Why you need to learn Arabic

Arabic is currently the 5th most commonly spoken native language in the world! It is the official language in more than 20 countries, with more than 375 million native speakers, ranging throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world. It is also an official language of the United Nations, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference, and the African Union.

Here are some reasons everyone should be learning Arabic:

Chosen by Allah ﷻ

Allah ﷻ chose Arabic as the liturgical language of Islam. Thus, the Quran, hadeeth and all Islamic teachings were provided in Arabic. It was chosen out of all the languages in the world, used in the past, present and future. This fact alone should suffice as a reason to learn Arabic, especially since this has been confirmed in the Quran:

إِنَّآ أَنزَلْنَـٰهُ قُرْءَٰنًا عَرَبِيًّۭا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an that you might understand.”

Quran, 12:2

This verse implies that Arabic was chosen as it is a language that every human has the capability of understanding. Further, it has qualities and features that make it unique in comparison to other languages. If Allah ﷻ had wanted to reveal the Quran in every language, he could have. However, He chose Arabic, and that is sufficient of a reason.

The language of Quran

The Quran was revealed in Arabic. Thus by learning this language, you will have a better appreciation for the Quran, its subtleties, and meaning. When one understands the words, they form a deeper connection with the Quran. This not only assists in the reading of it but also memorisation. When you understand the words, it becomes easier to implement it into your daily life. When it is understood, you are forming a direct connection with Allah ﷻ, as they are His words and commands.

وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا ٱلْقُرْءَانَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍۢ

And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?”

Quan, 54:17

The Quran is the pinnacle of eloquence and sophistication and no human has the ability to produce anything on of the same level of the Quran. It is unrivaled in its stylistic output and to truly appreciate this you must understand Arabic. Otherwise, you are deprived of its greatness and you won’t have the ability to comprehend the depths and precision of its language.

تَنزِيلُ ٱلْكِتَـٰبِ مِنَ ٱللَّهِ ٱلْعَزِيزِ ٱلْحَكِيمِ

The revelation of the Book is from Allah, the Exalted in Might, the Wise.”

Quran, 45:2

Islamic teachings

The vast majority of Islamic teachings are in Arabic. This includes the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, the Sunnah, and hadeeth that he has provided us with. Furthermore, many of the analytic aspects of the Quran and Hadeeth are in Arabic. Although some of these have been translated into English, there is a lack of flow with the meaning, and a true understanding will only be achieved through Arabic.

The books of tafsir, commentary on hadith and any books on Islamic Jurisprudence can only be truly appreciated in Arabic. Translations will always be deficient as they are human approximations of Allah ﷻ Divine Speech. Much of the Islamic heritage has been and will remain inaccessible to the non-Arabic speaking Muslims, especially since the majority has not been translated.

كِتَـٰبٌ أَنزَلْنَـٰهُ إِلَيْكَ مُبَـٰرَكٌۭ لِّيَدَّبَّرُوٓا۟ ءَايَـٰتِهِۦ وَلِيَتَذَكَّرَ أُو۟لُوا۟ ٱلْأَلْبَـٰبِ

This is a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.”

Quran, 38:29

Increase in devotion

When one does not understand what they are saying, it is practically impossible to form a connection. On the contrary, understanding Arabic will help increase you in devotion and spirituality. This is evident when one performs salah, recites and listens to Quran, listens to the Friday sermon (khutbah) or makes a supplication (Dua) to Allah ﷻ. When Arabic is used and understood in these circumstances, it creates a deep connection with Allah ﷻ. This, in turn, can result in you increasing in worship as a love for your religion continues to grow the more you understand and reflect upon your religion.

أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ ٱلْقُرْءَانَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَآ

Do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? or are there locks upon [their] hearts?

Quran, 47:24

Avoid misconceptions

When you understand Arabic, the language of Quran, you can quickly eliminate any misconceptions and incorrect facts, especially about your religion.

This has become extremely common, as many like to use the Quranic verses out of context, or state incorrect facts about our religion or provide sub-standard interpretations. This issue can be quickly resolved by having your own, true deep understanding of both your religion and the Holy Quran.

This matter is very important, especially since a lot of people have come to rely on translated versions of the Quran and other Islamic teachings, making themselves prone to being denied the real teachings and meaning of Islam, due to one’s inability to directly communicate with the Quran (without a translator/translation).

Improves cognitive ability

Learning a new language, without doubt, directly benefits your cognitive abilities, especially your memory. There have been various studies that have found that those who are bilingual or multilingual have greater critical thinking abilities, are better communicators and have sharper memories. Moreover, learning Arabic will open the gates to Islamic culture and further your knowledge, providing you with a more global and intercultural understanding.

Imam Baihaqi (May Allah have mercy on him) narrates that Umar (May Allah be pleased with him) said:

Learn Arabic for it strengthens the mind and enhances chivalry.”

May Allah ﷻ allow us to learn Arabic for his sake.

“My Lord, increase me in knowledge.” Ameen.