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Offering Salah in English

Question Dear scholars, As-Salamu `alaykum. I recently spent some time

with a Muslim family in which the husband was a conert to
Islam. I was surprised to find that he hasn!t missed a sin"le #rayer
$Salah% in & years, ma sha Allah. 'oweer, he told me that he
doesn!t do the prayers in Arabic, instead, completely in (n"lish.
Is this allowed) *a+akum Allah khayran.
Wa `alaykum As-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All raise an! thanks are !ue to Allah, an! eace an! "lessin#s "e uon
$is Messen#er.
Dear brother in Islam, we are really impressed by your question, which shows
how concerned you are about the affairs of your fellow Muslims and your interest
to abide by the Shari`ah in all details of your life. May Allah help us all lead a
righteous life based on Islam!
ear in mind that the !rophet "peace and blessings be upon him# said, %&rayer
is the cornerstone of reli#ion'( !rayer stands as the second pillar of Islam
after testifying that there is no god but Allah and Muhammad is $is final
Messenger. %he !rophet "peace and blessings be upon him# said, %Islam is
"uilt uon fi)e illars* testifyin# that there is no true #o! e+cet Allah an!
that Muhamma! is the Messen#er of Allah, erformin# &rayer, ayin# the
,akah, makin# the il#rima#e to the Sacre! $ouse -$a../, an! fastin# the
month of Rama!an.( "&eported by Al'u(hari#
&esponding to your question, Sheikh Ahma! 0utty, a senior lecturer and
Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of %oronto, )ntario, *anada, states+
,!rayer "the word as commonly understood by the -nglish spea(ing people# is of
two (inds in Islam+ )ne is the formal daily act of worship called Salah, and the
other is the more informal act of remembrance of Allah through supplications,
entreaties, meditations, etc. %he second is .ariously called dhikr and du`a.
/hereas the formal act of worship "i.e., Salah, including the obligatory,
recommended and the optional# must be said in Arabic, which is the language of
the 0ur1an, the informal prayers can be said in any language of one1s choice.
%he formal worship "Salah# is go.erned by strict rules2 the informal prayer "du`a
and dhikr, etc.# is,, fairly fle3ible. As regards Salah, the !rophet "peace
and blessings be upon him# repeatedly told the faithful+ %&erform Salah as you
ha)e seen me erformin#.( In conformity with this dictum, people
embraced Islam he insisted that they stay with him in order to learn the rules of
Salah. %han(s to his great e3ample, which was diligently followed by his
companions who carefully passed on the rules of Salah to the posterity, there is
e3traordinary uniformity in the manner of performing Salah among Muslims
throughout the world.
Salah must be performed as specifically taught and demonstrated by the !rophet
"peace and blessings be upon him#. It must be done in Arabic. Du`a and dhikr,, can be said in any language. It is, therefore, imperati.e on e.ery new
Muslim to learn the rules of Salah2 it is the priority of priorities for him4her to do
so. It must also be equally stressed that e.ery Muslim who facilitates the
con.ersion of anyone to Islam has an obligation to acquaint him4her with the
basic rules of Salah.
It is understandable that it is rather difficult for those who do not spea( Arabic to
say all of the Salah in Arabic. ut since Islam is fle3ible, the new Muslim can go
about learning it in a gradual way. S4$e can first start saying some tasbihs
"formulas of glorification of Allah# such as the words of subhana Allah, al-hamdu
lillah, la ilaha illla Allaha, etc.#, followed by memori5ing surat al'6atihah, and later
on the last short surahs of the 0ur1an "surahs 778, 779, 77:#. All of this, in sha
Allah "Allah willing#, should be fairly easy for him4her with Allah1s help and with a
bit of help from fellow Muslims.
;ow that a number of years ha.e elapsed the said brother1s con.ersion, it is
important for you and other fellow Muslims to inform him about the urgency of
learning to say his Salah in Arabic. %he best gift one can gi.e him for this
purpose is the boo( entitled Islam in Focus by $ammudah Abdul Ati "published
by Al'6alah 6oundation for %ranslation, !ublication < Distribution, -gypt#. =ou
can read it online on the following >&?+

-3cerpted, with slight modifications, from+
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