Within five minutes of class I began to feel angry. I had an exam to move onto the next level in Arabic within the hour and I had not spent enough time studying. I was angry at my lack of preparation, angry at the walk to the markaz, angry at ila akhirih [etc]… subhanAllah just internal self-anger.
My teacher caught on. “Are you feeling ok? Do you feel some pain?” She asked it just like the doctor asks Yusuf in Kitab al Assay if any of you have used that to study Arabic.
“Yeah…” I answered, hesitant to keep going, trying to get myself together, but needing someone to tell me: be patient, the road to knowledge is long and hard but worth it. I kept trying to tell myself that but it wasn’t working.
So I started telling her- I knew it was going to be hard, I was expecting difficulty, but man it’s hard, and man it’s difficult. I just need someone to tell me, I explained to her, that this is the way, that the tarikh is like this, that I can do it inshaAllah.
And so she told me, subhanAllah, and Alhamdullilah it was worth feeling all the anger and frustration to hear what she said to give me hope.
“Do you know who wrote THE book of nahw?” She asked me. No, I responded, no clue. I was thinking the Qur’an is THE Book, but that was too easy of an answer.
“Sibaway,” she said. And then she began to tell me about al alama, Sibaway rahimahullah. He was a non-Arab. [From Faris to be exact, subhanAllah… to hear that! My parents are both originally from Iran, and Alhamdullilah both of them ahl sunnah…check out this website: www.shiaorsunni.com. To hear, in that moment, that someone who was non-Arab, from FARIS did something amazing like wrote THE BOOK on nahw…Allahu Akbar. Yeah, I actually have about 0 ethnic pride- it’s about Islam, not about your race or culture! *COUGH*-, but it was still encouraging.]
When Sibaway rahimahullah would speak, the people around him would make fun of him. Finally, he swore he would write THE book on nahw, and he even named it AL Kitab- THE Book. And Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala gave him tawfiq in this book. Until NOW, she told me, no one, no Arab, no one, has written like Sibaway, the master of this field.
But when he approached death, rahimahuallah, he began to feel great sadness. He lamented at the closeness of his death, and he thought about his companions. All of these people around him had memorized Qur’an, all of these people had memorized hadeeth. “Where is my Qur’an? Where is my hadeeth?” he cried. Instead, he lamented, that he was stuck between Zaid and Amr, the two famous characters in the nahw books.
He went to sleep distraught.
That night he had a dream, and he, rahimahullah, was visited by the GREATEST of the GREATEST men, Rasul Allah sal Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallama. The Prophet salAllahu alayhi wa sallama gave him glad tidings
about his efforts!
SubhanAllah, he woke realizing that his work was indeed important, as it was a means to helping people know and understand the Qur’an. So much so that until now, no one has written a book like THE Book on Arabic grammar.
This is a non-Arab, she told me. This is the way of knowing the Qur’an. Do you think that if you stopped and asked a person on the street something in fusha, they could answer you in fusha? No, she told me, because it takes work. It’s hard, but it’s worth it, being on the path of wanting to know the Qur’an.
If Sibaway, a non-Arab, could write THE BOOK on Arabic grammar, what about all of you with all the skills and talents Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has created you with? Look at what you were given, and see how you can maximize that for your ummah and your society fisabilliah.
Let’s forget about the cultural baggage, let’s move past the differences WE create in our communities, and let’s do what the Prophet salAllahu ‘alayhi wa sallama did to help build the best generation which ever walked this earth: find the skills and talents within individuals- within YOURSELVES- and take them and use them for Allah’s sake to make great leaps of progress bi’idnillah. We need YOU in this ummah! You’re right, I have no idea who you are. But the fact that you’re taking time to read this blog tells me something. So what can you bring to the table? Masha’Allah, this ummah’s got game and crazy five star players… we just need to be playing on the same court and running towards the same goal!
And yes, it’s going to be a struggle. But, as a dear teacher, hafidhahullah, once reminded me:
Isbiri, fa inna sabran nooron min Allah
Be patient [this is an order- to a female [hence the “i” at the end]- in the Arabic language]! For indeed patience is light from Allah.
So yes, we may be tested in whatever way we’re trying to move forward, but let’s work on trying to be patient when the going gets rough and look ahead to, insha’Allah, what we hope is a great outcome for our ummah because of the inshaAllah massive contributions of people like YOU. AND, throughout all this, I have one serious piece of advice for us all: make duaa sincerely, seriously and constantly. Allah is the Answerer.