I’ve taken on the task of homeschooling my children. It’s a weight on my shoulders. A welcome one, but a weight no less. How will I teach them things that are important for them to know?
One thing I desire deeply is that my children will be able to understand the Qur’an when it is being recited. I want the recitation to evoke emotions in them beyond the voice of the imam. It’s not a small task. But additionally, I want that for myself.
So often we provide for our kids what we want for ourselves, sacrificing our own desires. When my oldest was homeschooled, she was signed up with Studio Arabiya to learn Qur’an. Since she was in middle school at that time and my time was limited, my focus was on her memorizing Qur’an for this reason:
The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said, “It shall be said to the Companion of the Qur’an, ‘Recite [of what you have memorized] and rise up, recite [melodiously] as you would recite in the world. For indeed your rank shall be at the last Ayah [verse] you recite.”
Tirmidhee no. 2914 – [Ha-san]
Learning Arabic as an adult
Now with my younger kids, I have a bit more time, and I want to learn with them. It definitely helps that I can see the end of the diaper changing road, and everyone sleeps through the night, alhamdulilah.
So, after my oldest having success with Studio Arabiya, I thought I’d give it a try myself.
Full disclosure: I do receive a discount on classes through Studio Arabiya for advertising space, but they are not compensating me for writing this post, nor have they even asked that I do so.
I started taking online classical Arabic classes last year, shortly after my youngest turned 1. Life started getting a little easier, and it felt like a good time to add in some education for myself.
I had learned the alphabet about 6 years prior and could connect letters to sound out words, but my reading was incredibly slow and I only knew a handful of common words like book, mosque, pen, sun, and the like.
For the last year I’ve been doing two, 30 minute classes each week, and honestly, I’ve canceled probably 1 out of 5 of them because, well, kids. It’s all too common for me to get to dinner time and I am just intellectually spent. All that said to give you an idea of how much time I’ve put into this… it hasn’t been a ton. This limited time commitment is just where I’m at right now.
Now a year later, I can make simple sentences and ask simple questions. Occasionally I can pick up on what someone speaking in Arabic is talking about.
It’s been a slow process, mostly because of my own lack of ability, time, and energy. MashaAllah, my teacher with Studio Arabiya has met me where I’m at and helped me along the way.
When you try an online Arabic class, keep these things in mind:
- Get out of your comfort zone. You won’t meet the goals you have if you keep doing what you’ve always done.
- The teacher makes all the difference. Some will push you harder to learn conversation than others. If you don’t enjoy a teacher you’re working with, ask for another.
- Don’t let your class time be the only time you experience Arabic. Watch shows with your kids like Siraj to immerse yourself more in the language. You can see more of my Arabic learning resources as well.
- Teach your kids as you are learning. I currently teach my kids 2 new words a week that they can use in conversation. Teaching others is the best way to solidify your learning.
- Schedule yourself for as much time as you can dedicate to it. You’ll learn exponentially faster if you can schedule in 2 hours a week versus 1 hour a week.
Even though I may be the slowest Arabic learner in the world, what I have learned has already helped me in my attempt to further my education in Islam. The Arabic language is so intermingled with Islamic sciences that not knowing Arabic can be a serious hindering factor to expanding your knowledge.
“I’m just not good at learning Arabic”
I’m not either. Really, I’m not. I can’t count how many times I’ve nearly cried out of frustration for how hard it is for me to learn new words. For some reason the grammar comes easily enough for me, but new words? I have to be reminded over and over again about their meaning and it’s like it just doesn’t compute. It’s been a struggle. What keeps me going is knowing this:
The Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) said, “Verily the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have TWICE that reward.”
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
I know it’s hard to push through. Really truly and honestly, I do. I’m still struggling. Honestly, just yesterday I was almost in tears out of frustration that I couldn’t remember words I’ve been taught a hundred times already, and that when I read words I don’t know, I stammer through them. It’s been this way with every teacher and every venue I’ve used.
It’s just the struggle I face, but progress is progress, no matter the pace.
Just give it a try. You won’t regret trying.