Supplicating to Allah shows man’s humbleness and need to his Lord. This is why disdaining to supplicate is equal to haughtiness and arrogance. Almighty Allah is All-Hearing and He answers those who humbly ask Him, no matter in what tongue they do so.
However, as Prayer is a special worship that has its uniqueness, a question arises about the permissibility of using language other than Arabic during it.
Answering this, Dr. Rajab Abu Maleeh stated,
Technically, du`aa‘ refers to affirmative speech that indicates submissive request and it is also called a request. Al-Khattabi said,
The reality of du`aa‘ is the servant’s asking his Lord for care and help, while its essence is to show the need for Him. It implies praising Almighty Allah and attributing bountifulness and munificence to Him.
Almighty Allah (Exalted be He) says, (And when My servants ask you (O Muhammad) concerning Me, then (answer them), I am indeed near (to them by My Knowledge). I respond to the invocations of the supplicant when he calls on Me (without any mediator or intercessor). So let them obey Me and believe in Me, so that they may be led aright)(Al-Baqarah 2: 186)
Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi also narrated through their own chains of narration on the authority of An-Nu`man ibn Bashir that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Indeed du`aa’ is a worship.” He then recited, “And your Lord said, ‘Invoke Me, [i.e. believe in My Oneness (Islamic Monotheism) and ask Me for anything] I will respond to your (invocation). Verily! Those who scorn My worship [i.e. do not invoke Me and do not believe in My Oneness] will surely enter Hell in humiliation!’“ (Ghafir 40:60).
Moreover, At-Tirmidhi reported through his own chain of narration from Salman (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “Indeed, Allah is Ever-Forbearing, Ever-Generous to the extent that when a person lifts his hands (invoking Him), He refrains from returning him empty-handed“.
In addition, Almighty Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) never burdens a person beyond his capacity, and what counts in du`aa‘ is the attentiveness and submissiveness of the heart. Thus, whenever submissiveness is present and the heart is attentive, then – insha‘ Allah – Almighty Allah will answer one’s invocation. Furthermore, the Muslim is required to learn brief invocations in Arabic so that he can recite them during Prayers.
On the other hand, jurists have differed regarding invocation in other than the Arabic language during Prayer. The Hanafis deemed it Makruh Tanzihi (undesirable that should be avoided) outside Prayer and Makruh Tahrimi (undesirable that must be avoided) inside Prayer, while the Malikis claimed that invocation in other than Arabic is prohibited.
As for the Shafi`is, they distinguished invocation by reported formulas from invocation by other formulas. Thus, if the invocation is made by reported formulas, there are three, opinions the most correct of which is that it is permissible to utter invocation in any language other than Arabic for those who cannot recite it in Arabic and that this is impermissible for the one who can recite it in Arabic and if he does so, his Prayer is rendered invalid. This is also the opinion of the Hanbalis. As for invocation outside Prayer, the matter is more flexible.
In this regard, Shaykh-ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah was asked about a man who offered du`aa‘ in which he slipped into solecism and another man said to him “Allah does not accept a solecistic Du`aa‘“. He replied,
Whoever says so is a sinner and has deviated from the Qur’an, the Sunnah and the practice of the Salaf (righteous predecessors). On the contrary, whoever invokes Allah, believing in none but Him alone and using lawful words, Allah accepts and responds to his invocation, whether it is in a standard (grammatically correct) or solecistic manner.
Besides, the mentioned words are baseless. Rather, if the one invoking Allah does not usually observe grammatical rules, he should not take pains to observe grammatical rules, as some of the Salaf (people) said, “When grammatical rules are (strictly) observed, reverence vanishes”. Likewise, it is reprehensible to use (affected) rhymed prose in du`aa‘. However, if it occurs unaffectedly, then there is no harm in it. For, the source of du`aa‘ is the heart, while the tongue is subordinate to it.
Furthermore, when one is primarily preoccupied with improving his language, the attentiveness of his heart weakens. Therefore, Almighty Allah endows the distressed person invoking Him with an attentive heart with words that were not uttered by him before, and this is heartily felt by every believer. On the other hand, offering du`aa‘ in Arabic as well as in other languages is permissible and Allah knows the objectives and intentions of the one invoking him even if he does not improve his language, for He (Exalted be He) knows of the clamoring (invoking) voices (uttered) in different languages and of the various needs (expressed in such words).
According to what is stated above, we say that the opinion we deem preponderant and thus fit to be issued as a Fatwa is that it is permissible to offer du`aa‘ in any language that is accessible for a Muslim and through the utterance of which he finds his heart attentive. Besides, one should learn some reported (prophetic) invocations so that he can recite them in Arabic during Prayer in order to avoid the controversy.