Imam Ilyas Sidyot

Questions and Answers

Question: 017

In our city, one of Christian sister converted to Islam. Now five times is fardh on her but she cannot read it in Arabic. Even if she tries to pray in Arabic, she doesn't understand. Can she read Salat in English. If she is allowed, then why not I should pray in Urdu although I am born Muslim, but I still cannot focus on the meanings while reading in the Arabic language. Please give solid reason as I do not agree with preservation of Islam as what is the use when you cannot benefit from it. We should not worry about Hifaazat of Qur'aan as Allah has already taken the responsibility.


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu `alaykumwa-rahmatullāhiwa-barakātuh.

Brother in Islam,

JazakAllah for your query.

There are two questions essentially being queried:

1. Can a Christian sister who recently converted to Islam pray Salaah in English as she cannot read Arabic?

2. If she is allowed, then why can I not pray in Urdu since I cannot focus on the meanings?

Hereunder is our response:

A revert may recite SubhanAllah in Salaah. Surely, a revert can read that much. If one is unable to recite that much, then it will be permissible to recite some portion of the Qur’an in English.

The revert will have to make an effort to learn some portion of the Qur’an.
You state that if the revert is permitted to perform Salaah in English, then why can’t you perform Salaah in the Urdu language. As we explained above, the revert should recite in Arabic once she learns how to recite in Arabic.

Furthermore, if you have so much zeal and enthusiasm to understand the Qur’an, by now you should have learnt Arabic to enrich your Eemaan and Ibaadat!

If you did not do so as yet, you can still learn the Arabic language. You can still make a concerted effort and learn the Arabic language.

I t seems as if you have an issue with understanding why the Qur’an has to be recited in Salaah whereas you cannot understand the Qur’an.

Salaah is an act of Ibaadah that is Tawqeefi (transcendent of logic). Likewise, the different acts in Salaah like Rukoo, Sajdah, Qiyaam, Qiraat, Jalsah, Tashahhud, e.t.c are all transcendent of our weak intellectual capacities.

The recitation of the Qur’an in Salaah is also an Ibaadah (act of worship) that is Tawqeefi. We cannot reason with the rulings and injunctions of the Shariah. There are so many other acts of worship which transcend logic.

If you are going to start reasoning with why the recitation of the Qur’an in Arabic, what guarantee do you have that you won’t start questioning other acts of Ibaadah which are Tawqeefi. You may start questioning why do I have to perform four rakaats Salaah, why do I have to perform Salaah at a particular time, why do I need to perform Salaah in the Musjid, why do I need to face the Qiblah, why do I need to go for Hajj, why do I need to fast.

All these are acts of Ibaadat which transcend our weak intellectual capacities. We simply submit to the dictates of Islam and the Shariah. Outwardly, these acts of Ibaadat may seem apparently illogical to the human mind, but Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) has wisdom for each and every dictate, ruling and injunction of the Shariah.

Similarly, reciting the Qur’an in Arabic especially in Salaah is an injunction of Shariah which we have to follow. Therefore, we simply submit to the dictates of the Shariah.

It is true that Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) has taken the responsibility to preserve the Qur’an. That refers to the actual Arabic words of the Qur’an as well as the meanings of the Qur’an.

Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) preserved the Qur’an through human beings (Huffaz –Ulema), by giving them Tawfeeq to memorize the Qur’an and understanding the Qur’an. This has nothing to do with the obligation of reciting the Qur’an in Arabic in Salaah.

Understanding the Qur’an is not restricted to reading it in Urdu, English, Portuguese, e.t.c in Salaah.

You can learn Arabic, become an Alim and understand the Qur’an and teach the Qur’an to others.

And Allah knows best.

Ismail Desai
Durban, South Africa
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved
Mufti Ebrahim Desai

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