Friday, October 18, 2013

Most Effective Way of Cutting a Nation from its History and Ideals - Imposing a Foreign Language

Most Effective Way of Cutting a Nation from its History - Imposing a Foreign Language

The project for cutting a nation from its history and roots always starts with the introduction of a foreign "language". We know how Ataturk's drive for secularism led him to change the Turkish script from Arabic to Latin script to cut the Turks from their history, and we also know how the British used English as a tool to create an elite class more anglophile (more loyal than the king) to serve them during their colonial rule and later to extend their control during the post-colonial era. This elite class identified themselves more with their colonial masters than with their fellow country men as evidenced by the distance they still maintain (see the VVIP culture and the motorcades of our rulers; military, political or feudals). 


The latest attack on this severance of ties to our culture and history has come from an unsuspecting quarter. Lately, Islamic schools have become big business. In fact, they have
replaced the English Medium secular schools in terms of the business value. In their strive for differentiation and as a pillar of their marketing strategy they are now trying to introduce Arabic from the play group level (around 2 years of age) with the objective that by the time they are through, the kid would have a complete command on Arabic and English at the expense of Urdu. They think that Urdu being a cultural language with so much non-Islamic baggage should be condemned to oblivion. English being the language of the commercial world has to be adopted. And of course, Arabic being the language of the Prophet and Islam has to be adopted. What a wonderful idea to reduce the load of one language by dumping Urdu and just retaining English and Arabic; balanced Deen and Duniya! Indeed.

This is known in our culture as "Na daan dost say dana dushman behtar hota hai"; that is 'a wise enemy is better than a foolish/simple minded friend'.

In their superficial understanding of education and inability to understand child psychology, they would like to do away with learning in the mother tongue or Urdu and only focus on Arabic. There are several major issues with this undertaking:

Firstly from educational point of view, there is prevalent consensus among educationists that the best medium for early childhood education is the mother tongue. We see this practiced in all the developed world, whether it is France, Germany, Finland or any other country in Europe, or whether it is Japan, Korea or Taiwan, or whether it is China. Early education is given in the mother tongue to facilitate the process of articulation and comprehension because a child who is armed with the ability to articulate his thoughts and to comprehend complex ideas in his mother tongue can very easily learn a foreign language in few months later on. 


Early childhood is the period of time when a child is in the process of learning how to articulate complex concepts in to words and sentences and how to interpret complex ideas being articulated orally. This process is short-circuited by the imposition of the burden of negotiating through the maze of the foreign language with the result that the child becomes lost in the complexity of foreign words and in the effort of making sense out of them, and loses sight of the more important process of articulation of complex ideas and comprehension of complex ideas. Resultantly we get children who are unable to express themselves freely and to comprehend the complexity of oral tradition. Children who are unable to do this in their mother tongue would always definitely have a problem doing the same thing in the foreign language. Hence, the loss of creativity and new ideas, loss of confidence and the recourse to "ruttafication" i.e. rote learning that we see around us.
(Qafla thak kar fiza kay paech o khum may reh giya!) Psycholinguistics experts widely agree that language acquisition during early childhood is most effective in the natural environment of the "mother tongue" as the use of the "other tongue" has severe side effects.

Secondly, learning of language is a social phenomenon. Supposing the child becomes proficient in a foreign language, but his parents or grandparents (and the large extended family) can not communicate in that language, the child would become a pariah and a misfit. He would actually either become a recluse or would become quiet, thereby loosing the practice that is necessary for  improving his communication skills. Communication skills are not acquired by attending  classrooms lectures but practicing and experimenting the skills in society; enjoying the company of books or other written literature, learning new ideas through different media, discussing them with peers, showing them off, refining them through arguments, clarifying them by sharing them with elders and peers. [See also for example the role of foreign language on our CSS results].

