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New Muslims New Muslims' Experiences

Learn the Qur’an in Arabic, Get Rewarded: How?

 By Amy Klooz

It can be intimidating for a new Muslim to be told that the Qur’an has to be read in Arabic when he or she can’t make heads or tails of the Arabic script in the first place. So learning not just letters but pronunciation, grammar, vocabulary seems a daunting task.

Do they know the blessings they are missing out on, that they can't even read the Qur’an in the original Arabic?

Do they know the blessings they are missing out on, that they can’t even read the Qur’an in the original Arabic?

But if I may say so, it is one of the more rewarding endeavors in which a person can dedicate his time. And in actuality, it’s not as difficult as it might seem at the start.

In fact, throughout the Qur’an, Allah describes Arabic and the Qur’an as easy:

So, (O Muhammad), We have only made the Qur’an easy in the Arabic language that you may give good tidings thereby to the righteous and warn thereby a hostile people. (Maryam 19:97)

Verily, We have made this (Qur’an) easy, in thy tongue, in order that they may give heed. (Ad-Dukhan 44:58)

And We have certainly made the Qur’an easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember? (Al-Qamar 54:17)

So before we start complaining about it being hard, we should remember that Allah (the Lord of the Worlds) is making it easy for us; making it easy to learn to read Arabic, to speak it, and to understand it in the Qur’an.

Now, for some people the motivation for learning Arabic is more to learn spoken Arabic, perhaps to communicate with Arab Muslims, maybe new family members. In that case, I can’t promise it will be as easy, but the person whose intention is solely for the sake of Allah, to learn the Qur’an, I know will have the help of Allah.

I think it’s sad that to see Muslims who have had years of opportunities to learn and still haven’t made any progress regarding the Arabic language.

Do they know the blessings they are missing out on, that they can’t even read the Qur’an in the original Arabic?

Moreover, I know many converts struggle in trying to memorize the Qur’an, and we know from a hadith that Allah will reward their struggle. But for years, they go by having memorized only one or two surahs (chapters)!

Is it necessary to spend hours listening to audio over and over and over to try to pick up the sounds?

For anyone who wants to start memorizing more Qur’an, I would say they should focus their energy on learning to read Arabic. I can say from my own experience that memorizing became much faster, easier, and fulfilling, once I could read the Arabic. Sounds became words, words became phrases and phrases took on meaning. Being able to read the Qur’an in Arabic, while trying to memorize it, can only facilitate memorization.

So I have come to the opinion that one essential component of any program for helping new Muslims must be helping them to learn the Arabic language–not for speaking, not for conversation, but to start reading the Qur’an. And the minimum responsibility should be to teach them the letters–recognition and pronunciation–and proper recitation of the Qur’an.

A class for new Muslims to teach Arabic, starting with letters, should actively involve the students reading writing words as soon as they know the relevant letters. Seeing letters on a board or in a book is not enough to learn them.

Worksheets, tests and quizzes are good motivational tools to keep the students practicing the letters consistently. Consistency is the only way to make it stick constant use.

For students trying to learn the Arabic alphabet, flashcards are an exceptionally useful tool. Correcting the pronunciation requires a teacher with a good ear and lots of practice. The articulation of some letters is an acquired skill children can learn easily, but with dedication adults can become equally proficient and should not be deterred because a letter is difficult or not present in their native language.

But a person cannot stop their Arabic after learning the letters. They must progress immediately to learning tajweed (rules of Qur’anic recitation). This is to correct and improve their articulation, and to help them begin in reciting Qur’an.

When able to actually read and recite the Qur’an even without understanding, a person is at least establishing a connection with the Qur’an, and is consistently practicing the Arabic already learnt.

This ‘practice‘ keeps the knowledge (of the alphabet, articulation, tajweed, etc.) in the front of a person’s mind, building a skill that will undoubtedly brighten his or her heart and mind. It is a skill that opens up the Qur’an, and opens the heart to the Qur’an.

So I would suggest for new Muslims who haven’t started learning any Arabic yet, to make it a priority. And for anyone involved in educational programs for new Muslims, to incorporate some Arabic into those programs to help our communities build and strengthen their relationship with the Qur’an.

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New Muslims New Muslims' Experiences

New Reverts’ Christmas Dilemma

By Diva Allott

So you’re a new Muslim and it’s that time of year again, Christmas.

As a child it was one of our most awaited days of the year, to run downstairs and find all the beautifully wrapped gifts under the luminous Christmas tree.

We believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is a Prophet and not the son of God and that Allah is the only God, and we do not associate any others with Him.

