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The Obligation of Learning the Arabic Language
Posted on Thursday, October 25, 2012
The Arabic language is tied fundamentally to the Qur'an and the Qur'an is the foundation for the study of the Arabic language. This makes the intrinsic and unseparable connection between Islam and the Arabic language. It is for this reason that no person can ever study the Arabic language without being exposed to the message and teachings of the Qur'an.
Many of the early Scholars, from the Companions of Allaah's Messenger (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) and after them stressed the importance of learning Arabic.
Umar bin al-Khattaab (radiallaahu anhu) said, "Learn the Arabic (language) because it is from your religion, and learn the laws of inheritance because it is from your religion." (Reported by Ibn Abee Shaybah 6/118). Notice here that we have a command to master that which is spoken and written (literacy) and also that which relates to numeracy, the laws of inheritance relate to calculations involving fractions. Imaam al-Shaafi'ee (rahimahullaah) said, (as occurs in Irshaad al-Fuhool, p. 421): "It is obligatory upon every Muslim to learn from the Arabic language what allows him to make effort in fulfilling his obligations." Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullaah) said, "For the Arabic language itself is from the religion, having knowledge of it is an obligation because understanding the Book and the Sunnah is an obligation. And (the religion) cannot be understood except by understanding the Arabic language, and that without which an obligation cannot be fulfilled is itself obligatory. Then from it is that which is obligatory upon everyone individually, and from it is that which is a collective obligation." (al-Iqtidaa p. 295). And Imaam al-Shawkaanee (rahimahullaah) said, "Know that when the Book and the Sunnah have come in the language of the Arabs and knowledge of them is dependent upon knowledge of (Arabic) then knowledge of it is the most important of obligations." (Irshaad al-Fuhool, p. 38). Source, "al-Tuhfah al-Sunniyyah" of Salih al-Bakree.
If you are a Muslim, then it is clear that there is a degree of knowledge regarding the Arabic language that is obligatory upon you. This degree of knowledge allows you to fulfill whatever is obligatory upon you in terms of understanding the foundations of your religion and practical matters of worship.
If you are a non-Muslim, then whatever your reasons for learning the Arabic language, you will be exposed to many of the teachings of Islam, and if you are a sincere and objective person, you will see the many great aspects of the religion of Islam by way of your study of the Arabic language.
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