Newark Qur’anic Arabic Graduates Recognized

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CAM00021NEWARK, N.J. – On Sun., Jan. 12, 2014 six prominent participants of the beginners’ Arabic class at Masjid Ash-Shifaa in Newark became gratified graduates. The class was taught by Imam Aqeel Abdul-Mateen.
The graduates are Sisters Rasheedah Saleem, Hassana Quamar Shaw, Shareefah Malik, Gloria Bass Talib-Din, and Bro. Abdul-Malik Hamid and his wife, Sis. Apryl Hamid.
Regarding the Class, the graduates each weighed in.
Rasheedah Salim, “I really enjoyed the class very much. Imam Aqeel gave a lot of history of the Surahs. He made it interesting and he was very patient. The greatest benefit was learning about the history, the punctuation, and the grammar.
“I also enjoyed hearing the stories; Imam Aqeel is a great story teller. It’s like you have story to go with each Surah.”
Hassana Quamar Shaw said, “Imam Aqeel was thorough; it was a beautiful class. I learned a lot. He was patient, and he made learning fun. It was good being around everybody who was also learning Arabic. They were all so supportive.
“I will use what I’ve learned in class on a daily basis. By Ramadan, I hope to be able to follow as the Imam recites a Juz every night.”
Shareefah Malik said, “I’m not a beginner; I’ve previously learned some Arabic. I was studying with Sheik Baashir but he became ill and was unable to continue the class. Each teacher will give you something different, so in Imam Aqeel’s class I was able to remember some things that I had been forgotten.
“My ultimate goal is to be able to read and understand the Qur’an in the Qur’anic Arabic language. When I read Qur’an in English, I feel that I’m not really enjoying it the way it is supposed to be enjoyed and understood. I want to get the full meaning of Qur’an when I read it, and I don’t feel as though I’m getting the full meaning of it.”
Gloria Bass Talib-Din said, “It was quite a beautiful class. I always wanted to learn to read Qur’an in Arabic because that’s how Allah revealed it to the prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Salaam). I want to get all the benefits I can receive. My grandchildren are learning Arabic now and I want to be able to keep up with them.”
Apryl Hamid said, “It was an excellent class. It was taught by someone who was excited about the class, so we were excited to learn. My husband and I took the class so that we could get a deeper understanding of the Qur’an, increase our knowledge, and increase our ability to recite Qur’an in the language it was revealed in.
“We wanted to see it (Qur’an) through our own eyes and not just through other people’s eyes. Also, taking the class was something we could do as a couple.”
Abdul-Malik Hamid said, “The class was excellent. Imam Aqeel took his time and distinguished the prophets one from another. He wants to make sure you get it from the beginning, which is why we took his class.
“We were encouraged to recite the Qur’an in Arabic, get the point, and understand the Qur’an in the language it was revealed in. Apryl and I have been married three years now. When we have children we will be able to teach them Arabic.”
Sis. Latifah Salim, an alumna of Imam Aqeel’s class, was shown recognition as she was asked to speak. She congratulated all of the graduates and shared, “I know completing this class was very hard work. You all work outside of your home, you come home and take care of your families, you do everything - but you stuck with it Al-Hamdulillah.”
She recited one ayah from the Qur’an: Aoothu billahi mini shaitan ir rajeen bismillahi Rahman ir Rahim. Walaid Yasana kanallah alal wa dikwe fa halman mutakil. Translated it means, Allah has made the Qur’an very, very easy. Is there anyone that will understand?
Imam Aqeel elaborated by saying, “That is the ayah I included on the flyer for my Arabic class. Latifah not only remembers that ayah, she lives by it.”
He then gave her additional accolades in sharing that Latifah is a lifetime supporter of the Muslim community, long-time supporter of Masjid Ash-Shifaa (along with her husband). She cooks, caters and volunteers otherwise. He concluded, “She’s the one who prepared most of the food that we will enjoy here today.”
Imam Saleem Sharif, Assistant Imam at Masjid Ash-Shifaa, began the official ceremony by further congratulating the graduates and offering a brief synopsis of Tajweed, that is, what the graduates learned in class.
