First: The answer to the people of innovation who ask, “Europeans who have embraced Islam translate many things like the call to prayer and iqama into their own languages. Does the fact that the World of Islam does not object it mean that...

FIRST SIGN

Like all the bad things they do, the arguments which those who are attempting to change the ‘marks of Islam’ cite to support themselves spring from their blind imitation of Europe. They say:

“In London, Europeans who have embraced Islam translate many things like the call to prayer and iqama into their own languages in their own country. The World of Islam says nothing in the face of this and does not object. That must mean it is permissible according to the Shari‘a, since they are silent?”

T h e A n s w e r : There is such a glaring difference here that no conscious being could make such an analogy and imitate them. For the European lands are called the Abode of War in the terminology of the Shari‘a, and there are numerous things which are permissible in the Abode of War which are not lawful in the Abode of Islam.

Furthermore, the lands of Europe are the realm of Christendom. Since they are not an environment in which the meanings of the terms of the Shari‘a and concepts of the sacred words are communicated and instilled by the tongue of disposition, necessarily the sacred meanings have been preferred to the sacred words; the words have been abandoned for the meaning; the lesser of two evils has been chosen. In the Abode of Islam, however, the people of Islam are instructed in the abbreviated meanings of those sacred words through the tongue of disposition. The conversations of Muslims about Islamic traditions and Islamic history and the marks of Islam and the pillars of Islam, all continuously instill into them the concise meanings of those blessed words. In this country, besides the mosques and the madrasas, even the gravestones in the graveyards are like teachers instilling those sacred meanings in the people of belief and recalling them to them. If for some worldly advantage, someone who calls himself a Muslim learns fifty words every day from a French dictionary, and then in fifty years does not learn the sacred words like ‘Glory be to Allah,’ ‘All praise be to Allah,’ ‘There is no god but Allah,’ and ‘Allah is Most Great,’ which are repeated fifty times daily, would he not fall lower than an animal? These sacred words cannot be translated and corrupted and deported for animals such as that! To change and deport them is to erase all the gravestones; it is to turn against them all the dead in the graveyards, who would turn in their graves at such an insult.

In order to deceive the nation, the ‘bad religious scholars,’ who have been misled by the irreligious, say that contrary to the other Imams, Imam-i A‘zam said: “If the need arises in distant countries, it is permissible to recite the Fatiha in translation for those who know no Arabic at all.” We are in need of this, so can we recite it in Turkish?

T h e A n s w e r : The most important of the leading authorities as well as the other twelve leading mujtahids have given fatwas opposing this fatwa of Imam-i A‘zam. The great highway of the World of Islam is their highway; the Muslim community may follow that way. Those who drive it to another particular and narrow way are leading them astray. Imam-i A‘zam’s fatwa is particular in five respects:

The First: It concerns people in places distant from the centre of Islam.

The Second: It is in consequence of real need.

The Third: According to one narration, it is particular to translations into Persian, which is supposed to be language of the people of Paradise.

The Fourth: The ruling is particular to the Fatiha, so that those who do not know it will not give up performing the obligatory prayers.

The Fifth: Permission was given so that, due to Islamic zeal arising from strength of belief, the sacred meanings could be understood by the ordinary people. But to translate them and give up the Arabic original due to weakness of belief, negative nationalism, and hatred for the Arabic language, driven by a destructive urge, is to make others give up religion.

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1. Qur'an, 7:158.
2. Qur'an, 9:32.

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