Fatwa n° 610
Category: Fatwas about prayer – The description of prayer
The ruling concerning making Du‘â’ (invocation) in the prayer using a language other than Arabic
Is it permissible for the non-Arab to make Du‘â’ (invocation)in the prayer using a language other than Arabic?
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection:
It is incumbent upon the one who is able to perform the prayer and make Du‘â’ in Arabic language to use its terms and expressions; especially, Sura Al-Fâtiha, AT-Tashahhud(1) and suchlike. As for the one who is not able to speak Arabic and cannot even pronounce it, he is allowed to perform the prayer in his own language except for Sura Al-Fâtiha, according to the Prophet’s صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم saying: “No [valid] prayer for the one who does not recite Fâtihat Al-Kitâb (Sura Al-Fâtiha)”(2).
It is the least [of what should be recited] of Quran in the prayer to be considered valid. If, after exerting himself, he still is unable to recite it, then instead of it he can resort to At-Tasbîh (saying: Subhân Allâh), At-Tahmîd (saying: Al-Hamdu Lillâh), At-Tahlîl (saying: Lâ Ilâha Illa Allâh), At-Takbîr (saying: Allâhu Akbar) and Al-Hawqala (saying: Lâ Hawla Wa Lâ Quwwata Illâ Billâh), according to his saying صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم to the man who said: “I cannot memorize a mere thing from the Quran, so teach me what suffices me from it (so that my prayer can be valid)”. The Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said to him: “Say Subhân Allâh (Glorified is Allah), Al-Hamdu Lillâh (praise is due to Allah), Lâ Ilâha Illa Allâh (there is no god worthy of worship except Allah), Allâhu Akbar (Allah is the Greatest), Lâ Hawla Wa Lâ Quwwata Illâ Billâh (there is neither change nor power except through Allah)”(3).
And since the one who incapable cannot observe of the Divine imperatives except what is within the limits of his capacity according to the verse in which Allah سبحانه وتعالى says:
﴿لاَ يُكَلِّفُ اللهُ نَفْسًا إِلاَّ وُسْعَهَا﴾ [البقرة: 286].
The meaning of the verse:
﴾Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity. ﴿[Al-Baqara: 286]
And the verse:
﴿فَاتَّقُوا اللهَ مَا اسْتَطَعْتُمْ﴾ [التغابن: 16].
The meaning of the verse:
﴾So keep your duty to Allah and fear Him as much as you can﴿ [At-Taghâbun: 16]
And his saying صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم: “When I order you to do something, then do it as much as you can”(4)
And according to the jurisprudential rule: “There is no accountability except for something we can do”. Du‘â’ also, does not go beyond this meaning. Therefore, it is permissible to make Du‘â’ (invocation)in any expression whereby one can get closer to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ and that contains the meaning of complete humbleness, subservience and submission to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ, whatever is his non-Arabic language, according to the general meaning of the verse:
﴿ادْعُونِي أَسْتَجِبْ لَكُمْ﴾ [غافر: 60].
﴾Invoke Me, I will respond to your (invocation) ﴿ [Ghâfir: 60]
And the verse:
﴿فَإِنِّي قَرِيبٌ أُجِيبُ دَعْوَةَ الدَّاعِ إِذَا دَعَانِ﴾ [البقرة: 186].
﴾I am indeed Near (to them by My knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor) ﴿[Al-Baqara: 186].
Particularly, the one who does not speak the language of Quran and the Arabs’ tongue (Arabic), or finds difficulty to pronounce it. Surely, Allah عزَّ وجلَّ will respond to his invocations if the conditions are fulfilled and the impediments are eliminated. Allah عزَّ وجلَّ will hasten the response (of his invocation), reserve it for him[in the Hereafter], or move afflictions and calamities away from him(5).
The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
Algiers, Dhu Al-Qa‘da the 11th, 1427 H.
Corresponding to: December the 2nd, 2006 G.
(1) Pointing the finger while sitting down in the prayer and reciting a special invocation. Translator's note.
(2) Reported by Al-Bukhârî (756) and Muslim (394) from the hadith of ‘Ubâda Ibn As-Sâmit رضي الله عنه.
(3) Reported by Abû Dâwûd (832) and An-Naşâ'i (924) from the hadith of ‘Abd Allâh Ibn Abî Awfâ رضي الله عنه. This hadith is judged Haşan (good) by Al-Albâni in “Al-Mishkât” (819).
(4) Reported by Al-Bukhâri (7288) and Muslim (1337) from the hadith of Abî Hurayra رضي الله عنه.
(5) It is reported on the authority of Abî Sa`îd Al-Khudrî رضي الله عنه that the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said: “Any Muslim who makes Du‘â’ (invocation) that is devoid of sin and severance of blood-relationship, Allah will respond to him in one of the three ways: 1- Allah will hasten the response of his Du‘â’. 2- Allah will reserve it for him in the Hereafter. 3- Allah will, instead of it, move evil away from him”. They said: “Then we will ask a lot”.He said: “Allah [the most Beneficent] gives more”. Reported by Ahmad (10903), Al-Bukhâri (710) and Al-Hâkim (1816). This hadith is authenticated by Al-Albânî in “Sahîh Al-Adab Al-Mufrad” (550) and Al-Wâdi‘î in “As-Sahîh Al-Musnad” (421).