Qur'an in French

Qur'an: In your language or in Arabic?

Last Updated: 10-Jun-2014 3:15 PM

Fact – Islam is one of the fastest growing religion in the world. [See here]

Fact – There are now over 1.5 billion Muslims worldwide [See here]

Fact – Not all Muslims speak Arabic.

When I became a Muslim in July 2010, I could not speak a word of Arabic, nor could I read or write Arabic. I had, however, by this time, read the Holy Qur'an quite a few times, albeit in English.

A year on, I still find myself coming under pressure to learn how to read Arabic. I agree for the following reasons:-

  1. The Qur'an is in Arabic and it was revealed in Arabic.
  2. The versions of the Qur'an I have read were all translations in English. The majority of people may agree that a lot is often lost when translating from one language to another.
  3. To capture the true and correct meaning of the Message in the Qur'an, it needs to be read and understood in Arabic.

Furthermore, in the first few months after converting to Islam, I prayed in English. That was because I found it extremely difficult to memorise any of the verses from the Qur'an in Arabic and also, I found it difficult to memorise the other Arabic supplications recited whilst praying. I had a very easy choice to make; (a) Either miss my prayers until I memorised the Arabic OR (b) Observe my daily prayers…in English!

Learning a new language (for me) is a daunting task…and Arabic is not an easy language to learn. I had to come up with a solution that worked for me. For example, I memorised Surah Al-Fatihah in English and recited it a minimum of 17 times a day (in my 5 daily prayers) continuously for a couple of weeks. With both the words and the meaning memorised, I then set out to learn it in Arabic, one line at a time. And since then, Alhamdulillah, I have never looked back. Each time I set out to learn a new Surah, I use this method. By learning the chapter’s meaning in English, my understanding when reciting in Arabic is therefore more complete.

Insha’Allah, this may also work for you to make learning the Qur'an that much easier.

  1. Purchase a translation of the Qur'an in your native language.
  2. Memorise a Surah in your language to capture its meaning.
  3. Recite the memorised Surah in your language for some time during your five daily prayers. I generally find that 1 or 2 weeks is sufficient.
  4. Learn to recite the Surah in Arabic. Take it slow and learn one line at a time.
  5. Imitate: Purchase or download Qur'anic recitations to learn how to recite the Arabic correctly. Bear in mind that there are a number of different ways to recite the Qur'an in Arabic. Find your own comfort zone and stick to it.
  6. Recite! Repeat the Surah you have learned in Arabic at least five times a day during your prayers. The more you practice, the more it will stick, insha’Allah.

I believe that the important thing here is to fully understand what you are reciting (even if you do not speak Arabic). I personally do not accept the idea that one’s emphasis should be put on blindly memorising the Verses of the Qur'an in Arabic. In my opinion, learning the meaning first and, when the time is right, learning how to recite the Arabic (with understanding) seems the more logical approach. It is of the utmost importance to know what you are reciting. I believe that Allah knows the sincerity in all our hearts and His acceptance or rejection of our prayers to Him are based on that sincerity, not on the language we use to worship and to praise Him.

I personally feel that as long as the sincere intention is made, insha’Allah, I will be able to reach my personal goal of being able to read the Qur'an in Arabic one day.

May Allah open the way for all of us to attain a better understanding of His Final Revelation to us. Ameen.