Arabic for Beginners

“What’s the point of reading the Quran in Arabic if I can’t understand the language?” is a question that many ask whether they are reverts or raised Muslims. A good question that requires a thorough explanation…

As the words of the holy Qur’an was revealed to our beloved prophet Muhammad (pbuh) through angel Jibreel (AS) in the Arabic language, the importance of preserving the original words is so important which makes the Quran unique in the religion of Islam. No other religion requires that their worshippers memorise their holy book from cover to cover and letter for letter in the
original version and language. However, to ensure that the Quran is protected from being corrupted and altered, it’s important that the words are memorised by many of the worshippers so that there’s no chance of that ever happening.

So what are the virtues of reciting the Quran? And why in Arabic? Well, having the words translated will never be able to replace the words and a lot of the meaning would be lost in translation. There are words in the Quran that’s impossible to translate into another language as there isn’t an equivalent that will be able to retain the powerful meaning of those particular words and can end up being problematic. If we look at the translations of the Christian Bibles, Old and New Testaments, there are numerous versions of the Bibles as the early church fathers weren’t able to achieve the correct translation of the whole Bible. This leads to meanings being lost and a creation of many denominations within the Christian faith. Reciting the Quran in Arabic also brings unity among the Ummah. No matter which mosque you go to around the whole world, you will be able to all pray in one universal language. You also would be able to pick up a copy of the Quran anywhere in the world and recite it in Arabic where all the words are the exactly same. The same can’t be said about any other religion where each country would normally have their holy books in their native language. Lastly, the spiritual benefit of reciting the Quran in Arabic is immense.

“And We send down of the Qur’an that which is healing and mercy for the believers, but it does not increase the wrongdoers except in loss”. [17:82]

Also, the Qur’an will intercede for us on the Day of Judgment. Abu Umaamah relates that the Prophet (pbuh) said
“Read the Qur’an, for verily it will come on the Day of Judgment as an intercessor for its companions.”

Reciting the Quran isn’t only for the month of Ramadhan. The words are there to bring us close to our Lord everyday of the year. So at Help for Reverts we offer classes to teach our revert sisters to learn the Arabic Alphabet and the diacritical and basic tajweed rules with the aim of them being able to recite the Quran at the end of the course. Classes are given weekly via zoom which lasts between 40-60mins each class. We run two classes per week, where sisters would join the class to suit their level. Whether they have done a bit of Arabic before or a complete beginner, the classes are a fun way for our sisters to learn and meet other reverts. How long does the course take to complete? This all depends on each individual and how determined and committed they are. For the dedicated students who attend classes regularly, they could complete all the basic rules making them equipped and confident to move on to the Qur’an within a year. At that stage, they can continue to recite with the basic tajweed rules, or better still, take more advanced lessons to help perfect their recitation.

It’s a duty for every Muslim to not only recite the Qur’an in Arabic but to also make some time to memorise and also learn the meanings. Reading tafsirs (explanations) and using apps or YouTube are all very usefully tools to assist the learner.

We have had students who have been very dedicated and are now reciting from the Quran and also starting to memorise surahs from the Qur’an to use in their salah. This is a great achievement and highly rewarding for all their hard work and perseverance.

It’s only when students are able to recite from the Arabic script that they realise the importance of avoiding transliterations. As there are no equivalent letters to replace certain Arabic letters it’s impossible to be able to have accurate transliterations out there for the Qur’an. As a result, the student is able to recite more accurately and with better pronunciation when able to recite direct from the Arabic script.

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