ARABIC FOR AMERICANS……AND MUSLIMS?

An Ilkhanid Koran with Persian translation bet...

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I am sad………………… it is July. In addition the statement made by the Muslims with their feet and their wallets is de-energizing.

I live in a small town. When attending the mosque it seems there are very few Muslims in town, but then………one sees a hijabi girl, enjoying a meal with non Muslim friends in a Desi restaurant, someone who is rarely if ever seen in the mosque, and you wonder how many more of her are there in the community.

In the month of Ramadan it seems like all the Muslims come out of their hidey-holes and trek to the mosque to share the free ten courses Iftaar catered from Indian restaurants.

It then makes me think………there are a lot of Muslims in this town, perhaps they don’t have time to attend the mosque except in Ramadan and I don’t give it another thought.

Nothing has brought to fore the “entitlement mentality” of the Muslims than their behavior towards learning the Quran and the language of the Quran.

Allah Subhanawataala has blessed our community with an outstanding Arabic Professor.  He is stranded in this little town for a while. He offered to teach Arabic of the Quran to everyone in the mosque, free of charge, and did so for a year, a total of seven women and no men joined his class.

Sometimes he would be sitting outside the mosque (he does not have the key) waiting for the students to come and they would fail to do so.

Finally after a year of teaching five women he decided to try a new experiment in the summer.

Thus the new course teaching the language of the Quran and Jannah began under the name of “Arabic for Americans”.

Tuition was slashed to a ridiculously low sum, the venue was gorgeous and the time was suited to students and working men and women.

The course was advertised across all Muslim businesses, and the mosque as well as libraries.

The course is in its third experimental month and several facts have emerged:

  1. The majority of Muslims do not want to spend time and money learning the language of the Quran & jannah.
  2. Many Muslims consider it their right to be taught free of charge, whereas they dole out huge amounts of tuition for their children to go to oriental courses run by Indians (non native english speakers) on math and science and English language to give their children an edge in their middle and high school classes.
  3. The majority of Muslims are not punctual, even for the classes they have paid for.
  4. The majority of the Muslim men shy away from learning new things even if they have to do with improving their Deen.
  5. The most avid learners are students who are New to the faith.
  6. Most Muslims expect to be passed on to the next academic level whether they know the subject or not
  7. Most Muslims are sloppy about their homework.
  8. Many Muslims are content with learning few words of the Quran so that they don’t fall asleep in Taraweh.
  9. Most Muslims do not respect their Arabic and Quran teachers nor do they accord them the courtesy they accord to teachers of other disciplines.

10. Most Muslims backbite about those who do attend, teach and or have organized this course.

The bottom line is the extreme disrespect to the Quran (the word, language and message of Allah) demonstrated with action by the Muslims of this little town. The blessing offered by Allah by providing a qualified teacher in the boondocks is a test from Him (Subhanawataala) to check the level of interest in the muslims of this town in His word.

Thus deliberately  refusing this naimah  provided by Him (Subhanawataala ) in the form of a qualified teacher for the language of the Quran is a vote with hands, feet and wallet towards assigning the lowest priority to the Word of Allah.

Thus when privileged muslims especially in this little town deliberately turn down by ignoring the naimah (blessing) offered in the opportunity to learn the communication from Allah first hand then it most certainly, outweighs the disrespect shown to Prophet Muhammad pbuh in the Danish cartoons.

Thus the program “Arabic for Americans” is dying of attrition.  It seems the only Americans native or naturalized who want to learn Arabic are those who want to spy on the Arabs, and for them there are intensive classes free of charge with the State Department.

As for the rest of the Muslims desirous of learning the word of the Quran…………the time and opportunity may be ending. It may be that the awesome Professor who was stranded in this little town may be moving on, thus Allah Subhanawataala may be depriving the Muslims of this town of His word because they have ignored the opportunities He has placed in front of them.

Meanwhile the “ entitlement “ mentality of the Muslims when it come to  Ilm of Deen is something that resembles those on welfare in this country, and like those on welfare they too may never amount to anything of significance in this world or in the Hereafter.

What are your observations in your town?

Allah knows best!

10 thoughts on “ARABIC FOR AMERICANS……AND MUSLIMS?

