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.
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.