Arabic and Islamic Studies
Bismillah ir rahman ir raheem
As salaam alekum wa rahmatulahi wabaraketuh
Have not recent world events triggered a sense of urgency in yourself concerning your Deen and all that it encompasses? Why are we Muslims under attack and how are we to defend ourselves? Someone said history reveals that as long as Muslims held fast to the rope of Allah and considered the knowledge of Islam as the main driving force toward pursuit of other knowledge they made great contributions to society at large. How are we to achieve success if we do not improve ourselves! Mothers and fathers especially, you will be accountable in front of Allah about the tarbiyyah (education) of your children.
As a mother of two wonderful children and another on the way this November insha'Allah, I have this sudden unstoppable will to educate myself. I am in full realization of my accountability and it is like a weight on my shoulders. So what am I doing about it?......Well......I ...started surfing the net for any Arabic courses I could find. Finally my mouse fell upon "shariahprogram.ca". There it was!
The Arabic course that was to change my life! There was a sister's program...and an intensive too......starting July 2003. The intro to the course made me a bit apprehensive as I had no prior background in the Arabic language. Yes a revert to Islam a few years ago, married to an Arab, my only exposure to the Arabic language was when my husband talked to his family overseas as I sat idly by not understanding a word! I could just barely read "alif, ba, ta" before joining the July intensive course. I sat in on the sisters' weekend course since the end of May . It is nearly 2 months later and I am able to read (very slowly mind you). Working shift work full-time and having two small children and a wonderful husband, my time is very limited so how was I going to concentrate on such a heavy-duty task? I knew it was going to be an enormous struggle. However, with constant du'aa and with ikhlass (insha'Allah) I put myself in the driver's seat, fastened my seatbelt and plunged full force in the pursuit of knowledge. I can, alhamdulilah, actually read and understand! Few small children's Islamic stories are read in the class and analyzed thoroughly. This in-depth analysis accompanied by Arabic grammar and sentence structure has illuminated that dark area of ignorance of the language and has thrown out my fears.
The structure of this Arabic class is wonderful. The first portion is taught by a most knowledgeable Arabic native teacher who teaches us Tajweed, mashaallah. I had no clue that there were actual rules in how to read the Qur'an correctly. Sister Bana teaches Tajweed with such clarity and dedication, making each student comprehend why a certain ayah has to be pronounced in such a way rather than another. It all comes down to meaning. Each one of us reads in front of her and she ensures we pronounce each letter according to the rules of Tajweed. Masha Allah may Allah reward her for her wonderful work! Ameen! She has made me appreciate the text of the Qur'an and has ignited a spark in me to practice and perfect my recitation to the best of my abilities. The second part of her lesson consists of Duroos involving Arabic vocabulary and basic grammar through the medium of an exercise book.
The next period is taken over by Mufti Yusuf Mullan, the head course instructor of this program. Masha Allah, may Allah reward him for all he has taught me and will teach me in the future insha'Allah ameen. The dedication to his craft of teaching is amazing. He is certainly very well versed in the structure of the Arabic language masha Allah. His style at first is very overwhelming -- a lot of material is covered and it jolts the mind! Yes especially a mind that has interwoven cobwebs in it for lack of studying after so long! The first half hour is spent translating Imam Al Zarnuji's wonderful book, "Talim al-Mutallim" (Instruction of the Student - The Method of Learning). By reading such books, we not only discover some of the wonderful classical Arabic texts of the Middle Ages but we delve into the intricacies of the Arabic language as well applying the verb tenses and other grammatical terms we learned in previous classes. Next we do some verb conjugations for a while and then he introduces a new topic. The variety of material covered makes it all the more interesting.
The first few days I was like ....this is way over my head! And I was questioning myself...should I really be here? Everyone else knows how to read at least...not me! But alhamdulilah.....by the end of the first week things were starting to sink in and masha Allah! A whole new world has been opened for me. Once I get more of a handle on the Arabic language all the classical books will be available for me insha'Allah. Later in the year the other sciences will be introduced and discussions on the Seerah and Hadiths will insha'Allah take place. Each class Mufti Yusuf goes over the previous lessons and asks whether there is anything that needs clarification and through this method eventually the material all comes together.
I must admit it is not easy time-wise to juggle family and work to attend this course but Allah subhaanahu wa ta'ala has made things fall into place. I am able to change my shifts around to accommodate this class with the help of Allah, azza wa jal. Literally from not knowing a thing a few months ago (having to do a bit of homework on my own with books on "How to Read Arabic" and some practice in class) I am actually able to read! What an achievement, alhamdulillah! Sometimes I feel I am just barely keeping my head above water. Time constraints do not permit me to review what I have learned as much as I would like to. Practicing verb conjugations or the rules of Tajweed are essential; but, alhamdulilah...once I am on maternity leave I will have more time to review all this insha'Allah and insha'Allah by then I can read to all three of my children in Arabic!
Someone once said insha'Allah if we dedicate ourselves with full ikhlass we can revive the muslim ummah and become how we used to be, gaining and mastering knowledge. It is our responsibility as a society to overcome ignorance and dedicate ourselves to the studying of the blessed language of the Qur'an, Arabic. We have to take control of our selves and knowledge is the best power. It is the first step in success over the ignorant masses of the west. So folks take it from me if I can find time working midnight duties and juggling my schedule around for the sake of Allah you can find time too insha'Allah. Sisters especially! If your husband permits you to come. You must! It is incumbent upon you as mothers to teach the young, so fulfill your duty to Allah subhaana wa ta'ala and make an effort! Put on your seat belt and come enjoy the ride! Enroll in the shariah program. You will not regret it.
Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.
fi aman Allah
A'isha (Jacqueline) D'Costa
Now formally registering for the 2009 Online Arabic Foundations Program
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