Why I want my kids to learn Arabic: Part 1

teachkidsarabic1

After intending to incorporate Arabic into ZB’s day for pretty much the last 2 years, we’ve finally started an Arabic playgroup of sorts. As we take baby steps toward our goal (being completely fluent in Modern Standard Arabic) I wanted to remind myself why I’m doing this, why is Arabic so important? This lecture on “Why and how to study Arabic” by Nouman Ali Khan says it all.

The following points are mostly a transcript of what Ustadh Nouman says in the video and I’ve added my thoughts here and there.


1.) The Qur’an is the miracle.

All Prophets were given the message AND miracles. And all Prophets (except Muhammad salalhu ‘alayhi wa salam) were given miracles that were separate from the messages they had to deliver. For example, Saleh AS was given a giant she-camel, Musa (AS) parted the sea etc. but the message they had to deliver was separate from the miracle.

The Prophet (SAW), was given a 2 in 1, awesome kind of deal. The message i.e. the Qur’an is also miraculous. And you know wherein the miracle lies?

Yup, the Arabic language. Translations will capture some or most of the message but they absolutely cannot capture the miracle. The miracle is in the Words that Allah SWT chose to use.

My thoughts: There are far too many of us who don’t know what the Qur’an means, let alone it’s miracle. I want my children to know the message and be able to continuously discover the miracles. Teaching them Arabic now will, by Allah’s Leave, pave the way for a life-long study of Qur’anic Arabic. 

Oh and check out this video on linguistic miracles of the Qur’an.


2.)  Allah SWT describes the Qur’an as Arabic, eleven times. So that’s 11 times that Allah specifically combined the word ‘Qur’an’ with the word ‘Arabic’. Every word in the Qur’an is exactly from Allah, you can’t add to it and you can’t take away from it. If Allah describes the Qur’an as Al Hakeem, we can never separate the two. Similarly, we can’t separate Arabic and the Qur’an.

My thoughts: If Allah says it’s an Arabic Qur’an, it’s an Arabic Qur’an. Relying on the translation alone simply does not compare. I want my kids to know that Allah chose Arabic as the language of the Qur’an and believe that because He chose it, it’s really important. 


3.) Lost in translation 

a.) The Beauty : If you translate Shakespeare or Wordsworth into let’s say, Hindi. Would the words sound as beautiful? Would they have the same effect? I would say not. If the words of a human being lose their beauty in translation, then what of the word of Allah. There can be no doubt in the beauty of the words that He SWT chose to use.

b.) The Meaning: 

Allah uses the word ‘nafs‘ and the word ‘ruh‘ – both are translated into English as ‘soul‘.

Allah uses the word ‘qalb‘ and the word ‘fu’aad‘ – both are translated into English as ‘heart‘.

Now let’s think about that for a sec, two words in Arabic, Allah ‘azza wa jal said two things, the translator however, used one. Allah didn’t mean the same thing because if He did, He SWT would have used the same word. My thoughts: The Arabic language is so incredibly deep. Even if you start to skim the surface of root words in Arabic, you’ll just be blown away. Check out this article for an example.

c.) Grammar.

In different places in the Qur’an, Allah has said: ‘Wallahu khabeeran bi ma ta’malun‘ and ‘Wallahu bi ma ta’maluna khabeer’. Both statements are generally translated as: “Allah has full knowledge of what you do”

But once again, Allah didn’t say the same thing. What it comes down to is that Arabic has several elements that other languages simply don’t possess. This is NOT to insult English,Urdu, French or any other language after all, every language is from Allah as He Alone. It’s just that He SWT has taken one language and honoured it by giving it an extraordinary amount of clarity.

My thoughts: I don’t want my kids to struggle to concentrate in Salah because they’re oblivious to the beauty of what they’re reciting. I don’t want them mindlessly repeating words they don’t understand when memorizing the Qur’an and I don’t want them to feel ‘bored’ when reading the Words of Allah because the translation they have is just so dry. 

Read on: Why I want my kids to learn Arabic: Part 2.

Comments

  1. Salam Sara,

    Really love the Website Masha’Allah, May Allah allow it to go from strength to strength. Reading your blog has made me feel much better. As a non -Arabic speaker I was feeling a little down. I’ve just started actively trying to say Arabic words to my 1 year old and 5 year old, and feel because I am alone in doing so, it’s futile. However you have re-inspired me! Just starting with with basic nouns (ism!) and repetition of these is helping me to learn words at the same time as them!

    • Wasalaams,

      And Ameen!! You know I wrote this to return to when I lost motivation which pretty much happens ALL the time. Alhamdullilah for our kids man, learning alongside them is an awesome easy way to learn. After Ramadan we should start up an Arabic motivation club or something 😉

  2. Alhamdoulellah Shokran for this information, I am trying hard to learn Arabic so I can better study the Quran with the true beauty of the Arabic language. You are absolutely correct that the translation is not enough on it’s own. I do listen to recitation of the Quran in Arabic and try to follow along with the translation but it is not the same.

  3. We wish you all the best in your journeys of learning the precious language of the Qur’an. Learning Arabic can be fun and enjoyable for all with the right learning resources. We, at Alif2Yaa (www.alif2yaa.com) bookstore have made sure our products bridge the gap to learning by Arabic offering kids valuable reading books and resources in Arabic.

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