Q: I have a very important question that I think is discouraging me. Recently, I’ve tried to get closer to Islam and pray salah and read quran. I have also decided to read Quran with translation in Ramadan because I haven’t read it with translation before and I can’t understand Arabic. Now my question is that is Arabic a mandatory requirement for a Muslim? I am 21 years old, about to get a job and I wont have much time to study Arabic at this stage of my life. If I would have started at an earlier age, then it would have been easier. I have heard people saying that Arabic is must for Islam. I know some surahs that I learnt when I was a kid and I’m hoping to learn a few more for salah. But I just get discouraged that this is not enough and I need to know Arabic in order to perform salah. I want to achieve khushoo (concentration) in salah which people say is only possible if you know Arabic. My recitation of Quran is not perfect, I am willing to improve it but I just don’t want to learn the Arabic language at this stage. Please tell me if it’s possible to be a good Muslim without understanding the Arabic language?
Maasha Allah, your concern is commendable. It is not possible for everyone to learn Arabic.
If you do get the opportunity to learn Arabic, you should do so.
In the meantime, learn the translation of all that is read in Salaah, from the Takbeer till the Salaam, and also the translations of the surahs that you usually read. When making Salaah, ponder lightly over the meanings and translation. This will increase your Khushoo.
Undoubtedly, a person can be a good Muslim without understanding Arabic, the heart has to be good.
May Allah Ta’aala always guide you to His pleasure, Aameen.
Moulana Yusuf Laher