Can we read the Quran in English instead of Arabic?

Can we read the Quran in English instead of Arabic?

Certainly, the consensus among scholars is that reading the Quran in languages other than Arabic, such as English, is not permissible. This stance stems from the fact that the Quran was revealed in Arabic, and its preservation in its original language is crucial to safeguard its authenticity and miraculous essence.

Translations of the Quran into English do not equate to the Quran itself; rather, they serve as interpretations or explanations of its meaning. Thus, adhering to Arabic recitation is fundamental for prayers and all religious observances, a position supported by renowned scholars like Abu Hanifa, Shafi’i, Ibn Taymiyyah, and numerous others.

Can we read the Quran in English instead of Arabic?

Yes, we can read the Quran in English instead of Arabic but consider your reading as a kind of reading an explanation that does not necessarily reflect the original meaning of the Quran in Arabic. We can’t read the Quran in English instead of Arabic if we consider it as a true identical reflection of the Arabic Quran.

Read: Do We Have to Read Quran in Arabic?

The Quran has been revealed in Arabic, and we are ordered to read it in Arabic only. In addition to that, we are ordered to accurately imitate its original recitation, which was revealed to our prophet Mohamed (peace be upon him) in our recitations of the Quran.

This is evident in Surah Yusuf, verses one and two, which can be translated as “Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Quran so that you may understand”. 

This may be due to the fact that in translation content either loses or gains outside its original meaning, which at best might not convey the meaning accurately, and at worst will change the meaning of the verse completely. 

This will definitely never be as Allah almighty has said in Surah Al-Hijr, verse 9: “Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian”. 

Then, is it absolutely forbidden to read the Quran in English? Must we native English speakers who do not know Arabic yet refrain from reading the Quran?

Of course not! Allah is more merciful than to deprive his worshippers of reading the Quran.

Scholars’ Evidence That You Can Read The Quran In English:

Imam Nawawi’s stance, as recorded in “Al-Majmu’,” underscores that according to his school of thought, reciting the Quran in any language besides Arabic, regardless of one’s proficiency in Arabic or not, and whether it’s during prayer or not, is impermissible. Should someone opt to recite a translated version during prayer instead of the original Arabic text, their prayer would be deemed invalid, irrespective of the quality of their recitation. This view is echoed by many prominent scholars, including Malik, Ahmad, and Dawud.

Similarly, Imam Ibn Qudamah, as documented in “Al-Mughni,” emphasizes the prohibition of reciting the Quran in languages other than Arabic or substituting Arabic words, irrespective of the proficiency in Arabic or the quality of the recitation. This perspective is shared by scholars such as Shafi’i, Abu Yusuf, and Muhammad.

Contrary to a purported opinion attributed to Imam Abu Hanifa allowing Quranic recitation in Persian for those unable to understand Arabic, it’s confirmed that he retracted this view. According to Hanafi jurisprudence, reciting the Quran in any language other than Arabic is forbidden. This retraction is supported by references such as “Al-Hidayah” and affirmed by scholars like Ibn Abidin.

Moreover, Ibn Taymiyyah highlighted the permissibility of translating the Quran for comprehension purposes without disagreement among scholars. However, he stressed that reciting it in translation for personal use is unanimously considered impermissible by scholars, both in prayer and outside of it. Al-Zarqani echoed the consensus among scholars that reciting the Quran in a language other than Arabic outside of prayer is not allowed, cautioning against such practices due to the risk of diminishing the Quran’s miraculous nature.

When can we read the Quran in Arabic, and when can we read it in English?

There are different times through which reading the Quran in Arabic is mandatory and a must and other times through which reading the Quran in English is limitedly allowed. 

For non-Arabic speakers, who grew up in non-Arab communities, reading the Quran in English is allowed at first, and only until they learn to read it in Arabic.

In this case, they are not reading the Quran itself, but reading translations and explanations of the Quran. So, when you read the Quran in English, it’s as if you are reading an explanation of the Quran instead of reading the Quran itself.

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How to Read the Quran in English Then Arabic?

You can follow the following steps to start reading the Quran in Arabic instead of English:

1- Start Read English Translation

Reading English Translations of the Quran is only a temporary period until you start to learn to read the Quran in Arabic. 

2- Learn How To Learn Quran In Arabic:

This step of learning how to read the Quran in Arabic is obviously a must, and it is distinct from learning Arabic as a language; as you focus on learning how to read the holy book in Arabic only.

This step which is optional yet highly preferable is to learn the Arabic language itself, which would definitely make reading the Quran much easier.

3- Join Arabic-Quran Courses

If you master learning to read it in Arabic, without joining any Arabic language courses, you will end up capable of reading the Quran, but will not be able to understand or speak the Arabic language itself.

Thus, during the first stage, during which you don’t know how to read the Quran in Arabic, nor do you know any Arabic, you are permitted to read the Quran in English, but once you can read it in Arabic, you must read it in Arabic and only go to English translation as a guide to understand certain words.

Ok, so now that we understand what we need to do, one question remains unanswered: how exactly can we learn to read the Quran in Arabic, and learn the Arabic language?

Follow the Rules of Allah When Reading the Quran In English

Let’s do a mental process of imagination together, shall we? Imagine that the Quran is a kingdom established and ruled by Allah, who of course sets the laws of the attitudes of the kingdom’s populations towards their beloved kingdom.

Allah instructs us on how to enter through the kingdom’s gates, and how to behave within its borders. He designates a certain gate for most people to walk through on their way into the kingdom, and due to his mercy and benevolence, Allah allows some exceptions…

These exceptions are for the sake of those who are not capable of entering through the main gate. Though, this is only until they acquire whatever skills necessary to be able to walk through the main gates like all others.

The Quran is Allah’s holy book which is a constant guide of our life; from birth, and until death. Therefore, we must obey our almighty creator’s instructions when approaching it.

Learn With Bayan Al-Quran Academy:

There are many credible institutions that allow you the opportunity to learn how to read the Quran in Arabic and to learn the Arabic language. 

Bayan Al Quran Academy is one of the most promising online institutions in the field; as it offers a variety of courses that will teach you everything you need to learn as a new Muslim person.

Bayan Al Quran Academy offers Quran classes that are dedicated to teaching you how to read the Quran. These courses include classes for kids, and other classes for adults, a flexible schedule that won’t cost you any other priorities such as work, and a group of professional and highly qualified Quran tutors.

🌟 Why Choose Bayan Al-Quran?

Join our vibrant community dedicated to perfecting Quranic recitation. Build a profound connection with the divine words of the Quran and enrich your spiritual journey. Choose Bayan Al-Quran for a transformative learning experience and embark on a path to mastering Tajweed with confidence.

You can also attend online Quran Classes with Bayan al-Quran with Native Arab tutors. There are also several courses that can help you in this regard:

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With the courses of Bayan Al Quran Academy, you can learn the Standard Arabic language and the Fusha Arabic language. This will help you communicate with other Muslim brothers and sisters from all over the world; as our native tongues might be different, but the Arabic language is a robe that connects us all.

To be able to read and understand Allah’s words is an unprecedented and unmatched blessing, that makes any efforts exerted to make this beautiful goal come true too little and too minor.

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