So, have you come to realize that it is important to learn Islam from its sources? Well, we all have such moments in life! Many of us pursue the thoughts, others try and don’t quiet get to understand the path ahead.
But in my opinion, if you are really serious about learning Islam, the path ahead sits on a basic requirement. You need to understand the language of Islam. And that language is Classic Arabic, or Fusha.
Perhaps many of you already have this ‘insight’ but what you would be looking for is a quickfire way to learn Arabic. And to make you happy, I admit, yes there is a way to learn Arabic fast, just within 4 months. This is a claim made by someone who has been studying Arabic for 6 years and is still pathetic at it.
Well, you’re better than me, trust me!
How I learnt Arabic?
I have learnt Arabic from a number of teachers. And till date, I consider myself to be a rudimentary user of the language. That’s being honest! I did some mistakes and that’s what I am trying to expose here in this post.
If you fill the gaps that I couldn’t, you will be able to comprehend Arabic books in around 4–6 months of time.
I started learning Arabic from an online video series of a Canadian elderly man with somewhat ‘coarse’ English back in July 2013. I did the famous Madeenah Books or Duroos ul Luggatul Arabiya Li Gayrin Natiqeena Biha with him.
This famous book is written by Dr. V Abdur Rahim and is taught in the Madeenah University to students who don’t know Arabic. It was not my first encounter with Arabic though. I had tried to start learning it around 2010, then again in 2011, and then again in 2012.
It was the in my 4th attempt that I actually was able to stick to learning Arabic. It was primarily because, English translations of Islamic books were no more stimulating. I had found them starting to become bland. So, to learn more or seek contentment, I started learning Arabic.
Now, coming back to the course that I took, and recommend you to take as well. The course is around 250 hours of video material, and 3 medium sized Arabic books packed with grammar and some vocabulary. I love the way the book teaches Arabic grammar & morphology, but personally don’t like the vocabulary which it exposes the learner to. The good thing though is that the course is free to take on YouTube.
So, in this section I just couldn’t establish, ‘how I learnt Arabic’, kind of because, I never ‘learnt’ it.
How should you learn Arabic?
You should either find a teacher local to you, or else pick up one of the following two courses:
a. Arabic Tutor by Maulvi Abdul Sattar Khan
b. Madeenah Series by Dr. V Abdur Rahim
I prefer the former over the latter because its written in a manner that is closer to the classic books on grammar. You will be exposed to one topic at a time and you will also have a lot of vocabulary to memorize.
More importantly, you can REVISE it easily. Madeenah books are better for environments such as a university where they can be taken as a full time course along with some supplementary books.
Both since the books are taught via the grammar translation method in countries outside the Arab world, so the book that is written for the exact method will have more strength. It is obvious!
With Arabic Tutor, you will embed grammar rules and vocabulary strongly in your mind. If you get a teacher to help you with it, you are in the perfect place. But, if not, you can always go through it at your own pace. Just read it when your mind is fresh.
If you know Urdu, then Br. Aamir Suhail has some lessons on it. Thankfully, they are also available for free viewing on YouTube. It will take you somewhere around 200 hours to complete the book with revision and exercises, InshaAllah.
If this is all not workable, go through Madeenah books with Asif Mehrali using his YouTube videos. You will be able to complete the whole thing in roughly around 4 months, if you study for 2 hours a day.
So, I asked you to pick up one of the two books to learn Arabic. Actually, they are not just like any other book. They are a proper curriculum to learn Arabic and their authors have sacrificed a lot and toiled hard to get us such amazing course books.
Another thing to do is, not to listen to any Amr, Bakr or Zayd while you are studying these books. Revise these books at least 3 times before picking or touching any other book. And, if you ask me, I would say that you should not touch any other grammar book after these two, at least for the next two years.
All you should do post studying these books is to revise them and keep applying their learning to books written in Arabic. I would recommend two more books post completion of this curriculum;
- Qassas an Nabiyeen by Abul Hassan Nadwi
- Mukhtarat min Adab by Abul Hassan Nadwi
If you want to speak a bit of Arabic as well, you can opt for Qiraat ar Rashidah. Please stick to these books before going to anything else. Read them with a teacher or a friend. Use YouTube to decode these books, or else use the various forums, fb groups etc available to understand these books well.
Pitfalls to Avoid
Arabic either becomes hard because of the teacher, or because of the environment of the student. If a teacher constantly bombards his pupil with complex Arabic terminologies and concepts, he will trap him in a complex web. The student may never come out.
There are other ‘friends’ that a student may have who are always there with unsolicited advice. They will derail him and fill his world with options of books to study. Not quiet understanding what their friend actually needs. Well, I will tell you, ‘you only need one book to get your basic framework right’. You need nothing more.
Once that is done, you have to slowly build on your vocabulary and deepen your comprehension. The worst thing that you can be exposed to in the beginning of your Arabic studies is confusion and chaos.
My Story of Learning Arabic
When I completed two parts of the Madeenah Series through the videos of Br. Asif Mehrali, a ‘student of knowledge’ asked me to study the book Sharh Aajroomiyah of Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen. I found a teacher and asked him to teach me Aajroomiyah and finally we started studying the explanation of Aajroomiyah by Shaykh Mohi ud Din. I couldn’t get past 60 pages in 6 months, because I was not actually studying Aajroomiyah but something else.
I dropped this idea. Then another brother asked me to do the Arabic Tutor Series. I did it, loved it but as soon as I completed two juzz, I was told about YouTube videos on Nazm al Aajroomiyah. I switched.
By now, my mind was messed up. It only had information about complex Arabic rules but I could decode almost nothing in Arabic.
Then I took a basic course of Lisaanul Quran again with completely broken confidence. All my colleagues were by now studying books of scholars in Arabic and I was figuring out what was wrong with my brain chemicals.
Eventually, I took out time to complete Madeenah Books which I had forsaken and got a much more clear idea of what Arabic was and how it was to be dealt with. So, the flip flop not only wasted my time but prolonged the time of my learning. And honestly, my Arabic suffered.
Eventually, Arabic Tutor helped. But as they say, Alhumdulilah, all is well that ends well. But hey! I don’t want you to waste time on things like me.
Baby Steps for You
- Complete a course
- Read Arabic books mentioned
- Read more books about Islam in Arabic i.e. Practice
- By now, you will be in a position to advice me about what to study further. You will be a champ 🙂
Over to You
Learning Arabic is an easy process. All you need is a good methodology, consistency and persistence. Do one thing at a time and don’t jump stairs. Keep things simple, and take things, one at a time. This is especially you are studying Arabic part time.
May Allah make the learning of the language of the Quran easy for us all, Ameen.
Originally posted on Medium