Which kind of Arabic should I learn?

Which kind of Arabic should I learn?

When starting, resuming, or rethinking your Arabic language learning journey, you might be confronted with questions like: which Arabic course is best for me? What course should I enroll in? What is the difference between the different types of Arabic? How could each course benefit me and my goals?

To help you answer these questions, we have listed here some brief descriptions of the three main types of Arabic and their learning benefits.

sThe Arabic language is a beautiful, ancient yet dynamic language that is spoken around the globe in several different forms or variants. Each of these variants is useful to learn depending on what your goals are and how you want to use your newly-learned language.

Classical Arabic

What is Classical Arabic?

Classical Arabic is the standardized literary form of the Arabic language which was in use from the 7th century through the Middle Ages (in the 1500s), reaching as far West as today’s Portugal and as far East as India. It is the language of the Quran (although Quranic Arabic is really its own kind – more on that below) making it the original language of Islam, as well as many other religious and non-religious literary texts of that time period, including poetry and scientific works. Classical Arabic is now limited to mainly religious scripts and is no longer a spoken language.

Classical Arabic is the language that was chosen by Allah SWT to reveal the Quran, His final Book, as guidance and mercy to humanity. For this reason, the language of the Quran (Quranic Arabic) is unique and divine, which is why it differs from other Classical Arabic texts.

Why learn Classical Arabic?

Classical Arabic is great for students whose primary goal is to learn to read, understand and study the Quran and other Islamic texts, including ahadeeth (prophetic narrations). Learning Classical Arabic, or even just focusing on Quranic Arabic, can significantly boost your faith and deepen your understanding of Allah’s Words and Message to humanity.

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)

What is Modern Standard Arabic?

Modern Standard Arabic (shortened MSA, sometimes also called Modern Written Arabic or Modern Arabic) is the main variant of the Arabic language that is spoken and studied today in formal settings. This version of Arabic is the standardized version of the language taught widely in schools and universities. Although there are many Arabic dialects spoken throughout the Arabic-speaking world, MSA is the primary language on which each language is based and is rooted in Classical Arabic. MSA is an ever changing language because of typical language development throughout history – this is actually how this variant was born: from increased interactions with the non-Arabic speaking world over time through trade, wars, colonization, cultural exchanges, migration and eventually tourism.

It is important to know that the term “Modern Standard Arabic” is only used by non-native Arabic speakers or in universities. Native Arabic speakers do not necessarily distinguish between Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic as they consider both to be literary, formal languages and they might call both فُصْحَى [fuṣḥa]: eloquent, because their mother tongue is a specific Arabic dialect, not Classical Arabic or MSA.

Why learn Modern Standard Arabic?

Learning MSA is a great starting point for those who are wanting to have a foundational understanding and go on to learn any variant of colloquial (dialectical) Arabic. MSA will also give you the skills and knowledge to be understood by native Arabic speakers around the world, regardless of the dialect they speak in that given area.When traveling to a country where Arabic is the primary language, you will hear and see MSA in different situations, such as street signs, television, media, news programs, newspapers, books, school curricula, and store signs. Even if you want to study a regional dialect, it would be very useful for you to learn as much MSA as possible.

Colloquial or Dialectical Arabic

What is Colloquial/Dialectal Arabic?

Colloquial Arabic refers to the Arabic that you can hear native speakers use in their everyday lives – their mother tongue. Because the Arabic-speaking world is so diverse and spread out, colloquial Arabic will sound different from one country to another. It is so dynamic and flexible that there can be different variants in the same country and even within the same region. Even though there can be – and there are sometimes many – similarities between different dialects, depending on how close or how far two variants are on the Arabic dialect continuum, they can be mutually unintelligible!). Colloquial Arabic is therefore the informal yet normal way of communicating in day-to-day life. Some of the different dialects included in Colloquial Arabic are Egyptian (Masri) which is the most widely used, Emirati (Al Ramsa Al Emaratia), Yemeni, Hejazi (from the Hijaz region in Saudi Arabia), Iraqi, Levantine Arabic (which includes Syrian, Lebanese, Jordanian, Palestinian and more), Maghrebi dialects (including Moroccan, Algerian, Tunisian, Libyan, Saharan and more). And there are many more varieties of Arabic!

