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In the Name of God بسم الله

Having to learn arabic is preventing me from going to school.

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    I was voted to function as an imam to a revert congregation that doesn't exist any more. I was appointed with the understanding that I had no education and was a new revert myself. I went as far as becoming legally ordained to preform marriages. I wan't to go back to it and find a new congregation, with some education but the courses I see require me learn arabic and I'm having a hard time doing it. I can't enroll if i know I'm probably going to fail the course. I want some rudimentary to intermediate level skill in reading and speaking msa before I begin a paid course so I know I'm not going to fail. What are your suggestions for learning. I literally know just 3 words of arabic and I can't sound out the arabic script yet.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, musa shakr said:

    I was voted to function as an imam to a revert congregation that doesn't exist any more. I was appointed with the understanding that I had no education and was a new revert myself. I went as far as becoming legally ordained to preform marriages. I wan't to go back to it and find a new congregation, with some education but the courses I see require me learn arabic and I'm having a hard time doing it. I can't enroll if i know I'm probably going to fail the course. I want some rudimentary to intermediate level skill in reading and speaking msa before I begin a paid course so I know I'm not going to fail. What are your suggestions for learning. I literally know just 3 words of arabic and I can't sound out the arabic script yet.

So there are basically two kinds of Arabic. First is called 'Fusha' which is the language of the Holy Quran and Hadith. This is sometimes called formal Arabic. It is also the Arabic that is used on t.v. programs like the news, because all native Arabic speakers understand this, to a greater or lesser extent. Most understand the basics of it. 

The other kind of Arabic is the dialects, or the lingua franca of the Arabic world. I say 'dialects' because there are many of them. There is the Lebanese/Syrian/Palestinian dialect, the Egyptian dialect, the Iraqi dialect, the Hijazi/Gulf States dialect, the West African, Moroccan dialect. There are also other smaller, less common ones This is the Arabic that most Arabs speak to each other, and absorb thru the media. There is some overlap between the "Fusha' and the dialects but not much. They are basically two different languages. 

If you want to learn Fusha, the best place to start is by learning basic Arabic grammar. This might be painful at first, because it's just a bunch of rules for verbs, nouns, tenses, etc, but this is the quickest way to get a handle on the basics of the language, since the grammar is the thing that is common to all forms of Arabic, both Fusha and the dialects. The Arabic grammar was formalized by Imam Ali((عليه السلام)). There are many book on Introduction to Arabic Grammar. I would suggest doing a google search or browsing Amazon to find one you like and can understand

For the pronunciation, I would suggest you listen to Arabic being spoken as much as possible. With the Internet now, this is pretty easy to do, not like the old days. Listen to Arabic news and t.v. programs, Islamic lectures in Arabic, etc. At first you will understand almost nothing, but if you do this in conjunction with your study of grammar and syntax of Arabic, your knowledge and skill will increase little by little. You will pick up a word here and a word there. If you know grammar, you can tie these words together and put them in a context. The key is just to keep up with it. 

If you want to just learn how to pronounce the Holy Quran, there is a site I use with my kids, tanzil.net. It is good for this. It also has English Translation but no tafsir. 

BTW, I when I reverted, I was like you. I didn't know one word of Arabic. Now I am teaching Holy Quran and I can listen to a religious lecture, khutba, in Arabic and understand about 75% of it, in Fusha or Lebanese dialect, because that is the one I am most familiar with since my wife and her family are from Lebanon. It takes time, it is possible. 

Edited by Abu Hadi
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