Saturday 16 Thu al-Hijjah 1445 - 22 June 2024
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A Christian Wants to Become Muslim and is Asking about the Prayer

Question

I have not read about the prayers anywhere yet, at least how they are performed. (movements, speech ie: what is said if anything specific). How can one convert not knowing Arabic? Isn't this the only language the Qu'ran should be read and recited in?

Answer

Praise be to Allah.

Prayer is the greatest of the pillars of Islam after the Shahaadatayn (twin declaration of faith). What is obligatory is five prayers during the day and night. This establishes a relationship between a person and his Lord, in which a person finds peace, happiness and contentment, as he stands before his Lord and speaks to Him, and calls upon Him and converses with Him, and prostrates before Him, complains to Him of his worries and sorrows, and turns to Him at times of calamity. 

Whatever has been said to you about the prayer, nothing can really describe how great and important it is, and no one can appreciate it except the one who tastes its joy and spends his nights in prayer and fills his days with it. It is the delight of those who believe in the Oneness of God and the joy of the believers. 

Allah has prescribed purification before the prayer, so that the body is cleansed of impurities and sins are washed away. For the Muslim does not wash any of his limbs but sins are washed away with the water, or with the last drop of water, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) told us. 

With regard to how the prayer is done, it involves standing, saying “Allahu akbar (Allah is Most Great)”, reciting Quran, bowing and prostrating. All you have to do is go to an Islamic Centre in your country to see how the Muslims pray and learn about it.  

The fact that a person does not know Arabic does not affect his Islam, and it does not deprive him of the honour of belonging to the faith. How many people’s hearts are opened to Islam every day, who do not know even one letter of Arabic. 

There are thousands of Muslims in India, Pakistan, the Philippines and elsewhere who have memorized the Quran by heart, but not one of them can hold a lengthy conversation in Arabic. That is because Allah has made the Quran easy, and has made it easy for people to memorize it, as Allah says (interpretation of the meaning): 

“And We have indeed made the Quran easy to understand and remember; then is there any one who will remember (or receive admonition)?” [al-Qamar 54:17]

In the prayer the Muslim must recites Soorat al-Faatihah in Arabic, so he has to learn it. If he is unable to do so but he knows one verse of it, he should repeat it seven times, which is the number of verses in Soorat al-Faatihah. If he is unable to do that then he should say: “Subhaan Allah, wa’l-hamdu Lillaah, wa laa ilaaha ill-Allah, wa Allahu akbar, wa laa ilaaha ill-Allah, wa laa hawla wa laa quwwata illa Billaah (Glory be to Allah, praise be to Allah, there is no god except Allah, Allah is Most Great, there is no god but Allah, and there is no power and no strength except with Allah).” See question no. 5410

The matter is easy, praise be to Allah. How many people have learned to speak a language other than their own very well, even two or three languages, so how can they be unable to learn thirty or forty words that they need in their prayers? 

If the language was really an obstacle, you would not find millions of Muslims who are not Arabs, who perform the acts of worship with ease, praise be to Allah. 

So hasten to enter Islam, for no one knows when his appointed time (i.e. death) will come. May Allah save you and keep you safe from His wrath and punishment. 

All you have to do to enter this great religion is to say, “Ash-hadu an laa ilaaha ill-Allah wa ash-hadu anna Muhammadan ‘abduhu wa Rasooluhu (I bear witness that there is no god except Allah and I bear witness that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger),” and you will find people among your Muslim brothers who will help you to learn the prayer and other matters of Islam. 

Please also see the following questions: 219, 12376, 6389, 6706, 378, 2585, 20239, 10590, 4319 

And Allah knows best.

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Source: Islam Q&A