Must the Salat and the Quranic recitation
be uttered only in Arabic?


I just wanted to commend you on your website, as someone who is new to Islam and is interested in purely the Quran, this resource has been a great help!
I just wanted to ask, is there anywhere in the Quran that specifically states Salat or recitation of the Quran must be in Arabic? I've also read somewhere that only Al-Fatihah needs to be recited in Arabic, whereas the rest of Salat may be recited in your native tongue.


In reply to your question, there is no such language restriction anywhere in the Quran for the Salat to be recited only in Arabic. Equally, there are no restrictions in the Quran to say that we must read or recite the Quran only in Arabic.

There are scholars who have imposed such restrictions even though they were never authorised by God. None of these restrictions are found in the Quran. The ones who insist on such restrictions usually manipulate verses in the Quran such as 12:2, 39:28 and 43:3 to support their claim.

It is important to note that there is no language that is better than others, nor is there such a thing as a Holy language. If the Arabic language was absolutely necessary to understand God's message (as some claim), why did God reveal previous Scriptures in non Arabic languages, such as Hebrew (Torah) and Aramaic (Injeel)?
The only reason the Quran was revealed in Arabic and not another language is that the receivers of the Quran in Arabia spoke Arabic. If God were to give the Arabs a Quran in another language they would not understand it:

We have rendered it an Arabic Quran so that you may understand. 43:3

The fact remains that there is no verse in
the Quran that instruct us that we must observe the Salat only in Arabic, or to read the Quran only in Arabic.

Equally, to insist that the Fatihah must be recited in Arabic is also a man-made fabrication that has no reference in the Quran.

When we worship God, in Salat or in any other ritual, it would be meaningless to utter words which we do not understand. Many who do not speak or understand Arabic are bullied into reciting their Salat in Arabic. As a result, they parrot Quranic words not understanding the majority of what they are saying! Needless to say, this serves no purpose whatsoever. It is thus that we find God's words which stress the importance of understanding what we are saying when we observe the Salat:

O you who believe, do not approach the Salat while you are intoxicated, until you know what you are saying.

We must remember that language is a tool and not an aim. Those who insist on such restrictions turn the language into an aim rather than a tool. Language is a tool to make contact with God. It was God after all who devised all languages for our use and with which we can make contact with Him:

And from among His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth and the diversity of your languages and your colours. In that are signs for the knowledgeable.

Whether the Quran was revealed in Arabic or another language, it will always provide guidance and healing to the believers:

If We had made it a non-Arabic Quran they would have said, "If only its verses were made clear!" Whether it is non-Arabic or Arabic, say, "For those who believe, it is guidance and healing and for those who disbelieve, there is deafness in their ears and it brings blindness upon them; those are being called from a faraway place." 41:44

The ultimate aim of the Salat is to make contact with God and to glorify Him. The sincerity of the contact comes from the heart and not from the tongue!

Prophet Moses had a speech impediment (20:27, 26:13) but was still one of the great prophets and was the only man mentioned in the Quran to have spoken to God (7:143).

It is no wonder that God says that the ones who will be saved (on Judgement Day) are the ones who come to God with a pure heart, and not the ones who come to God with linguistic excellence:

The one who feared the Almighty though unseen and came with a penitent heart.