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Help Learning Arabic

Help Learning Arabic


Selam Osama, I want to learn Arabic but you make it sound very hard… why is that?

Wa alykum as-salaam!

I’m so sorry, I never meant to discourage anyone from learning Arabic. I make fun of it, because while I grew up speaking Arabic, formal Arabic classes are difficult because of the complexity of the language and the fact that I was learning English grammar at the same time, which is SO much easier.

Arabic is a difficult language, especially at the formal level. Subhanallah, it’s precisely because of its complexity and the skill needed to manipulate the language, which explains the social status that poets possessed in pre-Islamic Arabia. The Qur’an’s beauty in language, unparalleled by any other poets, delivered by an illiterate man (The Prophet) is seen by many Muslims as the miracle of Islam.

One of my teachers explained it to me this way: “The miracles of each Prophet (with scripture) is in direct relation to what he faced: in the time of Musa (Moses), he had to compete with magicians, so God granted miracles to overcome anything the magicians could make. For Eisa (Jesus), it was the skills of the Empire’s healers, so God healed the sick for Eisa’s miracles. Finally, Muhammad’s contemporary challenge was the poets, therefore, The Qur’an, as literary perfection, is the ultimate proof and miracle that God bestowed upon His final Prophet to overcome his (Muhammad’s) particular challenge.”

Arabic, in itself, is not a holy language. I really don’t agree with people who even hint at that possibility. The language’s overwhelming complexity, and The Qur’an’s divine mastery of the language, is what is important.

The reason why learning Arabic, even on a small level, is good, is because you’ll be able to get to the root words of many concepts in The Qur’an. By doing so, you’ll be able to make better judgments on whether the translation you’re reading is good or not, and have a better understanding of what The Qur’an is really challenging you to think about.

Please don’t be discouraged, but don’t be surprised by the difficulty that you will face. Arabic grammar is very different than English grammar, and I’m assuming (maybe wrong) that because of the way you wrote “Selam” that you’re Turkish? There are words in Turkish that are Arabic (obviously) and that will help you, a lot, but again, I think its the grammar that’s the most difficult, and I think if you isolate the difficulty to that part of learning the language, you’ll be able to do great, Insha Allah.

To end this answer on a lighter note, I’ll share with you some of my struggles learning Arabic as a child. So, my Arabic teacher was this very strict woman, and she is taller than me, even now, so you can imagine how scary she was when I was 6.

I would always do poorly on my writing assignments, because of the way I wrote my letter “te”

She could always go: “Osama! It is ‘te!’ Not a smiley face!”

She was, honestly, the teacher I learned the most from. Lam shamsaya and qamaraya? All her.

Please don’t lose hope! Insha Allah, you’ll breeze through Arabic, and you’ll realize that I’m just not as smart as you.

If you have any other questions, I’d be more than happy to answer them, Insha Allah.

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