Narrated by Uthman Ghani (R.A), The Prophet (S.A.W) said,
“The best among you is the one who learns Qur’an and teaches it to others.”
As Muslims we believe in Islam as the best religion and Qur’an as the best book. We claim that Qur’an is the guidance for whole mankind. But somehow we are not that passionate as we should be pondering upon the final revelation of God. Forget about understanding the message, we don’t even give any importance to the Arabic text how to read it properly, not anymore. The most popular excuse in fashion is that Arabic is not our language and that’s why we can’t pronounce it properly. Well, if you can learn to talk in silly Hindi accent by continuously watching Indian movies then certainly you can adopt the Arabic accent by spending the same time with same passion by watching any of the Islamic or Arabic channels or listening to the Qur’an online.
The point is that what are the reasons of losing interest in learning how to read Qur’an properly and then understanding it.
Boring Method: The traditional way of teaching Qur’an in madrassahs, schools or at home is not only boring but has become a burden upon the minds of our children and youngsters. Unfortunately, the Qur’an teachers in our country don’t commit themselves to make Qur’anic learning more interesting for our children. They don’t try to find out whether the children like it or not? or what is causing them feeling bored?
Lack of Lesson Planning: Never do they bother themselves to overlook their books (Qaidas) in order to reproduce them according to some kind of lesson planning. The problem is that the religious sector in our country doesn’t believe in doing lesson planning according to age and level. Instead, teachers mostly follow the order of chapters or lesson that is given in the book.
Lack of Time Management: What can a batch of how many students of what age achieve in what period of time? How can they make the whole process of learning more effective in less time?
Lack of connection between the holy teachings and our lifestyle: Collectively, we all failed in relating Qur’anic teachings to our daily lives. How can we seek help from these verses to improve our moral? In what ways, this book could be a guideline to better our surroundings? Can this holy scripture find us the ways we can get along with other nations while not losing our own identity?
This is the time we must acknowledge our negligence to this book and must return to it before it becomes too late.
– Islamic or non-Islamic, at madrassah, in the school or at home….the objective of any kind of teaching should be to develop independent reading skills for the next level.
– Do lesson planning on weekly basis for at least six months and check the progress.
– Don’t teach a batch of more than 15 to 20 students at a time.
– Use chalkboard or white board and colorful markers to make learning more effective and fun for little ones. You can also use the same KG techniques such as finger tracing, put letters in sequence, say them backward etc.
– Most of the maulvis and religious experts don’t prefer to teach Qaidah by spelling. They ask students to look at the letter or word and the harakaat, then figure out the sound. This exercise is not good for their delicate minds because children at young age, take long time to figure out the sounds and pronunciation, they go back and forth many times and usually they read the words incorrect and get beaten for that. They next time they loose confidence and make more mistakes. Spelling the words is a very useful and important technique. Children learn faster, enjoy the rhyming and/or rhythm, become more fluent in reading and at the end develop independent reading skills and an ability to catch up their own mistakes.
– Instead of teaching half shape of letters in the beginning, choose couple of them every week. Children pick the rest automatically.
– Don’t expect children to remember what they learned a day before. They would need a revision everyday at least for first six months.
– While teaching them the pronunciation of letters, particularly the throat letters, ask them to sit quiet and have fun listening to you. Repeat the pronunciation many times. Children really enjoy when they listen to you explaining how are you making that particular sound.
(Here I would like to share this experience of mine. A family from Australia came in my neighborhood. The mother asked me to help her four and half year old boy in reading Qaidah, whatever I can teach in a month then they had to go back. The little boy had problem in pronouncing letter sheen replacing the sound with seen. Mom said that she had tried her best and the doctor say that it’s gonna take time for him to pick the correct sound. I asked his mom to sit beside him and then I asked Hizam to follow the way I will make the sound. I repeated the sound many times and explained what happens inside my mouth when I pronounce it, the movement of my tongue. I asked him to close his jaws and put his tongue on the upper palate and say the letter. We both tried that for couple of days and I told his mother to do the same as many times as she can. The fourth day it was all fine, he pronounced the sheen perfectly.)
IT’S NOT THAT HARD:
Basic Arabic Grammar:
Short Harakaat: There are three basic harakaat with short vowel sound; fathah/zabar, kasrah/zair and damma/paish. You can teach the sounds of these harakaat by moving hand upward, downward and showing round. I made up a little song about it. “fathah goes up, kasrah goes down, damma is round, these are three short sounds”…..and you can move your hand along.
