What is the ruling of translating Friday prayer for the non Arabic speaking audience?
There are a lot of Muslims who do not speak the Arabic language and live in Western countries and in Friday prayers, people are confused whether they should conduct the prayers in Arabic though most people do not understand Arabic or would it be better to conduct the prayers in a language that is understood by most people?
This issue was addressed by scholars in their chapter on Friday prayer and other scholars mentioned the issue in the chapter of prayer when they addressed the issue of the permissibility of conducting the prayer in Persian.
The prevalent opinion is that it is permissible for the Friday sermon to be delivered in a non Arabic language and the prayer would be correct. The reason for the permissibility is that the ultimate aim behind Friday sermon is to deliver wisdom and elucidate juristic rulings. This is the same concept behind the speech that is delivered at the season of pilgrimage because it does not make sense to speak to the crowd in a language that they do not understand. God says in the Quran, “And We did not send any messenger except [speaking] in the language of his people to state clearly for them, and Allah sends astray [thereby] whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the Exalted in Might, the Wise.” 14:4
This is the established opinion for Imam Abu Hanifa. Imam al Tahawi in his commentary on the book (Maraqi al Falah)(p. 277, Mustafa al Halabi publishing house) regarding the conditions of Friday prayer, he said “and the fourth condition is the speech which can be conducted in Persian though the speaker has good command of Arabic”.
Ibn ‘Abdeen in the book “Rad al Muhtar ‘ala al Dur al Mukhtar” did not limit the Friday speech to be exclusively conducted in Arabic as it is not a condition even if the speaker has a good command of Arabic. Some Hanbali scholars have sided with this opinion when the speaker is unable to conduct the prayers in Arabic. Imam al Bahuti al Hanbali in the book (Kashaf al Qina’) said Friday speech should not be conducted in a non Arabic language with the ability of conducting it in Arabic but if the speaker can’t deliver the speech in Arabic then resorting to another language is permissible.
Also if the speaker is able to mention the Quranic verses, prophetic hadiths and his introductory speech in Arabic and then provide translation for it, it is better. The Islamic Council of Jurisprudence said regarding this issue that the ideal opinion is that using the Arabic language in delivering Friday speech and the two feasts prayer in places where Arabic is not spoken is not a condition for the validity of the prayers; but what would be better is delivering the introductory part of Friday sermon along with the Quranic verses in Arabic in order for the non Arabic audience to get used to listening to Arabic and the Quran which would make it easier for them to learn it and then the speaker continues the speech in the language which his audience comprehends.