‘Learning Arabic is a must for Muslims’
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
ALTHOUGH only required to a certain extent, learning Arabic is still fardhu ain or a personal obligation for Muslims, according to the assistant Ra’es of Seri Begawan Religious Teachers University College (KUPU SB).
Dr Abang Hadzmin Abang Hj Taha made the remark recently during a briefing on the sidelines of the launch of the ‘Arabic language project for South East Asian countries’ held at KUPU SB.
Dr Abang Hadzmin stressed that this is according to the Mazhab Shafi’ie (Shafi’ie school of thought) which Muslims in the country follow officially.
He added that it is also contained in fatwas by Islamic scholars whereby they have suggested the teaching of Arabic.
According to statistics, he said less than 10 per cent of Muslims can understand Arabic.
“If you recall a few years back, an English language project was launched by Hillary Clinton in Brunei called the Brunei-US English Language Enrichment Project for ASEAN. Before that project, Brunei, through the Islamic Studies Department (JPI), had started teaching the Arabic language at all religious schools, which was a huge step forward.
“However, this wasn’t as significant compared to the leaps in progress made by supporters of the English language,” he said.
He added that this caught the attention of Arabic language teachers that around 90 per cent of Muslims can’t understand Arabic.
“A majority of people can speak English because they were provided with the learning opportunities,” he said.
He added that if learning Arabic is a personal obligation, then teaching it is even more important.
“This is so that the (obligation) of Muslims to learn the language can be fulfilled,” he said.
Dr Abang Hadzmin highlighted that the ‘Arabic language project for South East Asian countries’ was launched with the philosophy that the Arabic language represents Islamic civilization and is the official language of Islam.
He said the project’s goal after 14 years is that Muslims from around the Southeast Asian region will be able, at a minimum, to speak Arabic to communicate with each other on matters related to Islamic religious affairs and will no longer need to use other languages.
Dr Abang Hadzmin said the project is a platform for providing effective learning opportunities for Muslims in the region to learn Arabic to the extent that the practice of speaking the language will not only be a means of practicing the Sunnah but also a means of communication between Muslims.
He added that this will also strengthen relationships between Muslims as well as increase the harmonious practice of Islam in the region.
The Brunei Times