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Alhamdulillah we are living in a revolutionary time, named by some the Islamic awakening. We have many opportunities of learning Islam and the Quran available to us which were not available to older generations even a few decades ago. And Alhamdulillah many brothers and sisters are making full use of these opportunities and thus contributing to the awakening. Much of this has been possible through use of modern technology. In Understand Quran, you can learn Arabic on the go using your IPad or tablet apps, and you can access the materials no matter where you are; and no matter how busy your schedule is, you can always squeeze something in, even if it is a few drops of knowledge. And with patience, those drops soon add up to become pools of enlightenment.
For anyone who has taken IELTS, you know that there are four necessary components of language acquisition: reading, writing, listening and speaking. Another component, emphasized in SAT, is vocabulary building. Out of these, we have some materials available for reading, writing, and vocabulary. But listening is an element which is mostly ignored by the student of Arabic, or if not ignored, then they don’t know how to go about doing it. I have faced the same problem, and I will share a few of the tips which I found useful in overcoming it.
Where Will I Get Stuff to Listen to?
When I first wanted to listen to Arabic, I found it very difficult to get hold of audios or vidoes in proper Arabic. Alhamdulillah since then I have found some excellent free sources of materials and got a hang of how to go about searching for them. They can be listed as follows:
Children’s Cartoons: Cartoons in Arabic for children are the easiest to understand, because obviously they are made for children. Here are a few examples, you can watch them easily from youtube.
السيرة النبَوية by Ar-Rahmah Channel
قصص من السنة by Ar-Rahmah Channel
كرتون صلاح الدين
Islamic Movies: There are some movies in Arabic about the life of the Prophet ﷺ and the companions, although many of them are inauthentic and you need to be careful which ones you select. Watching movies has the added benefit of watching scenes being enacted and Arabic being used in everyday life along with facial expression, body language and emotions. Some examples are ar Risaala, Omar series, Muhammad ﷺ the final legacy.
Islamic Lectures: These will be a bit tougher and will need more concentration and will power to listen to regularly, but they are immensely beneficial both in learning Arabic and in gaining Islamic knowledge in the ‘language of Islam’. You can download lectures by many of the renowned Ulama of the last century from the internet. You may possibly want to start with Muhammad Al-Mukhtar Ash-Shinqitee, whose lectures in youtube are very short and powerful.
How to Listen?
How did you learn your native language? You were only about three years old when you first starting using it. And no one gave you tajweed lessons and grammar lessons and make you memorize tons of words! You just listened those around you talking all the day and experimented with the words and that’s how you learned. So the more you listen, the more you learn! But that doesn’t mean you don’t need tajweed and grammar and vocabulary; in fact those are essential. Children can learn a language much faster than adults, and so we humble adults need extra tools to acquire a new language.
How much time you will put into listening to Arabic is upto you, but it needs to be consistent. Even if for half an hour, listen every single day. Keep the materials downloaded and ready, and put them in your hand gadgets so that you can listen even while you’re on the go.
What’s the Point? I don’t Understand Anything!
Did we understand anything when we were a baby? No one taught us that ‘this is mom’ and ‘this is dad’. Allah Azza Waajal has put this built-in mechanism inside us for learning language. He has said in the Quran,
الرَّحْمَٰنُ o عَلَّمَ الْقُرْآنَ o خَلَقَ الْإِنسَانَ o عَلَّمَهُ الْبَيَانَ o
The All-Merciful, He taught the Qur’an. He created man. He has taught him distinct (Literally: evident (demonstration) (speech). [55:1-4]
It doesn’t matter if you understand half of what is being said, or just a bit, or almost nothing at all, just keep listening. As you keep listening regularly and simultaneously keep learning more Arabic words and their usage in your other studies, you will soon find out that you are building an intuitive sense of understanding, and it keeps growing as you continue to listen and learn more and more in sha Allah.