Learning Arabic On Your Own

Quite some time ago, a discussion took place on the now defunct Siraat.net messageboard regarding people’s experiences in learning Arabic with members sharing their experiences, giving tips and things of the sort. On another forum I was a member of, a sister had asked me how I learned Arabic (I’m still learning, by the way), so I took what I had written on Siraat.net and adapted it for that other forum. I thought those tips may be of some benefit to those who visit my blog, so I’m reposting it here.

Tips for Those Who Want to Learn Arabic, and a Brief Mention of My Experiences With It.

(Adapted from a post I made on Siraat.net’s students of knowledge forum on the topic, written some time before Jan. ’05)

Firstly, check your intention. This is key. It won’t necessarily make things easier, but it will gain you some rewards for what you’re doing, rather than increasing a possible punishment for doing it for the wrong reasons.

Second, it would be good to decide on what your goals in learning are going to be—i.e., do you just want to learn how to read and listen to lectures for yourself, or do you want to be able to communicate fluently in Arabic with others. Both entail different things here and there, and knowing what’s more important to you right now will help you in deciding what things you actually have to do in order to learn/understand the language.

For me, the first was/is more important than the latter. Being able to read and listen to lectures doesn’t involve as much effort as being able to communicate fluently. I’ll explain why. Being able to read and listen for yourself only requires basic knowledge of Arabic grammar (along with vocabulary, of course), whereas being able to communicate fluently will require more knowledge and a better understanding of forms and how to conjugate verbs and what not. It will also require more knowledge about the words themselves as you’ll need to know how to pronounce words properly. With reading, this isn’t as important because a lot of the time you’ll recognise the meaning of a word by the context it’s found in. For being able to read and listen for yourself, you’ll only really need to go as far as Book 2 of the Madînah books by Dr. V. Abdur Rahim. Finishing book 2 should give you the basic grammar needed to help you understand things. The hard part after completing that will be amassing vocabulary.

The best way I know of to build your vocabulary is to translate books and articles for yourself. You have to get used to thumbing through your new best friend, Hans Wehr, and not get impatient with searching for words and meanings. Hans Wehr is probably the best Arabic-to-English dictionary you can use due to the fact that it arranges everything according to the root words. This forces you to learn how to pick them out and learn which letters from the alphabet can’t be added to roots in order to make new words, and I can’t stress enough how much this helps. Because Hans Wehr doesn’t have a lot of words in it though, it would be good to compliment it with another dictionary like al-Mawrid. It’s got a ton of words in it, but it’s all arranged in alphabetical order of actual words, not according to roots.

As for books and scholars to start out with, Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimîn, may Allah have mercy on him, is an excellent place to start. Shaikh ‘Abdur-Rahman bin Nâsir as-Sa’dî is a good choice to start translating from as well—especially in the case of his exegesis, Taisîr al-Karîm ar-Rahman fî Tafsîr al-Kalâm al-Manân, which was written intentionally in easy to understand Arabic for the general masses to get a good understanding on the meanings of Allah’s book. It’s also straight and to the point, not mentioning a lot of the different jurisprudential rulings derived from verses and differing opinions regarding what the verse refers to. He just tells you what the verse means in short, plain and simple words. Tafsîr al-Jalâlain is pretty good in that respect too (i.e., just giving you what the verse means, without a lot of added discussion), although you will have to watch out for the mistakes it contains.

One tip I can give with regards to reading and translating, even if you think you know the meaning of the word pretty well, look it up to make sure. This will help in strengthening your vocabulary and reinforcing your understanding of the language. Another tip, again, is to try not to lose patience. Even if you have to look up every word in the sentence, keep plugging away. Eventually things will get easier and your understanding of the language will grow and the number of words you’ll have to look up will decrease. If you find that it’s taking you too long to figure something out, either find someone you can ask to help you with that part, or leave it and start on something else. When I’d get stuck, I’d try to ask someone what the part I was stuck on meant, and also ask them why it means what it does. If I couldn’t find someone to help, I’d leave what I was stuck on and start working on something else. After sometime, I’d come back to the thing I was stuck on and try again. Try not to get stuck on one thing for too long, cause it’ll just discourage you and waste time you could be using to work on other things and keep your learning in motion. It won’t really matter too much if you don’t finish what you’re working on because you’re only doing it to learn. As long as you’re translating/reading something, your learning will continue and your knowledge and understanding of the language will grow.

For being able to communicate fluently, you’re going to have to learn a bit of ‘âmmî. Well… you don’t really have to, but it will help a lot in terms of being able to understand others easily as well as communicate easily with them. Find someone you know who knows the language pretty well. Have them talk to you in Arabic only in order to force you to start using it more. Having that someone to enforce the “no english when speaking to me” rule in full effect will greatly help you in terms of progressing at a quick pace.

Anyhow, that’s pretty much all I can say right now, as I’ve already spent enough time on writing this post. Allah willing, this helps somewhat and adds to what’s already been mentioned (i.e., what had already been posted by others on siraat.net regarding this topic).

