I can’t pronounce Arabic properly, is my prayer still valid?

I can’t pronounce Arabic properly, is my prayer still valid?


Salaam. I want to read salat but I have a feeling im not reading the words accurately enough. For example I don’t think I’m pronouncing the arabic 100% right. Should I carry on reading it this way whilst trying to perfect the arabic? or should I stop reading it, perfect the arabic, and then begin reading again? I heard reading salat properly is extremely important and I don’t want to sin

Wa alykum as-salaam,

While I realize that in some Muslim societies they emphasize the central importance of pronouncing Arabic correctly, please do not allow this emphasis to discourage you from actually praying.

If you are unable to pronounce the letter “Qaf,” for instance, you are not alone. I am from Egypt, and our entire country forgets to do this, and the letter “Jeem” magically becomes “Geem.”

Obviously, during prayers, we correct that, but, I say that simply to emphasize to you that your prayers are far more important than your ability to pronounce the words 100% exactly right.

Again, if you are able to correct your pronunciation, then that’s great, but again, this should not make you stay away from your prayers.

Ibn Taymiyyah when writing about reciting Al-Fatiha in prayer: “If a person mispronounces Al-Fatiha in a way that does not distort the meaning, his prayer is valid, whether he is leading others in prayer or is praying alone.”

He underlines that the central issue here is whether someone is conscious of their mispronunciation  by which he means that someone is purposefully mispronouncing words. It is clear that your intention is not to do that, so to quote Ibn Taymiyyah on this issue:

“If he is aware of what he is doing and he does it deliberately, then his prayer is invalid, because he is playing about in his prayer. But if he is unaware of that, then his prayer is not invalid, according to one of the two scholarly views.”

In the Hanbali work Al-Mughni, written by Ibn Qudamah, it is stated that Malikis and Hanbalis both hold that correct pronunciation is central towards performing prayers, if a person is able, otherwise, this obligation is lifted.

To put your mind at ease, I will close with Al-Nawawi, who writes:

“The one who struggles with it is the one who is hesitant in his recitation because he is not able to memorize it well. He will have two rewards: the reward for reciting it and the reward for his efforts in reciting it.”

So, please, do not stay away from prayers because of this fear.

I pray this reaches you and your families in the best of health and Iman, insha Allah.

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