Thirdly, a child who can not communicate with his grandparents has actually been cut-off from his history, and a child who is not able to communicate with those younger to him in the society is cut off from his future. By cutting off the child from the language of his elders and from the language of the others, we are divorcing him from his society. Each nation has an oral history of traditions and values that are passed from one generation to another. The transmission typically takes place from grandparents to grandchildren; parents often being too busy in their daily strive for earnings or in the household chores. Thus, it is the interaction of the grandparents, who have enough time as they have crossed that stage of life where one's day is filled with concerns for earnings and household chores, to spend time with their children and reminisce about the long forgotten days. They often talk with their grandchildren about their nostalgic view of life and the wonderful times they had and in the process transmit the important lessons of their lives. By taking away the common language medium between the grandchildren and their grandparents, we effectively break this chain of transmission, leaving behind children that are not rooted in their cultural history and who are a sitting duck to be cherry picked for whatever ends the dominant civilization wants us to adopt. And definitely their agenda is not to make our kids remember and cherish the thousand years of Muslim rule of subcontinent!


Role of Language in Promoting Values

BERLIN (AFP) – Germany's attempt to create a multi-cultural society has failed completely, Chancellor Angela Merkel said at the weekend [Oct 17, 2010], calling on the country's immigrants to learn German and adopt Christian values.

Fourthly, "Kavva chala hans ki chaal, apni chaal bhi bhool gaya" (a crow who starts copying the magestic style of a swan movement, ends up forgotting even his own style of walking). What would be the future of these misfit children? They would never be accepted as Britishers or Americans however better their English is. They would never be accepted as Arabs, however, good their Arabic is. They would not be considered as locals as they would not have any affinity or common ground with the Pakistanis. We would have produced another generation of misfits having no truck with their predecessors or their history. Think about children who can not understand Iqbal, Ghalib or Faiz, or who can not understand Farhatullah Baig, Qurratul Ain Hyder, or Mukhtar Masud; or who can not understand Azad, Thanvi or Maudoodi. How can they understand who they are and what are their traditions and roots? Britishers were successful in making them forget Gulistan, Bostan and Masnavi, the rest of the task would now be completed by our "nadaan dost".

We have not yet been able to resolve the problems introduced by the elitist English speaking "kalay baboos" in Pakistan who neither can fit in with the locals nor with any of the foreign speaking countries. They are misfit, and unfortunately because they are in power, they have played havoc with our foreign policy that has always traded the interest of the local people with the foreign interests. What would be the fate of this, yet another class of elites who not only consider themselves to be superior because of their English skills, but would also consider themselves Islamically superior because of their Arabic. They would also sport a superiority complex with our traditional ulema, who at least have always identified themselves with the common people. Here would be a brand of scholars well versed in Arabic and English but having nothing in common with the ordinary Pakistanis, as they would have severed their links with their culture and history. It is here that the biggest danger from the "Nadaan dost" lies. We could always explain away the actions of English speaking elites as "slave mentality", but how would we explain the actions of this new breed of "scholars" disconnected with common people, and taking actions perceived to be against the interests of the people? Please note that the leadership always has to come from the people from amongst themselves. It is never imported and hoisted from outside.

Language and Legacy

The politics of language for subjugation is old and we have been at the receiving end for quite some time.

Where the language could not be changed, the script is changed. This was done effectively in Turkey by Mustafa Kamal Ataturk when the Turkish script was switched from Arabic script to the latin script. With a single stroke of pen, he made cut off the links of the new generation from the legacy and the entire treasure of literature and culture accumulated over the past five centuries. The recent turnaround took over eighty years to recast the literature and history into the new script.

In British India, the colonial masters tried to supplant Urdu in place of Persian when they established the Fort William's College in 1800.
"William College aimed at training British officials in Indian languages and in the process it fostered the development of languages such as Bengali and Urdu." Fort William College: Wikipedia
However, the choice of Urdu backfired as it was already in its creative ferment and represented the evolutionary synthesis of words, phrases and poetry from Persian, Arabic, Sanskrit and hosts of other local languages and dialects. With its Arabic script and its immense capacity to work as a great integrator, Muslims and Indians adopted Urdu with an unmatched zeal and today Urdu represents one of the major languages after Arabic containing the Islamic literature and cultural literature of India containing the social, cultural and political history of Indian people along with a treasure trove of poetry and novels and short stories.

When this attempt to use Urdu to cut off the Indians from their cultural and historical links with Persian and Arabic failed, British Colonists were forced to change the official language of India to English. English being in a foreign script and with no links with existing lingual traditions met with a fierce resistence especially from the conservative ulema. Urdu having such a great capacity to internalize foreign words proved resilient to this thrust and soon internalized a large vocabulary of English words and became a common medium of communication among people of the subcontinent speaking hundreds of different languages and dialects. India after partition rechristened Urdu as Hindi, changed the script and became increasingly Sanskritazied.

