You want to know the best way to learn Arabic? In this post I will give you 5 advises that will help you study Arabic the right way.
I recommend mostly classic and proven methods for learning Arabic, rather than new and fancy new methods.
1. Go study Arabic abroad in an Arabic speaking country
The best way to learn Arabic is to go study Arabic abroad in an Arabic speaking country, such as Egypt or Morocco. Can you not learn Arabic at home or at your local mosque? Maybe, but studying abroad will be much more beneficial.
Why? First of all you can fully focus on your Arabic studies. If you study at a local center, you will most likely study part-time along with your work or and responsibilities. You might study in the evening when you are already a bit tired and you are worrying about other things. You can get results, but it will go slowly and you will need a lot of discipline to combine your study with your other responsibilities and persevere.
On the other hand, when you go abroad you leave your family, work and other obligations and travel with only one purpose, to study Arabic and benefit as much as possible. You will have no other responsibilities and distractions. You can devote all your time and energy to your learning Arabic.
You will be able to reach a high level much quicker bi idhni Allah. In fact, I know of several brothers who went to Egypt to study Arabic. When they came back they could speak and understand Arabic very well. They went for a period of one year or one or several summer courses.
Another benefit is that you will be fully emerged in the Arabic language. Not only during your daily studies, but also outside. The inhabitants of the country you are in will also speak just Arabic. Therefore you will be forced to speak Arabic everywhere you go. For example when you buy groceries or when you take a taxi or ask for directions. This will be a great practice opportunity for you.
2. Study Arabic online if you are unable to go abroad
I just gave the advice to go study Arabic abroad. But what if you are not able? What if you are married and you are required to work and provide for you family?
A great alternative is to take online lessons with a native Arabic speaking teacher. Preferably someone who does not speak your language.
It might seem really difficult, or even impossible, to study a new language with a teacher who does not speak your language. Indeed, in the beginning it will be a bit difficult and it will take some time to be able to communicate with your teacher.
In the end it will be really worth it. You will learn much quicker. You will be forced to speak and think in Arabic straight from the beginning. Already after a short while you will be able to communicate in Arabic. Even if you still make a lot of mistakes, people will be able to understand what you are trying to say.
On the contrary, if your teacher speaks English then he will likely explain everything in English as well. You will not be forced to speak and think in Arabic. You will learn new words an grammar, but it will be difficult for you to apply everything you have learned in a real life conversation. In fact, if you don’t practice, you will likely forget everything you have learned.
Again I recommend studying at Arabic Language Insitute Al-Forqan in Egypt, Cairo.
3. Listen to lessons of the scholars
Your goal with understanding Arabic is to be able to better understand and practice the deen. The scholars are the inhibitors of the prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم and they are the ones who explain the deen to us.
So a big motivation to learning Arabic is that you can listen directly to the lessons of the scholars. Listening to the lessons is really beneficial, even if you do not understand 100% of what is said.
In fact, listening to the lessons is a great way to practice and improve your understanding of the Arabic language. At first you will not understand a lot, but if you keep listening you will understand more and more.
I recommend that you listen to a scholar who speaks Arabic in a simple and clear manner. There is a significant difference between the scholars in the way they speak and teach. Some scholars speak in a clear and simple manner. Other scholars speak in a dialect or use more unusual words.
Shaykh Abdu Ar-Razaag Al-Badr speaks really clear and simple and I recommend listening to his lessons.
3. Use Anki to memorize new Arabic words
I have been using Anki for around 7 years and it has helped me to memorize thousands of Arabic words. I use it for 15 minutes a day in order to not forget what I have learned.
Anki is a flash card application that you can use to memorize new words. You can add all the Arabic words to Anki and then test yourself daily.
Anki is really efficient for memorizing words as it uses spaced repetition. What does this mean and how does it work?
You first have to create a new ‘deck’ and give it a name, i.e. ‘Arabic vocabulary’. Then you have the add the words as flash cards. You enter the Arabic word on one side and the translation on the other side.
You are then ready to start memorizing and practicing. You will get to see one side of the card. You have to try translate it yourself first. Then you turn around the card and see the answer and check if you got it right.
After you checked the correct answer you will have several options to choose from. You have you to choose from ‘again, difficult, good or easy’.
If you knew the translation straight away you choose ‘easy’. You will then not get the word again for several days. If you did not know the translation you choose ‘again’. You will then get the card again within 10 minutes.
This is what is meant by ‘spaced repetition’. The card with the word will be repeated based on the difficulty. This way you will not forget the words and you can keep adding new words.
The great thing about Anki is that you can use it for anything you want you learn. It is not just for memorizing vocabulary. I also use it to memorize Arabic grammar as well as ahadeeth and other benefits.
4. Use Arabic words in your daily live
In order to really make Arabic words your own, you have to practice with them. Otherwise you may not recall the words when you actually need them. For example when you have to speak Arabic you will have to think really hard about the word you need if you have never used it before.
That’s why I recommend gradually adding some everyday Arabic words in your daily life. Obviously you can’t speak Arabic words to everyone around. But if you study Arabic together with your husband or wive for example, then you can help each other.
You can start with 5 common words. For example with ‘glass, plate, spoon, knife and fork’. Then after a while you can add 5 new words.
The goal is to always use the Arabic word in your house instead of the English word. So, for example, try to always say كَأْس, rather than glass.
On our website you will find over 500 Arabic words with pictures that you can use in your daily life.
5. Find an Arabic speaking friend and put aside your shame
Try to find an Arabic speaking friend to practice with. Tell him/her that you want to practice your Arabic and that you want to communicate only in Arabic.
At first this will feel awkward and strange. However if you persevere than it will be really beneficial in shaa Allah.
For me, what held me back greatly, was my shame. I was too ashamed to make obvious and stupid mistakes when speaking Arabic. For this reason I fell back to speaking my own language.
But I saw friends of me progressing much faster than me. They were willing to make mistakes.
So please, for the sake of Allah, put aside your shame and be willing to make a lot of mistakes at first. The mistakes are what you learn from.
So, the best way to study Arabic is to study abroad or online with a native Arabic speaking teacher. It is also really important to practice what you just learned.
When you do this and persevere, you will in shaa Allah get to the point where you understand the Quran and the speech of the scholars.
Have you studied Arabic abroad? What was your experience like?