Why learn Colloquial/Dialectal Arabic?

The Arabic language is one of the most ancient languages, officially or co-officially spoken by residents in more than 24 countries, mostly from the Arabian Peninsula, the Middle East, North Africa, and some Asian countries. Arabic-speaking nations are a mix of ethnicities and cultures, with exceptional economic, cultural, and tourism qualifications that attract millions of tourists and thousands of people in business annually. Colloquial Arabic serves as a great tool if you want to travel to, live in or do business with a specific region in the Arabic-speaking world. You will be able to get around the region or country with ease and communicate with the locals for a meaningful, immersive experience. 

So, how do you choose?

When deciding on an Arabic language course, you need to consider the reason behind this learning: Is it to gain a deeper understanding of the Quran, other religious texts or Islam? To communicate with native Arabic speakers? To go live abroad? To learn the culture around the Arabic language, and if so, which country or region are you interested in?

Each variant of the Arabic language is a beneficial tool for any Arabic learner. Depending on your specific goals for studying the language, Classical Arabic, Quranic Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic, and Colloquial Arabic can all be great resources in strengthening your linguistic and cultural skills and boosting your faith and understanding of Islam. You can even consider learning two or more variants successively or simultaneously. For instance, you could start with Classical Arabic to increase your grasp of the Quran and Islamic texts, and later learn MSA to open up your understanding to the news, TV shows and books in Arabic or even conversation. Or you could learn MSA and a specific dialect at the same time if you intend to go visit a country where they speak this dialect, etc.

Whether you want to learn Classical, Quranic, Modern, or Egyptian Arabic, at Studio Arabiya Institute, we offer a multitude of options and work with you on your personal goals! Visit studioarabiya.com and choose the course that best fits your needs and schedule, or contact us if you need help selecting the best course for you.

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Islamic Calendar: The Month Of Rajab

The Hijri month of Rajab is upon us! What do you know about the seventh month of the Islamic (lunar) calendar? Read on to increase your knowledge of Islam and Arabic insha’Allah!

Meaning of Rajab

The word Rajab (رَجَب) comes from the root letters ر ج ب which means “to strengthen or support something with something else”, and also “to respect, to honor, to be in awe (or even afraid) of something”. Rajab is generally translated as “honor” or “respect”.

This month is the first among the four sacred months in Islam. The other three are the consecutive months of Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Muharram. The month of Rajab is also given other names such as, “Rajab Al-Haram” meaning “The Sacred Rajab.”

During the four sacred months, fighting and war were prohibited unless the enemy initiated the fight.

Chronological order in the Hijri calendar

Rajab is the seventh month of the Islamic calendar. This month comes after Jumādā al-Ākhirah and before Sha’bān.

When will Rajab take place this year?

This year (2021), Rajab is estimated to begin on February 13th, 2021 insha’Allah.

Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ عِندَ اللَّـهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّـهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ مِنْهَا أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ الدِّينُ الْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ ۚ

“Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them…” (Surah At-Tawbah, 9:36)

The Prophet (ﷺ) said:

“The division of time has turned to its original form which was current when Allah created the Heavens and the Earths. The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Dhul-Qa’ da, Dhul-Hijja and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumadi-ath-Thaniyah and Sha’ban.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 3197)

Significance in Islamic History

The Invasion of Tabuk

In Rajab, in the year 9 A.H, news about the Byzantine’s preparations for a decisive invasion against Muslims had reached Madinah and fear spread among them. Despite the hardships and drought that the Muslims were suffering from, Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) was determined that the Muslims should invade the Byzantines and fight a decisive battle at their own borders.

When Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) had made up his mind and took his final decision, he ordered his companions to get ready for war and sent for the Makkans and the other Arab tribes asking for their assistance. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) encouraged them to pay charities and to spend the best of their fortunes in the way of Allah.

With great speed, Muslims started getting ready for war. Only those desired to stay behind who had weakness in their hearts. Muslims raced to give their wealth and property. Arriving at Tabuk after severe hardships, the Muslim army was ready to face the enemy. Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) dispatched Khalid bin Al-Walid (رضي الله عنه) as the head of four hundred and fifty horsemen to Ukaidir, the Chief of Dumatul-Jandal, and said to him: “You will see him hunting wild cattle.”

