The Importance of Learning Arabic

For those of us who were not raised as Muslims, those of us who reverted to Islam by choice, the first words we uttered as Muslims--indeed, the words which marked our passage into our faith - English Transliteration:
“ashshaduan la illaha illa Allah, wa ashshaduana Muhammadan rasul Allah” 

We were required not only to properly utter this phrase but to thoroughly understand it. We quickly learned other Arabic words and phrases such as assalaam alaikum, alhamdu lillah, in shaa Allah.

Allah (swt) chose Arabic to be the language of the Qur'an - His final Message to humankind: 
"Lo! We have revealed it, a Lecture in Arabic, that ye may understand." 
 - Surah Yusuf - Ayat 02
"Thus have We revealed it, a decisive utterance in Arabic" 
 - Surah Ar-Ra'ad - Ayat 37
"A Scripture whereof the verses are expounded, a Lecture in Arabic for people who have knowledge." 
 - Surah Fusilat - Ayat 03

Arabic is a language of words with precise, unquestionable meanings as well multiple nuances. Indeed, it is a language which can, in only a few words, address a very specific topic (e.g., who a man can marry) as well as convey diverse meanings (e.g., as-Samad, one of the names of Allah, cannot be translated into just one word; it can mean the Absolute, the eternally Besought of all, etc.) Classical Arabic has consistent, predictable rules of grammar, pronunciation, and spelling, making it actually a fairly easy language to learn. It is a poetic language, pleasant to the ear. The pure sound of the Quran being read in Arabic has been able to move even non-Muslims to tears!

Subhan Allah, what a beautiful medium Allah (swt) chose to guide us, teach us, and comfort us!

Clearly, we can’t understand the Quran correctly, we cannot recite it attractively, we cannot understand it when we hear it and, ultimately, we cannot act on it unless we learn the language in which it was revealed and consider Arabic to be the most important language to master.
A transformation, even an excellent one with extensive interpretation, cannot replace the original text revealed and preserved by Allah Himself; any translation must contain human error or points for disagreement, but the Qur'an in Arabic has no such flaws. The perfect memorization of the Quran in Arabic by Muslims is, indeed, how the ummah takes part in preserving the Qur'an.

More than this, recitation of the Quran earns incredible rewards, as the following a hadith indicate:
When somebody recites one letter from the Holy Qur'an he will get one good deed in recompense and this one recompense will be equal to ten good deeds.

“I do not say that, الم is a letter, but ا is a letter, ل is a letter, and م is a letter” [Tirmidhi]

A reader of the Holy Qur'an will be called upon on the Day of Judgment,
"Start reading the Holy Qur'an and ascend the (high) stages of the Heaven, and recite slowly as you had been reading in the world, as thy abode will be where the last verse of thy recitation will end?”
- Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi

Study the Quran (regularly) for it will act as an intercessor & entreat for its readers on the Day of Judgement. 
 - Muslim

Secondly, because our prayer--the most important part of our worship--must be in Arabic, we must make a strong effort to learn and understand what we are saying.

Thirdly, once we learn Arabic, our access to information about Islam multiplies
Alhamdulillah with all the teaching aids and easy access to information that we have, learning Arabic does not necessarily mean traveling on arduous journeys to distant lands as it once used to. With discipline and commitment, the student can study much in his own time

Here are some tips to help you along the way:

1. Make Du’a:
As with everything we work towards, we should ask Allah to help us and make learning easy for us. We should ask Allah to purify our intentions so that we truly learn Arabic for the better understanding of the Qur’an and Islam as a religion.

2. Discipline yourself:
Put a set quantity of time aside every day or twice a week for Arabic studies &  stick to it. Remember, a little study regularly is better than hours of study once a month.

3. Know your basics well:        
Going step by step is the best way to master any language, concentrating on improving your basic reading and writing is the first step in learning Arabic, even if it is repetitive. Then you can build on that firm foundation.