The sound of Fathah/zabar goes upward making a short vowel sound of ‘e’ like in bet.
The sound of Kasrah/zair goes downward making a short vowel sound of ‘e’ like in be.
The sound of Dammah/paish goes round making a short vowel sound of ‘o’ like in to.
Long Harakaat: Alif, wow and ya are three Huroof-e-Madda or Vowels. These letters along with their relevant short harakaat double the length of sound.
Alif with fathah/zabar makes the sound longer like of ‘a’ in cat.B
Ya with Kasrah/zair makes the sound longer like of ‘e’ in seed.
Wow with Damma/paish makes the sound longer like of ‘o’ in food.
Sukoon/jazam: Sukoon means rest, no movement. Any letters bearing sukun makes no sound. For it’s pronunciation, it needs to be joined with a preceding letter bearing any harakah. So this is a joining sign, it is used to join two letters or words.
Huroof-e-Leen/lain: Wow and Ya, when these two letter join a preceding letter with fathah/zabar, the sound is moved from upward to downward very softly.
Tanween: Tanween is a double short harakah ending with the sound of letter ‘noon’/N.
Two fathah/zabar is called fathatain. Two kasrah/zair is called kasratain. Two damma/paish is called dammatain. These signs replace letter ‘noon’.
Shadda: Shadda is a joining sign, it means to stress. A letter bearing shadda is spelled twice and is pronounced with a stress. Shadda also denotes the double letter; first bearing sukoon, second bearing any harakah.
Madda: Madda means to stretch. Sound of any letter with madda is prolonged four or five times than short harakah.
ONLY EIGHTEEN WEEKS:
My lesson planning of Qur’anic learning for beginners (both children age 4 and above and adults).
Week 1 – Identifying the Arabic alphabets, letters with/without dots, their sound, reading straight, backwards etc.
ا ب ت ث ج ح خ د ذ ر ز س ش ص ض ط ظ ع غ ف ق ك ل
م ن و ه ء ى
Week 2 – Lesson of Fatha/Zabar: spell the letters with the short vowel sound of ‘e’ as in ‘bet’ and then two and three letter words.
اَ بَ تَ ثَ جَ حَ خَ دَ ذَ رَ زَ سَ شَ صَ ضَ طَ ظَ عَ غَ فَ قَ كَ لَ
مَ نَ وَ هَ ءَ ىَ
Week 3 – Lesson of Kasrah/Zair: spell the letters with the short vowel sound of ‘e’ as in ‘be‘ and then two and three letter words.
اِ بِ تِ ثِ جِ حِ خِ دِ ذِ رِ زِ سِ شِ صِ ضِ طِ ظِ عِ غِ فِ قِ كِ لِ
مِ نِ وِ هِ ءِ ىِ
Week 4 – Lesson of Dammah/Paish: spell the letters with the short vowel sound of ‘o’ as in to and then two and three letter words.
اُ بُ تُ ثُ جُ حُ خُ دُ ذُ رُ زُ سُ شُ صُ ضُ طُ ظُ عُ غُ فُ قُ كُ لُ
مُ نُ وُ هُ ءُ ىُ
Week 5 – Practice mixed exercise of three short harakaat, practice spelling short and easy words and selected ayaat.
Huroof-e-Madda or Vowels: Alif….Wow….Ya…
Week 6 – Alif with Fathah/Zabar prolongs the sound as of ‘a’ in cat. Practice spelling the words with both short and long sounds.
بَا تَا ثَا جَا حَا خَا دَا ذَا رَا زَا سَا شَا صَا ضَا طَا ظَا عَا غَا فَا قَا
كَا لاَ مَا نَا وَا هَا يَا
Week 7 – Ya with Kasrah/Zair prolongs the sound as of ‘e’ in seed. Practice spelling the words with both short and long sounds.
اِي بِي تِي ثِي جِي حِي خِي دِي ذِي رِي زِي سِي شِي صِي ضِي
طِي ظِي عِي غِي فِي قِي كِي لِي مِي نِي وِي هِي يِي
Week 8 – Wow with Dammah/Paish prolongs the sound as of ‘o’ in food. Practice spelling the words with both short and long sounds.
