According to Chejne (1969), to understand the Arabs and their culture it is necessary first of all to understand their language but, because of the many conflicting theories about its origin, this is not an easy task. The Arabic language belongs to the family of Semitic languages together with Hebrew, Aramaic, and Phoenician. Many other languages make use of Arabic characters, such as Kurdish, Kazakh, Moorish, Pashto, Farsi, Punjabi, Turkish and Urdu, even if some of them later adopted Latin characters. The first manifestations of the language date back to the second millennium before Christ. Also, in 2014 a Franco-Saudi expedition declared that it had found the oldest inscription in Arabic, dating back to 110 BC, near Najran, in Saudi Arabia. It is said that the Quraish of Mecca was the first to speak the Arabic Fus-ha, so today’s Quran would be written in the dialect spoken by the prophet himself. From various studies, the Linguistic evidence seems to indicate the origin of Semitic languages somewhere between the Fertile Crescent and the Arabian Peninsula. This elegant and clear form of Arabic derives from pre-Islamic poetry; many years later, when the Qur’an was first transcribed, diacritics and the vowel movements were included as well as some tones and pronunciations to standardize their reading. Some say that written Arabic was born in the north of Mesopotamia, others from the south of the Arabian Peninsula. However, the history of Arabic is still the subject of debate today as the modern standard Arabic differs from the Quranic one as well as the classical one; it has undoubtedly undergone a process of “modernization” that has influenced the vocabulary and the grammar (Abu-Absi, 1986).
“Indeed, We have made it an Arabic Quran that perchance you will comprehend.” (Surah al-Zukhruf: 3) There are two fundamental elements, with a sacred and immutable character, which have guaranteed to the Islamic religion a strong internal cohesion and a strong sense of identity through the centuries: the Qur’an and the Classical Arabic, the language in which it was revealed. The Quran is the sacred text of the Islamic religion. It is the words of God or Words, revealed to the Prophet Muhammad through the angelic mediation of Gabriel. In addition to its religious value, the Quran, in addition to the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad, are the main sources of Muslim law as well as a reference text, together with pre-Islamic poetry, used for the establishment of the Arabic language and for the codification of its grammar. It is a process, the latter, which became necessary during the expansion of the Islam (7th -9th century AD) in order to enable a person to understand the Arabic language and the meaning of the words being indicated by the Quran and Sunnah. In other words, any negligence will lead to deviation from the true meaning of the Quran and Sunnah (Faisal, 2016).
Caused by the Islamic victory and the consequent Arab expansion starting from the seventh century AD, the Arabic language has spread widely after these Islamic conquests, and many people have been affected by the Arabic language, especially after the Copts, Assyrians, Syrians, and Romans had espoused Islam. The Arabic language is the source of legislative authority for the Prophetic traditions, the Quran, worship, and prayer. The spread of the Arabic language was in this period at the height of its prosperity, as it was the language of literature and science under the Umayyad caliphate and over the years, the Arabic language became the language of the rites prevalent in this period (Carter, 2011). Despite recognizing the significant role for the Arabic language in Islamic studies, some scholars argue whether Islamic studies should be taught in the non-Arab world with or without Arabic. The majority of the scholars support the idea of teaching and learning Quran and Sunnah in the non-Arab countries with their original language, the Arabic language. This is mainly because all the entire words and literature including Quran, Sunnah, fiqh, and hadith are in Arabic. Thus, teaching and learning in the Arabic language will limit the loss of words meaning and will help non-Arabs to pronounce the words correctly when needed (Ahmad, 2001). However, on the other hand, others argue that understanding the Islam studies doesn’t even need proficiency in the Arabic language and should be taught in any other language such as English, or French because non-Arab learners can understand Quran, pray and achieve their purposes easily without the Arabic language.