However, the British managed to create a divide between the rulers and the ruled by making English the differentiation factor. Only those who adopted English stood a chance to move up the economic ladder, and those avoiding it were destined to remain at the lowest levels (Recall: Farsi seekho tael baecho). The primary legacy of the colonial rule is the prevalence of English as an official language in the subcontinent, more so in Pakistan. English still is still considered the stepping stone for upward mobility, but comes at the expense of cutting you from your culture and roots as borne out by the experience of the last sixty years of post partition days where we are ruled by thoroughly confused elites who do not know why Pakistan came in to existence and do not know what to do with the conflicting emotions of loving the West or loving their heritage at the expense of adopting secularism. Up to the eighties, the prevalence of English was unable to dislodge the association with culture that people had through their linkage with Urdu and their mother tongues that provided them with link to their past.

But, the fatal blow to cut off the links with our history and culture was brought about by the advent O/A Level systems in Pakistan. It effectively destroyed the foundations of Urdu by first diluting the contents of the Urdu text books by significantly reducing the prescribed number of poems, poets, essays and their writers, and then reducing the emphasis on correctness by freely distributing the grades that made it possible to pass the exams without having read novels and literature. In a very subtle manner the O Levels first introduced an Urdu lite version and unbeknowest to the Muqtadara people removed the entire legacy of Urdu. Today graduates of O and A levels have proficiency of Urdu which is much below the elementary level of about forty years ago and often are unable to understand or appreciate poetry of Iqbal and Ghalib.

Today there are parents (whose mother tongue is not English) who talk to their children even at home in only English. The children know nothing of any language except English except may be some rudimentary working Urdu that they have picked up on the side. Effectively these parents have cut off their children from (i) their family traditions transmitted through their grand parents and other relatives who can communicate fluently in English, and (ii) common people. They are aliens hoisted on the hapless public and these aliens are bombarding the common people with their anglophile-Americo-philic culture on FM. Unable to talk intelligently beyond punctuating with each word with a plethora and combination of "aah", "aaaa", "um",  "you-know", "I-mean", and other useless litter of the street language. Transformation of the air waves from the transmitter of quality literature of the early days we now see the junk that can not be heard for more than a few minutes except by the brain deads.

We would now have a breed people whose Arabic can not be better than the above scenario because they were never able to practice comprehending complex ideas and in articulating complex ideas in their mother tongue in their social setting with their peers, seniors or even juniors, on the road with strangers, with their barbers, with their tailors and with other common people. Without the development of such a skill in their mother tongue, they would be always deficient in the foreign language as our experience with English suggests.

What an effective way to sever the ties of a nation with its cultural and historical roots using the double edge sword of English and Arabic!

See Also:

22 comments:

  1. Dear Irfan Sahib,

    Thanks for this very enlightening write-up.

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  2. This is an epic, i just shared with owner of 'The Benchmark' my son's school... OJ

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  3. This is very insightful Dr. But I would like your thoughts about 2 cases:

    1) About polyglots being an identity of their own?
    2) Also isn't tradition supposed to eventually replaced with novel progress (I am keeping this open ended, otherwise I may come under fire for using western philosophical thoughts)?

    1) I will start with my own example: Born in Pakistan, ethnically, I am a mix between two South Asian Ethnicities (Uttar Pardeshi/Urdu Speaking [Lucknawi] and Punjabi [Sialkoti]). I speak 6 languages (in order of fluency): English, Urdu, German, Russian, Finnish and Punjabi. I am also aware of who my Forefathers were. However much of my knowledgeable interest has been in the languages I speak sans that of my own ethnicity. Logically I should have interest, but I don't. Rationally, I am not interested because it is not going to be helpful to me in my perceived technology oriented world. However, arguably literature and philosophical though in those two languages is genuinely unique and very fascinating with rich thought, emphasis on moral values and nobility. Now I must express that it is not my complete disinterest in the literature of those 2 language, rather my usage times. In most of Pakistan, social interaction favours individuals with knowledge of the western world, hence I choose to invest time in that knowledge here in Pakistan. But when I reside else where, I invest time in the literature of Urdu and Punjabi because the social interaction in other countries would like to know more about our world, since they already know about their world. This sort of linguistic usage that I conform to is also found in other countries where multilingualism is promoted, such as Finland, Singapore, Malaysia, Norway, Israel, Algeria, Morocco and Turkey. So what are your thoughts on multilingual societies?


