For 8 months I resided in Egypt; with and without corrupt intentions. An issue I resolved Inshallah.
I joined a well-known Arabic Learning Center in a city within a city. The Center I attended is founded by a female American Convert who studied Arabic in Egypt, and Mashallah mastered it. In Islam, we are taught to share the knowledge we acquired in hope that it continuously benefit others; in hope that we are rewarded generously by our Creator for doing so. She, without a doubt, did exactly that. The center she founded screams Barakah blessing. Never have I witnessed the sight of daily Barakah. Walking through those doors every day, walking down that hallway, I would naturally break out into smiles.
Let me paint a picture…
The center is 4 floors. It accommodates roughly 400 students throughout morning, afternoon, evening classes. We were all non-Egyptian students, with one goal; to learn Arabic.
**It should be noted you will never find a language richer than Arabic. I fell in love. I struggled, but I also felt at ease.
The center is located opposite a MasjidMosque, so at Duhr and Asr time men in colorful attires flowed from the center and into the Masjid like a current.
and the girls coming and leaving solo would be like –>
The teachers were one of a kind. You know those rare breeds, hard to find. We’ll the founder, she found them. They meet all her expectations: Aqeedah-wise, Quran-wise(memorization and contemplation), Hadith-wise, Arabic Degree and ability to teach it…and etc. As you can see, they’re blessed. By the grace of Allah, through them I learned something newly profound every day. I learned how to interact with people, with Muslims in a good manner(not that I didn’t already know. Let’s just say I wasn’t fully practicing who to carry myself as a Muslimah). We learnt Arabic through Islam and Quranic text. Allahu Akbar. We read Islamic related passages and etc. and broke down the words we never understood into words we did understand. We did grammatical analysis on the verses of the Quran. It was all Math for me. I adored every bit of it.
As for the students, undeniably we were one. Never have I met kinder people. We all came from all walks of life. We all spoke different languages. We all struggled in acquiring this beautiful language to an extent where at some point we all resorted to sign language because firstly, we cannot speak a language outside Arabic during class. And secondly, some teachers would charge us a fine of 1 EGP(Egyptian pound) per word, to latter donate it to charity.
The atmosphere was new to me. I could feel the blissful harmony. Everyone’s intentions felt pure and sincere. This environment really impacted me as a person toward the road to becoming a better Muslimah. And for that I am thankful. It all started with al-Ibannah. Markas Al Ibannah.
This center has one beginner level, one intermediate level and 7 other levels, each level being a duration of a month and a half. I knew the Arabic alphabets and a few words here and there, but since I had never received Arabic training of any sort in the past, I was obliged to join the beginning courses. Little did I know at the time that it was for the best. We learnt the letters, how to pronounce them with different harakat(Diacritic). We learnt Makharij Al-Huruf(points of articulation). Tell me in English where they say this letter lies in the throat or on the lips or on the tongue(tip, sides, mid, end); NOWHERE is where!! Personally, I didn’t think this was even possible. After covering the above, we learned words, so many words and their plural form. In the second level, we concentrated on conversing. I remember convenient passages like “Someone at the Restaurant/Airport/Hospital and etc.” and I’d go to a Restaurant/Airport/Hospital and all which I learnt would come in handy. There is no feeling more devouring than hardworking paying off.
I really am appreciative towards the Center for I now see my foundation of Arabic as an untold blessing and without them and the grace of Allah it wouldn’t be so profound.
The next few levels, after hustling to speak Arabic for so long, it becomes a fluent struggle to the extent where I started thinking in Arabic, and I have actually dreamed in it. Idk. I guess as you gain a new vocabulary, the old one sort of slips.
A friend asked me, “I was wondering, do you insert Egyptian words in your normal speech?” And instantly I replied, ”btw YES!!! All the time!!!”. She later than asked if the people I converse with understand. It hit me then and there, how I’ve been holding back my thoughts in Arabic from non-Arabic speaker. I used to live in an only Arabic speaking country, so I was so used to speaking, even the Egyptian dialect, obviously broken but still. To an extent, I attended lectures and conversed with average people when giving them directions and etc. I think a good 70% of my days was in Arabic. And for a used-to-be non-speaker that’s a lot. Idk. So, coming back to an English speaking country was nothing short of a new experience in a different light. It stuck me hard, only English, my first language, as I had’t spoken pure English for months. My mind was swarming with Arabic terms waiting to be unleashed. I had to restrain myself. Nonetheless, I was successful. But sometimes when I see a word in English, automatically my mind projects the Arabic word if not words for that one word.
Imagine the joy I feel; accomplishing what I desired to a certain degree?
I really love Arabic. And I can’t wait to resume my studies when this uprising comes to end. I really hope they resolve their differences for a wrecked Egypt would shatter my heart. Keep Egypt in your prayers throughout the remaining days of this blessed month.