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Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|[ARTICLES] on learning the Arabic Language|
|12/16/02 at 05:23:02|
|Totally agree with this Article!! -Jannah|
If you are serious about learning Arabic then a suitable dictionary is a must. Currently the best one on the market is the Hans Wehr Modern Arabic Dictionary. It is arranged according to roots and will give you good practice when eventually you transfer to an all Arabic dictionary. It also includes points on usage and common phrases. If you do your research it can be bought at a reasonable price. It can be bought at about ?10.00 - I know one brother who bought the dictionary for ?40.00 from a mainstream English bookstore (Foyles) !! The other main dictionary is available is the Mawrid. If you are lazy then this is for you. Arranged alphabetically it takes the hassle away from knowing your derivations. However, I personally haven't used it much and am not really a fan of it, so thats why I won't say anything more. There are other dictionaries available but for the most part you are better sticking with the two big guns. My Arabic teacher once advised us as follows,
"Each Student should have three dictionaries: Arabic-Arabic, Arabic-English & English-Arabic. Upon difficulties he should first go to the Arabic-Arabic and then use the others in case of difficulty"
If you feel you are up to it and want an all-Arabic dictionary then Do Not go for the classical dictionaries that you find in Islamic bookshops, they are far too hard. Instead be humble and go for the more easier al-Mu'jam al-Wasit. Excellent stuff, and where possible it gives examples (shawahid) from the Quran and sunnah. If you are lucky then you might be able to get hold of the two volume version as the print is bigger and much less of an eye-sore!
As far as what books to study, then you are spoilt for choice !! By far the most popular is the set produced from Madinah university, Saudia Arabia. I think it is a decent starting point but one thing that many students complain of is that it is a bit disjointed i.e. although most topics are covered it does appear at times to be quite haphazard !? This is compunded by the fact that students in Medina study many other subjects to complement this set, e.g. in imlaa, sarf, ta'bir etc. Your vocab will become reasonably varied but some of the dialogues are just so boring ! -all set in the classroom ! Nevertheless the books do introduce Arabic in a very digestible fashion.
Its main competitor is Kitaab al-asasi (3 series book produced in Tunisia). Grammar-wise it is not as strong as Medina books although its texts are much more varied and contemporary (and SECULAR - well what do you expect from Tunisia?). This however, has its drawbacks in that some constructions are NOT pure Arabic but modern day corruptions. Books one and two cover contemporary Arabic while the last tackles older texts like Ibn Kathir.
Recently I came across a set of books (6) produced by one of the ministries of the Saudi government (no comments please!). As far as its literary content was concerned it was superior to the Madina books. It was jam-packed with many useful stories and moreover, it gives plenty of practice in getting used to forming your own constructions. Sadly I am not sure if it is available here in the west. Perhaps if you write to the king he might send you a copy ! The copy I came across had been procured by a friend in Pakistan.
Recently some places have been teaching al-Ajurumiyah to beginners (no names mentioned!). This is a BIG MISTAKE. I would recommend studying the book only after completing all three medinah books. The book is structured for Arabs and places a lot of emphasis on i'rab. Although written for children, you will not appreciate it fully without having a decent background in Arabic. Furthermore vocab is almost non-existent ! Anyway once you reach a "suitable level" to study ajurumiyah then I recommend getting hold of shaykh ibn al-uthaymen's commentary (on tape) to supplement your classes (ed- the set is available for download on www.islamway.com).
Another method to steer clear of are these books which teach Arabic using an English medium. I'll be quite blunt and say that in most cases you have to learn English grammar before even going near these books. I mean who knows what nominative and genitive cases are ?! To me these books make a simple language VERY, VERY difficult to understand. This is sadly one of the main drawbacks of Dr.Bilal Philips recent attempt - although when compared to others it is not so bad. As you will probably have noticed these books are not my thing and I caution against these books.
For those who are financially able then travelling to one of the Arabic countries is recommended. Enrolling in an Arabic institute is cheap and the benefits are profound. Two countries known for good Arabic are Syria and Egypt.