Your brother for Allah’s sake,
Rasheed, Aboo Ishaaq.

About Rasheed Gonzales
My name is Rasheed Gonzales. I’m a Muslim convert of Filipino descent. Born and raised in Toronto, Canada, I was guided to Islam through one of my younger brothers and a couple of friends, all of whom had converted to Islam sometime before me (may Allah reward them greatly). I am married with four children (and the praise is Allah’s) and also a volunteer for the Qur'an & Sunnah Society of Canada, based in Toronto.

52 Responses to Learning Arabic On Your Own

  1. Aboo Uthmaan says:

    Jazak’Allaahu khair, a very uplifting article!

  2. Irfan Siddique says:

    Asalaam u alaykm brother,

    A very good article mash’allah. Couple of questions for you – I was out in Egypt for approx 9/10 months studying fussha and want to know how you went about making the transition or are making the transition from going to reading with to reading without tashkeels/harakats on letters (i.e. no dhammah, fatha, kasrah). At the moment I feel this is the one major thing (plus some of my own laziness) which is preventing me from reading Arabic books. At this stage I find listening to lectures and khutbas (on Friday prayers) very frustrating as I try to keep up but then find that by the time I have made sense of something the speaker as moved on considerably. I started learning Arabic from a position of not having studied academically for 10 years and then knowing no Arabic before going out to Misr. I studied Kittaab ul Assassee which you may have heard of. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

    Shukran.
    Irfan

  3. Aboo Uthmaan – Wa iyyâk akhil-karîm.

    Irfan – Wa ‘alaikum as-salâm wa rahmatullah.

    For me, I think between the time I finished my schooling (I’m a college dropout) and when I accepted Islam was about the same amount of time as yours (10 years, give or take a couple), so I know how difficult it can be to get back into learning academically again. I personally don’t like school settings very much, and thus tend to learn things informally either through self-studies or in private sittings.

    About reading without the harakât (vowels), to be honest, I really can’t say that I noticed any sort of transition at all. Granted, I don’t always get the vowels correct when reading aloud, I usually can get a grasp of what’s being said and the meaning of particular words through the context of what I’m reading. The context of what’s written will usually help you understand the word and distinguish it from other words that are spelled the same (e.g., hikam and hukm). For me, understanding what’s written, is more important than pronouncing the words correctly (at the moment, anyhow). You shouldn’t let getting the pronuncation of words wrong hinder you from reading Arabic books, especially if you’re only reading for your own benefit. But if you don’t feel comfortable reading without knowing the right vowels, then Shaikh ‘Alî Hasan al-Halabî’s more recent books can help a great deal. Many of his recent books are printed with the vowels written in; you’ll find many of the articles and posts on his website (www.alhalaby.com) with them as well.

    When I first started reading Arabic books, I didn’t try to understand everything right away. I just read and tried to pick up as much as I could without stopping to figure out the stuff I couldn’t understand. This is aside from the little quotes and posts I was trying to translate.

    As for listening to lectures and sermons, my listening isn’t all that great–especially when the speaker isn’t speaking pure fus·hah (classical Arabic). If the speaker’s including ‘âmmî (colloquial Arabic) in his talks, I’ll have more difficulty understanding what he’s saying. Also, the speed at which the speaker speaks as well as the clarity of his voice play big parts in how easy it is for me to understand. Shaikh Usâmah al-Qūsî for example speaks in a very clear manner. When he visits us here in Toronto, he usually gives his talks and sermons almost purely in classical Arabic with very little colloquial (Egyptian) Arabic mixed in. I’m told this isn’t really the case back when he’s home in Cairo where he uses a bit more colloquial Arabic in his talks. He also speaks pretty quickly, which sometimes makes things difficult to pick up. If you find that you’re missing things because you’re trying to understand every word the speaker is saying, my advice would be to stop and instead focus on getting the jist of what he’s saying. At this point in my learning, this is what I try to do when I listen to talks and lectures. If the talk is being translated, I also listen to the translation to see how he translated certain things, as well as to get the portions I missed or didn’t understand. If you’re listening to talks and sermons that aren’t being translated, getting a cassette recorder or a digital mp3 recorder would pretty beneficial. You’d be able to play back the talk you listened to at a later time and have the luxury of going back to the parts you missed or didn’t understand.

    I hope, Allah willing, that this is of some benefit to you. The most important thing is to keep plugging away at whatever seems to be working best for you.

  4. islamicbasics says:

    salaamun alaykum

    Jazakallaahu khairan. These were good pointers. I agree that after book 2, you are able to follow along lectures. You may not be able to understand word for word at first but you will first know the topic being discussed, then you will be able to understand the points mentioned, then a few sentences word for word, and so on. You can notice the transition as you read the Quran and slowly begin to understand. This is the most rewarding and encouraging of all.

    I think the madinah books are very helpful in learning how to read without tashkeel. After the madinah books it may be helpful to go through ibn uthaymeen’s explanation of al-ajromiyyah. Allaahu alam.