اُو بُو تُو ثُو جُو حُو خُو دُو ذُو رُو زُو سُو شُو صُو ضُو طُو ظُو
عُو غُو فُو قُو كُو لُو مُو نُو وُو هُو يُو
Sukoon/Jazam: A sign that is used to join two letters or words. A letter bearing sukoon has no sound, to make one it needs to be connected with the preceding letter bearing any harakah.
Week 9 – Lesson of sukoon/jazam: practice spelling two letters words with sukoon/jazam and three short harakaat.
Week 10 – Revise all previous lessons and practice spelling short and easy words and selected ayaat.
Huroof-e-Lain: Wow and Ya …These two letters when join any preceding letter with fathah/zabar cause the sound to move softly from upward to downword.
Week 11 – Lesson of Huroof-e- Lain, Letter Wow: Practice spelling letters and words.
اَي بَي تَي ثَي جَي حَي خَي دَي ذَي رَي زَي سَي شَي
صَي ضَي طَي ظَي عَي غَي في قَي كَي لَي مَي نَي وَي
Tanween: Fathatain/two zabar, Kasratain/two zair, Dammatain/two paish: Tanween is a double short harakah, it replaces letter ‘noon with sukoon’.
Week 13 – Lesson of Fathatain/two zabar: Practice spelling letters and words. The ending sound of this sign is ‘un’ like in ‘fun‘.
اً بًا تًا ثًا جًا حًا خًا دًا ذًا رًا زًا سًا شًا صًا ضًا طًا ظًا
Week 14 – Lesson of Kasratain/two zair: Practice spelling letters and words. The ending sound of this sign is ‘in’.
اٍ بٍ تٍ ثٍ جِ حِ خٍ دٍ ذٍ رٍ زٍ سٍ شٍ صٍ ضٍ طٍ ظٍ عٍ غٍ فٍ قٍ كٍ
لٍ مٍ نٍ وٍ هٍ ءٍ يٍ
Week 15 – Lesson of Dammatain/two paish: Practice spelling letters and words. The ending sound of this sign is ‘un’ like in Hunza.
اٌ بٌ تٌ ثٌ جٌ حٌ خٌ دٌ ذٌ رٌ زٌ سٌ شٌ صٌ ضٌ طٌ ظٌ
عٌ غٌ فٌ قٌ كٌ لٌ مٌ نٌ وٌ هٌ ءٌ يٌ
Shadda/Tashdeed: This is a joining sign that is used to connect two letters or words. Any letter bearing shadda is prnounced with stress and is spelled twice because it denotes the double letter. For example letter ‘noon with shadda on it’ means two ‘noon’, first one bearing sukoon/jazam and second one bearing any short harakah.
Week 16 – Lesson of Shadda: Practice spelling words and selected phrases or ayaat.
Week 17 – Lesson of Long Harakaat: Practice spelling letters and words with long fathah/khara zabar, long kasrah/khari zair, long damma/ulta paish.
Madda: It means to stretch. Sound of any letter with madda is prolonged four or five times than short harakaat.
Week 18 – Lesson of Madda: Practice spelling letters and words and selected ayaat.
IT ONLY TAKES A WEEK TO LEARN:
For children make it two.
Rules of ‘noon with sukoon نْ‘ and ‘tanween’ when they are followed by…
ت ث ج د ذ ز س ش ص ض ط ظ ف ق ك
Ikhfa’ means to hide. When there is ‘noon sakin’ or tanween before these letters, noon will be pronounced with a nasal sound (ghunna).
فَانْصَبْ اَنْتُمْ اَنْذَرْتَهُم عَنْك
2) Huroof-e-Izhar: ح خ ع غ ء ه
Izhar means to show. The sound of ‘noon’ will be pronounced properly when ‘noon sakin’ or tanween come before these letters.
مَنْهُ عَنْهُ ذَرَّةٍ خَيْرًا نارٌ حامِيَة مِنْ اَلفِ
3) Idghaam-baa-ghunna: ىّ نّ مّ وّ
Idghaam means to merge. When ‘noon sakin’ or tanween come before these letters with shadda, the sound of ‘noon’ will be merged with these letters showing a nasal touch.
نَصْرٌ مِّن مَنْ يَّشاء لَهَبً وَّ شَرًّا يَّرَا
جُوعٍ وَّ نَفْسٍ مَّا
4) Idghaam-bila-ghunna:رّ لّ
When ‘noon sakin’ or tanween come before these letters bearing shadda, the sound of noon will not be pronounced at all, which means the letter before ‘noon sakin’ or tanween will be joined with these letters skipping the sound of noon.
