Must a New Convert Learn Arabic?

31 December, 2018
Q Respected scholars, as-salamu `alaykum. My wife last year converted to Islam before we got married. She has been reading the English translation of the Qur'an. My question is, is it required for her to learn Arabic? What is the view of Islam in a matter like this where mother tongue of new converts is not Arabic? Jazakum Allahu khayran.


Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

Although Arabic is the language of the Qur’an, the final revelation to humanity, as such, every Muslim should consider learning it to be a priority. On the other hand, there is nothing in authentic sources that indicates that learning Arabic is a prerequisite for being a Muslim; nor do we know of any recognized scholar of Islam who considers it to be a prerequisite for being a Muslim. However, a new convert who finds it hard to learn Arabic must still memorize a few portions of the Qur’an in Arabic to use in prayer.

In his response to your question, the prominent Muslim scholar Sheikh Muhammad Iqbal Nadvi, Director and Imam of Al-Falah Islamic Center in Oakville, Ontario, Canada, states:

Your wife must memorize a few portions of the Qur’an in Arabic to use in prayer. In general, it is highly recommended for Muslims to learn Arabic because it is much different to understand the Qur’an and Sunnah directly from the Arabic texts than to depend on translations, which sometimes suffer from deficiencies.

However, if learning Arabic is hard for your wife, then you should know that all languages are from Allah Almighty, who says in the Qur’an, {And that you differ in tongues and colors.} (Ar-Rum 30:22)

Almighty Allah knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.