    But the dilemma as you mentioned in your writing is that there is an alarming decline in people who know about this region's history and culture.

    2) There are some notable extinct societies that have been absorbed through conquestlike: Byzantines (Romans)> now Turks, Greeks, Bulgarians, Serbians; Aztecs, Incas, Bantus > Brazil, Central American countries, Venezuela etc; Babylonians > Iraqs, Kurds; Zulu, Boer > South Africa; Aborigines> Australia; Bedouin tribes of the middle east peninsula> Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Oman, Kuwait; Indus civilizations > Pakistan.

    The civilization of South Asia before the intervention of France, Portugal, and Britain primarily dwelled in settlements of the region now known as India. The region of Pakistan was the Hinterland comprising of Zabulistan, Makaran, Sindh, Sikh Punjab and the far ends of Timurid, and other warring tribes (now NWFP).
    The aforementioned civilizations did not have the concept of cartographic borders except Punjab and Sindh. Before the advent of European colonial powers, ancient Pakistan was in the process of being colonized through Muslim conquest and much of various Indian civilizations questioned similarly as we are doing today. Of course we all know that despite all claims of ethnic distinction from the Indian civilization group, we are a product of our forefathers who were by products of this colonization. Now filtering the European influence for the time being and analysing present day, where should the various ethnicities in Pakistan incline to with respect to culture and history?

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  4. This is part 2 :D

    It is important to note that there are various ethnic and racial groups in Pakistan who can trace their ancestry as far as Turkey, Mongolia, Bengal and Middle East and no farther.

    Returning to the question, by separating European influence I see two possibilities (but of course this is a debate and not a blog post :)). Either a) there be a unified new culture and history or b) each ethnicity and race trace its own culture and history.
    In (a) notable examples are USA, Soviet Union, China, Japan, India, Italy and Germany. All these countries except USA and Soviet Union had closely related culture groups. The USA and USSR had to establish and define their history and culture from scratch entirely.
    In (b) notable examples were (yes were) Austrian Empire, Swedish Empire and Mongolian Empire. In all these Empires, the citizens sought their own distinct culture and history, as a result they sought their independent representation and homeland.

    So my question for part 2 is, which path do you suggest based on your thoughts? Could there be another path too? which I am eagerly researching as well :)

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    1. The contention in my post was simply that when you impose a foreign language on children, you cut them off from their ancestral roots in the form of history, culture and values, and turn them into a fodder for the dominant civilization's culture and values. From an educational point of view you also stultify their creativity and growth because they are unable to develop their communication skills without the opportunity of refining it through experimentation with their family and peers.

      The two questions that you raise are (i) what should different ethnic groups do? and (ii) what path should we take?. For the former question, each ethnic group is better off teaching their children in their mother tongue. They would develop faster and better. They can always acquire as many lanaguages as they need later on as the example of western countries show: Germans should be taught German, Finnish should be taught in Finnish, Japanese should be taught Japanese and so on.
      (ii) The path that we should take is simple. We should not teach the children in any other language except their mother tongue till the age of 7. Later they can acquire as many languages as they need without loss of any fluency or competence. The situation would be much better, because today our graduates neither know English, nor they do Urdu, nor their mother tongue. Jack of all, master of none.

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    2. Also, your example of USA and USSR needs to be analyzed. USA defined its history and culture by linking itself to the age of englightment, and from there to middle ages, to Roman and the Greek traditions and mythology. See any of the college texts for history 301 and culture 301. USSR tried too link itself to the historical reading of Marx and Engels about the five successive stages of the development of material conditions. Rooted in theory and not standing on a firm foundation, it imploded within 70 years.

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    3. Your points are valid Dr. Discussing with you always instigates me to think more.

      My latest reading was 'Imperial Britain', written by Cecil Lloyd in 1918, it is an abridged narrative about how Britain really came into being. Don't fall for the stereotypes about British chauvinism, it actually describes however unplanned the nation, it was the works over centuries by ambitious, opportunist and determined men who miraculously established things in their own favour that culminated in benefiting the nation over hundreds of years.

