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Performing Prayer in One's Native Language

 

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Sir, my name is Tahir Kalim. I'm from Hyderabad, Pakistan. I like your emails specially the recent about character building u r really doing a nice job. Sir I have a little question which I have asked to many moulvees but I'm not satisfied by their reply. My question is can we perform namaz (prayer) in our native language? As the Prophet (PBUH) used toperform in his own language with understanding. Please give me detailed and logical answer I already have asked the same to others still not satisfied because of illogical reasoning. Thanks. Waiting for reply

Tahir Kalim

Hyderabad, Pakistan

Dear Tahir sb

Wa alaikum us salam wa Rahmatullah

Many thanks for your kind comments. Brothers like you motivate me to do more work on such issues.

Regarding your question: This question arises from our practice. We have made our prayers a mechanical exercise whose practical objective is not developing a live relationship with our Allah. Our objective is usually to get rid of the responsibility imposed on us by the religion. Such attitude is not correct. If we see the prayer of Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ واٰلہ وسلم described in Ahadith, it was more or less like a live dialogue / chat with the Almighty Allah.

The Shariah has fixed reciting certain hymns in the prayer. They must be recited in Arabic language only. They are very few and an average intelligent person can learn them by understanding their meanings in a couple of days. They include Allah-u-Akbar at the beginning and then at subsequent movements, Surah Fatihah, some portion of Quran, Sami Allah u leman Hamidah after Raku', saying Allah o Akbar on each movement, Tashahud, Prayer for the Prophet, and the final salam.

The reason for reciting these hymns in Arabic is to maintain the form of prayer. We can learn from the experience of the Jews and the Christians. It is evident from the Bible that their prayers were like us. Their prayers had similar Raku', Sajdah etc. Due to reciting hymns in other languages, they did not maintain the form of their prayers and now it has become entirely different.

The amount of these hymns in Arabic is very little and any body. An Arab or a Non-Arab can easily learn their meaning in their original language. We must understand their meanings. According to a report, Imam Abu Hanifa allows reciting these prayers in a Non Arabic language during the period a newly-converted Muslim is learning these prayers. We should learn these prayers by understanding their meanings in our native language.

Other than these, the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ واٰلہ وسلم used to recite a lot of other optional hymns at Qiyam, Raku, Sajdah and other parts of prayer. Some of them were in response of specific events of his life. For example, once the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ واٰلہ وسلم prayed for destruction of people who killed his 70 companions by deceiving them.

You can see Hadith books for such prayers. These prayers are optional. It is better but not essential to memorize these hymns and recite them in Arabic. If you have some other special problem, you can pray to resolve that problem during your Qiyam, Raku, Sajdah or Qa'da. There is no harm in it.

If this concept is understood, then our prayers become a live chat with the Almighty Allah. It does not remain a spirit-less mechanical exercise.

I hope this detail will help you. Please feel free to ask any question, if you have.

Remember me in your prayers.

wassalam

Mubashir

August 2008

Sir. Thanks for helpingme regardingyour reply. I have many questions to ask but to learn things step by step in detail, I am going to ask the most important questions. Thatis howyou can say that shariah has fixed reciting certain hymns in the prayer. They must be in Arabic language only. (To my knowledge Shariah depends only and only upon the Quran and the Established practice of the Prophet).

Please tell me where in the Quran, God has described about praying in Arabic? As far as fixed hymns are concerned (like Surah Fatiha) that can be uttered in one's own native language. If you ponder, Prophet PBUH used to pray in his native language and it is a established practice maintained by our prophet for us, so praying in Arabic (non native) is against sunnat-e-rasool.

God and his prophets are not as narrow minded as moulvees and ulema presenting them. God has nothing to do with the language.

Thanks waiting for reply

Tahir

Note: Sorry in advance if any of my words hurts you

Dear Tahir sb

Assalam o alaikum

Hope you'll be fine. You have mentioned correctly that Shariah depends only upon Quran and the established practice of Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ واٰلہ وسلم. About prayer, the Quran has just instructed to pray and has left the explanation of its practical method on the Prophet. The Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ واٰلہ وسلم established the method of performing prayer. His thousands of companions learnt the prayer from him and spread it over the world. The only source to find this Sunnah is to look at the practice of Prophet's companions. There is no other way to find it.

We are well aware that several million Non-Arabs were converted to Islam during the companions' time. If the Prophet صلی اللہ علیہ واٰلہ وسلم had allowed to perform fixed hymns in other languages, we should have found such millions of Non-Arabic people performing their prayers in their native languages. I assure you that the companions and scholars of that time were not rigid and narrow minded. Just consider these questions:

1. Have you found any evidence that the companions asked these people to perform prayer in their native languages?

2. Have the companions violated the Prophet's Sunnah of performing prayer in one's own native language?

I think you have not considered the reasons why these few hymns are in Arabic? Please do consider the example of Jews & Christians. How their corrupt religious leaders manipulated their prayers as well as the Books of God?

The only way to preserve the Quran and the prayer in its original form is to keep that language alive. If people will not keep the Arabic language alive, it is confirmed that the door to alter the religion contents will be opened. I repeat again that it is very easy to learn the meanings of these hymns.

Other than these, one can seek any prayer at anytime during his prayers. When it is so easy to learn that in Arabic, why one should consider reciting its versions in other languages. The translations will be human work, not the God's words.

I've explained the details up to the extent of my knowledge. I'll advise you to contact other scholars to listen their point of view. You are free to form any opinion and act according to that.

wassalam

Mubashir

August 2008

The Prayer with word-to-word meanings is included in the Quranic Arabic Program available at the following link:

http://www.mubashirnazir.org/Courses/Arabic/AR001-00-Arabic.htm

مصنف کی دیگر تحریریں

قرآنی عربی پروگرام/سفرنامہ ترکی/††مسلم دنیا اور ذہنی، فکری اور نفسیاتی غلامی/اسلام میں جسمانی و ذہنی غلامی کے انسداد کی تاریخ ††/تعمیر شخصیت پروگرام/قرآن اور بائبلکے دیس میں/علوم الحدیث: ایک تعارف ††/کتاب الرسالہ: امام شافعی کی اصول فقہ پر پہلی کتاب کا اردو ترجمہ و تلخیص/اسلام اور دور حاضر کی تبدیلیاں ††/ایڈورٹائزنگ کا اخلاقی پہلو سے جائزہ ††/الحاد جدید کے مغربی اور مسلم معاشروں پر اثرات ††/اسلام اور نسلی و قومی امتیاز ††/اپنی شخصیت اور کردار کی تعمیر کیسے کی جائے؟/مایوسی کا علاج کیوں کر ممکن ہے؟/دور جدید میں دعوت دین کا طریق کار ††/اسلام کا خطرہ: محض ایک وہم یا حقیقت/Quranic Concept of Human Life Cycle/Empirical Evidence of Godís Accountability