It’s Never Too Late
I speak Arabic fluently, but have always had trouble reading and writing in Arabic. I don’t know if it’s because I was born and raised in the US, but I do know that my parents definitely tried their best. I remember going to weekend schools to learn Arabic. In fact, I was sent to an Islamic school for 7th and 8th grade, but let’s just say I wasn’t the best student.
The only thing I learned was how to successfully launch stealth-style spitball attacks at my teacher’s noggin.
Growing up, I always read the Qur’an in English. That’s fine, because that’s the only language I ever really knew. I would listen to the Qur’an and marvel at its beauty. I used to beg my friends to listen to it. Now, I didn’t really understand what was being said all the time, but there was just something so captivating about its recitation. I think we all know what I’m talking about. As one of my friends (who later converted to Islam) said, “When I heard the Qur’an, it just sounded like something that would come from God.”
I used to be content with just knowing English, but hit a point this year where I proactively sought how to read and write in Arabic. I’ve memorized chapters, but to me, it’s just not the same as being able to open the Qur’an and simply read directly from the text. I’ve tried Rosetta Stone, but it put me to sleep. I’ve tried registering for all these “Learn Arabic Now!” Internet ads I’d see online, but they were always too expensive. They’d tease you for a bit, and then be like, “It’ll be 1M dollars please!” I wanted it really badly, but not so bad that I’d go into debt for it.
Fast-forward to February of this year. I heard about this Qur’an/Arabic teacher from others. They said he doesn’t charge a nickel for his classes, that he doesn’t accept charity or gifts, and that everyone who learns from him reads the entire Qur’an in Arabic in no more than 20 weeks. I couldn’t believe it. There’s no way, right? I know, what’s the catch? The catch was that I had to be very disciplined, do all my homework, study, and always show up on time. No excuses or I’d be kicked out of the class in a heartbeat. Wouldn’t be the first time.
Eight weeks later, I completed reading the entire Qur’an in Arabic. It was very intense. I’m not sharing this to boast. I had to study for hours, read all night, take weekly exams, and even had to cut back on my tweeting. That was the most difficult part. Just kidding, but it hasn’t been easy. I’m sharing this experience because I can’t contain my emotions. I want to express that it’s never too late to learn. Reading the Qur’an in Arabic is very different than reading it in English. It just is. I began to notice the beautiful linguistic subtleties sprinkled throughout, although I didn’t, and still don’t understand every word. That’s my next challenge.
I honestly believe that Allah facilitated this for me. He knew that I was actively seeking knowledge. That’s all He needed to see from me I guess. He opened a door of opportunity and I ran through. My journey has only just begun, but if you’re anything like me and have put off learning Arabic just because, then take my sincere advice and go for it. It’s never too late, and Arabic isn’t my first language, either.