L is for Learning Arabic
Quite appropriately, I am typing this just up having just finished an Arabic quiz that I was not at all prepared for. I think I did alright though. Since it’s the end of the semester, most of it was review anyway.
I am just about finished with my Arabic Language and Culture minor at my university, and I am loving it! My journey to learning Arabic has been quite long, but I am very happy with the place that I am at right now.
Before I even started kindergarten I knew a little bit of Arabic. As a toddler I had a Qur’an teacher come to my house and help me memorize the ending chapters of the Qur’an, in Arabic. Then in elementary school, Arabic was one of our daily subjects from kindergarten to fifth grade. Following that, I went to Sunday school for three years and learned Arabic there too – well, at least they tried teaching it to me though I wasn’t very receptive.
I learned how to read Arabic at about the same time and pace that I learned how to read English. Reading Arabic phonetically and pronouncing all of the sounds is second nature to me. However it is these past two years at my university that I made an active effort in learning how to speak and understand the language of the Qur’an.
People ask me all the time why I started learning Arabic, and every time I think I give a different answer. Even now I can’t produce one specific reason. I love languages in general. I got English down, I am pretty functional in Spanish, and for the past four years I have been tackling both Arabic and Korean. When I was first looking into colleges, I had even toyed with the idea of majoring in linguistics. I plan on continuing picking up as many languages as I can for my entire life, inshaAllah.
I guess in my natural love of languages, the religious utility of learning Arabic made that language a priority for me. I mentioned this in one of my Ramadan posts before, that I really want to be able to read the Qur’an and understand it without using a translator. I realize that that takes a lifetime of studying, but even with the phrases I pick up here and there, I feel so close to the Qur’an.
Since beginning my serious effort in learning the language, I have had the immense joy of reading Arabic passages in the Qur’an and actually being able to understand some of it. Probably the most amazing moment for me was a few months ago when I was reading Surah 106, Al-Quraysh. I recognized a few words here and there, and then when I got to the end, I realized that I understood almost the entire thing.
I am a little nervous about finishing my university’s Arabic program, because I am still not at the level of proficiency I would like to be. I know for sure my journey with the Arabic language isn’t even close to finished, inshaAllah.