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I know the Arabic script, and can read the Quran. But I have no understanding of what I'm reading.

What is the best route to learning Classical Arabic? Most of the guides I've seen (in the UK) deal only with modern Arabic.

Should I learn this first, or can I go straight into learning the Classical Arabic of the Quran?

My main reason for learning Quranic Arabic, is that its poetic force simply does not come through in English. The translations I have looked at are, poetically speaking, dull. Which is a pity. And I don't see that changing any time soon.

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    +1, a similar question was wandering in my mind. – Tabrez Ahmed Dec 6 '12 at 3:55
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    The Arabic you should learn if you want to understand Qur'an and classical texts is al-fuṣḥā (الفصحى). – Abdullah Dec 6 '12 at 7:38
  • As related helpful sites: al-islam.org/search/site/arabic – اللهم صل علی محمد و آل محمد Feb 17 '16 at 7:59
  • Yeah Abdullah is right, Modern Arabic is horrible some words used within it are not even Arabic, Fusha is so much more wonderful! – Aboudi Feb 21 '16 at 10:51
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Many courses teach MSA, modern standard Arabic, and some even call that classical Arabic. A very good starting point for the real classical (Quranic) Arabic is "Al-Ajrumiyyah" and its explanation in "At-Tuhfatu As-Saniyyah" These books are good for beginners but also beneficial to study from next to other Arabic courses or for people who already speak Arabic.

You can download study material here:

On this site there are many more downloads for study material:

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TLDR: the best way is to find a local, structured class that will take you from zero to fluent.

Actually, there are a number of approaches you can take to learn the Qur'anic Arabic, depending on your location and means (time, energy, internet connectivity, and willingness to learn). These are:

  • Take a local Arabic class. My personal favourite. These usually follow the cirriculum of the three books by shaykh Abdul-Raheem V., which focuses on grammar.
  • Learn online. Find a reputable institute (like the Fajr Institute) and have online one-on-one learning with a shaykh who knows his stuff.
  • Self-Study (The Three Books): The three books also have "Key" books which explain, in decent English, the lessons learned from each book; the perfect complementary resource for a self-studier.
  • Self-Study (Online Websites): There are several resources online -- sites, videos, etc. for someone who wants to study Arabic. Look it up.

Personally, I've tried all of these, and nothing beats being forced to sit in a class every week and study -- it keeps you motivated, it keeps you going, and you can ask questions when you don't understand.

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Best way to learn the Classical Arabic (Fusha)?

Learning modern Arabic can be helpful for you, but I assume you can use Quranic dictionaries as well. Since, to the best of my knnowledge, there are Quranic dictionaries which has explained Quranic vocabularies ...

For instance, you can peruse the following sites as related Arabic language ... :

  • Hmm not sure about learning modern Arabic, because the vocabulary and grammatical structure is not even Arabic (some are heavily influenced by turkish(syria, lebanon, etc) and others by french(Algeria), eventualy all arabic countries refer to Fusha when producing documents or writings of any sort, therefore learning Modern arabic then fusha may seem like two closely related languages but are not the same! – Aboudi Feb 21 '16 at 10:56
  • Uh, yeah. I agree with you. God bless you for mentioning that. – اللهم صل علی محمد و آل محمد Feb 21 '16 at 11:14
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I develop a site for learning Classical Arabic through reading.

Everyone is able to understand the language of the Quran, God willing, within 90 hours through avoiding any kind of translation tools and using instead my Visual Hint and special adapted literature like this, but in Arabic.

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"Bayyinah.TV" amazing course called "Arabic with husna" for teaching classical Arabic. Yearly subscription but well worth every penny. If finances are a problem you can also be sponsored through the site, although there is a waiting list.

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Assuming there are no barriers to what you are able to commit too, then the best method for learning a language is to immerse yourself in an environment of the target language. The main benefit is that you have little choice but to speak in your target language, and pick out what you can in conversations and build up gradually.

Coming from a background as a non-arabic speaker, around a year in Egypt studying with an Arabic teacher (who speaks exclusively in fus-ha Arabic) for approximately 3 hours per day put me in a position to self-study upon leaving. Even if the general population of the country you choose to go to speak a local dialect, they WILL understand you and generally appreciate that you want to learn THEIR language.

Enjoy

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