  1. Pingback: Arabic for Americans……And Muslims? (via Siraat-e-Mustaqeem) | The Sultan's Corner

  2. Pingback: Arabic for Americans……And Muslims? (via Siraat-e-Mustaqeem) | The Sultan's Corner

  3. I read your blog from last night, “Arabic for Americans..and Muslims?”. In the words of my teenage son…“I feel ya”.
    Have you ever had the experience of walking into a new friend’s closet for the first time?
    Do you remember what it felt like to see all her beautiful clothes hanging there? Everything in her closet looked appealing (contrary to our own closet where the clothes now seemed boring, old, drab, out-dated, unpopular and not-so-stylish anymore). The colors of her clothes were rich and perfect and your eyes lit up as you scanned each piece of clothing. Every color was perfect. The dark clothes were elegant, the whites clothes were bright, and you noticed (and admired) every detail of embroidery. Even the pale and normally boring colors seemed to stand out and you began to say things like “Ooh…look at this one. It’s soo pretty” and “Where did you get this? It’s beautiful” and thought “I wonder if this would fit me?”
    And as you were oohing and awing over every single piece of clothing your friend had in her closet, wishing they were yours, she’s saying things like “this old thing?” and “I haven’t worn that in years” and “If you really like it, you can have it…I’ll never wear it again” and “I had forgotten all about this old thing”.

    Most American women have had this experience because we often visit each other’s homes and, well, we go into each other’s closets to see what’s in there!
    Several years ago it was as though I was the visitor entering into a new friend’s closet for the very first time….

    it was when I discovered Islam and by reading and seeking, I entered into the closet of a Muslim woman. And when I entered I was “oohing and awing”. I saw so many beautiful things…so many amazing, indescribable things. I was amazed. I was stilled. I was jealous. My life halted and was forever changed. I wanted the Muslim woman’s clothing…I wanted Islam and was willing to do just about anything to get it. Why? Because it was beautiful. It’s still beautiful, but it seems to be more beautiful in writing and in my mind than it is in “real life”.
    My journey has been a very disheartening one because the extreme majority of Muslim women I meet are like the long-time closet-owner….seemingly bored with her own clothes, obviously unable to see her closet the way the new girl sees it and she rarely wears anything except the same old outfit over and over again…neglecting the opportunities to dress-up and be beautiful. Most Muslim women don’t seem to like their closet and their clothes don’t seem to be fun or appealing to them anymore…if it ever was.

    I think I understand your frustration. I don’t know how to explain it in terms used by Muslims, but in the Christian community they would say that ‘new’ believers and ‘renewed’ believers and ‘properly maintained’ believers have a “fire” in them…a constant desire to do something Good. No apostasy. No lethargy. Just energy. Love. Vision. Action. Good will. A spirit that seeks. And sadly, Frustration due to the lack thereof within their community. (This is why the Christian churches often pray for “Revival”…it’s them asking God to ‘renew’ the communities passion for Him so they will feel like participating and doing Good works).

    The Muslim community seems to need “reviving”.

    One of the women I met in Augusta was asking me about my journey into Islam and I remember telling her how blessed I felt that I was not born into a Muslim family. Because of the apostasy (or lethargy – to keep it milder) in the Muslim community, I felt I was better-off being “New” because I have a need to seek and a longing to participate in something Good. It shouldn’t be that way… I should be jealous of those who have had Islam their entire lives, not thankful to just have discovered it.

    May Allah give us all the ability to see the opportunities we have to come nearer to Him and the strength and willingness to utilize those opportunities.

  4. Totally shows the attitude of Muslims everywhere, very common.
    People have time for just about everything, but when it comes to learning the Deen of Allah, they have all kinds of excuses.

    Our wonderful Shaykh in the community offered free classes of Tajweed every Sunday in the Masjid, only 4-5 students show up, thats it. Every Jumuah the Masjid is full and in Ramadan people pray outside, because there is no room.

    Have a Basketball (Hoop Session) and you will get people who “didn’t have time.”

    I am going to re-post this article at my, if you don’t mind at my blog, inshallah.

    Assalam-o-Alaikum

    • Asalaam o alaikum US,
      An outside speaker at our mosque said ” If you think that by only praying salah, fasting etc you will enter Jannah, think again……..” and I realized Ilm of Deen is essential!
      Please feel free to reblog the article if you think it will help, I am still searching for a way not to become cynical and keep the energy flowing…….Any thoughts?
      JazaikAllah hu Khairan!

  5. Asalaamualaikum,

    I do hope that more people in our community do read this post, think and reflect on it, and even more so respond and/or act.

    I am not sure I agree with all of the statements starting with “most”, but many certainly have clear basis in fact for our community. I don’t think I was ever late in dropping my son off for class, I hope he was never disrepectful of his teacher, but I know it was awkward for him the times he was the only one in class. Actually it was always awkward for him–a pre-teen boy in a class w/only women the age of his mother or his mother’s college age students.

