Why do we worship in Arabic? What if we do that in our own language?
When considered first, it seems more sensible for a believer to worship his Sustainer in his own language. However, when contemplated thoroughly, there appear different outcomes:
First, we need to make a clear distinction between prayers and stated prayers (namaz). In prayers, a believer presents his needs and wishes to his Sustainer in any language he wants. This is a personal matter and has to do with a servants presenting his own needs and wishes to his Creator directly without a means. In prayer, everyone can supplicate from Allah in his own language.
The stated prayer (namaz) is quite different from that. In Namaz, all Muslims regardless of languages and races gather as if to form a single body and worship Him collectively. In this worship, like hearts, the language also needs to be in unison. What is more, worship must be performed in the way in which Allah (SWT) commanded and how His Messenger (PBUH) described to.
If Islam were the religion of a particular region, race, or nation, no doubt only the language of this region, race, or nation could be used. However, there are Muslims who live in various places of the world, of various races, and speaks different languages. In order for them to perform stated prayers and to say prayers in the same language, they need to agree on the language of worship.
In international congresses and meetings, people speak an international language, which everyone may understand rather than their own languages.
Another aspect of the issue is that: No translation can ever replace the original form. The Quran is the word of Allah (SWT) and has been revealed in the Arabic language. Just as the creatures that come from the attribute of Power of Allah cannot be imitated, the Holy Quran cannot be imitated either, which comes from His attribute of Speech? And the translation of the Quran is not exactly the Quran Itself. That each letter yields at least ten merits is a Divine bounty to servants in exchange of repeating the words of Allah (SWT). For the translation of the Quran is no more the words of Allah (SWT), this significance disappears there. Man receives merits of not reading the Quran but of learning some things in terms of knowledge in the Quran.
Most of the words in stated prayers have also passed to our daily language. Most of Muslims know what Allah-u Akbar (Allah is most great), hamd (glorification to Allah), Rabb-ul Alemin (Allah of all beings), Ahad (The One), Samed (The Only) mean.
Although we learn by heart some foreign words such as inflation, deflation, economy, foreign exchange, could we ever be justified in not learning a few words, which are vital for worship?
- Mehmet Paksu
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