Khalid (رضي الله عنه) captured Ukaidir. The Muslim army returned victoriously, without being deceived or wronged. That is because Allah had sufficed them from the evils of fighting. (Reference: The Sealed Nectar, الرّحيق المختوم)

Did you miss our previous posts on the Hijri Calendar? Catch up here and stay tuned for more insha’Allah!

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Ijaazah: What It Is And How To Get One

When it comes to Islamic topics, we hear a lot of Arabic words that sound familiar because we – or others around us – use them all the time, and we might even be able to translate those words in our native language, but when someone asks us “so, what is this exactly?”, we are just unable to respond, other than repeat the translation, hoping that it will shed some light! The word Ijaazah is a really good example. So let’s dive in, shall we?

What does Ijaazah even mean?

When we try to understand something, even a word that is so commonly used and heard, it always helps to look at the meaning of the word itself. The Arabic word إِجَازَة [ijaazah] comes from the root letters ج و ز from which we derive the following meanings:

To pass, to travel, to come
To be allowed, permitted, permissible
To work, to succeed
To permit, to allow, to sanction, to authorize
To go or walk past, to go beyond
To cross, to leave behind
To surpass, to exceed
To overcome obstacles
It can also mean “holiday”.

The word Ijaazah is generally translated as “license”, “certificate” or “authorization” which gives permission – and even the right – to its holder to pass on their knowledge on a certain text or subject that they have studied. An Ijaazah is given by someone who already possesses and masters this knowledge and is therefore in a position to pass it on to someone else, and who has taught the student (receiver of the Ijaazah) directly, usually through direct teaching (no third-parties or unspecified giver of Ijaazah!). The word and process is usually associated with the transmission of subjects or texts pertaining to Islamic knowledge and sciences, although we can also talk about an Ijaazah in secular fields such as law, literature or history.

So, an Ijaazah is like a university degree…?

Yes, and no. A university or college degree is usually sanctioned by a diploma which is given by an institution (such as a university or college, but other institutions also have the ability to give out degrees: schools, professional organizations, training centers, etc.) to a student after they have completed a certain course of study and met specific requirements. The diploma itself is signed by one of the highest authorities in the institution (head of school, dean, chair, president, etc.) who is usually not involved in the teaching process. Rather, the degree is given to the student on behalf of the institution, and instruction has usually been given by a group of teachers, tutors or trainers rather than one specific individual, as is the case with the Ijaazah. With a degree, the emphasis is put on the place, the location rather than the teacher.

Another major difference between a regular degree and an Ijaazah is the importance placed on the chain of knowledge: this is what is called سَنَد [sanad]. Because an Ijaazah must be earned from someone who possesses and masters the knowledge that is being passed on to the student, it is crucial to know the chain of transmission of such knowledge. If this chain cannot be established, the Ijaazah has no value and the student earning it cannot, in their turn, teach the knowledge to someone else. This is why you will find information about the transmission of knowledge when you read a Muslim scholar’s biography or introduction before a seminar – this is the traditional way of learning/teaching and it gives the credentials that the scholar needs to transmit their knowledge. Depending on the subject matter, the sanad could go all the way back to Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).

Thirdly, an Ijaazah usually focuses on a very specific topic or textbook, while degrees can remain very general in their scope, especially in some fields such as Liberal Arts or Humanities. It could be argued that an Ijaazah would then be closer to a PhD or Doctorate in terms of focus.

However, this brings us to our fourth difference. With an Ijaazah, there is no notion of grades: the student either acquires the knowledge, in which case the teacher might give Ijaazah (giving permission to transmit knowledge is done at the sole discretion of its holder: if they do not deem that the student should receive permission even if they have the ability to acquire it, they have the right not to), or the student does not acquire the knowledge, in which case the Ijaazah is not even considered. With a degree, there is a gray area: the student might have failed a class and taken another one instead, their grades might be average, some could even be below what is required for one specific class but the final average will make up for it, or the student might be transferring from another institution and have received credits for previous classes they took, which doesn’t mean they would have succeeded on the program if they had started from the beginning.