N.B. ARABIC can only ever be learnt from a teacher, self-study is very difficult and often produces sub-standard results, so get hold of a teacher while he's still alive !!
|12/16/02 at 05:43:50|
|Re: Tips to Learning Arabic|
|12/16/02 at 05:29:00|
this one however.. i disagree with alot but it's interesting anyway...-Jannah
an-nasehah adh-dhahabiyyah fee kayfiyati ta'lumil-lughatil-arabiyyah
The Golden Advice Regarding The Proper Manner Of Learning The Arabic Language (NB this piece has been edited & modified).
Orignal article By Abu Umar al-Jurjani
All praise is for Allah. We praise him and seek his assistance. May the salah and salam be upon the messenger of Allah and all those who follow the prophetic path until the last day. Amma ba?d: Many brothers have asked me about learning the Arabic language and the best way to arrive at an understanding of the qur?an and sunnah. In response to these brothers I put this small essay together. May Allah grant us ikhlaas and sucsess in our efforts. Some of the salaf used to say, ?man dakhala fil ilm jumlatan, kharaja minhu jumlatan.? ?Whoever entered into knowledge all at once, it shall leave him all at once.? It is binding upon the student of any subject to gain an understanding and basic conception of what exactly he/she is studying. In Arabic this is called ?tasawwur?. The lack of a proper ?tasawwur? concerning the method of learning Arabic is perhaps the biggest problem facing those that attempt to learn Arabic in the west. One simply has to look at the many numerous books on the Arabic language that are currently on the market in the west. With all of these books available, it would seem like everyone in the Muslim community would know Arabic by now but that is not the case. The reason for this lack of learning despite the presence of many decent books is built upon my previous statement about the lack of ?tasawwur?. As for those who have no desire to learn Arabic or only claim that they want to learn while expending no efforts in that path I ask allah to give them tawfeeq and desire to understand the language of the qur?an and sunnah.
What is the Arabic language?
a) The Arabic language is a Semitic language that is primarily based upon three letter root words. For example we say ?madh?hab?, this word comes from the root- dhaal-haa?-baa?. This word is derived from the root verb dha?haba. It is expected that those reading this already know this.
b) The Arabic language is composed of different sciences. When someone learns Arabic he/she must understand that he is in fact learning three sciences. Realizing this separation between the various sciences assist the student of Arabic in grasping the language. With this he will know where the language begins and where it ends. It is indeed unfortunate that most modern books of Arabic language instruction fail to even mention this. See what I mean when I spoke about the lack of ?tasawwur??
The sciences of Arabic are in fact twelve in number. However the sciences that are the most important for the understanding of the qur?an and sunnah are three:
I. Nahw: It is most often translated as ?grammar?. Nahw is a study of the language and the various rules governing the words as they appear in a sentence. For example I will now mention to you three sentences and discuss the difference between them please pay close attention.
* 1. ?la tashrubil-laban wa ta?kulu as-samak?
* 2. ?la tashrubil-laban wa ta?kulis-samak?
* 3. ?la tashrubil-laban wa ta?kula as-samak?
What is the difference between these three in meaning? The difference between them is in the ending of the verb ?ta?kul? which means to eat. In the first sentence ?ta?kul? ends with a dummah. In the second sentence the verb ?ta?kul ends with a sukuun. In the third sentence however, the last letter of ?ta?kul? ends with a fathah.the difference occurs because of the different usages for the ?waw?. In the first sentence the ?waw? is the ?waw? signifying a separation. It means, ?Do not drink the milk (but no problem) and your eating fish. In the second sentence the ?waw? is the ?waw? of joining. The sentence means, ?do not drink the milk or eat the fish.? In the third sentence the ?waw? signifies a unity of action (ma?aiyah). This sentence means, ?do not drink the milk and eat the fish at the same time.? All of these changes in meaning took place due to the type of ?waw? used. The changes were not only in the actual structure of the harakaat in the words, but also in the meaning of the sentences.
