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In The Name Of God The Most Merciful, Most Compassionate
On a pragmatic level, I agree a great deal with this author. Another way to test this argument is to ask ourselves if Arabic will be a factor in our entry to heaven - the answer is no. In other words, you can go on with your whole life not knowing arabic and still attain paradise.
However, I wouldnt reject learning Arabic altogether. The author, Yaya Ederer, should teach his son Arabic and not wait till he may decide to become a scholar. The reason being, although it is not the language of Islam, Arabic is the language of the Quran. I mean, there must be a reason why Allah chose the language of Arabic to deliver His final message. Maybe it is the fact that when you do hear it, it moves you, no matter if you understand it of not.
I say this because I have heard of (non Arab) people starting their conversion to Islam by hearing the Quran or Athan in Arabic - I think I can use Yvonne Ridley, a British journalist captured by the Taliban in 2001, as an example. One Scholar said to me people are moved by the Quran and other Arabic related scripture, because even if the person does not understand it, their soul does. That is, the Quran speaks to you, if you let it. So there is obviously an effect in the Arabic that you dont get in other languages.
For the general Muslim population, maybe it is also because there is a historical and emotional connection you get when you learn and understand classical Arabic. Your just one step closer to being a Sahabi like figure (our ultimate aim) and in Arabia, were it all happened!
In the end, yes, the Arabic ethnocentrism of Islam is clearly and evidently wrong. But Arabic as a language and Arabic being a tool to Arabise Muslims or a tool to create superiority over other languages, I think, are two different things. Arabic is not a necessity, but why not learn it if one can. Allah may even reward these efforts!
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