Lastly, an Ijaazah does not only attest or give proof that the student has become knowledgeable of the subject matter, it will also specifically give its holder the authority to, in their turn, transmit that text or subject to someone else. A university degree will not include that level of authorization because academic fields are not regulated this way. As a matter of fact, if you want to practice medicine, you will still need to pass board certification after graduating from med school and getting your degree. Similarly, if you want to practice law, you will still need to pass the bar exam in the jurisdiction where you intend to practice after having earned your law degree (although there are some exceptions to that rule, but these exceptions are actually pretty similar to the Ijaazah process!).

The Ijaazah is NOT a blanket license

Holding an Ijaazah does not mean mastering every single aspect of that specific topic. For instance, someone who receives an Ijaazah in Quran memorization might be able to recite the whole Quran but not understand its meaning or the context of revelation of each ayah, whereas someone who hasn’t memorized the whole Quran might be able to. Similarly, someone who has received an Ijaazah for memorizing a specific book of Hadeeth might be able to recite a hadith and the chain of transmission of the hadith but they might not be able to derive the legal or spiritual implications from this hadith, whereas someone who is versed in fiqh (understanding of Islamic jurisprudence) or ‘aqeedah (theology and interpretation of creed) but does not hold that same Ijaazah might be able to.

Narrated Zayd ibn Thabit: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) say: May Allah brighten a man who hears a tradition from us, gets it by heart and passes it on to others. Many a bearer of knowledge conveys it to one who is more versed than he is; and many a bearer of knowledge is not versed in it.” (Hadith Sahih, Sunan Abi Dawud 3660)

The purpose of the Ijaazah is really to try and preserve the specific knowledge being transmitted.

The importance of earning an Ijaazah in Quran Recitation or Memorization

Nowadays, so many Muslims study Tajweed (recitation rules) and work on memorizing the Quran, masha’Allah! Whether this is done individually, at the local mosque or Islamic school, or with a teacher online, we all know the importance of increasing our knowledge of the Quran, and this includes being able to read it properly, as mistakes in pronunciation can alter the meaning of the Words of Allah SWT, and carrying it in our hearts through means of memorization.

But we also all know the famous hadith reported by ‘Uthman (RA) who narrated that the Prophet (SAWS) said: “The best among you is he who learns and teaches the Qur’an.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 5027)

What is knowledge if it is not shared, transmitted, taught to others, even if it is only our family members (and that is actually the best place to start!)?

Earning an Ijaazah is a necessary step in ensuring that the knowledge of the Quran is transmitted properly and accurately.

Steps to take before starting your Ijaazah reading

Working towards earning an Ijaazah is a very long process that can take years depending on the student, their abilities, and the time they able to dedicate to this endeavor. While earning an Ijaazah is one of the greatest achievements in one’s Quran learning journey, it is important to remember that what really matters is the journey itself as well as the intention and efforts you are putting in, because the results, as always, are with Allah SWT.

If you are interested in earning your Ijaazah in Quran recitation and/or memorization, make sure to go through these steps first, thoroughly and sincerely:

Step #1: Learn how to read the Quran in Arabic: depending on where you are in your Quran journey, this might be the very first step that you need to undertake. Learning the Arabic alphabet will allow you to read the Quran and start this special connection with the Book of Allah SWT.

Step #2: Learn and master the rules of Tajweed, even if you want an Ijaazah in Memorization: now that you know the Arabic alphabet and can read the Quran easily and confidently, proper and accurate recitation is your next objective as it will allow you to read the Quran correctly and avoid making mistakes, which can actually change the meaning of what you are reading. This is necessary even if you want to get an Ijaazah in Memorization, because if you don’t not memorize the Quran with proper pronunciation, you will not be able to read for your Ijaazah.

Step #3: If you want to earn an Ijaazah in Quran memorization, you will need to memorize the entire Quran prior to starting your reading for the Ijaazah.

Note: steps 2 and 3 can be done simultaneously.

Although these steps can technically be done on your own, we strongly recommend for you to find a qualified and experienced teacher who will guide you in your learning and correct your mistakes as you go along insha’Allah. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a situation where you think you have acquired the proper knowledge to read for an Ijaazah, only to be told by the Shaykh or Shaykhah that you are making too many mistakes and need to start your learning journey almost from the beginning!

