What They Teach Us at Bayyinah

“How can you read Arabic words without the tashdeed?”

He meant tashkeel. That’s my Z, not the one who’s always beaten up in class though, the one spelled with an ‘E’. He’s my youngest, in sha Allah turning 8 this year.

It occurred to me that my daily absences at home ever since I started Dream must have been very different for him. There were some days when he would ask to come with me, and there were some days when he would try to hold me back. Then, on days where I would not go to class, like today’s snow day, he kept asking me,

“Why aren’t you in class?”

I said, “There’s snow outside. It’s dangerous to drive. ”

He kept quite for a while and I thought the matter was over. Then he asked again,

“Can’t you walk?”

“I can. But I don’t want to.”

He can’t accept the fact that I’m home today, because six days of the week, every week, I’ve always left the house early in the morning and I come home close to maghrib time or around asr time.

I guess he’s never really known what I do at Bayyinah, now that I think of it. The only thing he sees me do other than the usual stuff I’ve always done before Bayyinah is me practicing the readers, and using the online dictionary and doing my homework. But what has gotten his attention is me practicing my readers.

There was a time when I was practicing my readers and it happened to be on the story of the prophets, so I was reading them in Arabic and then translating them into English. He was in my room, just playing by himself at that time. He piped in,

“But that’s in Arabic.”

I guess, it appeared weird to him that I was reading it in Arabic and then saying it in English.

“Yeah, I’m translating it into English.”

Then I ended up reading it in Arabic and translating it into English while telling him the story.

As he is also going to Sunday school and learning Arabic words, he began to take an interest in trying to read my Arabic readers when I’m practicing them. Of course, they’re without harakaat.

Along with grammar, in Dream, we’re also taught to read Arabic text without the harakaat with correct grammar. We started off very basic and this week, we’re supposed to finish the readers, which means, after this, we won’t be doing readers anymore. In total, we will have read 60 reader texts! I’m going to miss reader.

So, in reader, we are given a list of the new vocabulary, but we have to figure out the correct harakaat on the words according to the grammar we have learned. As we moved on to reader #50 onwards, the vocabulary lists are no longer provided and the texts grew more advanced in sentence structure. From this point onwards, we have to look up the vocabulary ourselves, using the online dictionary. We do about 3 readers a week, and on Fridays, which are exam days, we are tested on a section of a chosen reader text. We are to read it without the harakaat, correctly and then translate correctly. That’s basically the oral part of our weekly exams.

This week, we are doing 4 reader texts, though since today is a snow day, I don’t know if we’ll be able to finish it. I have a feeling we probably will. I tried reading As’ilah Bayaniyyah, and I realized that all those reader texts practice actually has helped us move on to other Arabic texts. We just need to keep practicing for increased fluency.

So, my Z, when he asked me how I was able to read the Arabic words without the tashkeel, I realized that it was an opportunity for me to show him why I’m gone every day, 6 days of the week, every week, for about 6 months so far.

My reply, “This is what they teach us at Bayyinah.”



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