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Makruh to speak other than Arabic?

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 25th July 2019 04:13
During a talk I heard someone mention a quote saying speaking other than Arabic should be avoided as it causes hypocrisy. The speaker then qualified the statement by saying it is referring to those who are proficient in Arabic.

I know of the virtues of the Arabic language and I also heard about the harms of learning English, but I never knew some scholars said it is makruh to speak in other than Arabic. It turns out that those who have a problem with speaking and learning English may have some basis for that, but they also have to get rid of Urdu :).

Here is what I found:

Shaykh al-Islam Ahmad ibn ‘Abd al-Haleem ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) spoke very effectively about this problem, explaining its seriousness and effects, and the Islamic viewpoint concerning it. This is what he said:

“As for becoming accustomed to talking to one another in a language other than Arabic, which is the symbol of Islam and the language of the Qur’aan, so that this becomes a habit in the land, with one’s family and household members, with one’s friends, in the marketplace, when addressing government representatives or authority figures or when speaking to people of knowledge, undoubtedly this is makrooh (disliked), because it involves being like the non-Arabs, which is makrooh, as stated previously.

Hence when the early Muslims went to live in Syria and Egypt, where the people spoke Byzantine Greek, and in Iraq and Khurasaan, where the people spoke Farsi, and the Maghrib (North Africa) where the people spoke Berber, they taught the people of those countries to speak Arabic, so that Arabic became the prevalent language in those lands, and all the people, Muslim and kaafir alike, spoke Arabic. Such was also the case in Khurasaan in the past, then they became lax with regard to the language and got used to speaking Farsi until it became prevalent and Arabic was forgotten by most of them. Undoubtedly this is makrooh.

The best way is to become accustomed to speaking Arabic so that the young people will learn it in their homes and schools, so that the symbol of Islam and its people will prevail. This will make it easier for the people of Islam to understand the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and the words of the Salaf, unlike a person who gets used to speaking one language, then wants to learn another, and finds it difficult.

Know that being used to using a language has a clear and strong effect on one’s thinking, behaviour and religious commitment. It also has an effect on making one resemble the early generations of this Ummah, the Sahaabah and Taabi’een. Being like them improves one’s thinking, religious commitment and behaviour.

Moreover, the Arabic language itself is part of Islam, and knowing Arabic is an obligatory duty. If it is a duty to understand the Qur’aan and Sunnah, and they cannot be understood without knowing Arabic, then the means that is needed to fulfil the duty is also obligatory.

There are things which are obligatory on all individuals (fard ‘ayn), and others which are obligatory on the community or ummah (fard kifaayah, i.e., if some people fulfil them the rest are relieved of the obligation).

This is the meaning of the report narrated by Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah who said: ‘Eesa ibn Yoonus told us from Thawr from ‘Umar ibn Yazeed that ‘Umar wrote to Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari (may Allaah be pleased with him) and said: ‘learn the Sunnah and learn Arabic; learn the Qur’aan in Arabic for it is Arabic.’

According to another hadeeth narrated from ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him), he said: ‘Learn Arabic for it is part of your religion, and learn how the estate of the deceased should be divided (faraa’id) for these are part of your religion.’

This command of ‘Umar, to learn Arabic and Sharee’ah, combines the things that are needed, for religion involves understanding words and actions. Understanding Arabic is the way to understand the words of Islam, and understanding the Sunnah is the way to understand the actions of Islam…”

(Iqtidaa’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 2/207)

Also see: www.islamicweb.com/resources/speaking_nonarabic.htm

These narrations are mentioned in the above articles but I don't know if their authenticity and context:

Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated that ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “No man learns Farsi but he becomes evil (khabutha) [this is how it appears in some editions; the word may be khabba, i.e., he becomes treacherous], and no man becomes evil but his chivalry is compromised.” (al-Musannaf, 9/11).

It was narrated that Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) heard some people speaking Farsi. He said: “What is this Magianism (Zoroastrianism) after Haneefiyyah (pure monotheism)?” (al-Musannaf, 9/11)

It was narrated that ‘Ataa’ said: “Do not learn the languages of the non-Arabs and do not enter upon them in their churches, for the Divine wrath is descending upon them.” (al-Musannaf, 9/11).
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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 25th July 2019 07:09
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Did Allah only create Arabs? Are not all the languages from Allah? Isn't Bible in Arabic too? Are there no kuffar in Arabs?

