HOW TO LEARN ARABIC?
To learn Arabic, the first thing you need to remember is that learning Arabic is easy.
It may be emphasized here that there are around 80,000 words in the Qur’aan but the actual words are only around 2000! This could also be termed as one of the many miracles of the Qur’aan.
Accordingly, if you decide to learn only 10 new words everyday, you can understand the basic message of the Qur’aan within a period of seven months! So it is indeed very easy to understand the Qur’aan, provided you are willing to learn it.
Allah said it four times in one Surah that “And We have certainly made the Qur’aan easy to understand and remember, so is there any who will remember (or receive admonition)?”
[Al-Qur’aan 54:17, 22, 32, 40].
Since many words are repeated in the Qur’aan, you will find for yourself that within a few months of regular study, you are indeed able to understand the Qur’aan through the text itself.
It may also be pointed out that as a beginner you don’t have to, in the start itself, be worried about learning extensive grammar or how to speak the Arabic language.
In fact, you have to develop vocabulary before learning grammar for the following reasons:
- A child first learns words and then starts linking them together. We speak our mother tongue fluently without ever learning the grammatical rules. That is to say, we learn it by repeatedly listening to the words.
- Learning extensive grammar before improving vocabulary is like putting the cart before the horse. Or it is like learning different styles of swimming by moving hands in the air inside a swimming pool without water. One has to fill the swimming pool with water (i.e., increase vocabulary) and then learn to swim (i.e., to connect the words with grammatical rules).
Shaykh Hasan Marzooq Al-Banna said that the brothers and sisters residing in the west and coming to study Arabic in Egypt or places similar to it should begin with the Qur’aan. He said that it is the best book for learning the Arabic language. All of the rules of grammar are found in the Qur’aan. One can also increase in his/her vocabulary by constantly reading the Qur’aan. He said that one should find a good center to study and learn Arabic. But he said, not to neglect the Qur’aan. One should learn proper recitation of the Qur’aan, along with memorizing it. One should never let a day go past and he/she hasn’t read the Qur’aan (in Arabic, if you are able to). One should study from one copy of the Qur’aan, so that he/she becomes familiar with it. One should carry a copy of the Qur’aan with him/her at all times, and constantly read from it.
The Qur’aan is the number one source for the Arabic language for those who are trying to study it. And you will find that even people who have memorized the Qur’aan that don’t know an-Nahw, as-Sarf, or al-Balagha, when they begin studying those sciences they grasp it better and have a better understanding than the person who didn’t memorize the Qur’aan. Because, all those words and those phrases that they are now going to learn, they are going to be like, ‘Ohh yeah! Wow! Yeah that’s this verse! And that’s that.’ It starts to come easier than the one who didn’t memorize the Qur’aan.
You should try to listen and understand what is being said when you listen to the Qur’aan. This is key in learning the Arabic language. Because the Qur’aan is Arabic and it is the uncreated speech of Allaah. This will help tremendously.
Shaykh Uthaymeen rahimuhullah, said ‘Studying the Arabic language is like a house, the door is made of iron, but the interior of the house is made of sugar cane. It is difficult to get into the house in the beginning but once you get into the house, the house is made of sugar cane, it becomes real easy.’ Due to this, I encourage the student to learn the foundations of the language in order to make the rest easy for him/her.
So, here’s what to do.
1) Get the book “The Glorious Quran Word-for-Word Translation to facilitate learning of Quranic Arabic” by Dr Shehnaz Shaikh M.D. or Noble Qur’an Word for Word (Full Color 3 Vol. Set) Compiled By Darussalam or Noble Qur’an Word for Word (3 Vol. Set) by Dr. Muhsin Khan, Dr. Taqi-ud-Din Hilali. In these books, the meaning of each word is given right below it, so it will be easier for you to understand the Arabic word.
2) Set a time every day to ready at least 15 ayahs. That way you will complete one Qur’aan in a year with the translation. Which will greatly benefit you in your Salaah, Quran recitation and alson in Taraweeh.
3) You don’t have to by heart anything. Just keep reading. The same words are repeated so many times in the Qur’aan that you will easily remember them. And in that one year, you would have learnt so many Arabic words that you will pretty much understand what the message of the Qur’aan is when you hear it in sha Allah.
If you just want to sit back, relax and hear a great Qari and still learn Arabic, you can do that too. Here’s what to do.
Go to beta.quran.com
Select the Qari and the translation of your choice.
Play the recitation.
Sit back, relax and just concentrate on the highlighter word.
You will be benefited in two ways when you do that. First, you will know how to pronounce the word and secondly what that particular word means.
Once an ayah is played, pause it and read the translation. That way you will know what the ayah means, the word for word meaning of the ayah and also how to pronounce each individual word in it.