At Studio Arabiya, we offer various Quran courses for all ages to help you or your child prepare for our Ijaazah Programs in Quran Recitation (Tajweed) and Quran Memorization (Hifz) insha’Allah, which have a strong sanad to Prophet Muhammad (SAWS). We will also soon be offering Ijaazah programs in the transmission of certain Islamic and Arabic texts insha’Allah. Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest updates! Fill out the form in the right column.

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[Infographic] 10 Fun Facts About The Arabic Alphabet

What do you know about the Arabic alphabet? We have put together just 10 of the many fun facts that you should know about this amazing script! Join us to learn even more, from reading the Arabic alphabet (including our Arabic Reading For Kids course) to mastering Classical Arabic or learning a dialect!

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“I had no idea that learning Arabic would be possible for me!”

Torrie embraced Islam in March 2019, masha’Allah! This life-changing decision, which she calls the best of her life, led her to embark on a learning journey with the Arabic language. She became a Studio Arabiya student in November 2020 and she is sharing her experience thus far studying Classical Arabic with us.

“My journey with the Arabic language began in March of 2019, when I made the best decision of my life and converted to Islam, Alhamdulillah. When I say my journey began, that does not mean I was actively trying to learn the language. For about a year after becoming a Muslim, I truly believed that I would never be able to learn Arabic, and I even tried to tell myself that I did not need to learn it. Thankfully, my mindset began to shift as I was diving deeper into Islamic studies, trying to grasp the full beauty of Islam, and I realized the desire I had to understand the language of this complete and amazing religion.

Before becoming a student at Studio Arabiya, I had no prior knowledge of reading, writing, or understanding the Arabic language. All I had been familiar with were the five daily prayers and several Arabic sayings and duas. In the Quran, Allah tells us He has specifically sent down the Quran in Arabic, for our benefit has made it easy to remember, and we are called to reflect upon the meanings of its verses:

“Indeed, We have sent it down as an Arabic Qur’ān that you might understand.” (Surah Yusuf, 12:2)

“And We have certainly made the Qur’ān easy for remembrance, so is there any who will remember?” (Surah Al-Qamar, 54:17)

“[This is] a blessed Book which We have revealed to you, [O Muḥammad], that they might reflect upon its verses and that those of understanding would be reminded.” (Surah Saad, 38:29)

SubhanAllah, these verses are a powerful reminder that Allah has sent the Quran in the Arabic language for a divine purpose, He has made it easy for us to learn and remember, and we should put forward our best effort to study it. Even though my studies with Studio Arabiya have only recently began, I have been able to memorize and write the Arabic alphabet, begin learning the diacritical markings, and sound out the letters to read and spell words. The learning has been very personalized, and my teacher has been moving along at the pace that works for me Alhumdulillah. Before beginning this class, I had no idea that learning Arabic would be possible for me, due to my prior incomplete attempts at learning other languages and my fully English background. My class with Studio Arabiya has given me the encouragement and momentum I needed to move forward with my pursuit in learning Arabic. It has been an exciting challenge each time I join my class and am asked to read the words on the screen. I find a new and uplifting confidence with each correctly read and written word. To anyone considering diving into learning the Arabic language, Studio Arabiya is the best place to start due to their personalized learning that allows you to start from any level. This class has given me hope that with Allah’s Will and my dedication, learning this language is not only possible for me but more straightforward than I had previously thought, Alhumdulillah.”

Are you also a Studio Arabiya student? Would you like to share your learning journey? We would be happy to feature your story on our blog and social media insha’Allah! Send an email to manon@studioarabiya.com

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[FREE GAME] Start learning the Arabic alphabet with this Lego game!

Play this fun and interactive game to start learning the Arabic alphabet!

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This game and many others are included in our Arabic Reading for Kids course. Enroll your child today and get them started on their fun journey learning the Arabic language!

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[FREE DOWNLOAD] Missed Fasts Make Up Guide

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Do you have some missed fasts to make up? Here is your FREE personal assistant to help you!

