post (with my highlights):
Knowledge vs understanding vs to understand though sound similar are quite different.
[MENTION=3885]CVM[/MENTION], I never implied Arabs or nonArabs are superior. But that doesn't mean one can deny that the knowledge of Islam is locked in original Arabic texts of Quran and hadith, and without that no one can ever be considered as even remotely knowledgeable of Islam!
1) Knowledge: to know, for example Allah makes certain things halal and others haram.
2) to understand: you speak to me in English, so I understand you
3) understanding: the reasoning/possible reasoning behind why some things may be haram etc.
For (1) you do not need to know the language. For (2) knowing the language may suffice. For (3) knowing the language will help but is not necessary.
Every Muslim is tasked with "knowledge"(1).
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04-Apr-2012 12:31 AM
- Join Date
- Sep 2004
04-Apr-2012 01:09 AM
Yes you do not need to know Arabic to have some knowledge, specifically that of haram and halal since things are one or the other depending on the circumstances. But knowing what is halal and haram is not the extent or depth of knowledge you can gain, and to really have excellent knowledge you would need to know Arabic. The scholars that state so and so is halal and so and so is haram do not always speak correctly or judge correctly, and if you do not know the actual Arabic of the thing, you would not know better. For instance, in a hadith from sahih Muslim the Prophet harshly forbade that one drinks while standing up, and he said that a shaitan drinks with you if you do. Most scholars though are on the opinion that it's totally fine to drink standing up because a Sahabi (Ali (r.a) I believe) said he once saw the Prophet drinking while standing up. First of all, who said that the Prophet has a shaitan so that he would drink with him? It is universally agreed upon that his case is completely different. Secondly, almost everything is halal when a time of need arises, so in some situations you may have no choice but to drink standing due to the water source. Thirdly, when your father tells you not to do something, whether he does it or not, is it appropriate to tell him "well why do you do it then huh..?", and so it is magnitudes more inappropriate when it is done with the Prophet . Moreover that same logic is not applied when it comes to prayer. It is known the Prophet once combined prayers for no reason, and when asked why, he said so that it would not be hard for his ummah. The scholars will now tell you that you can only do this when there is a specific need due to circumstances very occasionally, and never for no reason because the idea of the hadith was to give leeway for those exceptional circumstances (e. g. you are doing a surgery on someone, you can't leave to pray for maybe five hours let's say). It's not consistent.
The point is, without Arabic it may not be so easy to get access to this kind of knowledge or get these ideas from reading hadith. Also the best Islamic lectures and sources of knowledge are in Arabic, and the amount of detail you can get from them dissecting every word down to its roots is greater. It really is as Sammer said, like black and white versus vibrant color. Yes you can see the image, but the color.
04-Apr-2012 12:14 PM
- Join Date
- Sep 2004
You can look at this image through a "black/white" or "color" prism - or someone has explained this image to you (the black/white version or the color version). Sure the image looks 'better' when looking through the color prism.
Someone has explained the brush strokes of the image or you yourself have some experience with brush strokes - so you know the brush strokes used.
Do you have an "understanding" of the image? Can you explain the image? The wisdom behind the image or the brush strokes used? Do you need to know the brush strokes to have an "understanding" of the image?
Does a blind person looking at the same image also have an "understanding" of the image?
04-Apr-2012 12:41 PM
The example of the Qur'aan and religion is far more complex than that, because even if you had a really knowledgeable person explain every single Arabic lecture and thought he has ever come across about Qur'aan and hadith, he will inevitably find a time when the words of English or whatever language are not representing the exact idea. Moreover you are still limited by that person and might not be able to derive your own personal meanings from the Qur'aan that is pertinent to your thoughts/situations. Don't get me wrong, the translation (if it's a decent one) is still good to read and no doubt you'll get something out of it if you think about it wallahu a`lam but ultimately there's a lot of detail lost in translation. I wish that every Muslim can experience it, and even non-Muslims. It's never too late to start learning though.
Don't think that I'm trying to somehow say that Arabs are superior or something, because I get that vibe from these conversations a lot, like people are annoyed at Arabs because they think they own the religion. You want to see Arabs? Look at their situation, it's not much better than anyone else's. It boils down to the individual, if you want to learn it, you have to learn it Arab or not, because even Arabs don't speak that exact language.
أحب الصالحين ولست منهم وأرجو أن أنال بهم شفاعة
وأكره من تجارته المعاصي وإن كنا سواء في البضاعة
إمام الشافعي رحمه الله تعالى -