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:-
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.
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.