    My thoughts about lack of interest aside from what is listed above is with advertising. I would have loved to see the brother (or maybe his college age children) organize a campaign on their college campus, on Facebook, and fliers in the masjid and email/phone campaigns in our directory. I also wonder if the name “Arabic fir Americans” is a problem. It seems to imply Arabic for non-Muslim Americans. Or, what if it turns away some of our new immigrant brothers&sisters who are not American citizens. Just thoughts.

    Last, cost factor. Yes, were this a college class for credit hours or a certified course, the cost would be extremely cheap (no one would argue the reasonability of the cost). Eight classes for $225 might be cost prohibitive for some especially if more than one family member would like to attend.

    This IS a wonderful effort. The instructor is wonderful. I am saddened to see you last comment & feel sorry that it occurred. InshahAllah more people will look at their need to improve their language skills for reading the holy Quran and the benefit it gives a whole family in the process.

    • Walaikum asalaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatahu sister H,
      Thank you for your very thoughtful answer.
      The first month when very few people registered, I also thought as you did that perhaps there is not enough advertising, however on testing people to see if they knew about the course they all did, they mentioned that they had even traversed the road on which the venue is located and mentioned it, but never felt the need or impetus to leave the sofa in front of the TV and venture into the mysteries of the Quran.

      As far as the fee it is far below any known academic, CME or recreational course and a couple of dollars shy per hour of what most people spend on their maids.

      Most parents spend more on Kumon which is a glorified homework help center for math challenged parents or parents who want the vicarious pleasure of having their child in the top ten percent of their eighth grade class.

      It is an interesting study to see who cares what grades a child got in eighth grade. I have seen children who were stars in eighth grade become drug addicts and pregnant by the time they were in the ninth grade.

      What makes me think that cost was not a factor is the fact that the Professor taught for a little over a year free of charge at the mosque, with the same people attending as now.

      I just feel the Muslims in general are sleep walking in circles, home, work and home. They are hiding there faces in the sand from the Final Day, pretending it will never come and all of life is in the Here and now, and there fore no preparation is being made for the home in the Hereafter.

      Your point of the title of the course “Arabic for Americans” does hit home. The immigrants are still dreaming of their “home countries” but rapidly adapting to everything American, yet refusing to accept that they love being in America and hate being “home” where ever that might be.
      Finally I believe those (like your child) who are guided to learn His language and His book are blessed and are very special people, and others are not.

      I pray that He Subhanawataala keeps you and me and all those struggling to get closer to Him, under His mercy and blessings always!

      • Salaam!

        Sorry for another post, but i still think I have not made myself completely clear about the issues of class cost. It seems petty, I know, to bring it up once more. But when I read about “maids” or other comparisons I have heard from others in our community about why folks are not investing in the masjid or community events when they spend more on their average family dinner out at a restaurant it makes me feel that I (and my friends) am outside of this group. I have never had a maid, but certainly wished for one. Meals out (other than the occasional fast food) are for a couple times a year for special occasions. I budget for the summer so my children can have some activity like art camp for a week for my daughter, or rowing for a week for my son, and for lengthier events when I teach. Yes, the idea of Arabic learning was strong enough for our family to set aside the money, but I can’t set aside double that for me to attend as well. We are average middle class folks like most of my closest friends here in the CSRA, so financial aid does not apply nor would I feel it comfortable even a question to suggest.

        I also want to mention a bit more about the free classes taught for a year. Had the brother had a kids class earlier, I would have sent my son earlier. For the adult classes that he so kindly offered, often my work schedule was not conducive to attending. But, maybe I’m lying to myself. Maybe I was really uncomfortable at the thought of someone who is my actual peer teaching me at it was pride. Or, maybe the truth is that I was uncomfortable with having classes from my friend’s husband or my husband’s friend, whichever way you look at it. Maybe it is some combination of all those excuses. The truth is that I want to think positively about why others were unable to or chose not to attend. Maybe instead of us (myself included) blaming lack of support it is better to ask and survey reasons why they did not sign up for lessons.

        It is not at all my intent to upset anyone, criticize anyone, or anything similar. Just my musings. H.J.A.

  6. Asalaam o-alaikum N,
    In medical language I would say Muslims are in “Depression”
    Punctuality is a problem of ignorance………the ayahs about time are enough to make your hair stand on end……….but not knowing Arabic……ignorance is bliss.
    Contentment with ones current state is the death of progress both mental and physical…….that is where American Muslims are, they feel they know enough Quran.
    Allah knows best, I am too struggling!

  7. Totally agree. Not only for non-arabic speakers but arabic speakers are reluctant to learn the multidimensional meanings of Quran (that can only be comprehended with the grasp of language, knowledge, and reflection). Although islamic worship depends on punctuality (5 times prayers, fasting month, Hajj —etc), muslims are never on time, they have their “muslim local time :(. Any explanation or magic prescription???

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