Arabic is frequently called “miftaah-al-uloom” meaning, the key to the sciences (of Islam). This is because Islam, as a code of faith and life, ultimately comes from the Quran and Sunnah, which are undisputedly entirely in Arabic. After those two sources, an overwhelming majority of the works that explain them are in Arabic. As for modern day translations of these works, it is really a tip of the iceberg—most of which remains untranslated, or is translated poorly.

The primary branches of Arabic studies include grammar, noun and verb morphology, eloquence, calligraphy, poetry form and punctuation.

But let us assume that you never want to become a scholar in Islam or Arabic and that you can help out Muslims much better in another occupation entirely, do you still need to learn Arabic?

Ultimately, you must learn to pronounce the Arabic letters correctly and be able to recite the Quran correctly—even if you cannot read the letters but only rely on Englarbic “transliterations” or mimicking what you hear. Naturally, reading the letters is a tremendous help!

The next most important step is learning enough of the Quranic Arabic so that when you pray—leading or being led—you can understand what is recited and benefit spiritually. Allah says what means,

The believers are only those who, when Allah is mentioned, feel a fear in their hearts and when His Verses are recited to them, they increase their Faith; and they put their trust in their Lord (Alone); Who perform the prayers and spend out of that We have provided for them. It is they who are the believers in truth. For them are grades of dignity with their Lord, and forgiveness and a generous provision (Paradise).” [8:2-4]

What a beautiful description of the truest believers whom we should all hope to be from! Sure, hearing the real Quran being recited sounds beautiful, even without knowing what it means, but learning more Arabic will at least let you know if the reciter is reading verses dealing with laws or Paradise or Hell or about the oneness of Allah or about the Prophet’s battles, etc.

If you have yet to learn how to read/pronounce Arabic words, my suggestion is not to try to tackle the whole alphabet at once. This is how Arabic and most languages are usually taught, by first having the student learn the alphabet. It makes sense logically to learn the building blocks before building, but in practice, learning a entire new alphabet at once and putting it together can be a daunting and overwhelming task. Unlike Spanish where you just have a couple different letters, Arabic has 28 new letters! I personally never grasped Arabic reading until I studied the letters a couple at a time, and just stringing together the few letters I knew in as many ways as possible in drills.

Beyond that, because of the Quran and Sunnah, the “classical” Arabic that was spoken during the time of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is still known and spoken today—but only among students of Arabic and/or students of Islam—and only that in appropriate settings. If you ultimately wish—and should desire—to learn that much Arabic, that would be as much as you would need to fulfill what Islam would ever recommend for you. That is unless you wanted to make your livelihood in an Arab country and thus have to learn a completely different type of Arabic. In other words, you could study Arabic in a classroom for years and understand the Quran perfectly, but once you step onto the streets of any Arab country—or even listen to Arabs speak with one another at your local masjid—you may not be able to even understand the general subject. Local accents, vocabulary choices, and the impact of colonization has dramatically morphed all regional dialects to the point that many are mutually unintelligible. When Arabs from different regions interact with each other, they will then either speak the literary Arabic with each other or Egyptian style slang, since Egyptian slang has become popular throughout the Arab world by their movies and television shows. In light of this, many Arabic courses at community colleges are for a specific colloquial dialect, often decided by the instructor.

As for the other sciences of Arabic, the real benefit they carry is solely for the student of knowledge or scholar who studies the texts of the Quran and Sunnah in light of Arabic principles.

What I hope to offer in this section of my website are brief lessons in understanding of classical Quranic Arabic.

Do you want to be able to understand the Qur’an as you read and hear it? Maybe you know you should but need motivation. Listen to AbdulHaqq’s khutbah about the importance of learning to understand the Qur’an. Stay tuned for updates and video lessons for learning Arabic.

Khutbah transcript below.


إن الحمد لله نحمده ونستعينه ونستغفره ونعوذ بالله من شرور أنفسنا وسيئات أعمالنا. من يهد الله فهو المهتد ومن يضلل فلا هادي له. وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده لا شريك له وأشهد أن محمدا عبده ورسوله ﷺ.

Truly, all praise is to Allah; we praise Him, and seek His Help, and seek His forgiveness; and we seek haven with Allah from the evil of our selves and our sinful deeds. Whomsoever Allah guides, none can misguide; and whomever Allah sends astray, you will find no guide for them. And I testify that nothing deserves worship except Allah, the One without any partner; and I testify that Muhammad is His slave and messenger ﷺ.

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ} ﴿١٠٢﴾ سورة آل عمران

O you who believed! Fear Allah as much fear as He is due, and die not except as Muslims!

{يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ اتَّقُوا رَبَّكُمُ الَّذِي خَلَقَكُم مِّن نَّفْسٍ وَاحِدَةٍ وَخَلَقَ مِنْهَا زَوْجَهَا وَبَثَّ مِنْهُمَا رِجَالًا كَثِيرًا وَنِسَاءً ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ الَّذِي تَسَاءَلُونَ بِهِ وَالْأَرْحَامَ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ كَانَ عَلَيْكُمْ رَقِيبًا} ﴿١﴾ سورة النساء

O Humankind! Fear your Lord, the One Who Created you from a single individual, and created from it his wife, and spread from those two, many men and women; and fear Allah the One Whom you all demand your rights and do not sever the ties of the womb; Truly, Allah has always in surveillance over you.

{يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّـهَ وَقُولُوا قَوْلًا سَدِيدًا ﴿٧٠﴾ يُصْلِحْ لَكُمْ أَعْمَالَكُمْ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَمَن يُطِعِ اللَّـهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ فَازَ فَوْزًا عَظِيمًا ﴿٧١﴾} سورة الأحزاب

O you who have believed! Fear Allah and say only right and just speech; He will rectify your deeds, forgive you your sins; and whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, then they have won the greatest victory.

أما بعد: فإن خير الكلام كلام الله وخير الهدى هدى محمد صلى الله عليه وسلم، وشر الأمور محدثاته وكل محدثة بدعة وكل بدعة ضلالة وكل ضلالة في النار.

To proceed: truly the best speech is the Speech of Allah, and the best guidance is the guidance of Muhammad ﷺ; and the worst affairs are the newly invented ones; and every newly concocted belief or action in the deen is an innovation (bid’ah) and every bid’ah is a misguidance, and every misguidance is in the Fires of Hell.

أما بعد:

The most frequent complaint the worshipers of Al-Rahmaan have and the most common question posed by all those who desire a nearness to Allah and a place among the muhsineen—those who worship Allah as if they see Him—the most pressing dilemma they seek to remedy is all one: how do we achieve and hold onto khushoo’ in our prayer?

How can we be among the true believers that Allah praised in the opening aayaat of the soorah named after them?

{قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ ﴿١﴾ الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ ﴿٢﴾} سورة المؤمنون

Surely, true success has been obtained by the believers—those who, while in prayer, are reverently submissive”, they have humility, they have concentration, they have love for what they’re doing, and unparalleled love for Who they’re doing it for, and they fear that it is not accepted. They have khushoo’.

They are in another world. Your prayer next to theirs might be like the difference between the dust on the ground and the mountains stretching high above the clouds. The difference is due to intention and whole-heartedness, the Sunnah, and khushoo’.

When you stand up for salaah, is your intention to please Allah ﷻ? Is it to respond to the command of Allah, earn Allah’s Love, and avoid His displeasure? Or is it to avoid criticism from one of Allah’s creation, or perhaps impress someone other than Allah, or is it simply habit we do with little thought as to the reason and goal behind it? This is something we have to ask ourselves from time to time and check ourselves so that this great ‘ibaadah, this great act of worship actually has a positive effect on us. If we enter the prayer with the proper intention, the proper niyyah, we are more likely to gain greater benefit from the salaah in this life and the next.

As for the Sunnah, are we truly praying as we should? One day the Prophet ﷺ stood atop the minbar and began praying while on the pulpit. His companions looked on, wondering why he was praying on the minbar, studying his prayer intently to see if it was any different than how he normally prayed. Was this a new type of prayer that the Prophet ﷺ was demonstrating on the minbar—no, it appeared the same as others—or was he making this prayer for a certain event—like rain, eclipse, gratitude, or perhaps seeking victory or something else entirely—or was this simply something Allah commanded him to do? When he finished, he turned to his companions and said [صلوا كما رأيتموني أصلي] “Pray in the manner that you saw me pray.”

So our prayer is just like our hajj, as the Prophet ﷺ said, [خذوا عني مناسككم] “Take your hajj rites from me”. If we really take the time to study the actions of the Prophet ﷺ in the salaah, so that our movements coincide with his, and our manner of reciting Qur’aan, adhkaar/supplications words of praise and glorification, and ad’iyah/invocations—if we follow his manner to the best of our ability, we are that much more likely to gain greater reward from this act, when we are actively trying to follow our qudwah, our uswah, Muhammad ibn Abdillah ﷺ. That’s how it is in salaah and every act of worship we do, as there is nothing that can bring us closer to Paradise and further from the Fire except that the Messenger demonstrated it, and there is nothing that could bring us closer to the Fire and further from Paradise except that the Messenger clarified it. That is even the case with wudhoo’ as he ﷺ said, [من توضأ نحو وضوئي هذا ثم صلى ركعتين لا يحدث فيهما نفسه غفر الله له ما تقدم من ذنب] “Whoever performs ablution/wudhoo/the spiritual rinsing, similar to how I did it, and then prays to rak’ahs without any internal conversation, then Allah has forgiven whatever sins they committed before.”

