Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Fourth/Que me alcance

As salaam alaikum,

Alhamdulillah for Ramadan, seriously. This Ramadan, I think, will be the best Ramadan since junior year of college in terms of many things I can't easily summarize right now. One thing that's very interesting, though...I suddenly have more motivation than I ever have to learn Arabic.

Unfortunately I didn't have that ambition earlier in life when learning languages would be perhaps easier, but hey, I did learn Portuguese on a whim. I've never seriously tried my hand at a non-Romance language before, so I'm not sure how I would fare with a different script and a language with no cognates, but okay!

The thing is, I've always felt guilty that I'm obviously a lingophile but my desire to learn Arabic has been lukewarm at best. It's always been a "should" type thing...like, I knew that I should be compelled, but this Ramadan, for some reason, the desire has become more acute.

I've missed the boat in terms of times when taking an Arabic class would have been easy, but where there's a will, there's a way. It may not be immediate, but I'll work something out.

I'm not looking to be fluent or especially conversational, actually. All of that would be cool, because I love communicating in other people's languages, but my interest is more for the sake of Qur'an reading. I'm not claiming a level because insha'Allah I don't know how much I'll study later. I'm still going to be a physician as my day job, writing as my side job, insha'Allah wife and mother as a full time job, so I'm not talking about a second career goal...I just fell even more in love with the Qur'an this Ramadan and consider it high time that I take it to the next level...

Because seriously! You see how much I enjoy translating songs in Portuguese, singing along, amazed at how good it felt to be able to sing with the correct accent and everything? Need I draw parallels?

Ironically or not so much so, these are all English approximations.

"As for poets, the erring follow them. Hast thou not seen that they stray in every valley, and how they say that which they do not?" (26:224-226)

At first I fasted music during Ramadan. I hardly need to make a concerted effort, because music and poetry will always pale in comparison to the Qur'an, and even if I do hear some of my favorite music, it doesn't sound the same. Not in a sad way, but the Qur'an is like poetry, music out of this world, and I'm suddenly aware of how of this world that music is, how of this world I am when I listen to it, reflecting on issues, feelings and problems we feel are momentous now...but are just that, of this world.

I still love music, poetry and prose, though, for what it is. It reflects the human spirit, and I'm not going to lie, I love us. I love us but even so, I long for God more.

...I have a lot of work ahead of me, but insha'Allah I have a lot of life ahead of me. Insha'Allah, I'll have time.

Le pido a Dios que me alcance la vida...

It feels good, it feels natural. It doesn't feel forced. What doesn't feel forced?

Me doesn't feel forced.


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