Sometimes in the field of dawah, this is not just with non muslims, people start mocking Islam. How come this? And how come that? The advice given to us by Allah is to walk away at that point, that is the best course of action. The people at that time are not ready to listen and you will end up doing more damage than good. This was the advice given to Rasulullah (peace be upon him), so we should never let our egos get in the way.
If we look at the life of the Prophet, peace be upon him, he turned to salah for the solution to all his problems. Allah prescribes the same to us. However we find that our prayers are empty hollow rituals, that have very little effect on our state of being. The question is why? Whats wrong with our prayer, inshallah this lecture should help answer that question
We retain information better when we can forge connections with our existing bank of knowledge. Therefore every time you learn a new word try and recall all the other contexts in which that word has been used.
I did this with my 7 year old son recently. He learnt the Arabic word ‘Sadr’ chest, he already knew the dua of Musa (A.S) before he went to meet the Pharoah, where the word ‘Sadri’ my chest is used. So I retold the story to him in a manner which is appealing to 7 year old boys, reinforcing words like ‘imagine’ which help to create emotional connections by generating feelings within the listener. Then I told him how Allah mentions this word ‘Sadr’ a few times in the Qur’an, in various formats, when He says ‘He Knows what is in our chests’, ‘He is well acquainted with what our chests conceal’ etc. Then we looked at an anatomy chart and pointed out sadr, later that week we did push ups that work… ‘the chest’ all the while calling it ‘sadr’. Lo and behold, he learnt the Arabic word for chest.
This an oversimplified overview of how to make connections you can go much deeper than that. In the masjid I teach at, I have found linking my teaching material with the school curriculum a very effective approach.
You might have heard of Paretos principle, if not here is a quick overview. Paretos principle, often mistakenly coined Paretos law, states that 80% of consequences stem from 20% of the causes. For example we get 80% of our complaints from 20% of our customers, we receive 80% or our returns from 20% of our investments, we wear 20% of our clothes 80% of the time. You get the picture.
So how does this relate to learning Arabic? You might have noticed some students of Arabic doing various Arabic courses at colleges and universities around the country yet they still struggle to understand Qur’an or decipher classical texts, that because they have not harnessed the power of Paretos principle.
When it comes to understanding Qur’an we get the most exponential results from learning morphology and grammar. Otherwise known as ‘Sarf’ and ‘Nahw’.
Today I want to share with you a little gem from the science of ‘sarf’. Think of all the places that begin with مَ ‘ma’ in Arabic.
What do you notice? Have you noticed they are all places, Maktab (place where you write) Masjid (place of sajda, prostration), Mat’am (the place where you eat) Makhraj (exit, or the place where you exit) Madhkal (entrance, place where you enter) that’s because an Arabic word beginning with مَ ‘ma’ is an ‘adverb of place or time’. So the next time you hear a word beginning with ‘ma’ assume it’s most likely a place or time where something takes place. To know what place it is or what’s taking place you need to know the meaning of the root it carries.
As I keep reminding my kids Arabic is a language of patterns, once you start to make sense of these pattern you will really taste the beauty and sweetness of the Arabic language, it’s absolutely amazing. Until next time Allah bless.