      Hence, ever more I am thinking about my IV30. I have accomplished several aims equivalent in important of my IV5 since 2008 by 2013, a few remain that may take another 2 years, and although what I have achieved is not exactly the same as I planned, but what I have achieved is providing me the same benefit as the objectives I had planned.

      And fascinated with your series of blogs, I am thinking and researching on the following lines regarding Pakistan:

      1a) The Leadership-Motivation Generation of PAF-KIET - Then and Now
      1b) The Various schools of leadership in Pakistan - The outcome: perceived and real.
      2) Pakistan - A nation of jobless jacks and aristocratic stooges
      3) Entrepreneurship is the solution - Businesses fuel progress, but where is the bottleneck?
      4) Improvement - Why are people reluctant?
      5) Modelling the future of Pakistani society - Is feudalism being improved or are people trying to gradually dispose it?

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  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. I recommended to Madam Khoro the education minister of Sindh many years ago to consider Urdu as a medium of instruction. Not the only language. The basis was a BBC report that countries which have progressed like Japan and Germany used their own language. They translated other books to their own language.

    Can you suggest a solution or a proposal ?

    Regards,
    Khawar Nehal
    http://atrc.net.pk

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  7. Please note that the important point to note in my post is that it is NOT recommending Urdu. It is recommending "mother tongue", whatever that is. Congnitive Psychlogy and linguistic psychology experts are all convinced that during the early age (before 6) the focus must be on the mother tongue. The environment may also provide "other tongue" but the primary vehicle for learning should be the "mother tongue".

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  8. "Muhammad Ibrahim Ali" replied to this post in a yahoo group where this was posted:
    As Salamu'aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh,

    My response is a bit long, but I will highly encourage every recipient to
    read it completely before reaching any conclusion and raise necessary
    questions. May Allah SWT accept all our efforts.

    Dr. Irfan Hyder's article rightly stresses the need to educate the children
    in their mother tongue and I quote an excerpt from his article:

    As an NLP expert, I second the idea that a child definitely has to learn in
    his mother tongue in his imprint years for developing an extremely
    confident personality. The very social fabric gets torn if his *mother
    tongue* is replaced by *other tongue(s)* in his/her imprint years, as the
    child gets disconnected from his surroundings and as result his cognitive
    development is also hampered. A language is not just utterance of words,
    rather it is a thought structure, which shapes a person's world view. And
    definitely English language superiority complex in our society has played
    havoc and made English culture & proficiency seem the yardstick for a
    person's status & success. So for children to be brought up as naturally as
    possible, they should be educated in the language of the masses/society to
    which they will insha'Allah feel connected and as a result will show some
    responsibility towards them as they will own them. Our contemporary passion
    for English over urdu has made children start feeling disconnected from
    their society as a whole and feeling connected with the English speaking
    world. As a result, these children start comparing their society with the
    West and take Western development and Western life style as a standard.
    Majority of them start turning their backs towards Pakistan blaming the
    society for the mess they themselves are equally responsible for, and
    easily get settled in lands of the disbelievers for mere economic benefits
    not doing any active *Da'wah* work.

    However after developing proficiency in their mother tongue, after the age
    of 7, children should be taught Arabic language. As there is no doubt, and
    I second Sr. Arifa's opinion on Arabic being the language which Allah chose
    for Qur'an, His Messenger Muhammad ( Peace be Upon him) and Islam. If we
    are to consider ourselves *people(nation/ummah)* of our beloved prophet
    (Peace be upon him) we have to own his language as entire mankind whoever
    follows him will be his nation, as Allah says in Qur'an:

    وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِنْ رَسُولٍ إِلَّا بِلِسَانِ قَوْمِهِ لِيُبَيِّنَ
    لَهُمْ ۖ فَيُضِلُّ اللَّهُ مَنْ يَشَاءُ وَيَهْدِي مَنْ يَشَاءُ ۚ وَهُوَ
    الْعَزِيزُ الْحَكِيمُ

    *"And We sent not a Messenger except with the language of HIS PEOPLE*, in
    order that he might make (the Message) clear for them. Then Allah misleads
    whom He wills and guides whom He wills. And He is the All-Mighty, the
    All-Wise." 14:4

    Narrated Jabir bin 'Abdullah:

    The Prophet said, "I have been given five things which were not given to
    any one else before me.