II. Sarf: It is often translated as ?morphology?. The actual meaning of sarf is ?the metamorphosing or changing of the ?asl (base/root word) to many different examples so as to achieve meanings that could not otherwise be achieved? The science of sarf is mostly relegated to verbs and that which derives from them. This change is done to stretch the meaning and to also make pronunciation easy upon the toque. An example of changing the meaning through sarf is manipulating the verb ?nasara?. From ?nasara? we may derive the following: Nasara Nas?sara Naasara tanaasara anassara istansara mansar naasir munasar mansoor . All of these words come from one root verb - nasara. As for making it easy upon the tonque I will provide one example. Let us take the word ?scale in Arabic. It is called ?meezaan?. This word comes from the root verb ?wazana? which means to weigh. According to a principle of sarf the thing which is used to do this action will sound like ?mif?aal?. If we were to apply this principle here the item used for the act of weighing would be ?meewzaan?. Due to the difficulty found in pronouncing that upon the tonque we replace the ?waw? with a ?yaa? to make it easier. This simplification is broken down into set principles known in sarf. Properly applying principles of sarf can sometimes spell the difference between imaan and kufr. For example Allah said about himself in the Qur?an that he is ?al-musaawir?-the fashioner. If someone was to pronounce the ?waw? with a fathah instead of a kasrah the word would mean ?al-musaawar?-the fashioned one (the one fashioned by another). Of course the ignorant one making this mistake would be excused but this simply shows you the importance of sarf in the Arabic language.
III. Balaghah: It is a science dealing with the eloquence of the Arabic language and how to convey proper meanings according to the situation. Balaghah also deals with the meanings of words and they take shape in their different usage. Balaghah is essential in fully understanding the I?jaaz (miraculous) nature of the quran. An example of balaghah may be taken from the Qur?an. Allah the most high said in surah al ankabut, ?alif laam meem. Do people think that they will be left alone saying,? we believe? and will not be tested with fitnah? Certainly those before them were tested with fitnah-so that Allah may make it known those were truthful and make it known who are the liars." In this noble ayah allah said ?so that allah may make it known those who were truthful? in this part of the ayah allah used the past tense verb ?sadaquu? which indicates that they were truthful in the past so the test and trial only made apparent that which was already there In the past-truthfulness. Allah then said, ?and to make it known those who are liars? in this part of the ayah Allah speaks about those who didn?t pass the test as being liars. Here he used the word? kaadhibeen?. In the science of balaghah we learn that this descriptive word-or sifah implies an established state of the person who is described with this quality. Allah spoke about the Jews and how they disbelieved in some of the prophets and some they even killed. This was mentioned in the past tense in surah al baqarah. However when we look at the ayah we see a special rule of balaghah that gives us more meaning that what is found in the English translation. Allah said about them, ?fa fareeqan kadh?dhabtum wa fareeqan taq?tuluun.? ?So a group of them you denied and a group of them you killed.? Allah spoke about them saying that they denied a group of the prophets. He used the past tense verb kadh?dhabtum. However we find in the end of the ayah he said that some of them they killed by using the PRESENT TENSE verb ?taq?tuluun?. In the science of balaghah we learn that if a present tense verb is used in a past tense context it then signifies what is called ?istimraar? or continuance. Therefore the meaning of this ayah in the context of balaghah is that the jews used to deny and kill the prophets and that they will continue to kill-in this case killing the followers of the prophets way and true path. This is mentioned in tafseer of al aluusee and in tafseer ibn sa?uud.
Learning Arabic-were do I start?