    Listening to the program noorun ‘ala darb can be helpful. It comes on the saudi Quran stations everyday at 2:20pm est. The ullema who participate tend to speak clear and slow especially shaykh saalih al fawsan who comes on sundays (i think). Last I knew, he also had a 10 minute program where he gave tafsir of the quran on fridays 10:30pm or 11:30pm est.

    zahra

  5. Abu Zayd says:

    Assalamu ‘Allaykum,

    I have definitly benefited from the medinah arabic books masshallah. If a person is living in the west, the books will not be enough for him but rather one has to couple it with other stuff. For example, listening a lot of arabic audio would help as well as reading books and using dictionary to translate words….these medinah books are a good starting point for only those are good at studying from different sources. If one wants to limit their arabic learning experience to only the books, than much benefit will not be attained. So, I would advice anybody who wants to study these books to couple them with books of the ‘ulemaa as well as audio and other visual aids.

    wassalam

  6. al-boriqee says:

    asalamu alaikum

    may I add

    I think a few more tips is

    1. Learn the fi’l (verbs). Asm y shaykh tells me nearly 75 percent of the language is verbs.
    If you can leanr how to conjugate them, firstly in the past (mawdi) tense, then that is suprb. Then if you can conjugate them in the present (mudharia) then that will enhance your skill because then you will be able to somewhat speak or have a slight conversation.

    2. right after your aquisition of verbs, learn the huroof al-jarh (prepositions), fee, min, ala, kana, li,bi, etc, and learn to conjugate

    UNDERSTAND that the key to learning well is learning how to conjugate, and in the language it is pretty easy as it is pretty much the same.

    3. then after this you should learn the difference in usage demonstrative pronouns and relative, sicne persoanl pronouns go with or side by side with conjugation. Learn these well.

    4. Then practice practice , practice, gaining new words here andt here, reading the different dictionaries for words.

    The hans weir is superb as it breaks down the verbs into all its forms sicne most verbs, in the language have 15 broken forms and 15 sound forms. But this is higher up studies.

    4. From this point I would advise, even for practice purposes only, to readn adn understand the Ajrumiyyah, since it was basically written for beginners and in a language they can understand.

    6. the begining books outside of what Rasheed hafidhahullah brought that is easy is pretty much all of the kutubu sittah, the hadeeth books, and those easy essays, like Muhamamd ibn Abdul-Wahhab’s books. Don’t start out with ibn Taymiyyah. His language is tough and for the tough. Read the easy treatises of the aimah in aqeedah, like Iqtisaad fil itiqaad of Haafidh Abdul-Ghanee al-Maqdisee, or the Itiqaad Aimatul-Hadeeth of Abu Bakr Isam’eeli, or Sareeh as-Sunnah of Tabaree.

    these are just my rantings as pointers that hopefully could help

    asalamu alaikum

  7. al-boriqee says:

    oh

    and yes, go through the medina course, or just download the entire two year arabic course that fatwa-online has on their site, as it is much more exhaustive than these three that have been published in book form sicne these three books are merely a fraction of each section of the arabic ciriculum.

    likewise

    i wish to add about the brother who posted the shakel/tashkeel part.

    That comes by knowing different grammer qpoints, qawaa’id. like for example

    الصريح السنة للطبري

    no shakel. However to know, you must know different qawaa’id like shamsi letters or qamari letters. for example the onewho doesn’t know arabic would read the first word as “al-Sareeh” or “al-Siyareh” or”al-Sayireh” or whatever.
    It is read “as-Sareeh” because seen is harf shamsi, or a sun letter, and that means when sun letters are preceded by al lam, then the lam is silenced. So for soemone to understand this matetr they would have to know the rule of shamsi and qamari, along with knowing what letters are shamsi and which one are qamari.
    secondly, in most cases, NOT AL< but a lot, when letter has a kasrah, then followed by ya, then the ya is silent and serves as an elongation, hence sar-e-e-h. The same for fatha and alifs, and the same for dhamas and waws.

    as for the sunna, it can be read sunnati as well. But as most of the grammerians state, when it is the last word being uttered, then the tamarbutah does not need to be uttered, so if it ended as as-sareeh as-sunnah, no one needsto add “ti” as sareehasunnati.

    as for the last, if lam is added to a name or to other objects where position can take place, then it is usually ,in most cases, means or is said “li”

    so literally it would be “lil-tabaree”, but since ta is a shams letter, it is “li-tabaree”

    li meaning to or for or can be understood as of, depending on context,

    so translating it is “the clear sunnah of Tabaree” instead of “to tabaree”.

    there aremuch more principles than these, and it takes practice and dedictation, these re merely the beginners principles.

    asalamu alaikum

  8. as-Salâm ‘alaikum wa rahmatullah brother Ali,

    May Allah reward you for your tips and suggestions.

    There’s just a couple of things I wanted to mention regarding some of the things you mentioned.

