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Is it Haram/Not Allowed to read, understand follow Islam by the Holy Qur'an in a language other than Arabic?

2012-12-21 11:49:15

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This is the debate that I have been involved in numerous times over the years.  I have asked many Imams about this issue and the response is normally the same.  The last response I had was that "you get 10 times the reward" for reading it in Arabic without any supporting evidence from Qur'an or authentic hadith.  Some people will not even accept any religious debate about Islam when it is done in English, yet the same people will learn, read and follow Hadith in other languages.  I have been unable to find any rational or logical reason based on the Holy Qur'an.

I agree in an ideal world we would all be able to read and understand the Qur'an in Arabic (the original form and language), however this wouldn't allow anyone but Arabs to follow Islam.  Surely there is no error in the translation that Islam and the Qur'an was revealed for all of mankind and that if the tenants of Islam can be taught and preached in other languages, that the best revelation for mankind can also be, read, understood and followed in English?

There are so many ayyats from the Qur'an which can verify this, of course some will not accept it in English or another language than Arabic, but then how is anyone supposed to learn and understand Islam?

   

2:185 (Y. Ali) Ramadhan is the (month) in which was sent down the Qur'an, as a guide to mankind, also clear (Signs) for guidance and judgment (Between right and wrong). So every one of you who is present (at his home) during that month should spend it in fasting, but if any one is ill, or on a journey, the prescribed period (Should be made up) by days later. Allah intends every facility for you; He does not want to put to difficulties. (He wants you) to complete the prescribed period, and to glorify Him in that He has guided you; and perchance ye shall be grateful.
 
 


14:1 (Y. Ali) A. L. R. A Book which We have revealed unto thee, in order that thou mightest lead mankind out of the depths of darkness into light - by the leave of their Lord - to the Way of (Him) the Exalted in power, worthy of all praise!- -  

39:41 (Y. Ali) Verily We have revealed the Book to thee in Truth, for (instructing) mankind. He, then, that receives guidance benefits his own soul: but he that strays injures his own soul. Nor art thou set over them to dispose of their affairs. -  

  

 

As we can see above in only 3 ayyats, the Qur'an makes it clear it is a guidance for ALL of mankind, does it put any precondition that the teaching, reading and learning must be done in Arabic?  I cannot find any other Ayyats in the Qur'an which contradict this.

How can the Qur'an be a guide for anyone other than native Arabic speakers if the rest of us can never read or understand the Qur'an in our own language?  Why do the same people say the Hadith are ok to read and follow in English (even unauthenticated Hadith)?

 

7:3. Follow (O men!) the revelation given unto you from your Lord, and follow not, as friends or protectors, other than Him. Little it is ye remember of admonition.

 

 

How can one follow the "revleation" of the Qur'an if they can't read it in English or Arabic?

No one has ever provided me a single argument from the Qur'an about why we should not read it in our own language? Yes it is beautiful in the original Arabic form and we should all be able to recite it, but the other part of understanding and following our religion can only come from our own language.  How shall we be informed and instructed if we cannot read the Qur'an in a language other than Arabic?  This is contradictory since obviously Allah knows there are many languages in the world:

 

30:22 (Y. Ali) And among His Signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the variations in your languages and your colours: verily in that are Signs for those who know.

 

 

 

If what they say is the truth then why does the Qur'an not address languages in any other ayyat to declare that the Qur'an must only be read, understand and taught in Arabic? 

6:150. Say: "Bring forward your witnesses to prove that Allah did forbid so and so." If they bring such witnesses, be not thou amongst them: Nor follow thou the vain desires of such as treat our signs as falsehoods, and such as believe not in the Hereafter: for they hold others as equal with their Guardian-Lord.


I feel those who do this may be what the Qur'an warns of:

 

2:159 Those who conceal the clear (Signs) We have sent down, and the Guidance, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book,-on them shall be Allah's curse, and the curse of those entitled to curse,-

3:78 There is among them a section who distort the Book with their tongues: (As they read) you would think it is a part of the Book, but it is no part of the Book; and they say, "That is from Allah," but it is not from Allah. It is they who tell a lie against Allah, and (well) they know it!


31:4. Those who establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity, and have (in their hearts) the assurance of the Hereafter.
5. These are on (true) guidance from their Lord: and these are the ones who will prosper.
6. But there are, among men, those who purchase idle tales, without knowledge (or meaning), to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah and throw ridicule (on the Path): for such there will be a Humiliating Penalty

 

 

By being told not to read the Qur'an in my language, I feel I am being denied the great knowledge and guidance of the Qur'an and that it is being concealed from me.

The Qur'an itself says it is easy to understand and remember and this is what I have found when reading it in English:

   

54:17 (Y. Ali) And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?

54:22 (Y. Ali) But We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?

54:32 (Y. Ali) And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?

54:40 (Y. Ali) And We have indeed made the Qur'an easy to understand and remember: then is there any that will receive admonition?

 

Additional Arguments

The Qur'an itself says to "Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger".  Most scholars agree this means that Muslims should follow the Qur'an first and then Prophet Muhammad.  Some believe to follow the Prophet means to follow the Sunnah, which means to follow the Hadith.  If we agree on the above, then why does no one raise issue with teaching and following the Sunnah in English including the Hadith?