He stated, “Tajweed is the correct pronunciation of the Arabic; it is known as a way of giving every character, giving every letter its due. That is the correct definition of Tajweed. Studying Qur’an in English has its benefits, but learning to study it in Qur’anic Arabic is a tremendous thing. The benefits of learning Tajweed are many, as reflected in Hadith.
“Ayesha (Radi Allahu Anha) relates that the Prophet (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Salaam) said, ‘Verily, the one who recites the Qur’an beautifully, smoothly and precisely - he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And the reward of those who recite it with difficulty will be twice that of one who is proficient.’”
He continued, “So you see, there are even benefits for those of you stammer and stumble as you attempt to learn Qur’anic Arabic and recite it. So the tremendous undertaking brothers and sisters, that you have pursued at this time, i.e., this Qur’an, learning it in Arabic, trying to satisfy your own heart and your own soul, and then teaching it to others is a tremendous undertaking.
“So once again I’d just like to say congratulations to all of you, and may Allah continue to bless you in your proficient studies of Qur’anic Arabic. Ameen.”
Imam Aqeel then addressed the graduates. In expounding on Sis. Latifah’s previous comment he stated, “I always say an adult Arabic class is more challenging than an Arabic class for children. Allah has made learning Qur’anic Arabic easy for us.
“However, as adult students you face more of a challenge because you have full-time jobs, because you have bills to pay, because you run businesses, because you volunteer your time otherwise, because you’re on different committees and boards, because you may still be doing that and attending school, and because you have families to take care of.
“With all that in mind, for you to complete an Arabic course from the beginning to the end is a major achievement. So we really admire the graduates we have here today, and I’m really excited about them as I am about all my graduates. This class is special because the highest number of adults I ever had to complete a class was 17 out of 22 students. That was a long time ago.
“These days, you can begin a class with 25 people registered and end up with 10 graduates, or you may begin with 10 and only have four graduates. You may even begin with eight and end up with one. That’s been the tradition for the last 35 years in most of the Arabic classes I’ve seen.
“People have so many things going on in their lives today. That is part of the reason this class is so special. Seven people registered for this class and six have completed it. The beginners' class consists of reading the Qur’an, reciting 10 short Surahs, building some vocabulary, and penmanship.
“Each one of them were given an assessment, each one of them completed homework assignments. Each one of them had good attendance, and each one of them had good class participation. These graduates deserve serious recognition because this is a major achievement. They stuck with it, and they have completed it.
“People have so many things going on in their lives today that they think they are unable to complete an Arabic class. But in Surah 54 of the Holy Qur’an Allah tells us He has made it easy for us to learn the Qur’an in Arabic.
“Therefore, I am going to give you – the graduates, and you our guests – a challenge. That challenge is to read two pages of the Holy Qur’an every night. If you do that you will have read the entire in one year. If I ask you how long you have been Muslim, you may say 30 years, 20 years, 50 years, 15 years, or 17 years, and so on.
“Then I might ask you how many Surahs do you know, and you say three, four, or five. Allah has made it easy. Brothers and Sisters, if you’ve been Muslim for 25 years, you can’t tell me you can’t learn one Surah per year. So why are you satisfied saying, ‘I know five Surahs.’
“Allah says in Surah 9, Ayah 122: They should devote themselves to the study of religion. We study for our jobs because we have to pay those bills. But Allah says you should devote yourselves to the study of this religion. And a part of the major study of this religion is the language.
“So you can get this if you want it. You get what strive for. My point is, you need to develop a passion for the Qur’an, and a passion for the language of the Qur’an. Allah says, “We sent it down as an Arabic Qur’an that you may learn wisdom.”
In conclusion Imam Aqeel said, “Each one of us is a student. Allah is my educator and I am a student of Imam W.D. Mohammed. I am admonishing them (the graduates) to continue their studies. Each of you should take somebody’s Arabic class. It doesn’t have to be my class, but take somebody’s class.”
Each graduate received a Qur’an written entirely in Arabic, a CD, and a certificate of completion. Arabic classes are held regularly at Masjid Ash-Shifaa. Adult Qur’anic Arabic class is Tuesday night. Children’s Arabic class is on Sundays.
Classes will resume Feb. 4, 2014. For additional information, contact Imam Aqeel at 973-220-5578 or email imamfalah@optonline.net.

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