Do the Arabs have a different Allah than the Allah of the Ajam? (Nawudhubillah min zalik)

Yes Arabic is very important and I have dedicated a thread on this language and it's importance myself. Carving a Nation out of Cultural Pollution. However, declaring those who can't speak Arabic and speak in their mother tongues as hypocrites is too far.

Yes language does have an effect on our thinking and our thoughts are the basis of our actions. However, the more important thing is the type of literature we read in any language.

For instance, will you become pious if you read pornographic literature in Arabic language? And will you become a hypocrite if you read the English translation of the Quran? How will you know the evil designs of your enemies if you don't learn their language? And didn't Sahaba RA and the next generations learn the languages of others in order to give them dawah in the language the local population can understand?

Also remember that Sahaba RA not only spread the religion of Islam but the system of Islam as well through Jihad. So they were not merely, tablighis but also rulers of the land. And rulers have direct impact and effect on their populations. Therefore, their ruler-ship along with high morals and character affected the people they ruled so much that they got impressed and adopted Arabic as their mother tongue.

Maulana Rumi RH wrote Mathnavi in Persian. What about him? What will you say about him? Other Aulia of the subcontinent and other parts of the world produced literature in local languages. What about them? Were they all hypocrites (Nawudhubillah min zalik).

I am not disputing upon the importance of Arabic language. In fact, I strongly believe that it is must to learn Arabic in order to unite the whole ummah again and instead of using English to communicate we must use Arabic to communicate with each other. However, it doesn't mean that we can't learn and make use of other languages.

There is a hadith (paraphrasing) "Wisdom is the lost treasure of a momin". Now suppose that this wisdom is in Chinese. So should we wait for some random Chinese person to translate their literature of us so that we could get that lost wisdom or should we learn the Chinese language and snatch our wisdom.

In Baghdad, in the House of Wisdom (Darul Hikmah) thousands of books of foreign languages and different civilizations conquered by Muslims were translated into Arabic. Were all the translators non Arabs? If Arabs learned other languages in order to translate that vast treasure of knowledge then will you declare all of those Arabs as munafiqeen. (Nawudhubillah min zalik). Imam Abu Hanifa Rh was a persian. Do you think that he didn't know his own language? Or would he avoid speaking in Persian even with Persians and his own mother?

Major Hadith compilers like Imam Bukhari Rh were all non Arabs. Do you think that they wouldn't have known their own mother tongue?

Conclusion!

Yes Arabic is important and it must become the lingua franca of Muslim ummah. However, we can't deny the importance of learning other languages in order to increase our insight about other nations and civilizations. We have already paid the price for remaining aloof from what has been happening in the outside world for centuries. We must not repeat the same mistake and must learn from the blunders our ancestors made. The world is not a box. Not a Deobandi one. And in fact, not an Arabic one either.
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 25th July 2019 08:28
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because it involves being like the non-Arabs, which is makrooh

What does this even mean? Since when did Islam become about being Arab or not being one?
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 25th July 2019 08:59
Question
Why are there so many languages in the world when we know that all nations are one in origin, namely our father Adam and our mother Hawwa’?

Answer

Praise be to Allah
Allah knows best. Your Lord is the Most Wise, All-Knowing. We do not have any certain knowledge of the wisdom behind that, but we know that our Lord is Most Wise, All-Knowing. He, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Certainly your Lord is Most Wise, All-Knowing”

[al-An ‘aam 6:83]

“And Allah is Ever All-Knowing, Most Wise”

[an-Nisa’ 4:11].

By His great wisdom, He made many languages and made people of different colours, as He, may He be glorified and exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):

“And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colours”

[ar-Room 30:22].

The reason may be so as to highlight His almighty power, for He, may He be glorified, is able to make one language for some people and another language for others, for this is more indicative of great power.

There may be other reasons for it of which we are unaware and that we cannot comprehend, but scholars other than us may understand them.

The point is that one of the clearest reasons behind it is that He, may He be glorified and exalted, is able to do all things, therefore He gave people many languages and told us that this is one of His signs (interpretation of the meaning): “And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the difference of your languages and colours” [ar-Room 30:22].

Just as He made them of many colours, including red, black and white, and shades in between, and He has caused them to vary in size, so that some are tall and some are short, and some are in between, and He has caused you to vary in attitude and intellect, the same also applies to the issue of languages. All of that is indicative of His almighty power and highlights the fact that He does whatever He wills, may He be glorified and exalted, and there may be other great reasons behind that which we do not understand. End quote.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him).

islamqa.info/en/answers/132957/why-are-there-so-many-lang...
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 25th July 2019 11:29
I asked and I got answered:

================================================================================

Question

What is the authenticity of these narrations?

