Why should you learn Arabic?

by Mahmoud Hassan

The Arabic letter dad

Maybe you are not sure if learning Arabic is really for you. The following 10 points may help you get a clearer idea

1. Are Your Activities Related to Islam?

The Kaaba in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, is the center point of the Muslim world. Arabic is the language of worship in Islam. The Arabic language plays a central role in Islam. It is the language of the Quran, and the source language of Islamic jurisprudence and religious literature.

The Quran in Arabic is the only version accepted as being "the Quran". The meanings of the Quran can be translated to other languages, but these are only regarded as "translations of the meaning of the Quran".

Arabic is the language of worship - prayers are read in Arabic, and the international greeting between Muslims is in Arabic. Non-Arab Muslims are encouraged to learn Arabic to enable them to read the Quran and improve their understanding of it.

Knowledge of Arabic is the best tool for both Muslims and Non-Muslims to understand what Islam is about. It also helps in building positive interaction with Muslim communities.

2. Are You Doing Business with the Arab World?

The Arab countries are in the process of reforming and diversifying their economies. Business regulation is improved in order to make the economies more competitive and to attract entrepreneurs. In the Arabian Gulf, for example, huge investments are made in areas like construction, finance, telecom and tourism.

The size of the Middle Eastern economy as a whole has increased by approximately 120% in the five-year period from mid-2003 to mid-2008. As a result of the "Arab Spring", which is changing the patterns of governance in many parts of the Arab world, business and investment opportunities are likely to increase at a fast rate.

Knowledge of Arabic provides better insight into all aspects of business in the Arab World. The business culture in the Arab World is very much about building personal relationships of mutual trust. In this environment, knowledge of Arabic can be instrumental in fostering deeper business relations.

3. Are You into Diplomatic or Cultural Relations?

Knowledge of Arabic is instrumental in building positive relationships of exchange with the Arab world. The Arab world is moving towards a new era, characterized by more openness and liberalization.

There is a tendency towards reforms aiming at more government transparency and increased public participation in decision-making this development benefits trade relations and cultural exchange between the Arab countries and the rest of the World. Knowledge of Arabic is an essential for anyone seeking profound understanding of the culture and thinking-patterns of the Arab world.

4. Do You Often Travel to The Arab World?

Welcome to the souq, the traditional market, where there is no shortage of merchandise! Arabs feel honored when foreigners make an attempt to speak their language. Even a few phrases make a difference. Having sound knowledge of the language makes you an extra welcome and honored guest. Knowledge of Arabic gives you the opportunity to get closer to the locals and get better insight into their culture and traditions... and wouldn't it be nice if you were able to read and understand all written signs...?

5. Do You Live as an Expat in an Arab Country?

Living in a country without being able to understand its language, can be frustrating. It makes you feel like a stranger, regardless of how long you stay. If you are an expatriate in an Arab country, you have probably realized how much easier, and also enjoyable, your daily life would be if you knew how to read and speak Arabic.

6. Are You Planning for a Job in an Arab Country?

With the Arab economies set on steady growth, professionals in various fields are in high demand. Knowledge of Arabic can increase your chances of getting an interesting and rewarding job in an Arab country.

Examples of professions where knowledge of Arabic is desirable: Foreign Correspondent, Translator, Technical Engineer, Geologist, Banker, International Consultant, Foreign Service Officer, International Lawyer, Teacher, Researcher, Doctor, Nurse, Dentist, and Social Worker.

7. Do You Have an Interest in Arab Culture and Affairs?

"What would you like to drink?" A common question, and gesture of hospitality, in the Arab world. Getting to the roots of Arab culture is best done through its most cherished treasure - the Arabic language. The traditional hospitality of the Arabs, which visitors to the Arab world often have the pleasure to witness, becomes even more cordial when the guest shows an ambition to communicate in Arabic. The guest is not expected to speak perfect Arabic, and it is the good intention that counts. Even a few words are appreciated. Whether your contacts are social or business, knowledge of Arabic is likely to boost your status, and help foster trust and solid relationships.

8. Do You Have Arab Family Members?

Maybe you have relatives or friends from an Arab country. Learning to communicate with Arab family members or friends in their own language can be both interesting and fun. It can add a whole new dimension to your life. It would enable you to better understand their emotions and thinking patterns. And you would surely benefit personally from the positive impact this would have on yourself.

9. Does Your Work Involve Contacts with Arab Immigrant Communities?

If your type of work includes contact with Arab immigrants, knowledge of Arabic can facilitate your work and improve relations between yourself and your clients.

10. Do You Enjoy the Challenge of Learning New Languages?

Maybe you are keen to learn a new language, but you want to try something different... something more exotic... a more "unusual" type of language...Some simply start learning Arabic "for the heck of it"... Learning Arabic can be challenging, but the reward is great, once you begin to appreciate the unique beauty and richness of this great language.

Convinced that learning Arabic is worth trying? Begin your studies the easy way right here.

About the writer

This article was brought to you by Mahmoud Hassan of the Alustadh Insitute for Arabic and Islamic Studies

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