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5 Ways To Keep Improving Your Arabic For Busy People

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By Abdul Aleem

Learning Arabic in the middle of a hectic schedule can prove quite a challenge, but language learning is all about keeping the momentum going. Here are a few ideas that can help you stay ahead with your Arabic, even if you are really busy.

Use Arabic Word Frequency Lists to Learn Vocabulary

While it is important to take the time to learn grammar, words are the building blocks of the language. And while Arabic has more words than any other language, you only need a surprising few of them to start understanding things.

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That is where frequency lists come in. There is always a huge difference between the number of words in a language and the number of words in active usage. While many might know the meaning of English words like ‘intricate’ and ‘ludicrous’, no one really uses them in day to day conversation. So if you are learning English to communicate informally, you should start with words that are used in conversation.

The same goes when learning Arabic. If you are learning Arabic to understand the Quran, you need to start with words in the Quran. Putting the words of the Quran into a frequency list yields amazing results. For instance, we find that just 70 words make up about 50% percent of the Quran. Mastering these 70 words and the ways they can be used, can help you understand half of the Quranic text in Arabic. Amazing right?

Download the entire frequency list of the Quran here.

Use Your Phone As Your Learning Device

Once you have determined which words you want to learn, you need to find the time to do it in between your busy schedule.
What most people don’t realise is that you have the most powerful learning tool right in your pocket. It is available to you wherever you are, 24/7. Yes, your phone.

cattcha/Shutterstock

 

The average person spends a whopping 90 minutes on the phone every day. That is 23 days of the year. So the next time you get the urge to check Facebook on your phone, do this instead:

Flashcard Apps: Anki And Quizlet

Flashcards are a proven way to learn. Moreover, it’s a great solution for busy people. The next time you get the urge to check your phone, open it up and learn a new Arabic word! There are two awesome apps for this: Anki and Quizlet

Anki

Anki is the more sophisticated of the two. It is a spaced repetition system that works really well. You chose one of the shared decks, shared by other users, or make your own. Anki shows you a word and then shows it to you again after a specific period of time. You can choose hard, good, easy or see again based on how easy it was to recall it. Based on that Anki decides when to show it again.
You can find Quran word lists in the shared decks

Quizlet

Quizlet is a straightforward flash card app for those who prefer simplicity. You can keep reviewing the cards until you learn them. Quizlet has great Quranic word lists uploaded by users as well.

Look Up The Vocabulary You Have Learnt in Context

Always remember! You will never really master a word unless you use it. In this case, you can search for the word you learn in the Quran with an app like Zekr. Zekr, lets you search the Arabic word and find all its versions in the Quran. The image below will show you the context.

Write Short Essays And Get Them Corrected

Another great way to practice your words is to write short essays or even a few sentences using the words you have learned. Then have your essay corrected at lang-8 or italki. These sites let you find a native speaker who will correct your writing for a small fee. If you can afford this, this is something I definitely recommend. If not, then post your writing on a community board, like Reddit learn Arabic. Someone will be ready to help you out, InshaAllah.

Find A Language Exchange Partner to Practice With

There are plenty of people out there who will gladly let you practice your Arabic with them if you teach them English or another language in exchange.

Hiring someone for a reasonable fee is also an option.

Practicing for a few minutes every day can help you stay committed and really accelerate your learning. Keep going as learning Arabic strengthens the mind in itself —Imam Baihaqi (May Allah have mercy on him) narrates that Umar raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: “Learn Arabic for it strengthens the mind and enhances chivalry.”

Abdul Aleem currently pursues a Masters degree in Fiqh from Medina International Islamic University Malaysia. He is fascinated by the Arabic language and loves to help out anyone who wants to learn it. He is the founder of fluentarabic.net

Related articles:

Guide to studying Arabic in Egypt: https://muslimmatters.org/2018/05/17/a-seekers-guide-to-arabic-studies-in-egypt-part-i

Guide to Studying Arabic in Morocco: https://muslimmatters.org/2014/01/31/guide-studying-arabic-quran-morocco/

 

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The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Hassan

    October 27, 2018 at 5:09 AM

    MashaAllah. Very helpful article.
    I’d like to help if anyone needs spell/ essay correction. For free of course.

  2. Avatar

    Dr Hakim

    November 9, 2018 at 6:47 AM

    As salaam alaikum great Article. Jazakallaj

  3. Avatar

    Sheb

    November 10, 2018 at 1:35 PM

    Masha Allah amazing and indept knowledge sharing article

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#Islam

30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 11: Gratitude

Now that we have learnt about the dua’ of Umm Salama, let’s talk about gratitude.

Question: Let’s all go around and state a few things we’re grateful for.

Those are all really great! Alhamdulillah for all of those! 

Question: Do you know what the opposite of shukr, or showing thanks, is? 

It’s actually the word kufr (unbelief). Sometimes, we complain so much that we hide all the good that Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) has given us and we only see the hardships. 

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Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) wants us to stay grateful for everything He has given us. Our health, our family, our talents, and most importantly, our religion. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) reminds us in the Qur’an:

وَإِذْ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمْ لَئِن شَكَرْتُمْ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمْ ۖ

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]…” [Surah Ibrahim; 7] 

When Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) tells us, “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you,” He leaves the increase open-ended. 

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) can give us more in what we thank Him for. He can also give us more appreciation and awareness of the blessings He has granted us. 

Did you know that saying alhamdulillah (all praise is due to Allah) and showing gratitude actually changes the way our brains are shaped, inside our heads? People who show gratitude on a daily basis end up feeling happier too! 

When Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) blew Adam’s raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) soul into him, Adam raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) responded by sneezing, and he said: alhamdulillah. That was the first word that was ever uttered by a human being.

And do you know what the last word will be?

وَتَرَى الْمَلَائِكَةَ حَافِّينَ مِنْ حَوْلِ الْعَرْشِ يُسَبِّحُونَ بِحَمْدِ رَبِّهِمْ ۖ وَقُضِيَ بَيْنَهُم بِالْحَقِّ وَقِيلَ الْحَمْدُ لِلَّـهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ 

“And you will see the angels surrounding the Throne, exalting [Allah] with praise of their Lord. And it will be judged between them in truth, and it will be said, “[All] praise to Allah, Lord of the worlds,”’ [Surah az-Zumar; 75] 

Isn’t that amazing? We begin and end with praising and thanking Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He)

 Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) reminds us in the Qur’an:

وَإِن تَعُدُّوا نِعْمَةَ اللَّـهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَا ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

“And if you should count the favors of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful,” [Surah an-Nahl; 18]

Question: Even though we won’t be able to list all of Allah’s subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) favors, can each of you think of at least 10?

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Podcast: What’s the Matter with All Lives Matter? | Imam Khalil Abdur Rasheed

In critiquing this response to the Black Lives Matter movement, we must first understand that the All Lives Matter slogan is a reaction to the Black Lives Matter movement by the wealthy, White American power establishment who are part of and have inherited the making of American history, its empire and its consciousness.

All Lives Matter ideology is the transmutation of Malcolm X’s house negro, Edward Said’s exilic intellectual, and Hamid Dabbashi’s house Muslim.Click To Tweet

It is a reminder that those on the minority side of the race relations struggle have not been granted permission to speak out against their oppression nor have they been granted any authority to narrate or complain on behalf of their own plight.

The claim that All Lives Matters is more universally appealing and more Islamic is misleading, and reflects naivety on the part of the one who believes this.Click To Tweet

Article written and originally published on Muslimmatters.org.

Imam Khalil Abdur-Rashid was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He completed his bachelor degree in Social Work, and obtained a Master’s Degree in Islamic Law from Marmara University. He also completed advanced Islamic seminary training and received his full doctoral license (Ijaaza) in Islamic Sciences.

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Khalil holds a Master of Arts in Middle East Studies as well as a Master of Philosophy in Islamic Law both from Columbia University in New York City.  He is now an adjunct professor of Islamic Studies in the Graduate of Liberal Studies Program at SMU and serves as President and Dean of the Yaqeen Islamic Seminary in Dallas.

Read and produced by Zeba Khan.

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30 Khawaatir in 30 Days- A Parent’s Guide | Day 10: The Dua’ of Umm Salama

Now that we have learnt about a good word, let’s talk about the dua’ of Umm Salama.

Today I’m going to share with you a story of a very important woman in Islamic history named Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her). She was a female companion, which means she was a sahaabiya (female companion)

Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was one of the first people to embrace Islam and she was one of the few Muslims who actually performed the hijrah twice. 

Question: Who can tell me what a hijrah is?

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A hijrah is when someone leaves a place they are in for the sake of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The first hijrah was to Ethiopia, where a just Christian ruler named Najashi took in a group of Muslims and took good care of them. 

So Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) went to Ethiopia. After some time living there, they really wanted to go back to Mecca so that they could be next to the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and learn everything about Islam. As they waited patiently, news traveled all the way to Africa saying that the Muslims were no longer getting persecuted because Umar ibn al-Khattab raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) and Hamza raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him), the uncle of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), had embraced Islam. 

Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) decided to return back to Mecca, and when they did, they realized that it was only a rumor and that the Muslims were still being tortured by Quraysh. So, when the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) instructed all of the Muslims of Mecca to leave to Madina for the second hijrah, they wasted no time getting ready. 

Question: Do you see how they were so active and didn’t take their Islam for granted?

As Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was about to mount her camel, her tribe, the Banu Makhzum, came and told Abu Salama  raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) that they would not allow him to take Umm Salama  raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) to Madina. Then Abu Salama’s tribe, the Banu Asad, takes Salama, his child, away.  Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) could not defend himself against all of these men, so he sets off to Madina.

In just one day Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) lost her husband and her child, and she suffers so much because of it. She is in a lot of pain. After some time her cousin starts to feel sorry for her and speaks to the tribes on her behalf. He is then able to reunite her with her son. Then after a year of waiting, Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) is finally able to meet her husband in Madina. 

Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) was known to be a very caring husband and courageous man. He fought in the Battle of Badr as well as in the Battle of Uhud. In Uhud, he received a wound that he wasn’t able to recover from. 

Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) was so sad the day Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) died, but the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) taught her to recite a beautiful dua’:

إِنَّا لله وإنا إليه راجعون اللهم أجرني في مصيبتي وأخلف لي خيرا منها 

“We belong to Allah and to Allah is our return. Oh Allah, reward me for my calamity, and replace my loss with something better.”

Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) recited this dua’, but in her mind she thought, “Who can be better than Abu Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him)?” 

After a few months passed, Umar ibn al-Khattab raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) proposed to Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her), but she said no. 

Then, Abu Bakr raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) proposed to Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her), but again she said no. 

Then, the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) proposed to Umm Salama raḍyAllāhu 'anha (may Allāh be pleased with her) and she accepted. So now, she was not only the mother of Salama, but the mother of all of the believers until the end of time! 

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