Tuesday, 29 September 2009


So this month, my challenge was inspired by the month of Ramadan. I decided to tap into my Cerebral Cortex and delve into the mental archives. Unfortunately I found out that my brain is still using Windows 95 and I have to wait until it upgrades to Vista. See when I was in Primary School (Grades 1 to 7) I had Arabic as a subject in both School and Madressa. In Madressa, we had an excellent teacher from Egypt and we called him Sheikh. He was such a great teacher, that I was practically fluent in Arabic by the time I was 12.

However, (ashamed to say this but) the years rolled by and with no one to converse with, my linguistic skills and knowledge of the vernacular have sort of diminished over time. I can still read and write in Arabic, and I can vaguely recall the meaning of some words, but most of my memory is on lockdown…hidden in some encrypted file in an unknown location in my brain. So for this months’ challenge, I decided to change that. I went back to my linguistic roots and dug out my old books, taking a beginner’s course to re-learn what I was once proficient in.

And so far so good. I’m still far away from being fluent and I will have to learn grammatical laws etc. but I’m one step closer to my goal. Of course, I know this won’t take just one month to accomplish, several maybe…but it’s a start.

In other news, I finally received my letter from UJ in the Post Project headed by a one Organ Harvester. Firstly, I’m very disappointed that the postal strike prevented UJ from receiving my letter (a letter that took me a good part of a day to write), and secondly I’m sad that he’ll never receive my gifts which is probably sitting with some greedy minx at some or other postal depot :(

But what can I say?! I was floored. In the letter were two dried rose/flower petals. I thought that was very sweet. His entire letter details his escapades travelling through the country to the coast. It was detailed brilliantly, with enough description to make you feel like you were there with him, but not so much that you get bored reading it. In the enclosed bubble-wrap that came with his letter was a sea shell from Port Elizabeth. And even though it was crushed by the time I received it, for me it was gold. Great stuff! Especially since I collect little rocks, sea shells and sand from different places.

OH said that we should go into details with feedback regarding elements like handwriting and all that…and while UJ doesn’t win any awards in the the best calligraphy department, his thoughtfulness more than made up for it in his letter. I feel weird about sharing more details…is it weird that I feel weird? I just feel like it’s sorta personal. Man I love letters!


  1. I have not received my letter yet :(

  2. Vista is a piece of shit.

    I still haven't sent my letter. It's hald-finished though.

  3. Azra the best feeling in the world is reading the Quraan and understanding what Allah is saying to you. Arabic is a beautiful language to learn too. Somehow I think I could be wrong though, that every mosque or institute in cape town was teaching Arabic for adults here I find you its like looking for a needle in a haystack! why is that?!

  4. Prixie - I don't know who I hatemore between the SA Post Office, Telkom and Eskom. Seriously, its pathetic.

    Mash - Why the delay? I was going to say Windows 2010...but that isn't out yet innit.

    UJ - I'm posting the letter today InshaAllah :)

    fatima - I want to be fluent in Arabic within the next year InshaAllah. I believe its the only way one can fully appreciate the Qur'am and Allah's word. Its difficult to learn here in Gauteng though...not alot fo resources...

    And this is the part where I tell you that society sucks and that teaching arabic to adults is not a priority for the Ulema because they like to pick and choose the Shariah to suit them and are more worried about women attending the mosques and their beards. :P

  5. That is so awesome Azra and UJ, Really its about your experience and what you feel like sharing. Thank you Azra that was amazing.

  6. Very true...I studied Arabic for three years in CT,(classical Quraan Arabic) I wanted to stay in the game and maybe do some part time courses when we moved here as my son is still small but could not find any place here. I do agree about the Ulema....check this out, I would so love to go here and you should see the pics for Arabic Calligraphy for adults everyone looks like they having so much fun....http://www.zaytuna.org/classschedule.asp and here http://www.arabicintensive.org/ and here http://www.flickr.com/photos/40856067@N08/sets/72157621946581571/ (our ulema would probably shudder if they see these)

  7. OH - It was cool. Thanks for initiating the project and including me.

    Fatima - Thanks for the links, they were awesome :)