Reciting the Qur’an in English?: Sheikh bin Baaz

Sheikh ‘Abd al-‘Aziz bin Baaz, the former mufti of Saudi Arabia, received and answered the following question:

هل القرآن الكريم قراءته بغير لسان عربي في ذلك إثم؛ لأنني أقرأ وأترجم من كتاب التفسير لابن كثير لإخوتي في الله من غير العرب باللغة الإنجليزية؟ آمل أن يأتيني منكم الرد سريعاً، جزاكم الله خيراً؟. ـ

Question: Is there any sin in reciting the Qur’an in some language other than Arabic? I ask because I read and translate some parts of the tafsir of ibn Kathir into English for some of my non-Arab sisters in faith. I hope that you could respond to us soon! May Allah reward you with good!

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمد لله ، وصلى الله وسلم على رسول الله ، وعلى آله وأصحابه ومن اهتدى بهداه : ـ

Response: In the name of Allah, al-Rahman, al-Raheem. All praise is due to Allah, and may Allah bestow His peace and blessings upon the Messenger of Allah, and upon his family, his companions, and whoever follows his guidance.

أما بعد: فإن الله – عز وجل – أنزل كتابه الكريم باللغة العربية ، وهو قرآن عربي فلا يجوز أن يقرأ بغير العربية ، وإنما تترجم معانيه إلى اللغات الأخرى لتفهيم المعنى وتعليم المعنى حتى يتعلم أصحاب اللغات غير العربية معاني كلام الله – عز وجل – وحتى يستفيدوا من أحكام كتابه – سبحانه وتعالى – ، ولكن عليهم أن يتعلموا لفظ القرآن حتى يقرءوا به في الصلاة وخارج الصلاة باللغة العربية ، ـ

To proceed: Allah sent down His Book in the Arabic language and it is an Arabic Qur’an, so it is not allowed to recite it in any other language. And you are only translating its meanings into another language, in order to teach its meanings and help others understand them so that these non-Arabic speakers could learn the meanings of Allah’s speech and so that they can grasp some of the rulings mentioned in His book.

That being said, it is a must for them to learn the words of the Qur’an so that they could recite it in the Arabic language both while in the prayer as well as at other times.

وإنما الترجمة تفسير ، معناها التفسير ، يعني بين للذي لا يعرف اللغة العربية معنى قوله تعالى الله: اللّهُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ [(255) سورة البقرة]. معنى : حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالْدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ [(3) سورة المائدة]. وهكذا تبين لهم المعاني والأحكام حتى يفهموها بلغتهم ، وليست اللغة قرآناً ، وإنما هي تفسير وترجمة ، وإنما القرآن ما يتلى باللغة العربية كما أنزله الله – سبحانه وتعالى ـ

And a translation is nothing other than a tafsir. The word “tarjamah” [translation] means “tafsir” – meaning: that which makes the meanings of Allah’s speech clear to those who do not know the Arabic language. For example, Allah’s statement:

اللّهُ لاَ إِلَهَ إِلاَّ هُوَ الْحَيُّ الْقَيُّومُ

Allah – there is no other deity worthy of worship but Him, the Ever-Living, the All-Sustaining [2:225]

and the meaning of:

حُرِّمَتْ عَلَيْكُمُ الْمَيْتَةُ وَالْدَّمُ وَلَحْمُ الْخِنْزِيرِ

Carrion, blood, and the flesh of swine are forbidden to you [5:3]

And so on and so forth, that you clarify the meanings and the rulings to them so that they can understand it in their language. But it is not the Qur’an in that language; it is only an explanation and clarification of the meanings. The Qur’an is only that which is recited in Arabic exactly as Allah sent it down.

وللعلماء العارفين باللغات الأخرى أن يترجموا معانيه إلى إخوانهم المسلمين ليفهموه ، وهكذا لغير المسلمين للدعوة إلى الله ، وبيان أحكام الله حتى يعلم غير المسلم حقيقة القرآن وما فيه من العلم ، فيكون ذلك سبباً لدخوله في الإسلام. ـ

And it is the task of those scholars who know other languages to translate the meanings of the Qur’an for their brothers in faith, so that they could understand the meanings. And likewise for the non-Muslims, for the purpose of calling them to Allah. And to explain Allah’s rulings so that these non-Muslims could learn the real nature of the Qur’an and the some of the knowledge that it contains. Then that could be a means of them becoming Muslims themselves.

[Taken from the sheikh’s website here]

See also: Etiquette of Reciting and Listening to the Qur’an: ibn ‘Uthaymeen

See also: Advice for Memorizing the Qur’an: Sheikh ibn ‘Uthaymeen

See also: Contemplating the Qur’an: Sheikh bin Baaz

See also: The Great Merits of Reciting the Qur’an with Contemplation: ibn al-Qayyim

3 thoughts on “Reciting the Qur’an in English?: Sheikh bin Baaz

  1. Pingback: Contemplating the Qur’an: Sheikh bin Baaz | Tulayhah

  2. Pingback: How to Contemplate the Qur’an: Sheikh Muhammad Bazmool | Tulayhah

  3. Pingback: Reciting the Qur’an without Understanding: Sheikh bin Baaz | Tulayhah

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