[Q]: What is your advice for those who belittle their elders in age? For example, they belittle a man who is upon the sunnah for thirty or fourty years but he does not know the Arabic language and he does not know from the Qurʾān except a little. So they would come back from al-Madīnah and belittle them by saying: “Look at them! They are 60 years of age and they do not comprehend the Arabic language.” They belittle them so that they can be raised in the sight of the people.
[A]: If an Englishman, a Frenchman, or an American who does not comprehend the Arabic language thereafter acknowledges tawhīd, studies tawḥīd, becomes enlightened with tawḥīd, performs actions based upon tawḥīd, accompanies the people of Tawḥīd [i.e. Ahl al-Sunnah]— is such a person blamed for not knowing the Arabic language? No!
Suḥayb al-Rūmī embraced Islām with the Messenger (صلى الله عليه وسلم) and Salmān al-Fārisī. Neither knew the Arabic language before they came. So do we say to these people [who do not know the Arabic language] to go away and that they are not upon the sunnah? No! As long as they are upon the sunnah and they understand the sunnah, they should not be blamed for not knowing the Arabic language. We advise them to learn the Arabic language. We do not blame them or reject them for not knowing it, rather, we are happy for them having embraced the sunnah.
Otherwise, how would the non-Muslim embrace Islām? How would an American or a Brit embrace Islām if you question them regarding knowing the Arabic language? We should accept them and show happiness for their acceptance of Islām and as long as they are upon the beliefs and actions of the people of the Sunnah. They are with us and become our brothers from Ahl al-Sunnah. We neither reject them nor abandon them because they do not know the Arabic language.
These are from the matters which deter from the path of Allāh! They are deterring the people from the religion and from tawḥīd. So fear Allāh with regards to your religion! May Allah guide you and may the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon the Messenger of Allāh (صلى الله عليه وسلم).
Translated by: Munīb al-Ṣumālī