Saturday, October 08, 2011

Why Learn to Read Arabic?

Even though many Muslims are taught how to read the Qur'an from an early age, for various reasons many still don't know how to read the Qur'an in Arabic as adults. Some were never taught, some converted to Islam as adults and never got the chance to learn.

But now it's become easier than ever to start learning Arabic, even for adults who never learned the Arabic alphabet. Many masajid offer classes for beginners, and so do various online institutes, all to help Muslims attain their Qur'an goals. So why would a Muslim who can't read Arabic start learning?

First, to gain the blessings of reading the Qur'an in Arabic. How could you read the Qur'an in Arabic--the language of its revelation--without knowing how to read Arabic at all? And every letter of the Qur'an that we read is a blessing. In fact, Allah rewards us just for reading the letters of the Qur'an--

Whoever reads a letter from the Book of Allah, he will have a reward. And that reward will be multiplied by ten. I am not saying that “Alif, Laam, Meem” is a letter, rather I am saying that “Alif” is a letter, “laam” is a letter and “meem” is a letter. (At-Tirmidhi)

A second reason to start learning Arabic is to learn how to properly recite the Qur'an. Proper recitation is a science in itself, but something that even a beginning student of Arabic can start to learn. After learning the basics of reading, it's natural to learn the rules of recitation in order to beautify the recitation of the Qur'an.

A third reason is to start memorizing more Qur'an for salah, and even to memorize the entire Qur'an. It's very difficult to memorize Qur'an without being able to read Arabic, and memorization also requires the ability to recite Qur'an properly. But after learning how to read and recite, we can start memorizing.  And the amount of Qur'an we have memorized will determine our rank in Paradise--

It will be said to the companion of the Qur’an: Read and elevate (through the levels of the Paradise) and beautify your voice as you used to do when you were in the dunyaa! For verily, your position in the Paradise will be at the last verse you recite! (Abu Dawud and At-Tirmidhi)
And lastly, we should learn to read Arabic so that we can begin studying the Arabic language, and then we can understand the meaning of the Qur'an while reading and reciting it.

The world of the Qur'an opens up once we begin to read and recite it--this is the very first right that the Qur'an has on us, and it is our responsibility as Muslims to read the Qur'an. Reading Arabic is the first step--if we can't do that yet, then it's time to learn!