered a new part of a house that I’d been living in for years.

One of the definite benefits of learning Arabic is that it aids Khushoo’ or consciousness in salaah and helps us to improve all of our worships. Taraweeh prayer in Ramadan becomes a new experience!

May Allah help us all to master the language of the Qur’an and to aid its spread throughout the Ummah.

By Fatima Barkatulla
taken from Islamicawakening
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2 Responses to “ARABIC – The Key to the Quran”

  1. read quran online May 2, 2010 at 12:06 am #

    Mashallah you are doing a great job I like you blog it is quite resourcefull keep the good work on

    The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “One who treads a path in search of knowledge has his path to Paradise made easy by God…” – Riyadh us-Saleheen, 245

  2. quranicarabic May 4, 2010 at 6:19 pm #

    جَزاكم الله خيرا
    May Allaah give you success in that important job you are doing, Tajweed needs lot of practice and the need is very big in the community.
    good deed (following the Qur’aan and Sunnah) + sincerity = acceptance إن شاء الله

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