This depends on you. What do you wish to do with your knowledge of Arabic? A boxer will do a workout of a boxer to prepare for a fight. A runner will do a workout that enables him to win his race. If a runner does the workout of a boxer he will not achieve his goal of winning a race. And likewise the boxer who does the workout of a runner will not have the strength to win his fight. So looking at it with this view you must ask yourself, what do I want to do with Arabic? If you wish to read the paper only perhaps the advises listed here will not be a big benefit to you. And likewise the same for the one who only wishes to become a doctor or chemist in an Arabic speaking country. If your reason for learning Arabic is to understand the words of your creator and words of your prophet (saw) and the knowledge that comes from the books and tongues of the ulema then this advice should be of some benefit in sha? allah.
Listed below are some concepts to ponder upon ?
* You must understand Arabic in Arabic being a self-translator is not the goal ?
* There is no ?one book ? that will teach you all of what you need to know of Arabic.
* Non-Arabs have been learning Arabic for over 1,400 years from Africa to Indonesia so it is incorrect to assume that we cant learn as they did in the past.
* The traditional method of learning Arabic is tried and true and we are in no need of new ways to learn the language. That involves complex systems and tests.
* You will not learn Arabic by simply taking one part of the plan. What I mean is that if you learn grammar only you will not know Arabic. And if you learn new vocabulary only you will not really know Arabic. Rather you must take all of it.
Where to begin, that is the question?
The reality is that it is very difficult to learn Arabic in the west without a good teacher, determination, time, Arabs or Arabic speaking brothers to mix with and learn from association. It is my personal opinion that one should begin with a basic lesson in sarf from the book ?binaa al-afa?aal?. Learning sarf in the beginning is the best thing for non-Arabs. In fact this is way Arabic is still taught in turkey, India, and Pakistan and other non Arab Muslim countries. Learning basic sarf will assist the person in utilizing his dictionary properly, which in this time of learning he will have as his constant companion. (Note: the best dictionary in Arabic to English is Hans wehr without argument) the student should learn the basic verb patterns and basic skills in using the dictionary. After this, he will be ready to learn more and look up words with relative ease.
The student should now learn basic grammar. The best book in this area for beginners is the book ?al-ajrumiyyah?. It is a small book outlining the fundamentals of grammar that are indispensable in understanding Arabic. There are some brothers that have learned ?al-ajrumiyyah? and grasped concepts that the 3rd year college student studying Arabic couldn?t. One should study this book with a good teacher who will make him understand the fundamentals of the book without going into detailed discussions of grammar issues. As we said earlier, learning grammar is not enough, so you must also learn how to pick up words to increase your vocabulary. This part is the most time consuming, sometimes taking years to develop. Here are some practical advises in this regard:
* You must read as much as you can. Start by reading small books on different issues in Arabic. Take a notepad and write the new words down. When you look up a word in the dictionary, underline it with a pencil. If you look up the word again in the future and see that you marked it with your pencil, you must memorize that word, as you will more than likely see it again and again. Don?t write the meanings of the words in English down in your book that you are reading. That is because you only read the meaning and not the actual word in Arabic this way.
* You must also learn through listening. In this way you learn how Arabic is spoken and how certain ideas are conveyed. The best thing is to listen and act as if you understand everything you hear. If you cant find a speaker giving a talk then buy some tapes of the ulema and tulaab ul ilm. Some of the clearest speakers are Shaykh Muhammad al-Uthaymin, shaykh al albani , shaykh Muhammad mukhtar ash-shinqiti, and shaykh Saalih aal ash-shaykh. It is also advisable to listen to tapes of those who are not so clear to gain mastery in listening skills. Some of the best ones for that are shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz and shaykh Jibreen & Shaykh A'id al-Qarni
* Listen to the quran attempting to understand.
* Try to understand the Arabic language in Arabic. Don?t be like some people who only wish to translate everything into their own native tongue. This will take time but it is very important and will cause you to understand Arabic as it is.
* Talk as much as you can to those Arabs who will correct you and help you in learning.
* The most important thing is to always read. If you don?t read you will not gain mastery over the language. You must read even if you don?t want to. Reading will give you a glimpse into the various sciences of the deen and increase your vocabulary
* In the beginning make your primary focus understanding. Most of us will know more words that we can even think to mention in a conversation with an Arab. The same goes for English.
