Why do we worship in Arabic language? Why not in our own language?

Details of the Question
Why do we worship in Arabic language? Why not in our own language?
The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

When considered first, it seems more sensible for a believer to worship his Sustainer in his own language. But when contemplated throughly, there appears different outcomes:

First of all we need to make a distinction between prayer and prescribed prayer (salah). 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 servant’s presenting his own needs and wishes to his Creator directly without a means. In prayer, everybody can ask Allah for anything in supplication in his own language.

The prescribed prayer is quite different from that. In the prescribed prayer, all Muslims regardless of languages and races gather together 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 how Allah (SWT) ordered 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. But there are Muslims who live in various places of the world, of various races, and speaks different languages. In order for them to perform prescribed prayers and to say prayers in the same language, they need to be in agreement in the language of worship.

In international congresses and meetings, people speak an international language which everbody 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, so too the Holy Qur’an cannot be imitated either, which comes from His attribute of Speech. And the translation of the Qur’an is not exactly the Qur’an Itself. That each letter yields at leats ten merits is a Divine bounty to servants in exchange of repeating the words of Allah (SWT). For the translation of the Qur’an is no more the words of Allah (SWT), this significance disappears there. Man receives merits of not reading the Qur’an but of learning some things in terms of knowledge in the Qur’an.

Most of the words in prescribed 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?

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