مِنْ رَّبَّ قُلْ رَّبِّ يَِكُنْ لَّهُ وَيْلٌ لِّكُلِّ
5) Aqlaab: ب
Aqlaab means to change. When there is ‘noon sakin’ or tanween before letter ب, the sound of letter ‘ba’ will be switched with letter ‘meem’.
لَيُنْبَذَ نَّ اَنْبِياءَ وَاَمّامَنْ بَخِلَ عَلِيمٌ بِذات
JUST TWO HOURS ON ANY WEEKEND:
A general rule of ‘al’ اَلْ in Arabic grammar:
اَلْ in Arabic stands for article ‘The’ in English. Added as a prefix, it makes a noun proper and switches the tanween to the relevant short harakah on the last letter of the noun. A common noun in Arabic is usually identified by a tanween on it’s last letter.
a book كِتابٌ
The book الكتابُ
a pen قََلَمٌ
The pen القلمُ
some water مَاءٌ
The water الماءُ
some bread خُبُزٌ
The bread الخبزُ
a banana مَوْزٌ
The banana الموزُ
A person’s name doesn’t carryاَلْ such as,
Muhammad محمد ………. Ibraheem ابراهم
Fatimah فاطمة ………. Maryam مريم
ا ء ب ج ح خ ع غ ف ق ك م و ه ى
Any noun beginning with these letters when follows ‘al’ اَلْ , that letter is pronounced with it’s own harakah such as ‘al-kitabu’, ‘al-qalamu’ etc.
The rose الْوَرْدَةُ
The knowledge الْعِلْمُ
The telephone الْهاتِفُ
The mountains الْجِبالُ
The hand الْيَدُ
The moon الْقَمَرُ
Any noun beginning with these letters when follows ‘al اَلْ , alif is joined with the first letter of the word bearing shadda, skipping the sound of laam لْ .
The medicine الدَّواءُ
The sun الشَّمسُ
The chick الصُّوص
The car السَّيّارَةُ
The light النُُّورُ
The flower الزَّهرَةُ
Arabic is one of the ancient, the most comprehensive and the most beautiful languages of the world. More than 280 million people are honored to own it as their mother tongue. Around 250 million people speak it as their second language. While the whole Muslim world learns it mostly, not as a language but as a tool Qur’anic understanding.
In our part of the world (which means non-Arabs), we think that many words in Arabic are like homophones (they sound same but have different meanings), which they are not. The words that seem homophones do have their specific beginning, middle or ending sounds. To us they sound same because we don’t bother ourselves to concentrate on how each letter is pronounced.
We usually mix the sounds of alif ا and aain ع …….taa ت and tua ط …..daal د and duad ض …..zaa ز and zua ظ…..seen س and suad ص ……kaaf ك and qaaf ق
ON عَلَى ………. BE AWARE اَلا
ABOUT عَنْ ………. THAT اَنْ
HEART قَلبٌ ………. DOG كَلبٌ
SAY (order) قُلْ ………. EAT (order)كُلْ
PICTURE صُورَةٌ ………. CHAPTER سُورَةٌ
FLOWER زَهرَةٌ ………. BACK ظَهَرَ
HE ATE أَكَلَ ………. HE UNDERSTOOD عَقَلَ
GET UP (order) قُم ………. YOU ALL (pronoun, a suffix) كُم
(ALL)KNOWING عَلِيمٌ………SEVERE اَلِيمٌ
These are some of the examples, now if we don’t say them correctly, that will change the meaning of the verse or sentence.
For example if you want to say “your heart”قَلبُكَ and you switch the first sound of ‘qaaf’ with ‘kaaf’, the listener will take it as “your dog” كَلبُكَ .
Also most of us make mistake in reciting the four surahs that begin with the word قُل , which means “say (O Muhammad). We usually read this word قُل as كُلْ , which means “eat”….so the meaning of the verse appears as “eat (O Muhammad).”
The wrong pronunciation could be an excuse for illiterates. For those who think they are educated, intelligent, efficient, skilled, smart and talented meaning COMPLETE LITERATE, it doesn’t make sense to produce lame excuses when they get a chance to correct their pronunciation .