* In learning Arabic, try to test yourself by gauging your prograss.
Level 1/ reading and understanding the book qisas an-nabiyyeen first three months
Level 2/ reading and understanding the book al aqeedah as-saheehah wa ma yudaduha by shaykh bin baz rahimahullah second three-month period
Level 3/ reading and understanding tafseer ibn katheer third three month period.
Level 4/ reading and understanding fath al majeed sharh kitab at-tawheed. Forth three month period.
Level 5/ reading and understanding al-fawa?id by ibn al qayyim. Fifth three month period
Level 6/ reading and understanding hilyah taalibil-ilm by shaykh bakr abu zaid. Sixth three month period. Many may disagree with the books listed in each level but I firmly believe that a person can understand these books (except some vocabulary) after 18 months.
Stay away from English books and lectures. Cutting your ties with them will give you more determination to learn. Advanced study As for an advanced study of Arabic, one must traverse the following path
* In grammar - Start with the book ?at-tuhfah as-sanniyyah bi sharhil-muqqadimatil- ajrumiyyah?. This book is perhaps the best explanation of al-ajrumiyyah. After this book, learn the book, ? sharh qatr an-nada? by ibn hishaam. After that if one likes he may study alfiyyah ibn maalik. Another good book to read is ?jaami? duroos al arabiyyah?
* In sarf - Start with the book ?binaa? al af?aal?. After that, move on to the book, ?al maqsood?. For more advanced study, learn the poem in sarf entitled, ?laamiyah al af?aal?by ibn maalik.
* In balaghah - Start with the book ?al-balaghah al-waadihah?. After that one may study ?uqood az-zimaam? by as-suyooti. Perhaps the best books to read after the book of Allah - to gain strength in the language are the books of ibn al qayyim and ibn Rajab al hambali. Don?t rely on any one book to learn Arabic. The madinah books are not enough in my opinion. Take this advice and seek the tawfeeq of Allah, you should see some progress in sha Allah.
Allah knows Best
|12/16/02 at 05:44:25|
|Re: Tips to Learning Arabic|
|12/16/02 at 05:40:28|
|This one.... I dunno.. I think ppl's goal should be to move up to Fusha not down into street dialect!!! --Jannah|
Arabic: Which One Should You Learn?
Diglossia is the term used to describe the phenomena of two distinct varieties of a language coexisting within a particular society. Typically, one variety is reserved for formal use and is both written and spoken, while the other is usually a more informal language spoken between family, friends and casual acquaintances. The second variety almost always lacks a writing system.
Anyone who has studied Arabic has already been introduced to diglossia on a grand scale. Several varieties of Arabic exist. Classical Arabic (the language of the Qur'an) has little in common with the many present-day dialects of Arabic which are widely spoken across North Africa and the Middle East. The dialects themselves are so diverse that even native speakers of Arabic may have difficulty understanding Arabs from neighboring countries, or in extreme cases: neighboring villages.
Fortunately, the Arab nations have made conscious efforts to standardize the Arabic language and provide a way for Arabs across the globe to communicate easily and effectively. Their success has been realized in the widespread use of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA), basically a "relaxed" form of Classical Arabic which also makes allowances for modern terms such as "telephone" and "washing machine." Almost without exception, it is MSA which one hears on Arabic news broadcasts and other television programs, in school and in other formal settings. MSA has also become a means by which individual Arabs from different countries can converse with one another. Unlike the colloquial dialects of Arabic, MSA is a written language.
Islam is the catalyst which has made this standardization possible. Muslims live by the word of the Qur'an and therefore have very strong motivation to keep Classical Arabic alive and well. Without this motivation, it is quite likely that Classical Arabic would have disappeared long ago, much like Latin - now a dead language - the traces of which can be found in modern-day Romance languages such as French and Italian.
