Muslims offer prayer and recite Quran in Arabic. What is the significance of Arabic language for worship according to Quran and Sunnah? Is there any hadith or verse of Quran that makes the Arabic language necessary for worship?


7 Answers 7


The main goal is to set one language among Muslims. While the other reason might be that there's no exact translation of Quran in any language. Perhaps this is the reason that it remains unchanged after many decades which is what we rarely see in other religions.

However, Muslims may also say dua in their own words and languages for any issue they wish to communicate with God in the hope that God will answer their prayers.

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    Although your answer seems convincing but the question is whether there is any reference in Hadith and Quran that supports this justification? Jun 19, 2012 at 21:37
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    @HasanKhan: I mostly answered the "Why do Muslims offer prayers in Arabic?" part, I'll try to add it to my answer.
    – user8749
    Jun 19, 2012 at 21:44
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    Hoping that God will answer the prayers is weakness of faith in Him. It should rather be He will answer. Nov 24, 2013 at 18:25
  • "The main goal is to set one language among Muslims" So, logically, If it's the main reason, English could be used now, and there's no problem to use the language the most used?
    – Quidam
    Dec 22, 2016 at 3:01

Asalamu wa alaikum,

Because The Quran was revealed in clear understandable Arabic and the recitation of the Quran in Arabic has so Much blessings, and because Islam started where Arabic was in, another reason is also to set a common language for Muslims, and Arabic has a lot of significance one because of the Qur'an. These are the reasons why we give the prayer in Arabic, another reason is ,

The Prophet May Peace be Upon Him said: (Pray like you see me pray), Riadussaliheen/in a narration from Bukari

And He Prayed in Arabic, so we follow Him and Pray in Arabic. But, if you are new to Islam, and don't know how to pray, then you learn how to pray and in it you can say:

سبحان الله، و الحمد لله، و لا إله إلا الله، و الله أكبر، و لا حول و لا قوة إلا بالله

Glory be to Allah, praise be to Allah, there is no god except Allah and Allah is Most great, there is no god except Allah and there is no power and no strength except with Allah

until you learn Surahs and the other things that is required for you to say in Salat/prayer. And you should strive your best to learn the language of the Quran/Arabic. Source

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    You're missing the citation of hadith. Jun 19, 2012 at 21:36
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    The answer is as @AlUmmat said, and also a reason is that a lot of words said in Arabic in prayer loses their full meaning if they are translated into another language. Jun 20, 2012 at 16:06
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    "But In salaat there is really no language barrier" oh yes there is unless you would say anything beside those which are Wajib (or even Mustahab). Maybe your answer is specifically true for Sunni brothers, but anyway can you back that claim of yourself with an authentic reference, please?
    – owari
    Jan 9, 2013 at 21:00

It seems that the root of Arabic language goes back to Ibrahim which is central in Islam's history (e.g. verse 2:129). Therefore Arabic is not just a random language, it is a language based on the language used by Ibrahim. Ibrahim left his community and created two new communities one of them being in Mecca and the origin of Arabs. The Arabic language has inherited the culture that Ibrahim has created and the words he has used. If one understand the significance of Ibrahim then understanding the significance of Arabic language is not difficult.

There has been some linguistic studies (e.g. by Toshihiko Izutsu) which show that although the language of Quran is Arabic it is significantly different from the Arabic language used by Arab population during the prophet's time (and it is probably also significantly different from the Arabic language used in daily life by Arabs). It seems that Quran is reshaping the Arabic language as it uses it.

I hope that this in addition to the fact that Quran is revealed in Arabic helps with understanding the importance of Arabic language in Islam.


You can translate a narrator’s book into different language with a very good translation, so that the reader of the later language understands the same things as the reader of the original language does.

However, this is not the same for the case of translating Quran. Quran is not a book written by human; it is brought down from sky (sema) by Allah himself. Its words and sentences have great precision in meaning. In order to understand a single ayat, one should analyze every word in the ayat, in both the usage of in other ayats and in etymological meaning.

Quran cannot be perfectly translated into another language. This doesn't mean that non-Arabic people shouldn't read Quran translations in their own languages. They can read Quran translations, but they must be aware that they are not reading the original Quran, and what they are reading is only a translation which hold only surface of the information; they are missing the deeper meanings.

Because of these reason, it is not a custom to read Quran in non-Arabic languages. However, there is no common vision about this matter. Some people say that Quran must be read in Arabic no matter what. Some say that it can/must be read in native language. Some say that it is important to maximize the comprehension of what you read (which roughly means that new readers should read their own language to take the "surface" of the information, as soon as they cover the "surface" they should switch back to Arabic to get the deeper vast information.).


For just the remembrance of Allah, recitation of Quran in Arabic is not necessary. However, if you will insaallah get to know Quran at a more deeper level, you will realize that every word used in Quran has a specific purpose and there is no single exact substitute for any word. Furthermore, the roots of the words lets you see the connections between different concepts. By translating words you are hiding all these and eliminating the divinity of the Book. In short, you would want to preserve the original, so that when you recite Quran, your recitation is not restricted to the evident meaning or a single heaven/dimension.

Always remember, when you translate an ayat, you are reading from the Book, whereas when you read the original ayat, you are reading the Book (either you understand it or not). Thus, the aim should be to recite the original ayat, but also to either learn the verse you are reciting or (ideally) learn Arabic language itself.

Please also note that Allah says over and over in Quran that His kalam is revealed in Arabic. I believe this is because it is a language suitable for carrying this divine message. I don't know if it is the only, but at least it is one of those.

  • The problem your stating here for not using another language doesn't seem to be isolated from people who only know and understand the Arabic version of the Quran. Studying many translations may bring out much of the meaning that can be lost in translation. More importantly though studying the original can bring about all the meaning present in the Quran, and remembering this meaning is more likely when reading the translation than reading the original when you dont know classical Arabic.
    – user13203
    Feb 6, 2016 at 4:36

There is no reference in the Quran or Hadith to speak in Arabic during prayer. I suspect I'll testify to this fact on judgement day. (Maybe even testifying as I am led to the pit of fire.) I still translate the prayer to English as I say it in Arabic now that I think about it. When I'm not thinking or translating it I find myself at time lost as to which point in the prayer I am. Saying it in Arabic is a cultural thing just like the wall in the Mosque and the sects that divide Muslims... and divide Christians and divide Jews.

Now, I don't say this to be a trouble maker but I'm just hoping that some people will think about it a little more.

Peace (or maybe I must use Salaam instead?)


Just giving my thoughts and also I think explanation given above is good enough for any person to realize importance of Arabic language in Islam. The most important points are that Quran is in Arabic Language and Prophet Muhammad (may peace be upon him) and his companions spoke Arabic language.

My first language is not Arabic and when I speak Arabic I do need to put my brain to work on translation because I need perfection like I speak my first language. And that is the reason I feel comfort in speaking my first language. If someone can achieve that level of perfection in 2nd Language then he/she can give full concentration on actual topic of discussion. Level of comfort is the most important point because speaking words without knowing exact meanings is almost useless.

The day I will say my Language is Arabic I will have a reason behind that is "Perfection" which I got just because Quran is in Arabic and Muhammad (peace be upon him) spoke Arabic. And I believe the same way a person can memorize whole the Quran.

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