Eid days are usually boring. At least for me. Perhaps, I put a lot of expectations on the much awaited Eidayn (2 Eids). After all, we only have two of them. So, to kill the boredom of this Eid, I thought of sharing some benefits with you all.
Are you a student of the language of Arabic and are not noticing a lot of progress? Do you want to solve the big puzzle, “How to Improve Your Arabic?”
Well, today I will share some benefits that I got to learn after listening to a specialist scholar in Arabic from India. The post will especially benefit a person who has studied basic grammar and morphology of Arabic; such as the students who have studied at least two parts of the famous Madinah books, or 2 parts of the book Arabic Tutor, or any such introductory level course.
Talking about myself, I had my first tryst with Arabic back in 2010. I was in college then, but honestly it was not that great. I found one of the finest Arabic teachers in my town and we got started with the Madinah books. A month later, due to the overdose of grammar, I decided to just quit. And yes, I was also influenced by a particular group of scholars who advised against learning from a certain kind of people. And my teacher, was a perfect fit to that description!
After 11 long years, I say that I was foolish and naïve in even lending an ear to those cultist ‘scholars’. May Allah guide the Muslims to what pleases Him.
My dream of Arabic was almost gone until a brother told me about him having a video course on Madinah books by Ustadh Asif Mehrali. He had that in his hard disk. It was the same course that my previous Arabic teacher had advised me against.
But, it was convenient to have a teacher wherever you go. It was now with you on your laptop, and for me on my mobile as well. Now, once again I started to believe that I can learn the language of our scholars. I took the video lectures, purchased the books and started listening to the videos in around late 2013. This was after 2 failed attempts in using the video course.
I was employed then and had a job, and it is understood that I did not have a lot of free time. But I persisted and somehow completed the course with a lot of headaches and whirling eyes. But, the actual challenge began here. I learnt what everyone had been telling me is the key to understand Arabic. But that was not the case. I barely could understand the complex books written by the scholars of Islam.
So, I took two more courses on Arabic. One was on “Arabic Tutor” and the other was on “Lisaanul Quran”. They gave some hope but did not do a lot. I added studying Aajroomiyah. And honestly, it had the least effect on my Arabic. This means that by now, I had spent roughly 400 hours on videos teaching Arabic. This is simply a lot for a person who is married with kids, and has a full time job.
And even after this hard work, if you did not understand intermediate level Arabic, it is bound to frustrate you. Anyhow, I learnt about a scholar speaking about how to improve ones Arabic and I realized that if I had taken his route to Arabic learning, I would have been much more accomplished very early in my studies. So, with the tawfeeq of Allah, I summarize:
1. Memorizing the Quraan
You must start with memorizing the Quraan. This will improve your vocabulary and give you a practical insight into how Arabic words and structures are used by Allah in the Quraan. The Quraan is the most eloquent work of Arabic that man knows. Memorizing its passages will make sure that you will always have words and structures ready to use at your disposal.
2. Reading Quraan a Lot
Quraan is the primary book that we must aim to learn after studying Arabic. Not just that, I emphasize, we must learn Arabic to learn the Quraan itself. That must be the primary goal! So, you must spend a good amount of time daily in reading the Quraan. If you can complete at-least 2-3 parts of the Quraan a day, it will be good. If that is not possible, read whatever is easy for you.
3. Learn and Apply Tajweed
Make sure that you learn the Tajweed of the Quraan and apply it every time you read it. Take pains to apply the rules of Tajweed in reading any other Arabic text as well. This will help you to learn the correct articulation of the alphabet, which will in turn help you to understand Arabic a lot more everytime you listen to it.
4. Read a lot of Ahadeeth
You must read some ahadeeth of the beloved Prophet Muhammad, Peace be upon him, every day. He is the most eloquent of the Arabs as comes in some ahadeeth. So, you must pay great attention to his speech. Also, he spoke pure Arabic as he spent his early childhood outside the city. Learn from his formations and vocabulary. If you memorize his words, it is even better.
5. Read the Books of Arabic Literature
Read the best writers in Arabic and try to emulate them. Books like Qassas an Nabiyeen, Al Qiraatur Rashidah, and Mukhtaraat will form the basic of your curriculum. Rather than spending a lot of your time on grammar and morphology, try to make use of the simple books written for children. They will create patterns and structures in your mind.
The three books that I mentioned above are extensively used in the seminaries of India to improve Arabic of pupils. Go through these books again and again. Every time you go through them, you will realize that your Arabic is getting stronger. An important point here is that you should try to emulate the passages in these books and create something similar in your mind or on your notes. Keep practicing if you wish to improve your written Arabic.
Once you study these books an ample amount of times, switch to reading classic works of scholars known for their Arabic.
6. Listen to Scholars who Speak Pure Arabic
You would know that not all Arabic spoken today is pure in nature. Most people speak broken Arabic or a dialect which is quite different from actual Arabic of the Arabs. So, here you can pick up the tapes of one scholar and go through a portion of them daily. In the beginning it will be hard to understand. But you will realize that you will start understanding a lot more. This is because your ears will get accustomed to Arabic sounds and your mind will put more focus on understanding rather than trying to hear what was said. Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen is one of the best I can recommend here.
7. Read a Dictionary
Make a dictionary your companion. Based on your aim, you can choose a dictionary that you can benefit from. You may start with a dictionary of the Quraan and then go to one on the hadeeth. And similarly you can then shift to dictionaries on the general Arabic language.
8. Speak in Arabic
Try to speak Arabic as much as possible. If you have no one around you who can speak Arabic, you can find a lot of groups on Social Media where people are available to voicechat online. Take benefit of them.
Over to You
In essence, learn only a little grammar and morphology and pay more attention to reading and listening to Arabic. In due time you will be excellent with your Arabic. With time, you can study more complex grammar and morphology and become an expert on the theoretical aspects of the language. But pay more attention to the practical aspects of Arabic before that, i.e.. reading, listening and speaking.
I ask Allah to help us improve our understanding of the language of the Quraan.