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Old 02-28-2008, 02:50 PM   #1
Siraaj
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Memorizing the Qur'aan vs Learning Arabic First

Salaam alaykum,

It's been my experience that when listening to lectures, the recommendation has been to memorize the Qur'aan first (or as much as possible), and then go into the Arabic.

From what I understand of the practice of the Companions, they first memorized and understood 10 ayaat at a time and didn't move on til they memorized and understood it, and then implemented what they learned. Arabic, they already knew, so it might not be a fair comparison.

On the other hand, it may be better to know how all this was done when the Muslims initially conquered new lands, and non-Arabs were assimilated - how did they "memorize" the Qur'aan? With understanding, or without?

Siraaj
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Old 02-28-2008, 03:49 PM   #2
Ammar AlShukry
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Re: Memorizing the Qur'aan vs Learning Arabic First

If you look at the biography of almost ANY scholar, you will notice that the first thing that they did was memorize the book of Allah.

From what I've noticed, having a strong attachment to the Quran will help you learn Arabic, whereas learning Arabic won't help you if you don't have a strong attachment to the Quran.

What I mean is, I've seen lots of brothers go overseas, do the 6 months in some intense Arabic learning institution, and come back speaking fusha so well that you conclude that their heads must have been opened and had Arabic poured into it.

6 months after they're back, their Arabic is weaker, and 6 months after that it's weaker still. 2 years later and they're pretty much a little better off then when they started.

The connection with the Quran is what is going to keep them absorped in learning Arabic, continuing to learn the meanings of new words, syntax, grammar, all so that they can learn more and further understand the book that they love so much. Long after they have put down "Arabic for beginners vol.1", they are still picking up the Quran as their textbook.

I see this with also a lot of brothers and sisters who are of Arab descent and grew up here, alot of the religious ones are stronger in Arabic, simply because it is their love for the Quran and hadith that propelled them to study the language of the Quran, although I don't know if that is really a direct cause-effect relationship, it was something interesting to notice.

W'allahu Alam
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:02 PM   #3
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Re: Memorizing the Qur'aan vs Learning Arabic First

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Originally Posted by Maalik
If you look at the biography of almost ANY scholar, you will notice that the first thing that they did was memorize the book of Allah.
Did they know Arabic first, or did they memorize first? Was that memorizing with understanding, or was it just plain jane rote memorizing? I guess when I say "understanding", I don't just mean understanding Arabic, I mean tafseer as well.

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Old 02-28-2008, 04:06 PM   #4
Abdullah~
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Re: Memorizing the Qur'aan vs Learning Arabic First

asalamu alaykum wa rahmattallah wa barakatu,

i've spoken with shaykh muhammad alshareef on this and he said go to a quran a school. learn the quran first and learning arabic will be easier.

same when we were sitting with yasir qadhi, if i recall that right but insha'allah he'll reply so we know for sure.

a brother at umm al-qurra told me that the scholars told him to start with quran first - however he was explaining that relative to learning lots of fiqh and so on. it starts with quran.

basically, a lot of brothers get burnt out learning arabic too, i was told. brother maalik provided lots of detail too - jazak'allah khayr brother.

that's why i'm working on tajweed and makhraj/pronunciation and knowledge of the rules. alhamdullilah, qadr'allahu wa maashaa'a fa'al, we learned quran surahs through transliteration, and you won't pronounce letters right, much less have tajweed that way. another pitfall for beginners to watch for. i've witnessed a good and knowledgeable arab brother tell me to learn the tajweed first, because once you learn it wrong one way, it's hard to get it out.

allahu allam. asalamu alaykum, - abdullah
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:15 PM   #5
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Re: Memorizing the Qur'aan vs Learning Arabic First

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Originally Posted by Abdullah~
asalamu alaykum wa rahmattallah wa barakatu,

i've spoken with shaykh muhammad alshareef on this and he said go to a quran a school. learn the quran first and learning arabic will be easier.

same when we were sitting with yasir qadhi, if i recall that right but insha'allah he'll reply so we know for sure.
Yes, I had heard their recommendations previously, and what I'd like to do is reconcile how it was we shifted from memorizing and understanding 10 ayahs at a time to simply memorizing everything first, and understanding everything later.

For example, in a number of lectures, I've heard say that it would take the Companions years to memorize a surah like al-Baqarah because they would go 10 at a time and try to understand it.

There's also ambiguous advice, at times - when I listen to some lectures, it's almost like a cut that we would memorize everything without understanding first, learning to pronounce and not understand.