Each year, as Ramadan gets closer, we get anxious and sometimes overwhelmed at the idea of making up fasting days that we missed the previous year due to sickness, pregnancy, breastfeeding, etc. We have designed this Missed Fasts Make Up Guide to help you out insha’Allah! We have included a Missed Fasts Calculator so that you know where you stand, a Missed Fasts Tracker with motivational quotes, and some extra tips and perks like a Dua list and a cute little Congratulations page!

Note: when printing, select the option “Fit to printable area” for best results.

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Islamic Calendar: The Month Of Jumādā al-Ākhirah

We are reaching the sixth month of the Hijri calendar insha’Allah: the month of Jumādā al-Ākhirah. What do you know about this month? Read on to expand your knowledge of Arabic and Islam!

Meaning of Jumādā al-Ākhirah

Literally in Arabic, Jumādā al-Ākhirah (جُمَادَىٰ ٱلْآخِرَة) – also known as Jumada ath-Thānī (جُمَادَىٰ ااثَّانِي) – means “the last or final of parched land.”

In Arabic, جماد‎ means ‘dry, arid, and parched land devoid of rain’, and ٱلْآخِر means ‘the final.’ It denotes the final or last month of dry weather. Jumādā al-Ākhirah is also written as Jumādā II.

Chronological order in the Hijri calendar

Jumādā al-Ākhirah is the sixth month of the Islamic calendar. This month comes after Jumādā al-Awwal and before Rajab.

When will Jumādā al-Ākhirah take place this year?

This year (2021), Jumādā al-Ākhirah is estimated to begin on January 14th, 2021 insha’Allah.

Allah (SWT) says in the Quran:

هُوَ الَّذِي جَعَلَ الشَّمْسَ ضِيَاءً وَالْقَمَرَ نُورًا وَقَدَّرَهُ مَنَازِلَ لِتَعْلَمُوا عَدَدَ السِّنِينَ وَالْحِسَابَ ۚ مَا خَلَقَ اللَّـهُ ذَٰلِكَ إِلَّا بِالْحَقِّ ۚ يُفَصِّلُ الْآيَاتِ لِقَوْمٍ يَعْلَمُونَ

“It is He who made the sun a shining light and the moon a derived light and determined for it phases – that you may know the number of years and account [of time]. Allah has not created this except in truth. He details the signs for a people who know.” (Surah Yunus, 10:5)

Significance in Islamic History

The minor battle of Dhat As-Salaasil took place in the month of Jumādā al-Ākhirah during the 8th year of Hijrah. Muslims camped north of Madinah at the well of Salsal; hence the battle was termed ‘Dhat As Salaasil’. The Prophet (ﷺ) deputed Amr bin Al-As (رضي الله عنه) as the leader of the army. Three hundred men accompanied him against the tribe of Qadaa’a.

The army traveled only at night. As the Muslims approached the enemy, Amr bin Al-As (رضي الله عنه) was informed of a large number of the enemy. He then sent Raafi’ Bin Makeeth Al Juhanee to the messenger of Allah (ﷺ) to seek reinforcements. The Prophet (ﷺ) sent ‘Ubayda Bin Al-Jarrah (رضي الله عنه) and two hundred men under his banner including Abu Bakr and Umar (رضي الله عنهما) with strict instructions from Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) to cooperate.

When the Muslim army of 500 men reached the land of Qadaa’a, the enemy fled, and the Muslims were victorious. 

Did you miss our previous posts on the Hijri Calendar? Catch up here and stay tuned for more insha’Allah!

Rabīʿ al-Awwal

Rabīʿ al-Ākhir

Jumādā al-Awwal

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[FREE DOWNLOAD] I SPY My Arabic Alphabet | Level 3

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Become an expert at recognizing each letter of the Arabic alphabet with this fun game! 

Here is Level 3 of our FREE “I SPY My Arabic Alphabet” game series! Get your Arabic alphabet recognition skills to the next level with this fun activity! Can you find all the letters?

Did you miss the previous levels? Click the links:

Level 1
Level 2

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The Do’s and Don’ts of “Insha’Allah”

The Islamic phrase “insha’Allah” is well known by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. But do we really understand what it means or when and how to say it? Why do we even say “insha’Allah”? And even as importantly: do we know when NOT to say it? Read on to find out and feel free to share the khayr so that it can benefit others, insha’Allah 🙂

What does “insha’Allah” mean and how do we write it?