    … the past (mawdi) tense … the present (mudharia) …

    The correct terms are “mâdî” (مَاضٍي) and “mudâri'” (مُضَارِع).

    the huroof al-jarh (prepositions)

    The correct term is hurūf al-jarr (حُرُوف الجَرّ).

    The hans weir is superb as it breaks down the verbs into all its forms sicne most verbs, in the language have 15 broken forms and 15 sound forms. But this is higher up studies.

    Actually, Hans Wehr only really focuses on the first ten forms, and even with those, it doesn’t list every single form for every root. A more comprehensive dictionary for that would be Lane’s Arabic Lexicon, which you can find online here.

    … I would advise, even for practice purposes only, to readn adn understand the Ajrumiyyah, since it was basically written for beginners and in a language they can understand.

    al-Ajrūmiyyah should be done with a teacher, or when you’ve gained enough understanding of the Arabic language to go over it yourself, which will usually happen after you get past book two of the Madînah course books. It may have been written with beginners in mind, but mind you, if you can’t read and comprehend Arabic to begin with, you’re wasting your time, unless, like I mention, you have a teacher.

    … the kutubu sittah, the hadeeth books …

    I would advise against this, only because you’re going to come across words that you definitely won’t find in most Arabic-English dictionaries and lexicons. If you’re going to supplement your Arabic studies with reading books of Hadîth, I’d suggest finding the small Hadîth book prepared by V. Abdur Rahim for the Madînah curriculum, or something similar, like Imam an-Nawawî’s Forty.

    i wish to add about the brother who posted the shakel/tashkeel part.

    That comes by knowing different grammer qpoints, qawaa’id. like for example

    The grammer rules and principles only really help with regards to the last vowel of the word. Otherwise, figuring out what vowel goes on what letter entails knowledge of the actual language and an understanding of the context of the stuff you’re reading.

    One book I forgot to mention that will help a great deal with learning verbs during your self-studies is A Practical Guide to the Mastery of Arabic: Arabic Verbs & Essentials of Grammar by Jane Wightwick and Mahmoud Gaafar.

  9. al-boriqee says:

    asalamu alaikum

    barakallahu feek for refining it. Slightly though you mention

    “The correct terms are “mâdî” (مَاضٍي) and “mudâri’” (مُضَارِع).”

    that is of course if there was such thing as an established language between arabic enligh called transliteration. That is analogous to arguing with someone over “no its spelled ali” and the other is saying “no alee”. The same with your huroof al-jarh or hurūf al-jarr.

    you said

    “Actually, Hans Wehr only really focuses on the first ten forms, and even with those, it doesn’t list every single form for every root. A more comprehensive dictionary for that would be Lane’s Arabic Lexicon, which you can find online here.”

    1. Yeah it does only for the first ten. i was really commenting on the fact that 15 are used commonly, even though there is really 30 forms in broken and the same for sound, but that next fifteen is upper balagha style stuff.

    2. the reason hans weir doesn’t list all of them is because not all verbs have certain forms, it may have first, third, eigth ,or the tenth form. So far I know of only 1 that has all 15.

    3. barakallahu feek for posting the lanes. Subhanallah, do you realize how much that costs. about a thousand dollars.

    true for the ajroomiyyah, I meant that once you get to a certain level where you can begin udnerstanding words and reading properly, and of course it is always better with an ustaadh, no matter how much you know.

    As for the grammer rules part, I think this may be an error on your part. The reason why certain words are read a certain way OUTSIDE OF knowing the context of course is due to qawaa’id, not for any other reason.There are two many qawaa’id which is why the lugha is so complex, since after all merely one mistake in shakel can lead to an entirely different meaning intended, and those shakel are there for a reason, and if they are absent, it is only expected that the reader already has these qawaa’id down packed, this is of course outside of the fact that one should know udner what context are they hearing or reading.

    as for hadeeth, your right, I was only speaking in that they should just read only to catch on, as reading inevitably by the qadr of Allah, leads to a state of realization of what your reading. I know persoanlly this by people who’ve doneit and personally.

    But yeas, the begining hadeeth book should by the arba’een, and or the husnul-muslim, as primers.

    asalamu alaikum

  10. that is of course if there was such thing as an established language between arabic enligh called transliteration. That is analogous to arguing with someone over “no its spelled ali” and the other is saying “no alee”. The same with your huroof al-jarh or hurūf al-jarr.

    An established language called transliteration? I’m sorry … but, huh???

    Brother Ali, while I agree there is no absolute correct way to spell Arabic words with the Latin alphabet, there are established and recognised methods of transliterating languages from one alphabet to another. Your analogy is not applicable with the things I mentioned. While ‘i’ and ‘ee’ can make the same sound, ‘â’ and ‘aw’ don’t. Similarly adding an ‘h’ to the end of a word like جرّ (jarr) gives people who know and recognise these established transliteration methods the impression that you think it’s spelled جرح (jarh).

    the reason hans weir doesn’t list all of them is because not all verbs have certain forms, it may have first, third, eigth ,or the tenth form. So far I know of only 1 that has all 15.

