I am an American who recently converted. But I only know English and I have a Qur'an that is English only. I have memorized most of the everyday sayings in Arabic. But I was wondering if I have to learn Arabic to be perceived as a true Muslim to Allah, instead of a hypocrite.

Should I just memorize enough Arabic to learn the Qur'an or can I still pray and read the Qur'an in English and that be okay?

5 Answers 5


There is nothing that says you must know Arabic, as can be seen by looking at the answer of @mosid. The surah 12:2 uses the word "understand" which I find to be stronger than a single Hadith (tradition) stating INDIRECTLY to recite in Arabic.

Don't think that I discourage knowing Arabic. There just isn't any direct answer of yes or no to this question, and I think maybe that is the point. I converted also and initially dealt with this by doubling my effort during prayer by speaking in Arabic and forcing myself to understand as well.


In the name of Allah

I would like to congratulate you on entering Islam, and I ask Allah Exalted is He and high above to make you and us steadfast on his right path.

You should know that many of the companions of the Prophet Muhammed Peace be Upon Him, were non-arabic speakers may Allah be pleased with thim all. Also some scholars of Islam where non-Arabic like: Al-bukhari
So I may rephrase your sentence regarding learning Arabic to be a true Muslim to :
Arabic makes you understand Islam better.

Allah Exalted is He and High Above sent Qur'an down to us in Arabic as stated in many verses of Qur'an, like :

Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur'an that you might understand.
Surat Yūsuf (Joseph) 12:2

And in another Verse:

An Arabic Quran, without any crookedness (therein) in order that they may avoid all evil which Allah has ordered them to avoid, fear Him and keep their duty to Him.
Surat Az-Zumar (The Troops)

So you have to learn and memorize some Qur'an chapters in Arabic. The most important chapter to memorize it in arabic is Surat Al-Fātiĥah (The Opener),because Prophet Muhammed Peace be Upon Him said:

"Whoever does not recite Al-Fatiha in his prayer, his prayer is invalid."

After that you can memorize any other chapter( start with Surat Al-'Ikhlāş (The Sincerity) it is short).

Also you should know that ِAllah made Qur'an Easy to understand as stated in this Verse:

And We have indeed made the Quran easy to understand and remember, then is there any that will remember (or receive admonition)?
Surat Al-Qamar (The Moon)

I ask Allah to help you and aid you to success in your life.


بسم الله الرحمن الرحیم الحمدلله خلق الانسان علَّمه البیان نَزَّل القرآن بلسان عربیّ مبین، و الصلاة و السلام علی النبیّ العربیّ سیّد ولد آدم و خاتم الانبیاء و المرسلین

As far as I searched, there is no tradition to point that it is deemed as a Wajib (mandatory) practice for Muslim, but there are some case which make us learning Arabic. For example by learning Arabic, perhaps we can comprehend the holy Quran better which is in Arabic language, or in reading the origin hadiths and so forth.

On the other hand, Arabic language is considered as one of the most populous languages and in accordance with my research, Arabic is counted as the Sixth language of the world (from the aspect of the population).

There is a hadith from Imam Ali (peace be upon him) that says:

« تَعـَلـَّموا العَرَبیّــﮥ و عَـلِّـموها النّاسَ . Learn Arabic and teach it to the people.

Or Imam Sadiq (a.s.) said: تَـعَـلَّـموا العَرَبیّــﮥَ فَـإنَّـها کلامُ اللهِ الَّـذی یُـکَـلِّـمُ بِـهِ خَـلْـقَـهُ .

Learn Arabic, because this is the speech of the God who speaks to his creatures.

Even Imam Khomeini has illustrate concerning the significance of learning Arabic:

Do not say that Arabic is not from us, Arabic language is from us, Arabic language is the language of Islam and Islam is for all people.

It can be investigated from other aspects like:

  • Being able to speak with Arab Muslims in interchanging the Islamic knowledge and civilizations and so forth.

  • Being able to have discussion with other Muslims (Arabs) regarding Islamic issues such as Quran, hadiths and so forth.

  • Being able to watching other Islamic Arabic channels of TV and radio and obtaining Islamic and scientific revenue by watching and hearing them.

  • Finally it could be a more unity between Muslims in different languages.




I don't think that it is necessary per se to know Arabic to be a Muslim; what is important is to understand the religious tradition; and to follow its precepts to the extent one can.

It's probably enough to learn by heart some of the verses so one can carry out prayers correctly; though if someone has come to Islam late in life I'd encourage them to memorise the verses in their own language.

I wouldn't discourage someone attempting to learn Qur'anic Arabic; so long as they are doing it for the right reasons: because they enjoy it, because they have a natural knack to picking up languages, because they are young enough that languages come easily, because they have a natural scholarly bent or because they are a native Arabic speaker and so learning Qur'anic Arabic isn't such a huge jump - all this is particular to a person, his talents and his circumstances.

But it's definitely not a duty, or obligatory; and in some ways can distract from what it means to be a Muslim i.e. worrying over your lack of Arabic instead of considering what it means to be a Muslim.


Assalamu Alaikom, Congratulations and May Allah the Exalted make you steadfast on the new path of Islam. Learning Arabic is not an obligation to enter Islam. However it is a no-brainer to strive to learn Arabic to be as good a Muslim as you can be. "Islam" is an Arabic word. The Qur'an is an Arabic book. Mohammad Peace be upon him is an Arab person. So, technically it would be like saying I am an American student in the American public school system but I do not speak English. Your experience in school will be lacking at best. Please understand that you can be a good Muslim without mastering the Arabic language but it will still be an awkward situation: On the one hand you want to be a "Good Muslim" yet on the other hand, you did not care to learn the language of your religion! Thousands of resources are out there standing by for you to make the first step and learn for free. There is nothing that remotely comes close to interacting with the Divine Word of Allah without the constant need for a human intervention (translation).

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