Habits to learn and study Quranic Arabic to enhance your engagement with, and experience of, the Book of Allah s.w.t.
Putting It All Together
So now you have all the tools (see Part 2). But how do you use them together in a coherent and effective way?
You form habits. In fact just one habit is enough. All you need from this point onwards is consistency and repetition.
HABIT 1: Read one page of the Quran after every prayer
(Total cost: Free or USD 6, depending on which app you choose)
After each prayer, I reach for my iPad, open up Quran Study or Bayan Quran, and go through a few verses. I look at the words that make up the sentence, and the root letters that make up the words. I read the meaning of each word, and then try to construct the meaning of the entire sentence.
This takes roughly 5 minutes per prayer (total: 25 minutes a day) – you will get faster and faster as your mastery increases. I highly recommend just doing a page or a handful of verses after each prayer 5 times a day, instead of lumping them together into one long crash session. It spreads the load throughout the day in specific intervals, and keeps the ‘doses’ light and short.
Think of your favourite song – listen to them often enough and the lyrics just come naturally to you. The same can be true for the Quran – it is rather repetitive, with certain phrases appearing often, like a chorus of a song. After a juz or two, certain phrases will automatically leap at you from the pages, or from the recitations of an imam.
OPTIONAL HABIT 2: Glance through vocabulary lists during those 10-20 minutes down time
(Total cost: Free or USD 7, depending on whether you use the pdf booklet or an app)
While queuing to get to the cashier, or sitting in the train commuting to work, or waiting for the next meeting to start, pull out the Quranic Words app or the paper booklet of Quranic words, and go through 10 or so words.
If that requires too much willpower, then place pages of the booklet in various places where you cannot help but see them – on your mirror, laptop cover, wallet or anything you look at during the day. Use the pages as a bookmark, and glance through it once before you begin reading your book.
Again, the key is repetition. Don’t stress out about memorizing the words, just keep looking at them. Like an annoying advertisement that you keep being bombarded with, you will be surprised at how much these things will seep into your brain, and remain there.
OPTIONAL HABIT 3: Sit through one short class a day on Bayyinah TV’s Arabic with Husna
(Total cost: USD 11 x however many months you need to go through the material. Let’s assume 2 years: USD 224)
I have tried all sorts of classes – group ones, private ones, self-tutored ones – but I find this one to be the most effective, mostly because:
The classes are bite-sized – the longest class goes for only 25 minutes, which is right around when my attention starts to waver
I get to decide when and where I want to have my class, which also means I can have classes in my pajamas
Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan is HILARIOUS
Once a day, I log in and watch just one class (I take breaks during the weekend and go watch less useful stuff). Day after day, it builds up. If I’m stuck, I just watch the video again (and again, and again) or ask the Bayyinah community for help. Usually, I find somebody else has asked what I wanted to ask, and somebody else has already answered it.
Using the above tools and getting into the habit of actually using them regularly, I have been able to translate the verses as I read them, and consequently I am able to actually reflect on what the Quran is telling me.
Up to this point, I have gone through the entire Quran three times - once with Quran Study, and twice using Bayan Quran - by reading a few pages one day at a time. It has drastically improved my prayers, and shifted my relationship with and my appreciation of the Quran for the better. I hope it will be the same for you too!