    Actually, there are a number of reasons why Hans Wehr doesn’t break down the verbs into all their forms (as you claimed above). I don’t think, however, that the reason you gave here is among them as I’ve come across many words while reading various books that were in forms not listed under their roots as found in Hans. One thing to keep in mind regarding this dictionary, is that it is a dictionary of modern Arabic, not classical; and as is mentioned by many of my Arab friends, there are words in the Arabic language that just aren’t used very much.

    As for the grammer rules part, I think this may be an error on your part.

    No, you misunderstand what’s being spoken about. The brother was asking about vowels in general. Grammar rules and principles only tell you which vowel goes on the last letter of a word, they don’t tell you which vowels go on the other letters before it. The only way you’re going to know those is by knowing the language and knowing the context of what’s being said (e.g., حكم hukm/ruling and حكم hikam/wisdoms).

  11. al-boriqee says:

    your right about the jarr part, it is deceiving if it is spelled jarh. . I’ll try to be a little more conservative ont he choice of letters used for a transliteration system,that after all is not a language ot begin with

    secondly, How do you type those symbols over the english letters.

    one thing i don’t like about those symbols is that on certain javascripts or html, they show up with weird smiley icons figures if you put it on other types of jaza or word files. That is mainly the reason why I prefer using normal usgae of letters, and if they wish to know the exact pronunciation of it, then learn it.

    asalamu alaikum

  12. How do you type those symbols over the english letters

    The easy way using MSWord: go to the Insert menu and select Symbol. Just scroll through the various symbols until you find the one you want to insert into the text, select it, then click Insert. You may have to change the font to something specific like Times New Roman.

    The other way is to use the short cut keys for the symbols, usually a combination involving holding down the Alt key and a number/letter sequence e.g., â = Alt+0226, Â = Alt+0194, etc. (In MSWord, the short cut key for each character (if it has one) is shown on the Insert Symbol window, just above the Insert and Cancel buttons).

  13. al-boriqee says:

    dane you call that easy.

    I’d rather just spell it out as closely as possible

    jazakallahu khairan

  14. I’d rather just spell it out as closely as possible

    To each their own.

  15. Mahmood Abu Zayd says:

    Assalaamu ‘Allaykum,

    Jazakallah Khayr brother Rasheed for pointing out the little trick with MSword…I have been searching for this function for a longtime.

    Also brothers, when I started studying these medina books, I was not able to find a teacher so I did self-study with a recording of the books which I bought from Troid in Canada. The name of the brother who recorded the tapes I think was muhammad ash-shukri goodshire Juma’ah…I could be wrong. Anyways, this brother’s recordings helped me so much..I wish I knew him, I would give hima gift masshallah. For anybody who is studying the medinah books, I would definitly recommend that they got ahold of the recordings done by this brother.

  16. If I remember correctly, I believe Dr. V. Abdur Rahim (the author of the Madînah books) has a set of tapes for the course as well. I could be mistaken though.

  17. kuwaiti_male says:

    I don’t know if the owner of this site allow me to say that, but I’m a native (arabic), and I will be glad to teach whoever who want to learn arabic insted he practice english with me.

    we will not lose anything if we give it a try.

    i’m watting your email to ” kuwaiti_male@hotmail.com “.

    Ahmed.

  18. Ateeq says:

    I want to learn arabic both functional and academic. Can you help me in this regard, Please.

    Ateeq

  19. Ateeq, if you are wanting to learn Arabic on your own, then I suggest you start by finding some books that will aid in teaching you the language. The Madinah Arabic Course books linked to above in the main post are good starters for English speakers wanting to learn Arabic. There is also A Practical Guide to the Mastery of Arabic: Arabic Verbs & Essentials of Grammar, which was linked to in one of the above comments.

    If you’re looking to be taught by someone else, then perhaps contacting brother Kuwaiti_male at the above mentioned email address may be an option for you.

  20. Abdus Samad says:

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuh.

    Kayfa Haaluk Yaa Akhee?

    Jazaakullaahu khairan for the post. May Allaah make us all sincere.

  21. Abdus Samad says:

    Just another thing to add… do you suggest studying the Medina Arabic books along with reading books and listening to lectures, or to first focus on the Medina Books?

    Also I am wondering if you have heard about the book on sarf called Binaa’ al-Af’aal, since it has been recommended in the following article:

    [link removed]

    Would you happen to know where we can get the text for this book if you have heard about it?

    Jazaakullaahu khairan.

  22. Wa ‘alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

    Sorry for the delay in replying to your comments, brother Abdus Samad. May Allah reward and bless you for your comments and your supplication.

    To answer your questions:

    1. It would depend on whether you feel it would be a benefit to you reading books and listening to lectures while working on the Madinah books. Myself, I focused on the lessons before I started reading other materials. It wasn’t until I finished book 2, or at least most of it, that I started reading books.

    2. As for the book mentioned in the article, I’ve never heard of it, so I can’t really comment on it or suggest where you can find it. My apologies.