    1. Allah made me victorious by awe, (by His frightening my enemies) for a
    distance of one month's journey.

    2. The earth has been made for me (and for my followers) a place for
    praying and a thing to perform Tayammum, therefore anyone of my followers
    can pray wherever the time of a prayer is due.

    3. The booty has been made Halal (lawful) for me yet it was not lawful for
    anyone else before me.

    4. I have been given the right of intercession (on the Day of Resurrection).

    5. *Every Prophet used to be sent to his nation ONLY but I have been sent
    to all mankind*. (*Sahih al-Bukhari*, Volume 1, Book 7, Number 331)

    Allah says:

    إِنَّا أَنْزَلْنَاهُ قُرْآنًا عَرَبِيًّا لَعَلَّكُمْ تَعْقِلُونَ

    "Indeed we have sent it down as an* Arabic Quran *in order that you may
    learn wisdom." 12:2

    Continued in the next comment:

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  9. "Muhammad Ibrahim Ali" reply (2nd part linked to the earlier comment)
    The point to be noted here is the Arabic structure قرآنًا عربيًّا which is
    the strongest kind of adjective bonding in Arabic language called مركب
    توصيفي in Arabic grammar. It means that Arabic is not only the medium
    through which Qur'an was communicated, rather it is the identity of Qur'an
    itself. And such a mention of Arabic and Qur'an has been made at least 11
    times in different places in Qu'ran in different sentence structures. So
    Allah definitely wants mankind to notice this relationship, *or we would
    have been allowed to offer our salah in our mother tongues*. As Muslims we
    all believe that Qur'an is preserved in Louh Mahfooz in al Baytul Ma'moor
    from where Angel Jibraeel used to bring revelations to Rasulullah (Peace
    and blessing be upon him). Had Arabic been only the medium of communicating
    Quran to Arab nation, the above mentioned verse wouldn't have been
    considered part of Qur'an preserved in Louh Mahfooz. So it is clear that
    Qur'an's existence as a scripture is only possible in Arabic, and the
    guarantee given by Allah for its preservation till the day of judgement is
    for its Arabic text. There are tons of linguistic miracles in Qur'an which
    shook the earth beneath Sahabah's feet the moment they heard those verses
    being recited to them. Translations in mother tongues do not capture those
    miracles or beauties which Allah boasts about in Qur'an.

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  10. "Muhammad Ibrahim Ali" comment continues:

    I am not denying the fact that Qur'an is sent to convey the message to
    humanity. And that message has to be understood in ones life time.
    Translation does communicate that message to a great extent alhamdulillah.
    And that is why even if our language is not Arabic, we must go over the
    meanings of Qur'an again and again to stay aligned with the direct
    expectations of our Creator from us *until we master Arabic language.
    However we should not feel content that since we got the message through
    translation we need not strive to master the language to have Qur'an shape
    our perception the way it shaped Sahabas.*

    *Sahabi Umer ( Allah be pleased with him) *used to say often: تعلّموا
    العربية فإنها من دينكم *"Learn Arabic for it is from your Religion."*

    The history tells us that when Islam reached the Babylonian 'Iraq and the
    Qibti speaking Egypt, the Sahabah preached those nations Islam by role
    modeling and teaching them Arabic and quoting to them Qur'anic verses.

    And the history also tells us that when muslims got distant from Arabic
    language, they got distanced from Qur'an and started falling prey to
    innovations in deen. As a result Shah Waliullah had to translate Qu'ran
    very late even in the subcontinent.

    Yes, tafseer is an asset, but it should be kept in mind that that is not
    Qur'an, but a commentary on it to develop depth in it. So even if tons of
    tafaseer on Qur'an are written in Urdu, it doesn't and cannot replace
    Qur'anic text for which Allah has guaranteed. *It is absolutely wrong to
    compare translations and commentaries of Qur'an to Qur'an itself *, no
    matter how eloquent they may sound, as the challenge put forward by Allah
    to mankind is to produce something like its linguistic structure which even
    mesmerized and still mesmerizes native Arabic speakers. Some people put
    forward this argument that knowledge of Arabic is no guarantee to Qur'anic
    understand and impact by quoting examples of the eloquence of Abu Lahab and
    Abu Jahl. Kindly note that, only when knowledge of Arabic combined with
    sincerity and Taqwa of Allah SWT leads to Qur'anic impact. Qur'an is speech
    of Allah and not a piece of literature, and speech cannot be perceived as
    speech fully if its conveyed in a different language. Arabic is not just a
    language, it is a paradigm, a thinking structure which according to
    researched enables a person to use both the sides of the brain.

