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Learning Arabic can be an amazing experience. For Muslims, one of its greatest benefits is in helping one understand the sacred words of the Quran, the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), as well as a treasure-trove of scholarly works from Islamic history. For those interested in the culture of Arabic-speaking people or in living in the Middle East or North Africa, it’s a great means of opening up communication with people and building bridges towards understanding. I once heard someone say that to really get to know a people one needn't walk in their footsteps for forty days, but spend forty days speaking their language. In so doing one begins to see things from their perspective and gains important insights into their culture and world-view.
Arabic is beautiful in many ways, from its voluminous vocabulary which gives a real richness and depth to descriptions, to its actual flowing script, which has given way to many beautiful forms and types of calligraphy. In my next few posts on the Studio Arabiya blog, I hope to share with you all some beautiful and inspiring things about Arabic, as well as give a few suggestions on how to learn Arabic and have fun doing it, inshaAllah (God willing!) :)
For now, I'll leave you with a few nice quotes on the benefits of studying Arabic and studying another language in general:
"(...) The (language) that Allah chose is Arabic. He revealed His glorious book (The Quran) in this language and He made it the tongue of His final and last prophet, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). Therefore, we say it is befitting for everyone that has the ability to learn this language to do so." - Imam Shafi'i, as quoted by Ibn Taymiyya in Iqtida Sirat al-Mustaqim
"Language is the road map of a culture. It tells you where its people come from and where they are going." - Rita Mae Brown
“One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.” ‒ Frank Smith
"You live a new life for every new language you speak.” - Czech proverb
“It is hard. [But] when you understand how beautifully Arabic fits together – why the root meaning ‘west’ leads to the words for ‘sunset’ and ‘strange’ – the sense of illumination is sublimely satisfying. No mere French subjunctive or Russian instrumental can do that. And the pleasure will never dim. Fluency may (...) elude you, but there will always be a fascination in picking your way through Arabic’s intricacies." - Josie Delap, Editor of the Middle East/Africa section of The Economist
This is such a beautifully written article. One can see how proud you are of your heritage. Enjoyed your quotes as well.
Thank you, Alexandra. I agree this is a beautifully written article, although I can't take credit. A good friend, Shazia, wrote this and did a great job!
You are an excellent teacher. You have such a gift for sharing your heritage, I can read your passion in every article your write.
Arabic is still a total mystery to me! Thankfully through your posts I am getting to know it and see how beautiful the language is.
This is a lovely post written by your friend and I really like the Czech proverb...just a beautiful thought!!
What a great article. Glad to know people like you who are proud of their heritage. Thank you for sharing this.
So great to read your articles. You are teaching me a lot about this lovely language. Thanks for sharing.