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UNESCO declares December 18 “World Arabic Language Day”

31/10/2012 A.D 16/12/1433 H


The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO, declared the eighteenth of December of each year a “World Arabic Language Day”, as part of the UNESCO’s Executive Board agenda.

The resolution of the UNESCO Executive Board came in response to the demands of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

Dr. Ziad Bin Abdullah Al-Drees, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of UNESCO, said that this move means placing this occasion within the UNESCO’s annual agenda and celebrating it on its assigned day, hoping that the Arab states and committees would sponsor annual events that befits the occasion and achieves its aspired goals. He also called for making a road map for enhancing the Arabic language in the Arab world, amongst its speakers in the first place, and then spread it to the other regions.

Al-Drees confirmed that the Executive Board is well aware of the role the Arabic language plays in preserving and spreading the civilization and culture of man. Moreover, Arabic is the official language of 22 member states at the UNESCO and it is adopted as an official language by this organization. More than 422 million Arabs and 1 billion and 500 million Muslims speak this language. The Arab group at the UNESCO is preparing itself for holding the first celebrations on this coming 18 December.

The General Assembly of the United Nations has adopted the Arabic language as one of its official working languages in its 28th session in 1973. It was added along with English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Russian to be the key languages of the international body.

It is worth mentioning that the inhabitants of a number of regions, such as Ahwaz, Turkey, Chad, Mali, Senegal and Eritrea speak Arabic…


The main reason behind designating an international day for praising, glorifying and sponsoring the Arabic language as part of the UNESCO’s annual agenda, is its prevalence in the Arab world. Actually, the Arabic language is one of the richest and most civilized languages in the world and the most spread on earth, knowing that it is the language Allah chose to be the language by which Islam was spread and the Quran was revealed, for Allah says: “Upon your heart that you may be of the warners in plain Arabic language.” (26: 194-195).

Preserving Arabic language is a moral duty and a responsibility everyone, be they individuals, institutions and organizations, ought to shoulder so that it will remain alive and vibrant in the people’s minds and awareness.

On the importance and status of the Arabic language among the other languages, being the language of the Quran, His Eminence, the late Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah (ra), said, in the context of interpreting this Ayah: “An Arabic Quran”: There is no way for anyone who belongs to the community in which the Quran was revealed to claim that he did not understand it, under the pretext that he does not know this language, for that community was meant to be the first base from which the Message of Islam sets out to the entire world. The Quran is Arabic in its language, style and way of presenting the doctrinal, legal and universal concepts, which makes everyone capable of understanding it. Allah’s wisdom necessitated revealing the Book in the language spoken by the Messenger carrying it due to the demands of the nature of the reality which demands that the nation, in which the Messenger moves and sets out from, understands and comprehends the Message he carries. Thus, the Message cannot but be in the language the nation understands to be able to comprehend it and accept it first, and then propagate it to the other worlds and nations with full awareness and strength.

[(Interpretations) inspired from the Holy Quran, vol. 20, p: 88]



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