Nov 22, 2013

The 4 essentials for learning Arabic - Part 1

By Tara Delancey

Part 2


Learning Arabic is one of the most important things we can do to better understand our deen. As the language in which the Qur’an was revealed, as well as the original sources of hadith and major religious commentaries and other scholarly writing, an understanding of Arabic will allow us to access the words of Allah and his Messenger, sal Allahu aleyhi wa sallam, directly and without anyone else acting as an ‘interpreter’. 

Many sisters are aware of the value of understanding Arabic and have made efforts to learn the language but still feel stuck, as if on the edge of a steep mountain with no more strength to go on, while others are overwhelmed by the sheer difficulty of it all and have been too scared to even begin. Does either of these scenarios sound like you? If so, then here are few excellent tips to get you going:

1. Refresh your motivation:

This is number one for a reason. Get it in your system. This is absolutely the most important thing you need to have to learn Arabic. If you do not feel the desire to learn, speak, read and write the language burning in the very core of your soul, you are likely to burn out before getting very far. 

This is not meant to discourage anyone but only to say that, because Arabic is such a difficult language (one of the most difficult in the world, according to linguists), and so different from English, that it requires more effort to learn than usual. On the bright side, Allah makes it easy for the keen learners. If you have the motivation, you truly can achieve anything. 

To increase your motivation, remind yourself that the first reason you are learning Arabic is in order to understand the Qur'an more perfectly and connect more deeply with the words of Allah. This is not a trivial matter. The fact is that something is always lost in translation. If you are reading a translation, you will always be limited by another person’s interpretation of the meaning. 

Ask yourself: how important is it for me to explore the layers and depths of the Qur'anic Arabic text and understand it for myself? When you discover the answer to that question, you will find that the next point comes very easily inshaAllah.

2. Make time: 

Luckily, this is something that everyone has. If you are thinking, “but seriously! I just don’t have the time!” you have exactly as many hours in the day as Helen Keller, Gandhi, and the Prophet Muhammad himself, sal Allahu aleyhi wa sallam. The trick is to organize your time in the most efficient way. This is also about making priorities. If you have the motivation mentioned before, and have internalized the seriousness of learning Arabic for understanding the Qur’an, then it should be fairly easy to make the space in your schedule for Arabic study bi’idh Illah.

Furthermore, even though sitting down and studying is an essential foundation, it is not enough. There are other ways to reinforce and expand your practical ability to use the language which, thankfully, can  be combined with other important things in your day. For example, relax by watching Arabic shows on the TV or internet, talk to yourself about what you are doing when working around the house (“now I’m vacuuming, I’m in the shower, I’m cooking dinner”), or anytime you get together with your friends who are learning or already speak Arabic, try to keep the conversation in Arabic as much as possible (don’t forget your Arabic/English dictionary!).

Look out for Part 2 of this topic where we will continue with the 3rd and 4th essentials for learning Arabic InshaAllah.

I'd love to hear your views on this topic. Please post in the comments section below!


assalamu alaikum sis …
jazakhallahu khair for d advice, i feel so stuck in shaa Allah ill motivate myself

Where is chapter 16 ?

As-salaamu alaykum

I can relate to this so well, I've been trying to learn Arabic for so long, every time I get started and hyped up, learn for a while and then lose motivation because it seems too difficult. These tips are really helpful, looking forward to Part 2 of this.

May Allah reward you for inspiring what is good.

So, no more stories? man, please don't do that.

wat happened to chapter 16!!

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