My parents taught me how to speak Farsi, and although they also attempted to teach me the Arabic alphabet, I never learned it. However, I really wanted to learn how to read and recite Qur’an, so during my first year at UCLA, I took Arabic classes. Alhamdulillah, I had a really understanding professor who kept encouraging me to practice until I reached my goal. Even though we were learning simple Arabic words, I wanted to give up because the class was very difficult for me.
“I feel that the class is not useful for reciting Qur’an.” I told the professor this during office hours and he just said, “By any chance, do you have a Qur’an with you?” I pulled out a piece of paper with a verse of the Qur’an that I had in my bag. He told me to read it. I had not learned all the letters yet, but I still tried. He helped me read it, and I was able to read a few words very slowly. “See? You are learning,” he told me.
Four years later, I can honestly say that this was the most useful course that I have taken at UCLA. Although it was not a Qur’an class, I was able to learn the Arabic alphabet. I used to only read the English translation, but now Alhamdulillah, I can slowly read the Qur’an. (I still struggle, so I listen to my favorite Qari online and recite after him.)
I feel that Allah (SWT) helped me get through Arabic because the Qur’an (in its original format) is something I need in my life. The Qur’an is so beautiful, so pure, and so powerful. I heard of the benefits of the Qur’an so many times in my life, and I am sure that you all have as well.
One of first moments that helped me understand why these attributes are given to the Qur’an was when I tried to memorize verses of Surah Ar-Rahman after learning Arabic. When I learned a small passage, I was really excited to recite it in front of my aunt. After reciting the first few lines, tears started pouring out of my eyes. I tried to continue reciting, but I just could not. I do not know why, but I was really happy inside. I had this warm feeling that was difficult to describe.
We sometimes forget how much impact the Qur’an can have in our lives. The Qur’an should not be something that we leave on our desks and only open once a year. To my Arabic-speaking brothers and sisters who understand even a few verses of the Qur’an, just think about how fortunate you are to have that skill. I wish I could understand what I am reciting and insha’Allah I will one day. To all my other brothers and sisters who can read Qur’an, you are truly blessed, so use that skill to your advantage. And to my brothers and sisters cannot read Qur’an no need to worry; you still have time to make the intention to learn insha’Allah. For now, there are beautiful recitations and translations online that everyone can listen to.
I know that we all have finals coming up, and we are all pressed for time, but let us all try to dedicate time to read and listen to Qur’an. Let us all make it part of our daily routine (even if it is just before you go to sleep). It can only benefit you. Try to really clear your mind and focus on nothing but Qur’an when doing so. May Allah (SWT) help us all improve our devotion to him, and may He help all of us pass and do well on our exams. Ameen.