- In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the MercifulAssalaamu alaykum,Among non-Arabs, those who are Muslims do learn Arabic, but, mostly, only to the extent of being able to read the Qur'aan. They do not bother at all about learning Arabic as a language. That is because, as children, they were never told it was necessary to understand what they read of the Qur'aan! The impression that they got from their elders was that the mere act of reading the Qur'aan would fetch rewards for them from Allah. They saw the elders organizing Qur'aan-reading sessions on auspicious occasions like entering a new house, starting a new business etc. And they also saw such reading sessions organized on 3rd, 10th and 40th days after the death of a relative and then on, at least, the first death anniversary. The reason, they gathered, for doing this was that the rewards, the readings fetched, could be transferred to the dead person's account for his/her better life in the Hereafter!
2. The Qur'aan was thus reduced, in course of time, just for ritual readings. Its prime, Allah-given role of being a guide book for mankind was long forgotten by common people at large. The common people then got into the habit of asking the Mullahs as to what Islam expects them to do in various situations encountered by them in their worldly lives. And they took as the Gospel Truth what the Mullahs told them. So the Mullahs, the Peers, the dead saints became their gods besides Allah. Slowly, but surely, the Qur'aan lost its importance in their eyes as a Book of Guidance. And this sorry state of affairs is predicted in the Qur'aan when it quotes the Prophet (peace be upon him) crying in anguish to Allah, on the Day of Resurrection, that his Ummah had neglected the Book as a thing of no importance! [Q: 25.30]
3. But, of late, there is a palpable sign of reversal in this general trend. More and more educated persons are now waking up to the call of the Qur'aan. We can feel the Divine Hand generate this reversal through modern facilities like the internet. It is now possible to convey the Message of the Qur'aan to the remotest corner of the world in a matter of seconds.
4. But the original divine Message is in Arabic. No translation, however diligently made, can serve as a substitute for the original. The translator's own personal opinion is bound to get intertwined somewhere unnoticed with the divine original. That's what needs to be avoided to keep the Message pristinely pure.
5. And the only way to do this is for every believer to be able to understand the divine Message in its original Arabic form. In other words, every believer has compulsorily to learn Arabic as a language. This is a duty, which automatically gets divinely imposed by virtue of the fact that the Message is in Arabic.
6. I do not understand why this crystal clear divine requirement had not dawned on the Muslims so far. Here in India, there may be a few religious institutions teaching Arabic as a language, but, by and large, there are very few general schools, managed and run by Muslims, doing so. Ditto may be the case with all other non-Arab countries.7. The moneyed among Muslims leave no stone unturned just to see that their children receive the best of education so that the children's lives in this world become rosy and prosperous. It's a shame that the same parents are not worried about their children's well-being in the permanent life of the Hereafter. Had they been worried on this account, they would have taken care to see that their children are best equipped to understand the Arabic Qur'aan and lead their worldly lives in accordance with the guidelines therein.8. It's not yet too late to make a beginning. I appeal to those who are in a position to exert some influence on the powers that be to make Arabic a compulsory subject for all Muslim students studying in Muslim-run institutions throughout the world.Wassalaam,Mohammad Shafi,Author of WHY DO I BELIEVE IN ISLAM
Keep us on the Right Path, Allah!