Prayer & supplication: Must it be in
Q464 :Many of us speak little Arabic. Is it
permissible to use one's mother tongue in saying our supplication
during various stages of prayer? A friend of mine says that all
supplications during prayer must be in Arabic. I feel that the Prophet
and his companions used Arabic because it was their mother tongue.
Please comment. If a person does not speak Arabic at all, but has
learned the meaning of the Qur'an in his language, can he use such
translation in his prayer?
A464 : All scholars agree that anyone who offers
prayers must read the Al-Fatihah and the Qur'an in Arabic. It is not
possible to use translation, as I have explained on several occasions.
If a person does not know the Fatihah, but knows another passage of the
Qur'an, he is required to say in each rak'ah a passage of similar
length to the Fatihah. If he does not know any part of the Qur'an in
Arabic, he must learn. If he fears that he would miss his prayers
before he could learn, he should glorify Allah, using the well known
formula: Subhan Allah, Alhamdulillah, La ilaha illa Allah, Allahu
Akbar, la hawla wala qowwata illa billah. If a person cannot learn all
these five phrases, he learns what he can of them and repeats them.
This is the case of a man who could not learn any verse of the Qur'an;
the Prophet taught him a few simple phrases in Arabic to repeat them in
his prayers. He did not tell him to glorify Allah in silence.
Therefore, when you offer your prayer, you should say the Qur'an in
Arabic and also any glorification or supplication. When you have
finished your prayers, you can say any supplication in your language.
Supplication in prayer can concentrate on what you have learned to say
in Arabic. If you learn one sentence, to appeal to Allah to admit you
into heaven and spare you any punishment in the hereafter, that is more
than sufficient. You can include everything else in your supplication
after prayer in your language. It is not true that the Prophet and his
companions used Arabic because it was their mother tongue. The Prophet
used Arabic in prayer because he had to read the Qur'an in prayer and
the Qur'an, Allah's words, is in Arabic. Any translation of it is not
the Qur'an, but an explanation of its meaning. That translator may have
to change the order of the original text in order to fit his text with
the grammar into which he is translating. No one can change the order
of the Qur'anic words. Had Allah wanted the Prophet to offer his
prayers in any other language, He would have told him so and would have
made it easy for him to learn that language. But Allah wants us to use
His Book in our prayer. As it is well known to everyone, His Book has
been revealed in Arabic.
Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )