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What is the ruling on Arabs learning English?

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Publication : 09-03-2008

Views : 7992

Question

What is the ruling on learning English nowadays?

Answer

Praise be to Allaah.

Learning it is a means. If there is a need for it as a means of calling people to Allaah, then learning it may be obligatory. If there is no need to learn it, then do not occupy your time with that or let it distract you from things which are more important and more beneficial. People vary with regard to how much they need to learn English. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded Ibn Thaabit to learn the language of the Jews. Zayd ibn Thaabit said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) commanded me to learn the language and writing of the Jews for him. He said, ‘By Allaah, I do not trust a Jew to write my letters for me.’ So I learned it, and no more than half a month passed by before I had mastered it. I used to write it for him if he wanted a letter written, and I would read it for him if a letter was sent to him.” (Narrated by Abu Dawood, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, Baab Riwaayat Ahl al-Kitaab; Imaam Ahmad, part 5, p. 186; al-Haakim, al-Mustadrak, part 1, p. 75 – he said it is a saheeh hadeeth, and al-Dhahabi agreed with him). 

Learning English is one of the means which, if you need it you may learn it, and if you do not need it then do not waste your time with it. 

Source: From Fataawa al-Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Kitaab al-‘Ilm, p. 120

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