    Now the question is not whether Arabic should be learnt or not. It should
    be that what is the right time/stage to teach it to a child. The answer is
    simple, if parents don't have command over it, society doesn't have command
    over it, don't teach it as a first language to the child as he/she would
    become cognitively misfit not only in the family but also in the society.
    Use mother tongue to educate the child in imprint years. One he/she has
    command over the language, within a *few months only he/she *can acquire
    proficiency in Arabic. More important than young children being immersed
    into Arabic, its their parents who should race to master Arabic language
    and then at the same time engage the child in the process. Practice with
    the child whatever they learn of Arabic. Give instruction to children in
    Arabic & Speak short sentences and then switching to longer ones. As
    Classical Arabic conversation fluency does wonders to Qur'anic
    understanding since it makes the entire scripture sound as direct word of
    Allah with personal touch.

    Even though parents maybe extremely sincere in wanting to have their kids
    starting learning Arabic from a very young age, it does have very harmful
    effects on that young mind, until parents them selves have started to learn
    it and mastered it.

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  11. Mohammad Ibrahim's comment continues:

    Last but not the least, our first language was chosen by Allah so He sent
    us in different cultures, by His choice and every language is His creation
    and a community's identity, He will not hold us accountable for the mother
    tongue, but *He will definitely hold each one of us accountable for
    whatever we decide to learn beyond our given first language. And if we
    developed proficiency in any other discipline/language at the cost of
    learning the language of Qur'an first, we should be ready to face the
    consequences, as Salah(five daily prayers) are not just obligatory for
    anything. They are to be understood in full spirit by the time they are
    fardh on the child at the age of ten as his/her accountability begins. In
    my experience of teaching Arabic language and developing effective Arabic
    teaching strategies I have concluded that between the age of seven & ten,
    Arabic should be learnt and not before that in Non Arabic scenarios.And it
    can start much earlier given that parents and extended family members have
    command over the language. *

    *And Allah knows the best.*
    --
    والسلام عليكم ورحمةالله وبركاته

    أخوكم في الله

    محمد ابراهيم علي

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  12. Assalamu alaykum. A question from a Polish sister settled in Pakistan:

    '' The post points out that learning in one's native tongue lets children find their roots within society. But what about children who are coming from minority group. I mean like my children, I never had any doubts about the importance of their learning Polish, but then, as we are not living in Poland, but mostly in Pakistan, will it serve to loosen their links with society? They are speaking Pashto (father's language) as well as Polish Alahamdulillah, but then, as we live in Islamabad, Pashto is also a minority language. It does let them communicate within the family, but not outside.'

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  14. "Hazaaro saal nargis apni benoori pe roti hai
    Badi mushkil se hota hai chaman mein deeda-war paida"

    As per Iqbal's above quote , I think , this web page may have fulfilled the essential and minimum condition of a deeda-war in this article but unfortunately one eyed and confused. The title of the article searches for a correlation of a nation and its heritage due to total adoption of a foreign language .Unfortunately,
    most of the readers , it seems, stumble at the usage of words "mother tongue urdu". This confusion does bring out some interesting discussion but it resembles more like the problems anticipated in the article i.e "Qafla thak kar fiza kay paech o khum may reh giya!" .And the main thesis of the of the article hans ki chaal chal kar bhi kavva rah gya.
    But the ensuing interesting discussions and ideas touched upon this page forces the conclusion: nadaan irfan se dana irfan behtar hota hai....

    .PS: notice the "i" in the word irfan are not capitalized......

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    1. I think I was careful to use the word "mother tongue". It is not implied that in Pakistan everyone's mother tongue is Urdu. A child needs to be taught in his/her mother tongue whatever it is, be it Punjabi, Seraiki, Balochi, Chinese, Dutch etc. The main argument in this post was that a child learns and develops its intellectual skills in his/her mother tongue. Once these intellectual skills have been developed, the child can easily acquire another language and can express complicated thoughts and ideas in that language. A child deficient in the development of his/her intellectual skills in the mother tongue would take this deficiency to whichever language he acquires and would not be able to compete with others.

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