Don’t Feel Inferior! Teach Your Muslim Children Your Native Language

An Iranian relative heard me talking to the kids in Arabic and commented:

“You know English is the language of the future! It’s the language of science! When these kids grow up and get jobs, that will all be in English. I don’t really know if they need Arabic, or Farsi either! What’s the use?”

Unfortunately this is the mentality of some Muslims today. It’s a defeatist mentality, a remnant of the effects of colonialism, and the inferiority complex some Muslims have.

To the best of my ability (in shā’ Allāh), I refuse to raise human beings who have any of this baggage.

My goal is to raise strong, proud Muslims who are fiercely loyal to Islām, with complete confidence in their dīn and their identity as Muslims.

English is a useful language, so we learn it. We add it to our repertoire of languages just like you add a recipe to your recipe book, or like adding another tool to your toolbox. It’s not the only recipe, nor is it the only tool.

It’s one of many. It’s not the only one, or even the best one.

In Arabic, we have a saying:

من تعلم لغة قوم أمن مكرهم.

“Whoever learns the language of a people has become safe from their plots.”

When you learn the language of a people, you also learn their culture, their mindset, their values etc. It’s very useful to be able to successfully navigate that society.

But some Muslims take the English language, along with its culture, paradigm, and the mentality that comes with it, and adopt it all wholesale. They internalize their way of thinking and cultural landscape and use it to replace their own, entirely. The original language of their country and people gets lost under the hegemony of this shiny new English language.

They don’t realize the loss they’ve suffered. Concepts that only exist in the original language have become lost. An entire way of thinking has become obsolete. Words for which there is no English equivalent have been unceremoniously thrown in the trash.

These people have no desire to become bilingual. They remain unilingual. Instead of speaking two languages, they still only speak one: English. The original language only got swapped out for English.

RELATED: The False Superiority of the Western World

Often, these Muslims will use their perfect fluency in English and their illiteracy in Urdu/ Arabic/ Turkish/ Bangla/ Farsi to smugly illustrate their advancement, their superiority, and their advantage over other provincial “backward” Muslims who only speak the old home language. They look down their nose at the poor little Muslim still speaking the quaint little old language, considering themselves as enlightened, educated liberal Muslims who barely have any ties to Islam.

Where is our ‘izzah (honor, pride, dignity)?

Where is our sense of identity and rootedness in our history?

Where is our backbone?

Why do we concede everything and compromise our values into oblivion?

Why do we bow our heads, bend the knee, and lower ourselves in such abject humiliation by voluntarily giving up our own mother tongue for a new and foreign language?

Because it’s the “language of science,” the “language of the future,” the “language of technology”?

Well, ours is the language of Islam, the language of the Final Messenger and the Best of Mankind ﷺ , the language of the Qur’ān, and the language of the people of Jannah.

It’s time to reawaken our ‘izzah and snap out of the trance of the west, and to dispel the spell cast by the colonizers.

Teach your children your mother tongue and pass on to them everything that comes with it. And don’t let the Muslims who don’t “see the point” deter you.

Muslim parents, you are raising Muslim lions, not colonized sycophants.

RELATED: Dealing with Inter-Generational Baggage

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Umar Al-muhandis

This is a sad thing to see but it’s true what’s happening. And English is not the future. Arabic is. This is how short sighted many of us really are. Who’s going to be successful in the end? The Muslims. And what’s our language? Arabic. Arabic is superior to English which has around six hundred or more thousand words and Arabic has millions. Pathetic. English is only useful for commerce and trade and business and giving dawah. Otherwise it has no utility except to serve Satan and his allies.

Ibrahim Ihsan

That’s kinda harsh and extreme. While Muslims need to learn Arabic to understand the Quran, the Ahadith and the works of the great scholars, when was it supposed to be a replacement for the mother tongue of the English people?
Yes it may have words and phrases that are Un-Islamic but so do many other languages.
Islamisation does not equal Arabization. Yes, it would be very useful if Arabic was used as a second language or even as a Lingua Franca but who said anything about primary language?

Maaz Ahmad Khan

Completely agree. Allah will raise the language of the Qur’an over the language that has been brutally enforced upon us through colonization.
Already many true Muslims are learning Arabic, and Arabic will be the means of communication among Muslims during the time of Mehdi when the technological systems have fallen. (Hadiths are clear that technology will disappear during the time of Mehdi.)

Yusuf ibn Tashfin

English has not spread only because of the old British colonialism. It has spread in lands and peoples who have never been colonized by the British. Even French or german people learn English. It’s all thanks to the hegemony of the USA as a world power. They have been leading the world economy since WW2. It’s like latin during the roman golden age or arabic during the Islamic golden age.

Also what’s the proof that technology will disappear during the times of the Mehdi???

Sardor

that one is banger 🔥

akh

English is a useful language, so we learn it.”

Indeed. English is useful this is why we choose to learn it. Arabic is essential this is why we must learn it.

Yusuf ibn Tashfin

Speaking more than one language gives a lot of advantages, great historical muslim scholars such as imam Bukhari were bilingual (his native farsi and arabic) , and many others spoke multiple languages besides their own native language.

The most important thing is to always preserve the language of your parents, no matter from where you are from, Islam is pro-multiculturalism, it never prohibited other languages. Muslims should keep their language and learn more languages.

Karim Adel

in the most prestigous private school in the bay area, most of the kids in class are divided into two camps, those that speak German between themselves and those that speak french, when i asked why my friend’s daughter why they dont speak english even though they are born and raised in the US. She said they are proud of their ancestory. I’d love to see an article written on the infusion of Arabic and Islam as an identity.

Abdullah

I agree. At home children should speak only the native tongue. But just don’t speak in a language besides the dominant language for programs in the masjid. In the masjid there will always be multiple ethnicities. Unfortunately many Indopak dominated masjids fail to consider non Urdu speaking Muslims. So when having programs in the Masjid, have those in a language that all different ethnic groups will understand. In North America that would be English.