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What is the scholarly opinion regarding priority of hifz vs learning Classical Arabic?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Question Summary

What is the scholarly opinion regarding the priority of hifz vs. learning Classical Arabic?

Question Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Memorizing the entire Qur’an and learning the Arabic language are both communal obligations. As long as some people in each community fulfill this need, the obligation falls off everyone else; in such a case, memorizing the Qur’an and/or learning Arabic is encouraged but in no way an obligation.

With that being said, you have full discretion to choose which you would prefer to do within the time period at your disposal.

One of our teachers would say that if you must choose between good deeds, then use the following method to decide:

1) If you can do both without causing yourself any undue difficulty, that is ideal
2) If not, give preference to the one you are less likely to do later.
3) Give preference to that which benefits more people over that which merely benefits yourself
4) Give preference to that which is obligatory or mandatory

The Prayer of Seeking Guidance

The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) taught us the prayer of seeking guidance (istikhara). This is a gift to this community by which we can consign our decisions to the One who has all-encompassing knowledge, Allah Most High.

See this link for the method of performing this prayer.


It is personally obligatory on every Muslim to seek knowledge that allows them to fulfill their duties to Allah Most High (i.e., fulfilling all obligations and abstaining from all prohibitions that directly relate to one’s circumstances). Such knowledge should be prioritized over any other knowledge or pursuit, no matter how virtuous the knowledge or pursuit may be. [Birgivi; al-Tariqa al-Muhammadiyya]

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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