And with this condition, the Prophet ﷺ pointed to a part of khushoo’ and it is what differentiates the prayers between worshippers. When we all stand up together, shoulder to shoulder in a straight line, what does Allah see? Allah certainly Sees all but it is your hearts that make the greatest impression. For the Prophet ﷺ said, [إن الله لا ينظر إلى أجسامكم وألوانكم ولكنه ينظر إلى قلوبكم وأعمالكم] “Truly, Allah does not look at your colors and your bodies, but Allah looks at your hearts and your actions.” This one is concentrating, that one is thinking about work, this one wants the Hereafter, and that one wants something else entirely. Where is your heart yaa abdallah!?

And this is something that most believers will experience from time to time. So how do we obtain khushoo’ and how do we hold onto it? Of course structuring our lives around the prayer is important, so that we’re not “crunching” our prayer in between other commitments, but so that we give everything it’s due right. Preparing for the prayer early, and making dhikr this while doing so, and asking Allah for assistance.

But do you want to know what may be the greatest aid to keeping khushoo’ in salaah? Understanding what we’re saying. Understanding what we’re hearing. Understanding the words of Allah, the MESSAGE of Allah as we hear it. No one ever came to me before or after prayer and asked me what I plan to recite so that they could look it up in a translation—although I have at times requested some individuals to recite from my favorite surahs. But many of us may have no clue where the imam is reciting from in the Quran, much less, the meaning of those words that Allah sent down to the lowest heaven—this universe—on laylatul-qadr, and then Jibreel (AS) partitioned it to Muhammad ﷺ as the events of his life unfolded over 23 years.

{أَفَلَا يَتَدَبَّرُونَ الْقُرْآنَ أَمْ عَلَىٰ قُلُوبٍ أَقْفَالُهَا} ﴿٢٤﴾ سورة محمد

“Do they not contemplate deeply about the Quran, or are their hearts locked up?” Our hearts may not be locked up, but without the knowledge and tools of understanding, it is only the beauty of the reciter’s voice that allows the Quran to effect us. During the Prophet’s time, his enemies used to walk around him with their ears stuffed or with their fingers in their ears because the Quran was so mesmerizing, beautiful and grand that they called it magic and sorcery. They rejected the message until the Prophet ﷺ ruled Makkah, but here we are, the fruit of that message and having accepted it in general, yet many of us do not understand the words of our Creator and our Messenger. What hirmaan and deprivation could be greater?

How can you continue with life, knowing that the purpose of life is to worship Allah as He said, “And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me.” And then not strive to learn the language of His Book, the Book that changed the world and awaits to further change your lives if you only understood.

أقول قولي هذا وأستغفر الله لي ولكم ولسائر المسلمين من كل ذنب، فاستغفروه إنه هو الغفور الرحيم


الحمد لله على إحسانه، والشكر له على توفيقه وامتنانه، وأشهد أن لا إله إلا الله وحده تعظيما لشأنه، وصلى الله على نبيه محمد الداعي إلى رضوانه وسلم عليه وعلى آله وإخوانه. أما بعد:

One of the greatest blessings that Allah has favored this Ummah with is that there is a common language that can unite them. There are fluent speakers of classical Arabic in every country of the world, wa lillaahil-hamd. And a number of television programs and radio stations as well as magazines and newspapers, much less academic journals, are still written in that form of Arabic we call fushaa [العربية الفصحى]. Were we all to know this and speak it, it would be a frightening and powerful symbol of our unity and potential unlike any other. And this great blessing has not come to us except by the Quran which we are obligated to learn and read from in its original and only language.

Allah ﷻ said,

{الر ۚ تِلْكَ آيَاتُ الْكِتَابِ الْمُبِينِ ﴿١﴾ إِنَّا أَنزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَّعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ ﴿٢﴾} سورة يوسف

“Alif Laam Raa—these are the aayaat, the signs, verses, revelations and miracles of a Book whose wisdom, beauty, and seriousness is clear and obvious. Truly, We sent It down as an Arabic Qur’an in order that you may understand”. This verse implies that Arabic has certain unique features which make it superior to all the languages of the world and which enable it to convey the subtleties and mysteries of Allah’s Speech in a manner that no other language can. Furthermore, it is Allah who endowed Arabic with these features and made it superior to all other languages.