The Islamic phrase “insha’Allah” is written إنْ شَاءَ ٱللَّٰهُ‎ in Arabic (pronounced [in shā’a Allāh]) and is generally translated as “if Allah (God) wills” or “God willing”. When writing “insha’Allah” in Arabic, it is important to know that the phrase is made of three separate words, which gives the phrase its true meaning “if Allah wills”. In Arabic, إِن [in] means “if”, شَاءَ [shā’a] means “(He) willed”, and الله [Allāh] means “God Almighty (the True and Only One)”. By combining these three words together in Arabic, the phrase would carry a different meaning, which is important to avoid. When writing the transliteration of this phrase in other languages, it is acceptable to combine the words or keep them separate as long as the pronunciation is clear and understandable in that language. Mufti Menk has recorded a very useful video recently about a common misunderstanding around how we write it in transliteration. Watch here!

A misused and misunderstood phrase

“Insha’Allah” should always be used when talking about future hopes, plans, and promises. Unfortunately, there is a growing misunderstanding around this phrase. Many Muslims are indeed misusing it, taking away its profound and important meaning, and use it as a way to politely (or sometimes even sarcastically) say “no” or “maybe” when they do not want to commit to a plan or request, or think that it will very unlikely happen. As a result, many non-Muslims have come to misunderstand this phrase as well, and might even use it themselves in the wrong way. Let’s go back to basics and look at the true meaning and appropriate usage of “insha’Allah”.

Allah SWT says in the Quran:

وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَيْءٍ إِنِّي فَاعِلٌ ذَٰلِكَ غَدًا إِلَّا أَن يَشَاءَ اللَّـهُ ۚ وَاذْكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلْ عَسَىٰ أَن يَهْدِيَنِ رَبِّي لِأَقْرَبَ مِنْ هَـٰذَا رَشَدًا

And never say of anything, “Indeed, I will do that tomorrow,” Except [when adding], “If Allah wills.” And remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, “Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct.” (Surah Al-Kahf, 18:23-24)

It is very clear from these ayaat that we should always say “insha’Allah” when we say we will do something, no matter how close or far in time this action might be, whether it’s about going somewhere in the afternoon or the day after, purchasing a car next month or going to Hajj next year (may Allah SWT allow us all to visit His House soon, say ameen!). This is a commandment from Allah SWT. 

Another very important lesson we get from these beautiful ayaat and from the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is the idea that we still need to commit, put in our best effort and have the true intention (in our heart and in the tone we use) to complete this action for which we say “insha’Allah”: “I will do everything in my ability to complete this, if Allah wills.”. We do not know what will happen in the future as we recognize that it is all in Allah’s Hands, but we should still have the right intention in our heart and do our best to complete the task or join the event.

When NOT to say “insha’Allah”

We mentioned earlier how the phrase “insha’Allah” is sometimes being used in a polite or sarcastic manner to mean “no” or “maybe”: this should never be done. Saying “insha’Allah” is a commandment from Allah SWT, and, as such, we should never minimize it, make fun of it, or convey the wrong meaning about it to others.

Additionally, there is one situation where we should not say “insha’Allah”: when we make dua (supplication).

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: “When one of you makes a supplication (to his Lord) one should not say: O Allah, grant me pardon, if You so like, but one should beg one’s (Lord) with a will and full devotion, for there is nothing so great in the eye of Allah which He cannot grant.” (Sahih Muslim 2679 a)

When making dua for yourself or for others, be filled with trust in Allah SWT and hope that He SWT will grant what you ask for, and never add “insha’Allah”. Instead, you may and should say “if this is better for me then facilitate it for me, and if it is not good for me, then keep it away from me” or something similar.

Remember to say “insha’Allah”, do your best, and leave the rest to Allah SWT

When discussing our future hopes, plans, goals, and promises we should never fail to follow it with “insha’Allah”. This was a commandment given to us by The Almighty which we must always strive to keep and follow if we want success in this life and in the Hereafter. By keeping Allah SWT at the forefront of our minds, we can feel at peace and have hope that He will always provide what is best for us.

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