In spite of its unifying features, MSA is not without its problems as it is an exclusive language mostly used by well-educated individuals. In many Arabic-speaking nations, the literacy rate is under 70%, falling as low as 38% in countries such as Yemen. People who cannot read MSA, perhaps only having access to their local dialects, are often completely excluded from the political process, unable to read voter ballots or even newspaper articles about political candidates. To complicate the matter, MSA is so different from the Arabic dialects that an adult wishing to learn how to read would find himself learning a completely new language on top of the skills it takes to read. Children going to school for the first time also experience this shock and essentially become bilingual by the end of their scholastic careers, while teachers often report spending inordinate amounts of time translating texts written in Classical or Modern Standard Arabic into the local dialect.
Nevertheless, the need for a standard Arabic language and the benefits such a language brings to both Arabs and Muslims far outweigh the inconveniences and imperfections of MSA. As literacy rates climb and more households acquire television sets, MSA will at least become more widely understood, even if it never becomes the spoken language of choice.
Arabic is the language of Islam, and Muslims everywhere should strive to learn it. But the question arises: which Arabic should one attempt to learn? As we have seen, Arabic is not just one language but a collection of tongues as varied as the situations in which they are typically spoken. Someone who wants to study Arabic should first identify the reason(s) why he wants to invest his time, effort (and possibly his money) in the pursuit of this endeavor.
Most Muslims want to be able to read the Qur'an in Arabic. Many mosques offer lessons in this field as do select universities in the U.S. and abroad. Such courses usually focus on the classical aspects of the language, paying special attentikn to correct pronunciation, grammatical structure and acquisition of Qur'anic vocabulary which may otherwise be out-dated by MSA standards. Good courses also help the student to understand the intricacies and the historical backround of the Qur'anic Revelation.
Most Muslims would also like to be able to communicate with Arabic-speaking brothers and sisters. In such circumstances, Classical Arabic is not a sufficient means of modern-day communication. Though it is undoubtedly the most beautiful, special language in the world, the fact is that people just don't walk around speaking Classical Arabic. Doing so would be the equivalent of 21st century Americans chit-chatting in Shakespearean English.
MSA is a good alternative to Classical Arabic. Somebody who studies MSA formally can expect to get a good overview of the Arabic language as it is used in well-educated circles. He will also learn to read and write. These basic skills make an excellent jumping off point to go on to study either Classical Arabic or one of the many Arabic dialects.
However, like Classical Arabic, MSA is still a little lofty for everyday conversation. Arabs who are familiar with MSA as the result of television exposure but who have not formally studied the language may understand you when you speak but only be able to answer you in their own dialects. Regardless, MSA is still the language which will allow you to communicate with the greatest number of people from all over the Arabic-speaking world.
It can also be useful to speak one or more of the Arabic dialects. If you are traveling to a specific region of the Middle East, or if you have married into an Arab family, it makes good sense to learn the appropriate dialect as your ultimate goal should be ease of communication, not to show how educated you are.
It can seem overwhelming for a foreigner to learn Arabic, a language which has a reputation for being difficult. This reputation is, however, undeserved. Arabic is a highly systematized language which allows its speakers almost intuitively to guess at the meanings of unfamiliar words and to accurately pinpoint proper pronunciations. A good Arabic course will help the beginner to acquire basic vocabulary, but the most important thing for anyone learning a new language is to get out there and speak it.
|12/16/02 at 05:44:47|
|Re: [ARTICLES] on learning the Arabic Language|
|12/16/02 at 05:51:43|
|A set of 4 talks by Dr Mamdouh Mohammad (Arabic Language Teacher at the American Open University) on |
Tips on how to learnQuranic Arabic quickly Easily
[url=ftp://ftp.audioislam.com/quran/sciences/tips_on_how_to_learn_quranic_arabic_quickly_and_easily_part_03.exe] Tape 3 [/url]
[url=ftp://ftp.audioislam.com/quran/sciences/tips_on_how_to_learn_quranic_arabic_quickly_and_easily_part_04.exe] Tape 4[/url]
|12/16/02 at 05:54:33|
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