Why can’t we offer Salat (prayers) in our local languages? Kindly answer with respect to meetings of the Holy Prophet (s) with non-Arabs. Kindly refer to teachings of Prophet Muhammad (s) to non-Arabs, that they should use Arabic language for their prayers. This is a big issue, see alot of people are illiterate, they cannot even read, they do not know Arabic, even many Muslims who are illiterate, never read Quran or Salat while knowing what they are saying to Allah (swt). Salat is a communication of a person with Allah (swt). So if a person is not sure what he is doing, then what is the use of Arabic for non-Arabs?
As Muslims, we are blessed that our holy book has been maintained in its original language. Most other religions have only translations of their holy books, whereas we have the original text of our holy book in its original unadulterated language. This protects us from being deceived by false translations and allows us all to refer back to the Qur’an to find out its original wording and meaning. Therefore, as Muslims, it is highly reocmmended and perhaps a responsibility to learn sufficient Arabic in order to understand the Qur’an, or at least what part of it we recite it in our daily prayers.
The logic is that the wording of the Qur’an and the rest of the remembrance of God that we recite in prayer cannot be translated into another language without losing its full meaning, its beautiful eloquence and its perfect nature. When we recite the Arabic words of the Qur’an, we are reciting the verbatim word of God. A translation would always be the words of a human being and limited by the scope of that human being’s understanding, and this is a poor subsitute for the Divine Word.
It is recommended to teach Islam in the language of the local people, so they can understand the concepts of Islamic beliefs. There is also no problem with speaking to God in one’s own language when asking for our needs or supplicating.
However, when it comes to Salat, we must stick to the Arabic as per the reasons above, and it is the responsibility of every Muslim to learn at least basic Arabic, just as many professionals nowadays learn English and are proficient in it for the purposes of learning and teaching.
It should however be noted that in the Qunut (supplication with open hands) of our prayer, we can supplicate in any language we wish.
Answered by: Dr Ali Alsamail
Certified by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei