Prayers...

Discussion in 'Islam' started by Amica, Jul 14, 2006.

  1. Amica

    Amica Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    9
    Salam to all of you!

    I have a concern. My native language is not Arabic. Majority of my life I have been very lazy and indifferent about Islam, even though I believed in Allah Almighty all the time and considered myself to be Muslim. Just recently I started practicing Islam and I pray in Arabic, as Muslims all over the globe do. However, I am bothered by the fact that I do not understand 99% of what I am saying in the prayers. I have read the interpretations but I was able to memorize very little of the translations. This trully bothers me because it not only affects my concentration in prayer (because my mind wants to wander and even thinks evil things) but I feel horribly bad after for not being able to understand and not being able to control my thoughts. I trully find that the surahs/prayers are easily memorized if they are in the Arabic language and hard if they are in my native language or English.
    Then, I have been reading a lot about the Judgement Day and the signs of its coming. One of the hadiths mentioned that before the Judgement Day there will be Muslims who will pray but will have emptiness in them. I wonder if this is referring to the fact that the majority of Muslims today are not Arabs and possibly do not understand Arabic fully well? I fear that I may be among those.
    Despite my faults, for reasons known only to Allah The Merciful, He has guided me back to Islam. He showed His Mercy on me because it feels as if my eyes are opened and I see things I did not notice before. Yet, the war between evil and good inside me is making me feel horrible.
    Has anyone of you experienced similar or heard of someone who went through the same things? What about not understanding the Arabic language yet praying?
     
  2. aburaees

    aburaees Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    0
    I guess what matters the most is that you 'try' to understand what you're saying. Take it a small step at a time and eventually you will get there insha'Allah.

    Start with learning the root meanings of individual words in the Surahs you recite maybe, that's what I did. Try a couple of words a day.

    Bismillah can be broken down thus... Bi-Ismi-Allah; learn the meanings of the components, and look at similar words of the same root e.g.
    Isma'il = his name is 'Il (God)
    Maa ismuk = (what's) your name

    Alhamdulillah can be broken down thus.. Al-Hamdu-Li-Allah
    This basically means "all praise to God", other words carry the meaning of praise e.g.
    Hamid
    Muhammad e.t.c.

    You will start to recognise the roots of each word, and will get familiar with the grammar aswell, noticing that "Al" means "the", "Bi" means "In", "Wa" means "And".

    You probably recognise some of the roots of Arabic already without realising. Don't try to learn it all too fast, small pieces are good enough. As long as you're learning a new word each day, you are moving forward. In 10 days you may have learnt the meanings of all the words of Al-Fatihah, many of these words are used again and again with variation throughout the Qur'an.

    Don't swallow more than you can chew, eat the Qur'an in the same manner you would eat your meals, take bite-sized pieces and make sure you chew it thoroughly :) .

    .
     
  3. Amica

    Amica Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    9
    Thank you so much for this advice. I will try.
    Salaam.
     
  4. Light

    Light Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2005
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    0
    Salam to you too... may we be under Allah's rahmah and barakah.

    That is perfectly understandable. I am also in the same plight as you do. Arabic is not my native language. However, overtime, the meanings of the word will become clear to you as you stay steadfast and continue what you've started. Also, it is encouraged that you recite the Quran more often so that is stays in you heart and mind.

    Every Muslims who are performing their prayers are always and will always have this. It is a known fact that Satan will always try to disturb your concentration while you're doing your prayers. Satan will remind you of things, domestic things such as washing your plate after dinner, go to the shop etc. We all get that and by us being steadfast in our prayers and ignoring all this satanic whisper, we triumph each time we end our salah with the salam on both side.

    Understandable and we are required to read them in arabic during salah anyway.

    When someone have fear of Allah in themselves, it is an indication of them acknowledging the presence of the Almighty. By that, you know what you are lacking and thus acting to correct them. Alhamdulillah, you have make the right step sister. All you need to do now is to increase your effort to recite the Quran and find a teacher to teach you the meanings and the proper way of reciting it. Also, try to learn more of about Salah its pillars and things that validate and invalidate a salah. It is important that you know them. Then it will lead you to be able to have higher concentration performing it. Learn how Rasulullah (s.a.w) perform his prayers in detail if you wish. That will be a good start.