Everyone's input is appreciated

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Old 02-28-2008, 04:18 PM   #6
hibahmac
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Re: Memorizing the Qur'aan vs Learning Arabic First

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maalik
...From what I've noticed, having a strong attachment to the Quran will help you learn Arabic, whereas learning Arabic won't help you if you don't have a strong attachment to the Quran...The connection with the Quran is what is going to keep them absorped in learning Arabic, continuing to learn the meanings of new words, syntax, grammar, all so that they can learn more and further understand the book that they love so much. Long after they have put down "Arabic for beginners vol.1", they are still picking up the Quran as their textbook.
Right on, Maalik. When you have a context to anchor learning - and isn't the Qur'an the most fascinating of contexts? - then you do whatever you need to do to draw near it. In this case, it's Arabic, and its pursuit serves something much greater. Learning it with such passion cements it.

The last shaykh I studied with to us flat out, from the beginning: learning to speak Arabic will not help you learn Qur'an. We all looked at him in shock, because that's why almost all of us where even there. But did we believe his essential point? Noooo....

Several of my Arab friends over the years have kept telling me I'm Arab but I don't understand Qur'an either. I have to look in the tafassir just like you. Did I believe that at first? Not really.

Recently, I received another correction. It was in a class about the Asmaa' ul-Husnaa and the shaykh said: Of the 12 sciences of the Arabic language, you need to at least have grasp on nahw, sarf, and balagha. Of those three, the most important one to understanding Qur'an is balagha.

Again, many of us were like whaaa? really? but how are we supposed to get that? All the while what have I been struggling for?? Not balagha.

It would be soooo helpful if this was pointed out to the newbies. I certainly could have used that. I think I'd be much further along if the focus was on hifdh and learning how Arabic works as a derivative of that. As far as Arabic as a daily language (well-spoken, that is), well....we can all have dreams, yeah? ~ Hibah
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:21 PM   #7
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Re: Memorizing the Qur'aan vs Learning Arabic First

Ofcourse there were some companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, who worked on implementing what they memorized before memorizing any further.

But there were others who memorized from the nabi kareem salAllaahu alayhi wasallam and then studied under him - the likes of Zaid ibn Thabit (the linguistical genius), ibn Masood, abi Ka'ab, radhiyAllaahu anhum

It wasn't that ALL the companions took that approach.

And even if you know the arabic language, the language of Quraan is way too rich for a common arabic speaker - and yes, arabic speakers study translations of some words used in Quraan too.

Allaahu 'Alem.
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:29 PM   #8
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Re: Memorizing the Qur'aan vs Learning Arabic First

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Originally Posted by Rabiah - la Voyageure ©
Ofcourse there were some companions, may Allaah be pleased with them, who worked on implementing what they memorized before memorizing any further.

But there were others who memorized from the nabi kareem salAllaahu alayhi wasallam and then studied under him - the likes of Zaid ibn Thabit (the linguistical genius), ibn Masood, abi Ka'ab, radhiyAllaahu anhum

It wasn't that ALL the companions took that approach.

And even if you know the arabic language, the language of Quraan is way too rich for a common arabic speaker - and yes, arabic speakers study translations of some words used in Quraan too.

Allaahu 'Alem.
Hmmm, I guess my understanding has been that everyone did this, as it was mentioned during the Riddah wars when the huffaadh of that time were killed, those lost weren't just memorizers, but people who knew the tafseer really well (which was why they were in the front lines, aiming for becoming from among the shaheeds).

Is there a recommended learning style we can find among the Companions? Or from the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallim himself?

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Old 02-28-2008, 04:29 PM   #9
Rabiah - la Voyageure ©
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Re: Memorizing the Qur'aan vs Learning Arabic First

Quote:
Originally Posted by Siraaj

On the other hand, it may be better to know how all this was done when the Muslims initially conquered new lands, and non-Arabs were assimilated - how did they "memorize" the Qur'aan? With understanding, or without?

Siraaj
did you know arabic used to be a universal language back in the days? SubhanAllaah - I don't know why English took over. But it was arabic in the good ol' days. The christians and jews (living in the arab peninsula) would learn arabic like any other person. It was much later when Muslims lost arabic as a second-language.
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Old 02-28-2008, 04:49 PM   #10
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Re: Memorizing the Qur'aan vs Learning Arabic First

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Originally Posted by Rabiah - la Voyageure ©
did you know arabic used to be a universal language back in the days? SubhanAllaah - I don't know why English took over. But it was arabic in the good ol' days. The christians and jews (living in the arab peninsula) would learn arabic like any other person. It was much later when Muslims lost arabic as a second-language.
Yeah, that was essentially what I was asking Maalik in response to his post - since people actually learned Arabic in the conquered lands (by default) and then memorized the Qur'aan, does that matter?

The other aspect of this, putting aside just word by word understanding, how should tafseer come into play here while memorizing, keeping in mind the stories of Companions not moving forward until properly understanding and implementing those ayaahs? What's the "best" way?

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