Arabic has an effect on one’s thinking, behavior and religious commitment

Shaykhul Islaam Ahmad ibn Taymiyyah 728AH [May Allah have mercy on him] said,

“Know that being used to using a language has a clear and strong effect on one’s thinking, behavior and religious commitment. It also has an effect on making one resemble the early generations of this Ummah, the Companions, and the Tabi’een [those who came after the Companions]. Being like the improves one’s thinking, religious commitment and behavior. Moreover, the Arabic language itself is part of Islam, and knowing Arabic is an obligatory duty. If it is a duty to understand the Qur’an and Sunnah, and they cannot be understood without knowing Arabic, then the means that is needed to fulfill the duty is also obligatory.

There are things which are obligatory on all individuals [fard al-‘ayn], and others which are obligatory on the community or Ummah [fard al-kifaayah, i.e., if some people fulfill them the rest are relieved of the obligation].

This is the meaning of the report narrated by Abu Bakr ibn Abi Shaybah who said: ‘Eesa bin Yunus told us from Thawr from ‘Umar bin Yazeed that ‘Umar wrote to Abu Musaa [may Allah be pleased with them both] and said:

‘Learn the Sunnah and learn Arabic; learn the Qur’an in Arabic for it is Arabic.’

According to another hadeeth narrated from ‘Umar [may Allah be pleased with him], he said:

‘Learn Arabic, for it is part of your religion, and learn how the estate of the deceased should be divided [fara’id] for these are part of your religion.’

This command of ‘Umar, to learn Arabic and Sharee’ah, combines the things that are needed, for religion involves understanding words and actions. Understanding Arabic is the way to understand the words of Islam, and understanding the Sunnah is the way to understand the actions of Islam”

أعلم أن اعتياد اللغة يؤثر في العقل والخلق والدين تأثيراً قوياً بيناً
و يؤثر أيضاً على مشابهة صدر هذه الأمة من الصحابة والتابعين، ومشابهتهم تزيد في العقل والدين والخلق.
وأيضاً فإن نفس اللغة العربية من الدين، ومعرفتها فرض واجب ؛ فإن فهم الكتاب والسنة فرض ولا يفهم إلابفهم اللغة العربية، وما لا يتم الواجب إلا به فهو واجب.

ثم منها ما هو واجب على الأعيان، ومنهاما هو واجب على الكفاية

وهذا معنى ما رواه أبو بكر ابن أبي شيبة قال: حدثنا عيسى بن يونس عن ثور عن عمر بن يزيد قال: كتب عمر الى أبي موسى رضي الله عنهم

 أما بعد: فتفقهوا  في السنة و تفقهوا في العربية و أعربوا القران فانه عربي 

و في حديث اخر عن عمر رضي الله عنه أنه قال: تعلموا العربية فانها من دينكم و تعلموا الفرائض فانها من دينكم

وهذا الذي أمر به عمر رضي الله عنه من فقه العربية وفقه الشريعة يجمع مايحتاج إليه؛ لأن الدين فيه فقه أقوال وأعمال، ففقه العربية هو الطريق إلى فقه أقواله، وفقه السنة هو الطريق إلى فقه أعماله

Source: Sharh Iqtidaa as-Siraat al-Mustaqeem pg.345 [Official print from the Mu’assasah ash-Shaykh Muhammad bin Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen al-Khayriyyah]

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