Helping to prepare the dinner was a crucial part of this awaited day, we would then settle down on the sofa watching ‘Miracle on 34th. Street’ and then we would all pull our crackers and wear our Christmas hats.

As Muslims, we can’t celebrate Christmas as it is a Christian celebration. We believe that Jesus (peace be upon him) is a Prophet and not the son of God and that Allah is the only God, and we do not associate any others with Him. For many of you this can be a very difficult time as new Muslims, as your family may not understand and appreciate your new found beliefs.

In my first year as a Muslim I found Christmas very difficult, I had never celebrated Christmas in a religious way but just enjoyed all the traditions of sharing food, watching films and exchanging gifts with my family.

Also, I felt very bad as my mother is a widow and to leave her to celebrate Christmas alone pained me so much, I felt guilty. I knew that I couldn’t celebrate it so I tried my best to stay away over Christmas day.

I didn’t buy any gifts for any of my family as that is equivalent to celebrating it, and I struggled as I love seeing people’s joy when receiving an anticipated gift. I often went down a week or so before Christmas so my mother didn’t feel alone and she and other members of my family would always leave me gifts.

It is fine to accept the gifts on the grounds that it is not a religious emblem representing Christmas, or alcohol, or meat slaughtered purposely for Christmas or statues. I would accept the gifts and give thanks to them. The Prophet (peace be upon him) never used to refuse a gift from the Banu Israel (Jews) or from the Christians during their attributed festivities.

How to Cope with Christmas

Just think how much money you will save!

Now you know that you are not alone in your struggle and that al-hamdu lillah there are many more reverts experiencing a similar journey to you. Let’s focus on how to cope with Christmas.

First of all, don’t be sad that you have left Christmas behind in your new journey as a Muslim as God has blessed you with two celebrations Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Just think how much money you will save! While everybody is running around like headless chickens worrying whether they have remembered everything on the Christmas list, sent all the cards and bought all the food, you can sit back and take the back seat. It is strange how funny the panic of Christmas is when you’re outside, watching all the fuss for just one day of the year.

Although Christmas may be difficult for you when you think how your family must be feeling having to continue their celebrations without you. Let them know why you can’t celebrate Christmas but that you are still the same person they know and love. Try avoiding going to visit family on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day or Boxing Day to avoid getting roped into the celebrations. Maybe you can go a few days before or after the celebrations just to let them know you’re there.

Another way of coping with Christmas is to use the holidays as a chance to improve on your Islamic knowledge, perhaps read some Quran, books of Hadith or just spend time making du`aa’ (prayer) and thanking God for the life He has given you as a Muslim.

This year, I decided to buy my family present for `Eid and try to involve them in my festivities to soften their hearts and in sha’ Allah (God willing) one day they will see the beauty of Islam and embrace it. For Eid al-Fitr I bought my mum and myself a trip to an all-women’s SPA for a chance for us to spend time together and to relax. She really appreciated the present as I don’t buy her gifts for Christmas, she felt like I had made an attempt to include her. For my aunt, I bought her a massive basket full of fresh fruit and decorated with ribbons. She loved the present and the feeling of being included. The first time I bought my mum a present for Eid I didn’t know whether she would be happy or offended. At first she said I don’t want anything for Eid because I don’t celebrate it. I said then: ‘I give you this present with the intention for `Eid, and if you wish to save it for Christmas then do as you will.’

Children & Christmas

Dealing with children in Christmas can also be difficult as they may feel jealous of their peers at school knowing they will return after the holiday bestowed with new gifts, toys and clothes. Teach your children the origins of Christmas and explain to them why Muslims do not celebrate it and that although the children have been offered many gifts for their celebrations that as Muslims, God has promised us much more in the afterlife and has blessed us with two `Eids.

When `Eid comes around, create your own family atmosphere as your family did with you at Christmas, build up the excitement and the anticipation of `Eid, but emphasize that it is not about gifts but about spending time with family and giving thanks to God on this special day. A good idea is to buy advent calendars around the Christmas period and keep them until `Eid and allow your children to begin opening them on the countdown to `Eid.

During this festive time, remember that you are not alone and that many others are on the same journey as you. Remember God and give thanks to Him for all that He has blessed you with at this time, don’t be envious of those celebrating Christmas as God has promised us so much more. Just be thankful for being shown the true light.

In sha’ Allah I hope that none of you struggle too much during this time and find the strength and faith to get through this busy period of the year.

You are all in my thoughts and my du`aa’ and may Allah bless each and every one of you for reading this article and seeking further knowledge.

Ameen.

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Source: onislam.net

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