May 23, 2012, 3:58 PM
The Arabic Language
The final channel for solidarity and unity is a common language. We know that there are cultures, ethnicities and sects who are sensitive to this issue, but the task is to look beyond these sensitivities. In saying what we do, we do not speak with any trace of nationalism of loyalty to cultural or ethnic interests; rather, we speak thoroughly our Islamic conscience on this mater, and say, with humility and meekness, that the Arabic language-the language of the Quran-has to serve as the medium for the communication of feeling and ideas amongst the Muslims. Today, for all intents and purposes, English has become the lingua franca of the world. Why it is that Arabic is not so for the Muslims? When we say this, we do not mean hat other languages should not be annihilated. After all, other languages are an expression of Allah’s will in as far as His creation is concerned:
Among his signs are the creation of the Heavens and earth, and the difference of your languages and colors.
The rise of nationalism amongst the Muslims is a byproduct of Western colonialism and imperialism. Never was the Arabic language meant to be a nationalist, ethnic or racial language, and in a sense, the voluntary adoption of the Arabic language is meant to undermine nationalism itself. Those "national" heroes who appropriated the language of the Quran were in the service of colonialism and imperialism as their policies spread the bug of nationalism inside and outside the Arabic speaking realm. All we are saying in simple terms is that the non-Arabic speaking Muslims be given the opportunity to learn the language of the Quran besides his mother tongue. This leaning opportunity will serve as a basis for cross-cultural, transnational and inter-Islamic communication and understanding. There are many people in the world who speak two to three languages besides their mother-tongue. Why are we Muslims discourage or prohibited from acquiring the language of the Quran as our second or third language?
It is a sad state of affairs when a Muslim from one part of the world comes across a Muslim from another part, and their common language of communication is English. Ironically, the Hebrew language to a certain extent was rehabilitated and revitalized by reference to the Arabic language, thus giving Zionists their medium of communication, while Muslims have, for all practical purpose, abandoned this common language, and in the process allowed for the usurpers to occupy their lands in Palestine.
The effective and actual consolidation of the Muslims needs a common conversational language, and this must be Arabic. We say this not out of bias or favoritism towards Arabic or of one language over another. The Arabic language is the language of choice here because it is the language of the Quran, the language of the Prophet(s), the language of Imams (r) and the language of our daily prayers-which is in reality our communion with Allah (swt). There is no Muslim who can offer his salah without reciting the Fatihah in Arabic. There is no Muslim who says "Allabu Akbar" in a language besides that of the Quran. And there is no Muslim who can recite the Quran, a devotional recitation, in a language other than Arabic. In fact, it can be argued that a total ignorance of Arabic amounts to a partial ignorance of Islam.
The Arabic language is not only the language of Islamic devotion, the Quran and Sunnah; it is also the language of the Islamic intellectual heritage. All the important Islamic scholars who gained mastery in their respective true filed of specialization authored their works in Arabic. This is equally true of Islamic exegetes, philosophers and Sufis. Abandoning the Arabic language is tantamount to deserting the Islamic intellectual legacy and to dispense with the likes of Abd al-Qahir al-Jurjani, Abu al- Faraj al-Isfahani, Abu Hamid al-Ghazali, al-Sharif al-Radi, Abu Bakr al-Razi and other great personalities. For this and may other reasons, one cannont deny that Arabic is the language of Islam and hence must be the language that will facilitate the process of ta 'aruf.
Political and Economic Implications.
The above is a brief sketch of preliminary ideas that will assist us in closing our ranks and expelling the disturbed thoughts we often have regarding each other. Of course, such a task is not easy due to the many political and social obstacles that prevent ta 'arfu from becoming a reality. Hence, it becomes the issue of the hour to concentrate on pertinent political issue and developments that has always been a barrier among the Muslims of the world.
From the outset, Muslims must realize that they are duty-bound to have a central Islamic point of reference, a type of political consensus which entails a corresponding economic system. Though we are often eager to join other commonwealths (perhaps due to the less than favorable opinion we have of ourselves), we do not have as of yet an Islamic Commonwealth. The following is a rough outline that will help jump-start an Islamic solidarity movement:
1- Muslims are required by their faith to be independent of other power blocs in the world and to rely on their own potential and power. Never should Muslims depend on their enemies nor refer to them in matters of inter-Islamic disagreements, as the following verse attests to:
As for such (of the God-deniers) as do not fight against you on account of (your) commitment and faith, and neither drive you forth from your homelands, Allah does not forbid you to show them kindness and to behave towards them with full equity; verily, Allah loves those who act equitably. Allah only forbids you to turn in alliance towards such as fight against you because of (your) commitment and faith, and drive you forth from your homelands, or aid (others) in driving you forth; and as for those (from among you) who turn towards them in alliance, it is they, they who are truly offenders.
This Quranic "common sense" inhabits and disallows Muslim policy-makers from taking sides with enemies who are guilty of expelling Muslims populations from their countries, or who are guilty of excluding a portion of a Muslim population from their country. They may not ally themselves with allies of such imperialist and Zionist powers. They may not find common purpose with powers that attack Muslims and oppress them. And they may not offer such aggressors and occupiers any their territories or facilities for such acts of aggression and war.
2- No Islamic head of state may place his confidence in advisers, consultants or experts who have no confidence in Allah and who do not submit to Allah (swt). The Quran is very clear on this issue:
O you who are securely committed to Allah! Do not ally yourselves with people who are not your kind. They spare no effort to corrupt you; they would love to see you in distress. Vehement hatred has already come into the open from out of their mouths but what their hearts conceal is yet worse. We have indeed made the demonstration (of this fact) clear unto you, if you would but use your reason. Lo! It is you who (are prepared to) love them, but they will not love you, although you are committed to all of the revelation. And when they meet you, they assert, "We believe (as you believe)"; but when they find themselves alone, they gnaw their fingers in rage against you. Say: "Perish in your rage! Behold, Allah has full knowledge of what is in the hearts (of men)!” If good fortune comes to you, it grieves them; and if evil befalls you, they rejoice in it. But if you are patient in adversity and conscious of Allah, their guile cannot harm you at all; verily, Allah encompasses (with His might) all that they do.