Thursday 2 May 2013

Learning Arabic: Checking My Intentions

I recently posted about joining a Quranic Arabic course with the ustadha that runs the Arabic Gems website. I say recent, but before I knew it, fourteen weeks had passed and we were at the end of the first term. This meant two weeks to revise before sitting a vocabulary and grammar test.

In the past I was usually quite good at studying, but found the classical Arabic grammar we were learning quite challenging. I realised as I went along that I was not spending enough time studying and have since established a routine whereby I spend the time after fajr (dawn) practising my vocabulary and doing homework.

With the two weeks preceding the test however, I made the intention to study, but kept finding myself distracted and side-tracked. So a day before the test I was doing something I had always scoffed at: cramming.

So after two days of vocabulary practise, I sat the test and passed. After struggling with the grammar element, I spent a few hours trying to work out the relevance of case endings in classical Arabic (see here for an explanation which I found helpful). I then sat the test and...just missed the pass mark (shame face). Between the two however, I think I have just enough marks to get into the next semester which will lead up to Ramadan. This term homework is in Arabic, not English and we are expected to step up our game and work hard. But our teacher also reminded us that this term should be incredibly enjoyable as we really start to delve into the gems in the Quran in the run up to Ramadan.

In the day before the test, I felt that it was too much with four children, never ending housework, a project I am working on with my sisters and with my return to work next month. I really, really wanted to give up. So I mentioned to my husband about giving up and in his usual, sensible way, he suggested I ask myself what my purpose in learning Arabic was. If I was learning to be able to show off 
to people that I could understand Arabic, then maybe I should give up. I thought about it and concluded that I had wanted to understand what the Quran said as a child and was told I was too young. Now I still wanted to know what the Quran was saying without having to rely on the translation of others. It completely amazes me that the word of Allah (SWT) is on this earth, existing to guide and help us and that everyone is not rushing to learn what it says. I feel as if it exists for my benefit and that I would love to discover some of the treasures and wisdom from the Quran. I believe in making studying, understanding and implementing the Quran a life-long endeavour and learning the language is part of that. 

I think I answered his question. So I have scraped through to the next term and insh’Allah plan to work much harder. I am going through various websites and Youtube videos to find resources to supplement my learning.

For my vocabulary I have been using Memrise (this vocabulary game) and it has proved a brilliant tool, which costs nothing and makes my vocab learning easy. I heartily recommend it.

The other thing I have been thinking about is subscribing to Baiyanah TV which is the brainchild of Ustadg Nauman Ali Khan and includes his “Arabic with Husnah” video series. Have you subscribed or seen the visdeo’s? Can anyone recommend if this is a worthwhile resource. Would love to hear readers views insh’Allah.
Now back to my studies insh’Allah as term 2 starts tonight!


  1. Anonymous04 May, 2013

    I would definitely recommend Arabic with Husna.

  2. Umm Musa05 May, 2013

    Arabic with Husna is amazing its short clips n one at a time....pace is sow n ustadh is mashallah. very good for busy moms. I have enjoyed doing it and rejoin it after my short vacation

  3. Salam sis, just like you I am also quite struggling but I really don't want to give. As you said, it is definitely a lifelong endeavour to understand the Qur'an and implement the lessons on a daily basis, bi'idnillah. I have been watching brother Nouman's Arabic with Husna for couple of weeks now and I can't stress more how beneficial the short 15/20 minutes lessons have been mashAllah. The handouts are great as well. If you find the grammar terms very dry like me, his style of explaining grammar rules will definitely please you. Besides his Quran tafseer is just awesome mashAllah. The theme project is also very beneficial mashAllah. He just finished one theme 'Shame' and very soon his theme project on parenting will be uploaded so it's a must TV for every Muslim household inshAllah. In terms of learning the Qur'anic Arabic, I think we must remember that at the end of the day, we cannot learn any language within a couple of months or a year. Besides, are we really getting any exposure to Arabic language on a daily basis? How can we expect to learn a language without being able to practice it everyday. If i compare my understanding the Qur'anic Arabic at the start of this Arabic Gems course and now almost halfway through the second semester, no doubt alhamdulillah I have learnt a lot and this is what keeps me going alhamdulillah. I am thrilled just thinking about what I can learn if I keep trying and never give up inshAllah. So we just need keep striving and Allah subhana wa ta'ala is the One who knows where we will be inshAllah at the end. I love to visualize the day in Jannah inshaAllah where we can recall together our efforts to learn the Arabic to solely please Allah subhana wa ta'ala. May Allah subhana wa ta'ala accept our efforts and make the whole journey to understand His Book easy and full of endless baraka for all of us, ameeen!