How can any Muslim live in this world finding time to do so many things and yet not find time to study the language of Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger ﷺ. How many of us spend so much time, effort and money on learning the sciences of this world but in comparison spend absolutely zero on learning the sciences of the Hereafter, the sciences of true happiness and guidance. If we really know who Allah is and who His Messenger is we would not hesitate one second to learn the language of Allah’s Book and the Sunnah of His Messenger. The Qur’an and Sunnah contain so much wealth – Real Wealth – but most of us prefer to remain poor and deprived forever. Those who know the meanings of the Quran have a love affair with this Book and never grow tired of reciting it when they can.

So have no doubt that Islam is an Arabic faith. It is not an Arab faith—meaning culturally or ethnically—but an Arabic religion, in that it was the Arabic language and the highest Arabic dialect, that of the Quraish, that Allah chose to be the medium for His final preserved message to the humans and the jinns.

But until we learn Arabic, we cannot understand the Quran. And until we understand the Quran, we can never hope to reach the potential level of khushoo’ that we could reach in our salaah. And our salaah is the first thing we’ll be asked about of worship on the Day of Resurrection—if it is good, then all the rest of our actions are good likewise; but if it is bad, then the rest of our actions could never make up for the salaah.

And how is Allah going to accept our salaah when He knows we are holding back from giving our best? From attempting to understand His words? Was not the sacrifice of Qaabeel, brother of Haabeel, the 2 sons of Adam, rejected because he did not offer his best to Allah!?

How cumbersome it must be to recite Quran, and not know what you just read until you open up a translation. How wearisome it must be and distracting and vulnerable it is, to stand up for hours during the month of Ramadhan and have no clue what the imam is reciting of the Words of your Lord God. Don’t you want to understand that message Allah wants you to know? What word or aayah might it be that you are missing out on but could change your life and inspire you if you only understood what it meant!?

And what opportunities might come your way to help you fall in love with Islam and the Quran. And for many grand opportunities, there is little excuse that may really be justifiable with Allah ﷺ. What’s your excuse? Imam Maalik ibn Anas (RAA) was memorizing poetry on his death bed, saying that to meet Allah with the knowledge is better than to meet Allah without it. From the cradle to the grave, knowledge is an ocean we can never feel quenched from. And there is no better knowledge than that which helps us get closer to Allah, and be living in a whole different world, than at first understanding His Words—the words that He dared his creation to put together anything like it.

{قُل لَّئِنِ اجْتَمَعَتِ الْإِنسُ وَالْجِنُّ عَلَىٰ أَن يَأْتُوا بِمِثْلِ هَـٰذَا الْقُرْآنِ لَا يَأْتُونَ بِمِثْلِهِ وَلَوْ كَانَ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ ظَهِيرًا} ﴿٨٨﴾ سورة الإسراء

Tell them, O Muhammad, that even if all the jinns and all humans joined together to compose the like of this recitation, they could not create the like of it, even if they were to support and assist one another.

And Allah says,

{وَنُنَزِّلُ مِنَ الْقُرْآنِ مَا هُوَ شِفَاءٌ وَرَحْمَةٌ لِّلْمُؤْمِنِينَ ۙ وَلَا يَزِيدُ الظَّالِمِينَ إِلَّا خَسَارًا} ﴿٨٢﴾ سورة الإسراء

And We send forth from this recitation that which is a healing and a mercy for the believers, but it does not increase

{وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَنزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا وَصَرَّفْنَا فِيهِ مِنَ الْوَعِيدِ لَعَلَّهُمْ يَتَّقُونَ أَوْ يُحْدِثُ لَهُمْ ذِكْرًا} ﴿١١٣﴾ سورة طه

And thus, we have revealed it as an Arabic recitation and diversified the admonition therein so that they may take heed or that it may leave with them a lasting reminder

{وَلَوْ أَنَّ قُرْآنًا سُيِّرَتْ بِهِ الْجِبَالُ أَوْ قُطِّعَتْ بِهِ الْأَرْضُ أَوْ كُلِّمَ بِهِ الْمَوْتَىٰ ۗ بَل لِّلَّـهِ الْأَمْرُ جَمِيعًا ۗ …} ﴿٣١﴾ سورة الرعد

And if there was any recitation, by which the mountains would be removed from their places, or the earth split open, or the dead made to speak—what recitation would it be other than this!? But to Allah belong all affairs.

بارك الله لي ولكم في القرآن والسنة، ونفعني وإياكم بما فيهما من الآيات والحكمة