Saturday, March 6, 2010

How to Pray/ Learn the Qur'an

Assalaamu 'alaikum,

Alhamdulillah I have begun working on two new video series. The first is part of a larger series, Pillars of Islam. I already did a single video explanation of the Shahadah, and insha'Allah I am already planning out a series of a whole bunch of videos called Salah: How to Worship your Creator. Insha'Allah I want to cover every aspect of the prayer. One part of that is working with pronunciation and memorization of the Arabic. I have a method of writing out the English and Arabic that works for me very well, so insha'Allah I want to share it with everybody else. On top of that I insha'Allah want to do a series of videos on learning the Quran. in each video I would deal with one Surah, discuss the meaning and the tafsir, then I would teach the Surah and help the viewer to memorize it insha'Allah. I find there are two major difficulties with memorizing Qur'an or other Arabic for prayers. First of all, obviously, most people don't understand the meaning of the Arabic they are trying to memorize, which makes things much harder. Second, most people can't read Arabic script either, and so they have to use various transcriptions and transliterations into our Roman script. This presents many problems because there is a trade off that takes place. If you try to preserve the meanings of each word, to show each word by itself, or literally transliterate each letter, the result will be difficult to pronounce correctly. On the other hand, if you go overboard trying to make the Arabic really easy to pronounce, it doesn't even resemble words anymore, just a bunch of sounds, and for the person trying to learn, it doesn't connect with the meaning. So my solution to this is to have each verse in 4 parts: the first line has each word in Arabic broken up into individual boxes in a table, preserving the word in its natural form. The next line would have the corresponding English meaning (more or less) for each word in their own boxes. Then the next line would be the complete verse in Arabic, fully joined together for proper pronunciation, followed by the English translation of the meaning on the last line. This way, the person can recognize each Arabic word and relate it to what they are reciting, while still being able to retain the correct pronunciation, AND have a better grasp on the meaning, insha'Allah.

That was a lot of explaining. Here's a sample of what I'm talking about. Insha'Allah my plan is to pair this with audio in the videos, but to also have separate documents available here on the blog so people can have it separate from the videos themselves. Tell me what you think insha'Allah!