Ustadh Nouman Khan is popularly known for his contribution in reviving the appreciation of the Quran as a literary miracle. He is one of the 500 most influential Muslims in the world. One of Ustadh Nouman most listened to course is The Divine Speech.
When Ustadh Nouman decided to turn that course into a book, he entrusted this noble task to one man. His name is Sharif Randhawa, the co-author of The Divine Speech.
I had the opportunity of conducting an interview with Sharif and this article is about his journey in writing The Divine speech under the supervision of Ustadh Nouman.
On Co-Writing the Divine Speech: Exploring the Quran as Literature
The Divine Speech book is well known for teaching Arabic Quran for English speakers. The lessons not only focus on the linguistic miracles of the Qur’an but also explains the tafsir and interpretations for a better understanding of the Qur’an.
How the Idea for the Book Came About
Sharif was studying full time at the Bayyinah Institute, which is founded by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan. After completing the course, Sharif wanted to continue at Al-Bayyinah Institute as a researcher, working with Ustadh Nouman.
Ustadh Nouman wanted to document his Divine Speech course (which was a live seminar then) and turn it into a book. He approached Sharif to co-author the book.
The Process of Writing The Book
Sharif initially thought he would transcribe Ustadh Nouman’s lectures. However, that did not turn out as well in written form, even after the editing process. So, he then changed the approach to the writing process.
“Take the concepts and put them in writing. But then I sent a manuscript to my best friend, and he started critiquing the examples and arguments of the book.”
“My friend’s point was that ‘This is the first book in the English language that conveys these ideas so you want to be as good as possible’. So then, after discussing it with Ustadh Nouman, he gave me literary freedom to add additional content, with his supervision and permission.”
The Best Way To Learn Quranic Arabic
We asked brother Sharif on his tips on the best way to learn Quranic Arabic. He shared with us the following tips.
Start with the understanding of the basic grammar and morphology of Arabic. Depending on the curriculum you’re using, it can be easy or difficult.
Can You Learn Quranic Arabic Fast?
“Learning with Ustadh Nouman, he teaches in a simplified and streamlined manner of learning Arabic grammar and morphology. That is accomplishable if you’re doing it full time, within five months. But if you’re doing it more slowly, within a few years, it’s very possible for almost anybody to do that.”
What advice would you give to those who can only study Arabic part-time, and later in life?
“Take your cue from Ustadh Nouman. Ustadh Nouman was also in the same boat. He didn’t study Arabic intensively, where he first started studying and working with a full-time job and a family.”
“What he would do was spent a small amount of time every day studying, around 20-30 minutes per day, and really commit to that time.”
“With him as an example, you can see that over time the result is really beneficial, with the barakah of Allah s.w.t.”
Can Quranic Arabic Be Mastered By Everyone?
” You never really master the classical Arabic of the Quran because its just so deep. Imam al-Shafi’e made a statement that had a really big impact on me. He said that, “
“I spent two-thirds of my wealth in studying the Arabic language and I wished I spent all three-thirds of it.”
“Imam al-Shafi’e was one of the masters of classical Arabic, and even he said that he wished he had an even greater mastery of it. So, it depends on the different levels, and there’s no end to that road (of learning).”
A Normal Educational Background
By all accounts, Sharif’s educational background is normal. He attended public schools in the US and continued his studies in a Bachelor’s degree in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Washington. He is currently pursuing his Master’s degree in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago.
Tips On Staying Focus On Learning Quranic Arabic
“Enjoy your study of the Quran, take your time, don’t rush it. Spend a little bit of time everyday working on it and share with others what you’ve learned.”
“Even now people have shared with me what they’ve learned from the Qur’an, especially with regards to the literary approaches, and they are new things which I hadn’t noticed before. “
“The Qur’an is an ocean with limitless treasures in it. “
Shahfizal Musa is the editor of Halalop. He graduated with a Law degree from Thames Valley University London. He is an award-winning journalist covering topics such as human trafficking, Muslim research discoveries, and exceptional Muslims.