Language has too often been neglected as a crucial catalyzer to social change and an important factor in human ethical and religious development. This article is about the role of language in sociopolitical change leading to Islamic revival. The idea of this study gains its importance and novelty from the fact that it focuses on the issue of language in its relation to social changes within the framework of the Prophetic Method theory as developed by the famous Muslim revivalist Imam Abdessalam Yassine. Actually, Muslim intellectuals and social activists, in their search for solutions to sociopolitical problems of the Ummah, have often ignored linguistic and other socio-cultural resources.
Therefore, this paper focuses on the relationship between language and sociopolitical change. It offers a specific proposal to address issues of language policy as related to social change from an Islamic perspective. Language for Imam Yassine considers is “a major political institution”; it is fundamental to any reformatory constructive project.
Imam Yassine states that he has deeply pondered upon the process of reform and change and ultimately discovered that it is subjected to the following intricate chain: Any sociopolitical change/stability stipulates power; power is the outcome of unity. Unity is established upon justice; justice is set up upon a system of values (Ihsan in the Imam’s terminology). Likewise, any system of values remains shaky and vulnerable unless it is sustained by economic and technological development. Development itself necessitates education and training.
Imam Yassine finally concludes that language permeates all the previous links of the chain. To analyze and reconstruct the Imam’s theory for change so as to place language in its rightful position, the study adopts two complementary methods: the first method is analytic. It is used to define key concepts and make necessary terminological specifications; the second is inductive. It is used to induce the hierarchical process of socio-political change advanced by Imam Yassine in his books.
It is also used to find out pertinent and relevant solutions for the problematic situation posed by language diversity and rights in the Arabo-Islamic context, and the cultural necessity of a unified language to unify the Umma. Finally, the article ends with pertinent remarks based on the famous relationship between language and people’s way of thinking and more importantly how it influences their behavior and their everyday choices; therefore, any project of sociopolitical change must not ignore this crucial role of language.