  23. Yusuf says:

    Binaa’ al-Af’aal or Al-Binaa’ fi as-Sarf is a brief text on sarf for beginners and the author is not known.

    The text is available here.

    There is a written explanation available here by Shaykh Saadiq ibn Muhammad al-Baydhaani.

    Here are some audio explanations:

    Shaykh Muhammad ‘Ali Aadam, the Muhaddith who teaches at Dar al-Hadeeth in Makkah)
    Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9

    Shaykh Ahmad ibn ‘Umar al-Haazimi, who also resides in Makkah
    Part 1 | Part 2

    Shaykh ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar ibn Mar’ee ibn Burayk al-‘Adani. who is the head of Dar al-Hadeeth in Shihr, Yemen
    17 Parts

    The book most likely still requires for you to sit with another student who has already studied sarf to make sure you are grasping everything.

    And Allah knows best.

  24. Yusuf says:

    Here is a more detailed explanation by Shaykh Ahmad al-Haazimi, or it may be the additional parts not yet available on his website. I have not personally listened to it so I cannot confirm.

    Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10

  25. Abdus Samad says:

    بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuh,

    Baarakallaau feek akhee Rasheed for your response.

    Jazaakullaahu khairan Yusuf for your help in this matter.

    May Allaah reward both of you with Firdaws al-A’laa.

  26. Aadil says:

    As Salaamu ‘Alaykum

    I am half way done madinah book 2, and I have been studying arabic for like 3 months. Do you think once I am done book 2, I will be able to start to comprehend, if I memorize the vocab, etc? Or did you have to force yourself to understand by translating books? How long do you think it would take a student to completely know arabic if they stay consistent? Jazaak Allaah, sorry for tons of question, but I am kind of excited in succeeding to understand the book of Allaah and the ahadeeth.

  27. Wa ‘alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullah brother Aadil,

    By the end of book 2 of the Madinah course books, you should have enough grammar to aid you in comprehending things you read. Of course, you’re going to need the vocabulary. There are various ways you can go about amassing it. One way is by translating books or articles. The other is just to read articles or books and look up words as you go. Personally, I preferred the first method as I felt I could retain the words I learned easier than just looking them up as I read.

    As for your question regarding how long it would take for a student to completely know the language, then Allah is more knowledgeable. I can’t answer that question.

    May Allah aid you in your efforts and grant you understanding and proficiency in the language He chose to reveal His final revelation in.

  28. Aadil says:

    Jazaak Allahu Khair

    I remembered a month later subhaan Allah I asked you a question on this site. I have a few more questions insha’allah.

    1. How do you suggest a student to actually listen and understand lectures in Arabic.

    2. Do you have any recommendations for small books and articles that you think would be easy for a student to translate.

    3. How do you suggest a student to become comfortable in speaking the language. When I try to speak Arabic, I usually realize that I run out of words to make a complete sentence, or sometimes just become blank when figuring out ways to answer questions.

    Barak Allaahu feek!

  29. May Allah reward and bless you as well, brother Aadil.

    1. How do you suggest a student to actually listen and understand lectures in Arabic.

    Starting off with shaikhs whose articlulation (makhraj) is nice and clear and whose diction (balagah) is fairly easy to understand really helps. Two shaikhs I’ve met personally who I find have very clear articulation while giving their lectures are Shaikhs Abu Hatim Usamah al-Qusi and Khalid bin ‘Ali al-‘Anbari. I would suggest listening to their lectures which have been translated into English first, as you can listen to both their own words, as well as the translator’s interpretation of them. A number of both shaikhs’ translated lectures can be downloaded from http://www.calltoislam.com.

    2. Do you have any recommendations for small books and articles that you think would be easy for a student to translate.

    As for specific recommendations, I can’t really say which books and articles I’d recommend.

    I can suggest, however, that translating books and articles that have already been translated is a good way to start off, because you can compare your translation with other translations of what you’re working on. Also translating small books and articles on topics you like and are familiar with also helps, as you’ll be coming across terms you’ve probably heard before when listening to translated lectures and reading some of the English books.

    3. How do you suggest a student to become comfortable in speaking the language. When I try to speak Arabic, I usually realize that I run out of words to make a complete sentence, or sometimes just become blank when figuring out ways to answer questions.

    I can’t really give you any suggestions here as I can’t really speak Arabic and when I do try, I usually end up messing up pretty bad, heh. I do know, however, that if you don’t try, you’ll have a very hard time learning. You just have to force yourself to keep at it. Eventually, the words will start coming to you easier and you’ll make fewer mistakes, especially if you have friends who are fluent who you can speak to and who will correct you when you mess up.

    While learning how to speak, one of my friends made an arrangement with a mutual friend of ours from Egypt to only speak to him in Arabic. They were neighbours, so this helped a lot. The arrangement was that my friend could only speak to the Egyptian brother in Arabic. If he spoke to him in English, the Egyptian brother would not answer him (or something like that). If he would make mistakes, the Egyptian brother would also correct him and tell him the proper way to say things. From what I recall, my friend was able to speak pretty decently and carry on a conversation in only a few weeks.