4:49 O ye who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you. If ye differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger, if ye do believe in Allah and the Last Day: That is best, and most suitable for final determination. 

The Qur'an warns us more than 3 times that any who do not follow the Qur'an are "Unbelievers, wrongdoers and rebels:

*Note that for brevity I omitted the beginning part of the 3-ayyats below:

5:44 ..........If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) Unbelievers.

5:45 ............And if any fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (No better than) wrong-doers.

5:47............If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are (no better than) those who rebel.

 

 

 

 As we can see, according to the Holy Qur'an, it is our duty not only to read the Qur'an, but to understand and follow it.  To only recite the Qur'an is to ignore the most basic tenant of Islam according to the Qur'an itself.  And not to follow the Qur'an or to judge by anything other than the Qur'an is equivalent to disbelief.  There is simply no evidence that says we should rely on the words of others to follow, understand or interpret Islam and rather the Qur'an makes it clear the very opposite is clear.  For those who truly wish to follow Islam and the word of Allah, should read, understand and follow the highest authority which is the Holy Qur'an.  If any object to this article then please only reply with proof, facts and quotes from the Qur'an which prove your point.

 

Worse, there are even others who try to force Muslims not to read the Qur'an or any translation claiming it is "Haram" to read in another language or to make a mistake.  The same Muslims will not explain why blindly following is OK and why reading and following Hadith in any language is acceptable and why they are avoiding the Qur'an?

Before you fear society, your friends, family or religious authority you should remember your duty and that your covenant is with Allah first.

4:135. O ye who believe! stand out firmly for justice, as witnesses to Allah, even as against yourselves, or your parents, or your kin, and whether it be (against) rich or poor: for Allah can best protect both. Follow not the lusts (of your hearts), lest ye swerve, and if ye distort (justice) or decline to do justice, verily Allah is well- acquainted with all that ye do.

Warning not to follow blindly or in ignorance, or without knowlege of it being the truth.

17:36. And pursue not that of which thou hast no knowledge; for every act of hearing, or of seeing or of (feeling in) the heart will be enquired into (on the Day of Reckoning).

Allah promises to guide the believers in interpretation of Qur’an. Allah lets good people understand the true meaning of the Qur’an.  It's no excuse to make others fear making a mistake by reading the Qur'an.

2:26 Allah disdains not to use the similitude of things, lowest as well as highest. Those who believe know that it is truth from their Lord; but those who reject Faith say: "What means Allah by this similitude?" By it He causes many to stray, and many He leads into the right path; but He causes not to stray, except those who forsake (the path),-

It is our interpretation that those who violate Allah's orders (to read the Qur'an) are creating mischief and will be punished.

2:27. Those who break Allah.s Covenant after it is ratified, and who sunder what Allah Has ordered to be joined, and do mischief on earth: These cause loss (only) to themselves.

Telling others not to read the Qur'an for any reason, or to teach anything other than what is in the Qur'an is equivalent to covering truth with falsehood.

2:42. And cover not Truth with falsehood, nor conceal the Truth when ye know (what it is).

Those who "conceal" the guidance of the Qur'an will be cursed.

2:159 Those who conceal the clear (Signs) We have sent down, and the Guidance, after We have made it clear for the people in the Book,-on them shall be Allah.s curse, and the curse of those entitled to curse,-

If there is no basis for it in the Qur'an one should not speak or dictate religious guidance to others.

2:169. For he commands you what is evil and shameful, and that ye should say of Allah that of which ye have no knowledge.

There is no excuse for following other than the Qur'an even if it's what your parents have taught you.

2:170 When it is said to them: "Follow what Allah hath revealed:" They say: "Nay! we shall follow the ways of our fathers." What! even though their fathers Were void of wisdom and guidance?

There is no excuse to ignore the Qur'an, it is our duty.

No authority has been given to anyone to force, compel or convince one not to read the Qur'an.

2:256 Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things.

Blindly following Hadith or others including religious leaders is Haram and will be no excuse to Allah.

Following anything else other than the Qur'an makes us disbelievers.

Allah's Guidance is the best

3:73 "And believe no one unless he follows your religion." Say: "True guidance is the Guidance of Allah. (Fear ye) Lest a revelation be sent to someone (else) Like unto that which was sent unto you? or that those (Receiving such revelation) should engage you in argument before your Lord?" Say: "All bounties are in the hand of Allah. He granteth them to whom He pleaseth: And Allah careth for all, and He knoweth all things."

This is a clear declaration that you can't say "I was following my Imam, my section, my friend, religious authority", those people who tell you to follow their way of Islam can never bear your wrongs, and you cannot blindly follow and make an excuse, you will be called to account by Allah.

29:12. And the Unbelievers say to those who believe: "Follow our path, and we will bear (the consequences) of your faults." Never in the least will they bear their faults: in fact they are liars!

29:13. They will bear their own burdens, and (other) burdens along with their own, and on the Day of Judgments they will be called to account for their falsehoods.

A general warning not to follow those who do wrong in general including those who spread false information about Islam

11:113 And incline not to those who do wrong, or the Fire will seize you; and ye have no protectors other than allah, nor shall ye be helped.



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