The Importance of the Arabic Language in Islam
90 percent of the world’s Muslims do not speak Arabic as their native language. Yet in daily prayers, when reading the Quran, or even in simple conversations with each other, Arabic readily rolls off any Muslim’s tongue. Most Muslims make an attempt to speak and understand at least some Arabic.
Why Is Arabic so Important to Understanding the Faith of Islam?
Regardless of their linguistic, cultural, and racial differences, Muslims form one community of believers. This community relies on their shared faith in One Almighty God and the guidance. His final revelation to mankind, the Quran. However, It was sent over 1400 years ago to Mohammad in the Arabic language. Therefore, it is the Arabic language that serves as the common link joining this diverse community of believers. However, It is the unifying element that ensures believers share the same ideas.
The original Arabic text of the Quran didn’t change from the time of its revelation. In order to fully understand the magnificent words of their Lord, Muslims make every attempt to learn and understand the rich and poetic Arabic language in its classic form.
Since understanding Arabic is so important, most Muslims try to learn at least the basics. Many Muslims pursue further study in order to understand the full text of the Quran in its original form.
Background of the Arabic Language
Arabic, both the classical literary form and the modern form, is a Central Semitic language. Classic Arabic first emerged in northern Arabia and Mesopotamia during the Iron Age. It is closely related to other Semitic languages, such as Hebrew.
Though Arabic may seem quite alien to those whose native language derives from the Indo-European language branch. However, many Arabic words are part of the lexicon of Western languages due to Arabic influence on Europe during the medieval period. Thus, the vocabulary is not so alien as one might think. Hence, modern Arabic rely on the classic form, any native speaker of modern Arabic do not find it difficult to learn classic Arabic. Virtually all citizens of the Middle East and much of northern Africa speak modern Arabic already.
Arabic is written from right to left and uses its own unique script, which may seem complicated. However, Arabic has a simple alphabet that, once learned, is very accurate in conveying the correct pronunciation of each word. Books, audiotapes, and coursework to help you learn Arabic are available online and from many other sources. It is quite possible to learn Arabic, even for Westerners. Considering that Islam is one of the world’s premier religions and its fastest-growing, learning to read and understand the Quran in its original form offers a means of fostering unity and understanding that the world very much needs.