    I hope this helps somewhat, Allah willing.

  30. Danish Muslim says:

    As-salamu ‘alaikum,

    “While learning how to speak, one of my friends made an arrangement with a mutual friend of ours from Egypt to only speak to him in Arabic. They were neighbours, so this helped a lot. The arrangement was that my friend could only speak to the Egyptian brother in Arabic. If he spoke to him in English, the Egyptian brother would not answer him (or something like that). If he would make mistakes, the Egyptian brother would also correct him and tell him the proper way to say things. From what I recall, my friend was able to speak pretty decently and carry on a conversation in only a few weeks.”

    From my experience this is a very good way to learn. Using a similar method increased my speaking abilities a lot.

  31. Abû Dâwûd says:

    Oops… was logged in with my old “Danish Muslim” account. Should have been this one.

  32. Umm 'Uthmaan says:

    Jazaakullah khayr for the beneficial tips. I too prefer the Madina books for grammar.

  33. May Allah reward you as well, sister.

  34. salafiyah says:

    i wanted to know if anyone knows of audio lesson on al-jaroomiyah in english – arabic given by anyone, it would be nice.

    also, the audios up here link, are they on arabic grammer parts.

    i will check to see

    post the links here, i will come later to take the info. thanks.

  35. As-Salaamu ‘alaikum wa Rahmatullaahi wa Barakaatuh.

    Jazaak Allahu Khair for sharing your knowledge on Arabic. I’m just starting to learn Arabic… and managed to pick up a few tips here.

    Shukran. :-)

    -Sister from Malaysia

  36. Wa ‘alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh “subtlefortitude”.

    May Allah reward and bless you as well. I’m glad that what’s been posted here has been of some help to you. May Allah make learing the language easy for you.

  37. Pingback: Tips for Using Hans Wehr Arabic-English Dictionary « Talibiddeen Jr.

  38. Pingback: Learning Arabic On Your Own (via Rasheed Gonzales) | learning quran online blog

  39. istislaam says:

    JazaakAllaahu khayran

    Some excellent advice there…

  40. May Allah reward and bless you, istislaam. Thanks for dropping by and leaving a comment. I hope that the article was of some benefit to you.

  41. Naeem C says:

    assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu

    I do like to mention as brother Rasheed did before about a small book by Dr. V. Abdur-Raheem called “Arba’oon Hadeethan” which consists of two other books of his put together.

    This book goes through a number of small ahadeeth at first and builds onto longer ones. It’s a great book to go through while doing Book Three of the Madinah Books. You’ll find it so beneficial!!

    Also, for those who have completed the Madinah Books, I did pick up a copy of Shaykh Saleh al-Fawzaan’s explanation of Forty Hadeeth an-Nawawi in Arabic. It’s a very nice explanation and the book does have tashkeel for those who need it. The arabic is very simple from what I have been reading so far.

    Hans Wehr is also a great compliment to have by your side and knowing the usages of the different forms of the verbs helps a lot.

  42. Wa ‘alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh, Naeem.

    May Allah reward and bless you for the suggestions. I ask that Allah makes your advice of benefit to whoever takes it.

    (Hope all’s well with you, Allah willing).

  43. Abdullah says:

    Salaam,

    I was wondering if you understood fusha Arabic on tv and if so how much Arabic would you need to know or the best way to go about to understand something like Al-Jazeerah? Or if that’s too advanced then to understand Al-Jazeerah Children’s Channel?

    Jz for your help

  44. Wa ‘alaikum as-salam, Abdullah.

    I was wondering if you understood fusha Arabic on tv and if so how much Arabic would you need to know or the best way to go about to understand something like Al-Jazeerah? Or if that’s too advanced then to understand Al-Jazeerah Children’s Channel?

    I don’t watch too much TV, let alone Arabic TV programs, be it news (like al-Jazeerah) or anything else, so I’m afraid I wouldn’t be able to answer your question sufficiently. In general though, my reading skills are better than my listening skills. For me, it all depends on how fast the person is speaking, their accent, and how much colloquial Arabic they include in their speech.

    Best advice I can think of would be to just watch/listen to the programs if you’re interested. See how much of it you’re understanding and how much of it you’re not. You can always make notes of the portions you didn’t understand and look them up after the program’s done.

  45. Yousef says:

    Salam Aleykom brother
    Is it possible to ask question here still? I have some small questions to you regarding learning arabic

  46. Wa ‘alaikum as-salam wa rahmatullah, brother. Of course you can. You can also reach me via email if you’d prefer that way.

  47. Yousef says:

    Jazkhallah Khayr

    I am finishing Madinah book nr2 in 3 days now, and i have been searching for tips, and i came over your blog, i have been here before but never to this page mashallah

    I just have a few questions

    1 – I have ordered the dictnoary “Hans Wehr” to assist me, and also my friend gave me some books of Sh Al-Uthaymeen (His sharh on Riyaadh Saliheen/Nawawi 40 hadith) and he also gave me the books of Sh Nadwi (Qisas Anbiyah, and one other book on Khalifah Rashidah). Is these good stuff? Any thing other i should get?

