Washington Post shares another article about Muslims, “In U.S. mosques, a debate over English” by Associated Press Rachel Zoll . What’s most disappointing about this article isthat main stream media is highlighting some of our biggest flaws as a Muslim ummah (community): We are unorganized, petty, uncompromising, and frighteningly uneducated in our own deen (way of life, or religion).
My dear brothers and sisters, in our very own book–The Qur’an states
It is He Who has sent down to you (Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him) the book (this Qur’an). In it are Verses that are entirely clear, they are the foundations of the book [and those are the Verses of Al-Ahkam (commandments), Al-Fara'id (obligatory duties) and Al-Hudud (legal laws for the punishment of thieves, adulterers)]; and others not entirely clear. So as for those in whose hearts there is a deviation (from the truth) they follow that which is not entirely clear thereof, seeking Al-Fitnah (polytheism and trials), and seeking for its hidden meanings, but none knows its hidden meanings save Allah. And those who are firmly grounded in knowledge say: “We believe in it; the whole of it (clear and unclear Verses) are from our Lord.” And none receive admonition except men of understanding. (Tafsir At-Tabari).
(Surah Aal-e-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse #7)
- By debating which language an Imam should use in the masjid (house of worship), we are creating al-fitnah (trials, problems, harmful issues, and conflict) amongst ourselves and to others. We need to follow the Qur’an, as shown here:
And this is a blessed book (the Qur’an) which We have sent down, so follow it and fear Allah (i.e. do not disobey His Orders), that you may receive mercy (i.e. be saved from the torment of Hell).
(Surah Al-Anaam, Chapter #6, Verse #155)
- Regarding this unnecessary debate, our glorious Qur’an states:
And We sent not a Messenger except with the language of his people, in order that he might make (the Message) clear for them. Then Allah misleads whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise. (Surah Ibraaheem, Chapter #14, Verse #4)
Subhanallah, Glory be to God, in this fatwa regarding using another language besides Arabic in our khutbah, the sheikh shares,
And the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded Zayd ibn Thaabit to learn the language of the Jews so that he might send letters to them in their language and establish proof against them, and so that he might read their letters when they were sent, and explain to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) what they said. And when the Sahaabah (may Allaah be pleased with them) attacked the Romans and Persians, they did not fight them until they had called them to Islam by means of interpreters. When they conquered the foreign countries they called the people to Allaah in Arabic and commanded the people to learn it. Whoever among them did not know Arabic, they called him in his own language and made him understand what was meant in the language that he did understand. Thus proof was established. Undoubtedly this is the only way, especially at the end of time when Islam is like a stranger and every people is clinging to its own language. There is a very real need for translation now, and the daa’iyah cannot convey his message without it.
The khateeb should do that which best suits the interests of the people he is addressing. If the best is to give the khutbah part by part, in Arabic and then translated, then he should do that. If the best is to translate the entire khutbah, after giving the khutbah (in Arabic) or after the prayer, then he should do that. And Allaah knows best.
Another disheartening part of this article is how the khateeb did not show his knowledge of these verses in the Qu’ran, Sunnah or fatwa to support his decision to use both Arabic and English in his khutbah. With all due respect to Imam Hassan al-Qazwini, May Allah be pleased with his efforts, accept his good deeds and reward him, Ameen; if all Imams simply used these known facts, the debate would end.
To end the article by sharing that other Muslims think he’s “too Americanized” and “We have to be realistic”, he (a religious leader) is showing lack of knowledge. Meanwhile, opening the doors for non-Muslims (and Muslims like me) to find this needless debate laughable. The solution to this problem is a no-brainer, even to my little girls who witnessed khutbahs in dozen of European languages before.
We must stop using the excuse that “our” issues are significant to our own time, location and circumstances here in the U.S., especially since more than 70% of all the Muslims in the world are not Arabs.
We must stand with a forceful voice that this is time to return to the fundamentals of our religion by following the Qur’an and Sunnah; regardless where we live, where we come from, or where we’re going!
Since we live in such a tumultuous time right now; we need to trust our scholars as they debate areas that are not entirely clear, and leave the rest to Allah, as He knows best.
So, let’s stand together on issues that already have answers; such as speaking English in American masjids, and move on.
We’re always curious what you have to share, so please comment kindly below.
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