07 Jul Why do prayer have to be said in Arabic?
Why do prayer have to be said in Arabic?
Salam Aleikum, why is it that for muslims who don’t speak arabic, when they’re doing the prayers they have to recite the prayers in arabic.. isn’t it the meaning of what we say that counts, and not the language you use to reach god?
Wa alykum as-salaam,
While the Arabic language, in itself, is not a holy or divine language, the reality is that The Qur’an was revealed to humanity in Arabic and the prayers we perform as Muslims are reflections (and come from) The Qur’an, as The Qur’an is the word of Almighty God.
However, even beyond that weighty issue, there is a deeper issue to why Muslims pray in Arabic, and that is because of the power of Islamic discourse.
I am assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that you are not an Arab. Even if you are, let’s just say, you’re from a non-Arab country, for example.
If I come up to you and say “Alhamdulilah” you know what I mean. I don’t just mean “Thank God,” I mean something far deeper. If we witness something amazing, and I say “SubhanAllah,” which doesn’t just mean “Glorious is God” but something far deeper. You will know what I mean when I say those phrases, because we share a discourse.
Have you ever been walking somewhere and you hear “Salaam alykum?” How much ease does that put in your mind?
I’m not sure about you, but personally, it puts myself at ease.
Because we both know what these phrases mean, they mean so much, and it is not just that we share some cool “Muslim secret words” but that we are able to communicate ideas and feelings in a way that transcends our specific cultures and understandings, connecting us on a very human level.
So while no one would argue against making Dua in one’s own language, even Ibn Taymiyyah affirms this, because it is clear that God is truly limitless and knows what is in our hearts, let alone what we say; but prayer is different.
Prayer is for us, and when we pray in congregation, our unity in reciting prayers means that, as a Muslim, if I find myself in a completely alien place, when I’m praying next to another Muslim, we have that shared time together, we are unified in that sense, to remind us that, no matter how different we are on the outside, in what we eat, and how we think, we are directed in unity to Almighty God.
I hope this answers your question, insha Allah.
I pray this reaches you and your families in the best of health and Iman, insha Allah.