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Languages are rich. And it is always difficult to stress just how much gets lost in translation. One word may take several other words, sentences, volumes to properly translate.
When asked why the Qur’an was revealed in Arabic, Nouman Ali Khan explains that the Qur’an was revealed to the Arabs, a people who didn’t have large monuments and infrastructure or other similar preoccupations, but their skill in language exhibited brilliance. While we do not imply that Arab nation was in any way superior to others, we do acknowledge that they were a people whose sensitivity to language and appreciation of the finest nuances of language were exceptionally high. This is important because the Qur’an has been revealed in a very, very precise language and as it is the final message, its message must retain that precision and the way to retain precision is to have very precise language.
The other reason Ustadh Nouman elaborates on is that the Arabic language is very nuanced with a very complex system of grammar and a very complex system of word formation, more so than any other language historically.
He adds that it should be noted that the majority of Muslims around the world are actually non-Arabs, and that the greatest works entailing the grammatical and literary analysis of the Qur’an was done by non-Arabs—it was not about Arab supremacy, but about the supremacy of the Word itself. And this became more important than nation or nationality.
Thus we view the Arabic of the Qur’an not as an inhibition, but as a privilege and promise from Allah. He explains through language itself, that language will never be a barrier, but even more a means toward Him.
Surah al-Fatiha is one of the first surahs we learn as children, and it is the only surah that is recited in every rak’ah of every salah. In fact, salah is not complete without it. The Prophet salAllahu alahyi wa sallam said: “There is no prayer for the one who does not recite the Opening of the Book (ie al-Fatiha).” [Bukhari]
The following 7 posts—insha Allah—are intended to go through a basic exegesis of the beautiful surah that is embedded into our every day, in hope that we may gain more and more understanding in the time we have.