Here's something I used to refrain from telling people...
I started my journey with Arabic – and seeking knowledge in general – just before turning 19 years old.
I still remember the first day of class so clearly.
My anxiety was through the roof and I walked in feeling like, out of everyone in this class, I'd be at the lowest level in terms of my knowledge, my understanding, and even my emaan.
I'm all for 'new beginnings'. But for some reason, this 'fresh start' was covered in this inner sadness and the recurring thought of,
"I'm too old to be starting this journey now..."
I was mad at myself for starting now. I felt hopeless about how far I could go. I was worried that I just wouldn't get it.
But then I reflected on why I even stepped foot on this journey.
My decision to learn Arabic was based off of two main things:
- To understand the Qu'ran when reading / hearing it
- To be able to speak the language itself.
Now, after 4 years of pursuing this path, I can look back and say,
"It was the best decision I ever stayed with."
If you're looking to start your journey with the Arabic language and you're in need of a little guidance or motivation – keep reading and maybe I can help you out. 👇
What Are You So Afraid Of?
Let's start with this question.
What are you so afraid of? What's holding you back from pursuing Arabic and seeking knowledge?
Some will say it's their inability to commit to lessons or classes.
Others will comment on the complexity of the language and how it will take "forever" to become fluent.
Or maybe you're thinking – I just don't feel confident to start at this age.
Whatever the reason may be, I'm telling you as a student of the language that I, too, felt the same. I get it. It's a huge change in the middle of your adult life, but here's what I urge you to do –
Challenge that Fear.
Fear is one of those things that stops us from doing all the things we actually want to do in life.
The truth is - you're reading this right now because that tiny voice in your head is reminding you about your desire to learn Arabic. But that overwhelming fear factor seems to be making that decision harder.
If you're worried about what your peers will think, you have to remind yourself that everyone has started somewhere. Even your teachers.
There will be parts of the language that you'll pick up on a lot faster than others, and there'll be some parts that will require a little extra work from you. But it's simply the beauty of learning anything new. ✨
How Will I Balance it With Uni / Work / Personal Commitments?
I once heard something so profound from one of my teachers.
A student came to him and said,
"How do you balance work life and personal commitments with seeking knowledge and learning Arabic?"
There's no balance. For things to be balanced, two things must be the same value. They must be 50/50. But this world and the hereafter do not weigh the same. With this world, we know it's reality. We are travellers. And if you were to travel, you only take what is necessary for the journey, right? Think about how much provision you need for this world. Work towards your hereafter more.."
Yes, our jobs and our academic studies are all important aspects of our life that we should give 100% efforts to.
Though, attending even one class a week for a few hours at a time to seek knowledge or to better understand Arabic can help you significantly in reaching your goals.
Practical ways to take on classes alongside personal commitments:
📆 Create a schedule that genuinely works – Planning your days or keeping a calendar will make it clearer to you which days / hours you're able to dedicate to your learning.
⏰Use Your Time Wisely – Even if you're not sitting in a class, try to practice the new words you've learnt when on your commute, or when walking around the house.
🔎 Stay Focussed in Classes –When you wear multiple hats, it's common to have so many things on your mind. So use your classes as an opportunity to take a step away from worldly responsibilities. It's your time!
✨Create Healthy Boundaries – It's okay to let friends and family members know about your new commitment to learning Arabic. If it means you have to take time to yourself to revise, your loved ones should be supportive and work around it.
The Key is Consistency
It's one thing getting your foot through the door and starting your classes. It's another thing staying consistent with it each week.
Naturally, some weeks will be tougher to motivate yourself through than others.
But consistency can be achieved by doing a few things:
🤲🏼 Asking Allah SWT for help – Rely upon your Lord. Ask for His help and infinite mercy to allow you to continue on this path even when things feel difficult. Talking to Allah constantly throughout this journey will help keep your intentions and heart pure.
🤝 Creating Solid Friendships – As an introvert, I know this isn't always easy. But forming friendships with your peers will not only aid you in your studies, but you'll gain friendships for the sake of Allah SWT through a common interest in the deen. Isn't that beautiful?!
Psst 👀...I met my best friend through my Arabic course and we became such good friends that we decided to start a podcast together!
📚 Staying Close to Your Teachers – This is something that really helped me stay consistent with my classes. When I understood the etiquettes of taking such lessons, it opened my eyes to just how honourable teachers are and I didn't wish to miss any classes.
What Will I Gain From Learning Arabic?
Maybe you're thinking about the long term – which is a good thing – and you're wondering what these classes will aid you with in the future.
Asides from being able to speak a whole other language fluently, here's what you can gain from taking these classes:
💪🏽 Self-Discipline – Learning anything new requires patience. It requires you to kick procrastination out of the way and maintain a positive frame of mind with a strong goal in focus. This will increase your willingness when starting future hobbies.
📚 Learning a High Demand Language – Being able to speak Arabic definitely has its benefits in the working world. Not only can it help you build valuable relationships in Middle-Eastern countries, it will easily help you stand out from the crowd.
📿 Understand and Ponder on the Qur'an – Have you ever stood in the night prayers during Ramadan but struggled to understand why those around you are tearing up at the recitation? Understanding the Qur'an will strengthen your relationship with Allah SWT.
🎉 A Unique Hobby – Taking on a foreign language is a valuable skill that makes you different from the rest! It's a huge achievement and can leverage you in all walks of life.
Remember, it's never too late to start your journey with Arabic.
Learning the language of the Qu'ran is a beautiful path to walk upon, and you never know what you can learn about yourself along the way, too.
If you've reached the bottom of this article and you're interested in pursuing your journey with Arabic today, here's some resources to help you get started!