    The war that you mentioned above is the struggle for good against evil. This is what we call jihad. Jihad is not necessary a physical war. Your own personal struggle is also Jihad. It does make you feel horrible, but always be positive and confident that Allah accept your prayers. There are more non-Arabic muslims in the world and I am sure a huge portion does not speak Arabic. Thus, we are all on the same boat. The bottom line is Salah is prescribe to us so that we worship HIM. Thus, if someone does not understand the arabic verses, it does not mean he cannot perform prayers. Performing it comes first as it is one of the Pillars of Islam with the context that he strive to learn and understand the meaning of the verses.

    To help you out, following is how I understand and memorise surah Al-fatihah. Al-fathiah comprises of 7 verses. Reading the meaning, you will see that it is split into 3 sections.

    First section, verses 1-4, this is the section we make praises to Allah. Acknowledging Allah's attributes (ar-Rahman, ar-Rahim, al-Malik, Al-Amin)
    1) In the name of Allah most-Gracious (ar-Rahman) most-Compassionate (ar-Rahim)
    2) Praise be to Allah, God of the universe (rab al-amin)
    3) most-Gracious (ar-Rahman) most-Compassionate (ar-Rahim)
    4) Master (Al-Malik) of the day of Judgement

    Second section, verses 5, declaration of our faith and submission into Allah wills.
    5) YOU alone we worship and YOU alone do we implore for help

    Third section, verses 6-7, our supplication requesting Allah to show us the straight path to heaven.
    7) Guide us in the straight path,
    6) The path of those on whom YOU hast bestowed YOUR favours, not those who have incurred YOUR displeasure nor
    those who have gone astray.

    Now you can appreciate the structure of making a supplication, this will help you in future if you need to ask Allah for any favours. The formula is taught in Fatihah which is revered as the most complete supplication. Hope this helps.


    Salaam...
     
  5. Out There

    Out There Servant of God

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Assalamu'alaikum Warahmatullah,
    Khaifa Haluk Amica? :). I hope all is well, insha'Allah. Hmm I see your predicament and not to worry, you're not alone in your struggle. I myself have been learning Arabic for the past 4 years and I'm still struggling. Brother aburaees has given an interesting way for you to study the Arabic language but frankly speaking it will be uneffective and may not produce the fruits intended. It's a good start however and you'll be more familiar with the Qur'an but it is by no means an effective way to master the Arabic language. Aburaees suggested that you memorise words and words and maybe thereafter try to form sentences by analysing the Qur'anic verses. If you do this, you'll just end up confusing yourself. Point number one is that the Arabic of the Qur'an goes against the conventional use of Arabic and is far far more superior. Point number two is that the Qur'an is one of the most difficult literatures to translate, thus you'll appreciate the eloquence of the language therein. Just memorising words will not help you master a language be it Arabic, English, Malay, Swahili, French, German etc. Being a student of linguistics I must warn you against this mode of learning. Just memorising words won't help you form grammatical sentences. It is incumbent that you study the grammar first before you start enriching your vocabulary. In Arabic especially for a non-native speaker, you must learn it step by step. For example in Arabic, first and foremost you ought to familiarise yourself with the nahu i.e. dommah, kasrah, fathah etc. then with dhama'ir and then with the basic fi'il and so on and so forth. I'm from the International Islamic University Malaysia and the medium is English and Arabic. Throughout my experience learning the language I have not come across or heard of a single Arabic course that teaches the language by understanding the syntax of the Quranic verses. It's just not done that way. My advice to you is attend classes if possible. Insha'Allah you will master the language or be handsomely rewarded for your noble efforts at the very least, insha'Allah.
     
  6. Out There

    Out There Servant of God

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2006
    Messages:
    106
    Likes Received:
    0
    Assalamu'alaikum Warahmatullah again,
    Amica, one thing you ought to know is that being an Arab does not mean being a Muslim. Salvation is not attained through lineage or heritage Amica. It's through faith accompanied by works. There are more than 14 million Christian coptics in Egypt and many more throughout Arabia. Arabic is their first language and they've been exposed to the Qur'an and Muslims for more than 1000 years, yet they remain heedless....so what does this tell you? Also Amica, if I might remind you and I..the Prophet s.a.w. had said in the Hujjatul Wada or Farewell Sermon that no Arab is above a non-Arab and no non-Arab is above an Arab and no white is above a black and no black is above a white. Also Allah s.w.t. says that "We have created you into nations and tribes so that you may KNOW each other, surely the best among you are those who are most righteous". Allah s.w.t. does not look at your skin colour...you can be yellow, white, brown, black, pink, blue or even green..it doesn't matter..what matters is your beliefs and way of conduct...the facade of your figure does not define you before Allah. He has made that clear.
     
  7. aburaees

    aburaees Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2005
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    0
    Brother Aidyl Nurhadi is correct that there is no substitute for learning Arabic properly by attending classes/courses run by experts. Chances are, you already know how to recite Al-Fatihah and a few other Surahs. Learning the meanings behind the words will allow you to appreciate, to some extent, what it is that you are saying - until you are able to find the time to attend classes.

    .
     
  8. 17th Angel

    17th Angel לבעוט את התחת ולקחת שמות

    Joined:
    Sep 8, 2005
    Messages:
    9,437
    Likes Received:
    3
    I have learnt Arabic fairly well but who cares? lol... God doesn't care.... God speaks all languages... I would suggest focusing on -your- religion in -your- language... Perhaps that emptiness feeling will go? If you find it hard to learn and understand a language... Yet you insist on following a religion in that language, you're bound to have issues....

    Think about your prayers and teachings.... It's like you make me a promise or an oath or something in russian or something... If you have no clue what your saying... Would I take that promise/oath/prayer/whatever for real?

    Seriously... Arbaic or not... It really does not matter... lol. (and if anyone tells you different... I wouldn't listen to them, just listen to god... God isn't about one language is supeiror or one group of people are better... Your fine just how you are...) :rolleyes:
     
  9. dailogue is the best

    dailogue is the best New member

    Joined:
    May 11, 2005
    Messages:
    527
    Likes Received:
    1
    Aalaykom salam, Amica

    Thank you for sharing with us your nice feelings.I really enjoy, and deeply feel and appreciate those feelings attached to God. Feelings which get us higher than clouds, and make our hearts wider than the universe.

    What you are really experiencing, Amica, is so natural. Disturbance in prayer is so natural, even for those who speak Arabic.

    DONT FORGET: the stronger your faith becomes, the stronger the satan disturbance becomes.

    DONT FORGET: a thief has nothing to do with empty houses. He is mainly concerned with those houses which are full, right?

    BE SURE, you are in the right way. Dont give it up.

    Concerning your problem with understanding the Arabic language, I think it can be solved by using the holy Quran, with English translation, esp that of A. YUSUF. It is endowed with english translation, commentary, and interpretation. It will be so useful..

    Alex P said that it doesnt matter the language we address God by, for God understands all the languages. That's true, indeed.

    The Quran sent down to the prophet Muhammed (pbuh) in the Arabic language because Muhammed (pbuh) was Arabic, and so The Torah and the Bible was sent down to Moses and Jesus (pbuth) by their own language.

    To learn the Arabic is for the sake of more understanding of that holy Book. I m Arabic, eventough, sometimes I find myself helpless in finding a meaning to some Arabic words, which have their reference in the early root of the Arabic language. Also, the holy Quran is full of metaphor and allegory, and any translation may not be very exact.

    I wouldnt have understood Shakespear' poems and plays so clearly if I havent learnt English. For evey language bears within it its own culture, and its own special meanings and concepts.
     
  10. Amica

    Amica Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    9
    Salaam to all of you brothers and sisters!

    I must say that although I still do not understand everything 100%, I have been understanding some of it: Bismillah, the overall of the surah Al-Fatiha, Allah Akbar, elaHamdulillah, etc. I have found that my perseverance has been paying off because I am able to better concentrate in my prayers. Since I posted this post last time, I have prayed to the All Mighty Allah to help me concentrate more and not think evil things/thoughts/words, etc.
    Although I am continuing to grow spiritually in Islaam, I still have a quiet a road to go. :) But I am much happier.
    Thank you all for kind and supportive words. I love this forum! YOu all rock!
     
  11. farhan

    farhan Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2005
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    30
    The last 20-30 surahs arnt that hard to understand. Word by word translations are available here. If you learn a little bit of grammer, & a little bit of context, it will be easier to understand. And much more spiritually satisfying too.

    Try Muhammad Asad's translation, he gives a lot of background.

    The Message of The Quran translated and explained by Muhammad Asad : Arthur's Classic Novels
    The Message of The Quran translated and explained by Muhammad Asad : Arthur's Classic Novels

    Amazon.com: The Message of The Qur'an: Muhammad Asad: Books

    Also, try using some recitation. Other than being a sacred text, Quran is a work of poetry too.

    Tanzil : Quran Navigator

    Try al-Ghamidi or Abdul-Basit. Basit has got amazing command on his voice, Ghamidi's recitation is more meditative.

    And well, within the domains of deen, intent is more important than action. If you try a lot, & still arnt able to accomplish, that counts too.
     

Share This Page