Bukhari and Tirmidhi narrate on the authority of Kharijah ibn Zayd ibn Thabit from his father Zayd ibn Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him, who said: “RasuluLlah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered me to learn some words for him from the language of the Jews. He [RasuluLlah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace] said to me: ‘I take an oath by Allah that I do not trust the Jews with my letter.’ Before half a month could pass, I learnt the [Suryani] language. After I learnt it, if he had to write a letter to the Jews, I used to write it for him. And if they wrote to him, I used to read their letter to him.”
Tirmidhi says that this is a good and authentic Hadith. Al-A`mash also narrated it on the authority of Thabit ibn `Ubayd from Zayd ibn Thabit, may Allah be pleased with him, saying: “RasuluLlah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, ordered me to learn the Suryani language.”
Utilizing foreign languages in the field of teaching, inviting and propagation when there is a need to do so is established from the Sunnah of RasuluLlah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.
Today, languages are key to universal sciences which have become necessary because of us neighbouring the non-Arabs and Europeans. Languages are a key to progress between nations. They have become a key to mutual cooperation which has become necessary in life and so that a person’s right will be guaranteed when he mixes with other nations.
Shaykh Safiyyuddin al-Hilli who knew several languages says in a poem:
“The more languages a person knows, the more he is able to benefit. These languages come to his assistance at the time of calamities. Hasten, then, in learning new languages. For every language, in essence, is another human.”
(Shaykh `Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghuddah, al-Rasul al-Mu`allim, translated by Mahomed Mahomedy and published by Zam Zam Publishers, as Prophet Muhammad – The Teacher and his teaching methodologies, p.159)