This is not a sales pitch or a paid promotion, I just want to share with you how I learnt to read Arabic in a matter of weeks with tajweed (proper pronunciation) with little help from a physical teacher.
How do we learn Arabic as new Muslims?
The idea of learning to read the Qur’an can be daunting for new Muslims, especially for people who have never learnt more than one language. It’s easy to think we just don’t have enough time to learn Arabic and sometimes we only learn to recite the necessities for salah from listening to recitations or reading transliterations.
Arabic to English transliterations really do not do the language justice at all because the sounds for many Arabic letters can’t be transliterated into English. For example, ذ and ظ are commonly transliterated as both ‘dh’ and ‘z’, neither of which accurately represent the sound their sound.
Incorrectly pronouncing letters can change the entire meaning of a word, and this is one reason why it’s essential for Muslims to learn to read Arabic correctly, because we recite the Quran in our salah.
Even so, many of us started by learning from transliterations and if that’s you, May Allah reward your for your intentions and make learning to read Arabic easy for you, Aameen!
Memorising by listening to someone else recite is a slightly better way for non-Arabic readers to learn, but it’s still largely guess work if you don’t know the correct makhraj for each letter (how to make the sounds in your mouth), and still leaves lots of room for errors.
How to learn Arabic online in less than a month
There came a point for me where reading a translation of Qur’an or learning short ayat from listening to recitation just wasn’t enough anymore. I wanted to learn Arabic but attending regular classes wasn’t realistic because of timings and other commitments, so here is how I learnt to read Arabic in a short amount of time for under £10: Bayyinah TV!
Bayyinah TV has a 18 videos of ‘Reading Basics’ lessons (16 of which are actually lessons) which are between 30 minutes to 1 hour long. It’ll take you through learning the Arabic alphabet, recognising letters in their different forms and learning to read with basic rules. If you give a few hours a night you could get through the lessons within a month and have lots of time for revision and practice in between.
It’s what it says on the tin- it will teach you basic Arabic which is enough to get you reading. I really like how Nouman Ali Khan makes memorable connections so it’s easier to recall different things. I think I might forever remember idgham with ghunnah as the motorcycle onion rule. (You’ll probably just have to watch it to know what I mean!)
Bayyinah TV is a subscription service for under £10 a month. This doesn’t just include Arabic lessons, there’s also tafsir, history lectures about the sahabah and prophetic stories. I definitely recommend it, plus if you get the mobile app you can listen to them wherever you are.
Remember that learning Arabic for the sake of pleasing Allah is not like learning any other language, so don’t be put off if you’ve been unsuccessful at learning a new language before or think you’ll be lost in not knowing the meanings of the words. Once you learn to read, and put this learning into practice, you’ll be recognising words AND their meanings in no time, in sha Allah.
May Allah make it easy for you to learn to read the Quran and increase you in knowledge and iman, Aameen.
While you’re here, check out our free Arabic writing sheet in our Resourcessection to practice letter formation by writing common words. It’ll also help you to pronounce the words correctly as you learn to recognise which letters are used.
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