1. Ibn Abi Shaybah narrated that ‘Umar (radiyallahu ‘anhu) said: “No man learns Farsi (Persian) but he becomes evil, and no man becomes evil but his chivalry is compromised.”

2. It was also narrated that Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (radiyallahu ‘anhu) heard some people speaking Farsi. He said: “What is this Magianism (Zoroastrianism) after Hanifiyyah (pure monotheism)?”



Answer

1. The chain for this is sound (hasan), as stated by My Honourable Teacher; Al-‘Allamatul Muhaddith, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah (hafizahullah).

(Footnotes on Musannaf ibn Abi Shaybah, Hadith: 26805)


The second narration is actually from the son of Sayyiduna Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (radiyallahu’anhu); Muhammad ibn Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas (rahimahullah), and not Sayyiduna Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas himself, as in your question.


Explanation

Arabic is the language of the Quran, Hadith and considered the language of Islam.

Undoubtedly, language does affect culture, and is clearly visible till this day. For these reasons, there are books written on the ‘virtues of Arabic’.

Therefore Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhu) was very particular and strict on mastering the Arabic language.

(Refer: Shu’abul Iman, Hadith: 1555-1557)


The narrations in question are -obviously- addressing Arabs/Arab-speaking Muslims, that were becoming influenced with the customs and ways of the Persians, who at that time were polytheists. This was not to illustrate any wrong in the language itself. To understand this fully, the following details are important:

In the era of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhu), Islam spread far and wide.

As a result of this:

a) Many non Arabs accepted Islam.

b) The Arab Muslims visited, travelled or even relocated to these lands.

This resulted in a fear of the Muslims being influenced by the ways of those non Arabs who remained non Muslim. In fact, those among the non Arabs who accepted Islam, needed to learn the ways and practices of Islam too. Therefore there is a host of narrations from Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhu) wherein he cautioned against such influences. He laid down several rules to ensure that this does not happen.

In some reports, Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhu) even prohibited the non Muslim locals of these areas from learning/speaking Arabic. Here again, the reason was to maintain complete distinction between the Muslims and others.

(Iqtidaus Siratil Mustaqim, pg.110. Also see pg.143-145)

The foresight of Sayyiduna ‘Umar (radiyallahu’anhu) was indeed unique. At that time specifically, these measures were definitely needed for the Muslims to have and to maintain their identity.

To this day, books are being written on the effects of language on culture.


Lastly, there are several proofs for the permissibility of learning Persian and other languages. Imam Bukhari (rahimahullah) has labelled a chapter in his Sahih: ‘Chapter on those who spoke in Persian and other non Arabic languages.’ In fact, Imam Ibn Abi Shaybah (rahimahullah) himself, after citing the narrations in question cites an entire chapter on ‘Those who allowed [speaking] Persian.’

Therefore the statements in question should be understood to be specific, and not general.

Also refer: ‘Umdatul Qari, before Hadith: 3072


Kindly refer to a mufti for a specific fatwa (juristic ruling) in this regard.



And Allah Ta’ala Knows best,


Answered by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar
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#6 [Permalink] Posted on 25th July 2019 15:15
lol that would make 99% of the ummah as being sinful since the 1st century. I can understand sahaba and those living in real darul islam ( not modern day saudia) being sinful for speaking non arabic as its not their mother language or need to copy others as they have the language of the Quran but as for non arabs i dont see it being an issue as in todays scenario where english is the international language ( chinese could be the internation lingo in the close future).

there are other similar hadith about not using a persian bow or even allwing non muslims in hijaz yet umar رضي الله عنه let his killer to be in as there was a need for skilled worker. i would avoid such topics as they end up bringing out racism and people turn it to arab vs ajam. end of day non of us are going to learn arabic to a high level and give up english urdu punjabi gujirat bangla etc.
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#7 [Permalink] Posted on 26th July 2019 23:51
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

I only skimmed through this thread so correct me if im wrong.

The issue is speaking other languages to imitate the non Muslims due to looking up to them and holding them superior over Arabic and Muslim culture. When that reason is no longer the case then there isn't a problem. Much like how the Ulama of old India made wearing coats haram as the Muslims only started doing so due to imitation and admiration of the British. But today as this reason is generally no longer the case, coats are no longer labelled haram.

So it all depends on the time, place, and reason.
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