    2 – My goal is first to read and understand arabic as fluently as i can, and then later study grammar and sarf properly and also writing later, is this good?

    3 – While i be a able to find the words i need in Hans wehr if i come over a word i dont know meaning of in one of my books? (I remember trying to look up words in hans wehr a long time ago, and i couldnt because it was arranged into a 3 letter system)

    May Allah reward you for the blog. its very interesting, and i have also benefited from the questioners above

    one advice i want to give to people who want to increase their listening skills, is to find transcripted lessons and follow with audio or read it first and then listen. People like Sh Alhaazimy has all his duroos transcripted, and also Sh Ibn Baaz/Sh Fawzaan has alot of their duroos trancsripted

    (Sorry English is not my first language, but my fourth language so i never use it, so it is very weak)

  48. Wa iyyak.

    1 – I have ordered the dictnoary “Hans Wehr” to assist me, and also my friend gave me some books of Sh Al-Uthaymeen (His sharh on Riyaadh Saliheen/Nawawi 40 hadith) and he also gave me the books of Sh Nadwi (Qisas Anbiyah, and one other book on Khalifah Rashidah). Is these good stuff? Any thing other i should get?

    I’ve never read anything by an-Nadawi, so I can’t comment on his writing. Ibn Uthaimin, however, should be ok to start with. The Arabic he uses is a pretty standard level. His explanation of Riyad as-Salihin, if I’m not mistaken, is transcribed from tapes. So keep that in mind when going through it. It’s also quite large (four or five volumes, no?), so it should take you a while to go through if you go beginning to end.

    2 – My goal is first to read and understand arabic as fluently as i can, and then later study grammar and sarf properly and also writing later, is this good?

    Whether it’s good or not will be up to you and what you want to achieve, as I said in my article.

    3 – While i be a able to find the words i need in Hans wehr if i come over a word i dont know meaning of in one of my books? (I remember trying to look up words in hans wehr a long time ago, and i couldnt because it was arranged into a 3 letter system)

    Hans Wehr isn’t the most extensive dictionary out there. As I said in the article, it doesn’t have a lot of words in it, so it’s very possible that you’ll run into instances where you can’t find a particular word you’re looking for.

    As I also mentioned in the article, because Hans Wehr is arranged according to root words, it will force you to learn the different forms (i.e., basic morphology (ilm as-sarf)). This will help a lot in being able to figure out out the root, which in turn will make it easier for you to locate it in the dictionary. This will also prepare you for using Arabic-Arabic lexicons and dictionaries like al-Qamus al-Muhit, Lisan al-Arab, etc., many of which are also arranged according to roots.

    Again, in the article I mentioned that it’s a good idea to compliment Hans Wehr with another dictionary. I mentioned al-Mawrid, but there are others, e.g., Lane’s Arabic-English Lexicon, which is arranged just like Hans Wehr, but more extensive. It also has more detailed explanations and examples within its entires.

    When you start getting deeper into morphology, you’ll start learning how each form changes the meaning of the root word. This will be of benefit when you can’t find a word in the dictionary.

  49. Shaykh An-Nadwi was very strong in Arabic MashaAllaah. His “Qasas An-Nabiyyeen” is specifically written for learning arabic. Its a great book if you have a good teacher to help you analyse its sentences. He wrote it for his young nephew and it is written in a way that it builds from simple sentence formation to more complex ones. Once you manage to master the concepts of this book you can go to his more advanced but similar works like “Qiraatul Rashidah”, “Suwar Min Hayat us Sahabah” and “Suwar min hayat ut talibeen”. They are all with full tashkeel so good for a beginner to just be able to concentrate on sentence analysis and vocabulary building.

  50. Naeem C says:

    For the subject of Tafseer, I suggest Tafseer al-Muyassar when applying your Lugah. You’ll notice how simple it is and easy it is to read when applying the grammar you know.

    in shā Allāh, when you start reading other books of Tafseer, you’ll end up seeing these same [or similar] sentences/words from Muyassar in ibn Katheer, as-Sa’dee or others. You will begin to appreciate the fact that you started off with reading al-Muyassar first.

    I recently purchased al-Misbaah al-Muneer by al-Fuyyumi (Arabic-Arabic) and I received Mukhtār as-Sihāh by ar-Rāzi as a gift from a brother. Both are useful when it comes to learning words through other ‘Arabic words that are synonymous. This allows you to add more vocabulary to your notebook.

    Allah knows best.

  51. Abu Yahya says:

    Asalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wa barakatu akhi , do you have an email address or contact info , inshaaAllah it would be much appreciated. Jazak Allahu Khairan Yaa Akhi

  52. Wa ‘alaikum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh, Abu Yahya. You can find my contact info here: My Blog …. You can find my email address in the second bullet point.

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