Arabic?! - Eazy Peazy!

Came across this and it got me thinking. We're (as in collective ''we'' who lack basic arabic know-how) always complaining about how hard it is to learn Arabic (Ok, maybe 'I' am just plain lazy), yet it's probably one of THE easiest languages to grasp in terms of grammar, concepts, dialect you name it. Besides since we're all exposed to the Quran from a young age (I'm assuming ofcourse), pronunciation becomes second nature!

It was the most spread out and comprehensive language at the time of Our Prophet (PBUH) and it still is plus it actually gave birth to the spectrum of world written and spoken languages today. The language itself is spoken throughout the Arabian Peninsula, Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Sudan, Mauritania, and Chad. Influences of it can be heard in English, Urdu, Somali, Indonesian, Malay, Hindi etc. It is the mother tongue of over 225 million people in Africa and Asia.

Ok, lemme quote the bit that caught my interest...

Smith meets a Muslim shopkeeper, also a native of Shandong, who spoke Chinese but was "ignorant of the written character. The whole sect appear to devote their studies exclusively to their own sacred language, the Arabic. His bold features, prominent nose, and restless eye, confirmed the fact of the distinct origin of this descendant of Ishmael."

From the evidence supplied by Smith, we learn that Muslim citizens of the late Qing / Manchu period (the last dynasty [1644-1912]), who were fluent in one or another of the Sinitic languages, were illiterate in Chinese characters but literate in Perso-Arabic script. This information is all the more stunning in light of the fact that Muslims in China developed a system of writing Sinitic languages (primarily one or another topolect of Mandarin [especially in the northwest], so far as I know), in Perso-Arabic script. This was called XIAOERJIN or XIAOERJING. Although the etymology of XIAOERJIN(G) remains uncertain, this Perso-Arabicization of Sinitic was important in the spread of Islam in China.

The above information would seem to indicate that it was much easier to become Sinitically literate in Perso-Arabic script than in Chinese characters.

According to Smith, in simpler terms, Arabic was easily accessible to the Muslim Chinese instead of their own native tongue. Also, Chinese characters are somewhat inspired via Arabic. W00t!

In the Quran, Allah (SWT) tells us:

"Behold, We have sent it down in all clarity, in the Arabic tongue, so that you might encompass it with your reason." [12:2]

"Behold, We have made it a Qur'an in clear Arabic language that you may fully understand." [43:3]

"Now if We had made it a Qur'an in a non-Arabic tongue they would surely have said, "Why is it that its verses have not been made clear? Why - a foreign tongue and an Arab?" Say, "For those who accept it, this is a Guidance and medicine for a wholesome life. But as for those who will not believe (Arabs or non-Arabs), in their ears is deafness, and so it remains obscure to them. They are like people who are called to from afar." [41:44]

Arabic - The Key to Understanding the Qur’an - Another beautiful article states:

Arabic and the message of the Qur’an cannot be separated and translators throughout the ages have tried to convey to the non-Arabic speaking people the beauty of the meaning of the Qur’an but have always called it ‘The translation of the meaning of the Qur’an’, emphasising the fact that the Qur’an’s direct translation is not possible, because so much of the potency and splendour of the words and their meanings which are inextricably linked to the Arabic language are lost in English or any other language. Indeed to even appreciate the poetic beauty of the Qur’an one needs to have an understanding of Arabic.

Imam ash-Shaafi’ee (rahimahullah) also said:

"Therefore it is imperative that every Muslim should strive to learn Arabic as hard as he can, so that he can testify the shahada, and recite the Book of Allah and say the invocations that are mandatory upon him, such as the takbeer, tasbeeh, tashahud and other prayers. And the more he learns the language that Allah Himself chose to be the language of him who sealed the Prophets (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), and to be the language of His final revelation, the better it is for him!"

Anyway, hope that gets you motivated to learning it quicker Insha'Allah.

Wa Billahi Tawfiq!

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