- Reading Ahadith
- Reading Poems
- Reading commentaries
- Reading Hashiyas (super commentaries)
About the Course
Reading Texts of Different Types is the third and last course of our Level 2 Arabic program. Level 2 Arabic courses work to develop vocabulary acquisition, reading and listening skills through closely working with classical texts as well as developing classroom-Arabic communication skills. In this third course, students will cover a broad range of classical texts to experience and interact with most academic media they will need as serious students of knowledge.
In this course students will:
- Grammatically analyse the text through as needed that focus on consolidation of foundational grammatical concepts
- Learn a few new grammatical topics that are needed to understand the text.
- Practice recognizing morphological patterns from the ten forms table along with more complex and confusing morphological problems
- Develop conversation skills in the live session with vocab and topics specific to the student of knowledge milieu
- Unpack terse and tricky language; become accustomed to the structure and layout of classical works
- Learn to scan, research and extract information from texts
The focus of this course is using Arabic and developing a natural ability in reading and understanding such texts where grammar is a tool, not the objective of one’s studies.
- Reading Ahadith: Hadith literature like Sahih al-Bukhari or Riyadh al-Salihin is very unique in its style, nomenclature and structure. To familiarize ourselves to these texts, we cover a number of selections of ahadith from different books, examining and unpacking the chain of transmission, narrators and the hadith itself. The beginner is never safe from the perils of reading such texts until he has been lead by the hand through its organization, its omissions and its vocabulary.
- Poems: Few languages celebrate the grace and power of poetry as Arabic does. To cover even a snippet of Arabic poetry would require a course of itself, so here we take a few examples of a two common styles of poetry that the student of knowledge would be likely to encounter in order to facilitate his learning in the future. The first is the qasida , the Ode, and the other style is called the mandhuma, didactic poems summarizing the key discussions of a specific Islamic science. Students are shown how the examples are organized and how the grammar plays to the poets tune.
- Commentaries: One of the largest portions of our Islamic heritage is the commentary (al-sharh). No student of knowledge is every free of need of referring to extensive commentaries of whatever science he is pursuing. From hadith, fiqh, usul, Arabic not to mention the Quran itself, commentaries have served as one of the most fruitful and lively convoys of knowledge in our tradition. Students are exposed to a number of different shuruh (commentaries) of different styles, difficulties and of different sciences. Extensive assignments are set to teach the student what the shuruh are like and how to use them. Needless to say, this course is not designed to really open these books to students as such door could only be opened at the hand of teacher of that particular discipline.
- Hawashi: The hashiya (super-commentary or marginal gloss) is also a must for the student of knowledge. Though a later phenomenon, the hashiya is another treasure trove that the student must be familiar with and be able to use. Again, extensive assignments from a spectrum of different sciences like tafsir, fiqh and Arabic are used to build the student’s relationship with such works and help them begin to navigate their way through these often confusing and knot-like pieces of literature.
The course consists of weekly Live Sessions, handouts and lengthy and challenging assignments on the different genres of literature that shall be covered. The teachers shall hold weekly office hours where students can consult with them one-on-one. Students are highly encouraged to post their questions in the Forum over the course of the week, which are answered during the Live Sessions.
Weekly Time Commitment
The course requires an estimated 1-5 hours per week outside the live session, to complete the assignments, review the material and take notes.
The required excerpts from the different genres of literature shall be provided to students as part of the course material.
Students that have just finished ARB211 as well as those that have taken 200-level courses are all welcome candidates. Students must have sufficient background in grammar to be able to analyse word roles that are covered in a simple text in Arabic such as the Ajurrumiyya.
Additionally students should also be familiar with the ten forms table and be able to use a root-based dictionary such as Hans Wehr.
What is the most interesting thing I’ll cover in this course?
For the budding student of knowledge, this course is not only a key to the classical works his teacher will teach him but also an introduction to something of what is between those multi-volume works.
Depending on one’s (developing) interests, different students will find different texts interesting; however, it would hard to imagine that anyone could find the jewels of knowledge and beauty that Ibn Tamjid pulls out of Baydawi’s tafsir uninteresting, or that anyone could be bored by the rhythmic praise of the Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) from the pure Arabic tongue of the Sahabi Hassan bin Thabit.
How shall I benefit from this course?
Level 2 Arabic courses cater to the needs of students of Arabic and Islamic Studies who have acquired the basic keys of understanding grammatical structures and dictionary usage and need the opportunity to apply this knowledge to Islamic texts to be able to practice and consolidate their knowledge of grammatical structures, acquire relevant vocabulary and develop communicative skills to be able to study such texts in an Arabic classroom environment.
Working with a series of advanced texts of different styles, disciplines and levels is a very empowering experience and opens the door to an entire genre of Islamic texts. Students studying other 200-level courses, such as LAH211, LAS211 or BLF201 will find this course extremely useful when they come to the next level of their journey in 300-level courses.
What shall I know coming out of the course?
Upon completion of this course, students will have increased their vocabulary, increased their familiarity with the dictionary, strengthened their Arabic grammar and morphology; they will have a good idea of the style of many genres of Islamic literature, how to tackle them and benefit from them; they will have read a lot and increased their thirst for the Islamic sciences; and they will have, InshaAllah ta`ala, found the key they needed to the bab al-Abwab (Door of doors) of Islamic learning.