Arabic: Can non-Muslims teach Arabic?

Q43 :In my village in India, a young woman who is not a Muslim was appointed by the government as a primary school teacher and was given the task of teaching Arabic, since she is a graduate of Arabic. Muslim parents have refused to allow her to teach their children the language of the Qur'an as they claim this is not allowed by Islam. Is this true?

A43 : It is examples like that which strengthen my belief that the most important thing Muslims need these days is a good knowledge of Islam. You have here a situation where Muslim parents prefer their children not to learn Arabic because the teacher is a non-Muslim. From where did they get the notion that a teacher of Arabic must be a Muslim. I do not know. The notion is highly mistaken. It cannot be supported by any logical reason. These parents may think that because Arabic is the language of the Qur'an, it is sacred. There is no such thing as a sacred language. Indeed, Islam does not speak of anything as sacred or holy. These parents may think that an Arabic teacher will have to teach their children passages of the Qur'an. As a non-Muslim, their teacher is not allowed to read the Qur'an, or so they think. Little do they realize that Allah has addressed the Qur'an to non-believers on every occasion, so that they might listen to its argument and realize the truthfulness of its message. If we were to stop non-Muslims from listening to the Qur'an and learning its message, how do we expect them to have a favorable view of Islam? Nor is there any evidence to support the view of these Muslim parents. Indeed, we have evidence to show the fallacy of their view. After the battle of Badr, the Muslims were left with 70 prisoners of war. The Prophet decided to allow their relatives to buy their freedom. However, to those prisoners of war who were able to read and write, he made the offer that they could buy their freedom by teaching ten Muslim children to read and write. Obviously those teachers were teaching Muslim children Arabic writing and reading. They worshipped idols and associated partners with Allah. They indeed were polytheists. But that did not stop the Prophet asking them to teach Muslim children their Arabic language. Some of these polytheists accepted the Prophet's offer and completed their task of teaching Muslim children writing and reading, and then they were set free. You may tell those Muslim parents in your village this example, to help them benefit by the services of the Arabic teacher. Otherwise, their children may not be able to learn Arabic. Having said that, I realize that if the Arabic teacher in your village was a good scholar of Qur'an, he or she can be an infinitely better teacher. But if such a person is not available, let us make use of the facility which is available.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )