Urdu as a Blessing to Learn QuranSunday, February 1, 2015
وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍ
Do you speak Urdu? If yes, you are so lucky!
- You already read "right-to-left", unlike English
- You are familiar with the Arabic script
ا ب ت
- You can correctly pronounce most Arabic words/sounds because of common alphabets and similarities in the two languages, Arabic and Urdu
- You can read Quran in Arabic with little preparation
بِسْمِ اللَّـهِ الرَّحْمَـٰنِ الرَّحِيمِ
- You can recognize names in Quran because your own children are named after these personalities:
ابراهیم، اسماعیل، یُوسف
- You can recognize common religious terms used in Quran due to your education and socialization in your own culture:
اُخُوَّت، اذان، بعثت ، تقوىٰ
- And finally, you already have a basic vocabulary of the Quran, without realizing it. That's because much of Urdu is actually Arabic
To fully appreciate the blessing, find a foreigner (English, German, French) and see him struggle learning and speaking Urdu (a foreign language). They can't even pronounce your name properly, even with years of interaction. And reading/writing Urdu is too daunting a task to bother the effort.
ذَٰلِكَ فَضْلُ اللَّـهِ يُؤْتِيهِ مَن يَشَاءُ
Allah has bestowed upon us a momentous favour. We have to respond by being thankful. And the only meaningful way to respond in this regard is by making use of this opportunity. Make an effort to understand His message, in His own words.
Why Make an Effort when We have Translations?
Translations are only the bear minimum you can do to understand the Quran. It's just the step-1. It gives you a sense of the message, but never the same feeling. How would you feel to read William Shakespeare in Urdu? or Mirza Ghalib in English? Can you ever enjoy the literary class of the poets by grabbing a translation?
With Quran, the Glorious, the Magestic, the Exalted, the Lord of the Worlds connects and communicates with you, to impress and inspire you, using style and words that match the glory of the Communicator.
Translation kills inspiration!
It's like asking a person who surfs in the ocean to swim in a pool.
Unfold the Mystery
وَعِندَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ
Another major problem with all translations is, that they communicate only one meaning of the word(s). Most words, especially in Arabic, have a range of meanings. Both the beauty and the vastness of the message is essentially lost by relying on a particular translation. One of the names of Almighty Allah is "وَاسِعٌ", meaning, "The Boundless". How can you bind the message of the Boundless, with an extremely limited vocabulary and interpretation?
When you rise above that, by developing your vocabulary, you are enhancing your prospects to reveal the Mystery that rests in Quran. That's why Quran stresses on reflecting, probing, pondering, not casual reading. The Knower of the Invisible (عَالِمُ الْغَيْبِ) urges you to explore and unveil the hidden treasure in the Book and appreciate life to its utmost depth, far far beyond apparent, empirical experience.
Urdu as a Leverage to Learn Quran
As explained above, Urdu speaking individuals have a natural advantage to learn Quran. They meet the pre-requisites which can significantly quicken their learning and reduce the overall effort. It's almost as if Quran is waiting for them to return the call.
Although the key elements of this advantage have already been illustrated above, however, that's not all. The link between Urdu and Arabic is far greater than we usually recognize. Our everyday communication is flooded with terms borrowed from Arabic. And finally, these terms are spread all over Quran. Some of these terms are used as is, yet others appear in Quran with slight variation. In addition, Quran repeats its message, as a matter of style, again and again. That significantly enhances our prospects to learn and understand the language of Quran.
To fully appreciate the advantage and know the vocabulary common between Urdu and Quran see List of Urdu Terms Found in Quran.
This article begins with a verse:
وَلَقَدْ يَسَّرْنَا الْقُرْآنَ لِلذِّكْرِ فَهَلْ مِن مُّدَّكِرٍAn extremely important verse of the Quran. As an expression of the idea given in this article, I would like to share with you, that the translation given for this verse, is correct, yet flawed. It falls short of the intended scope of the above verse. If you are truly interested to understand its true (full) meaning, you need to dig deeper and do the treasure hunt yourself. After all, we don't get hold of something precious with mere spoon-feeding. Do we?
وَأَن لَّيْسَ لِلْإِنسَانِ إِلَّا مَا سَعَىٰ