Learning Tajweed, Part Five
My tenacity brought a big blessing. I inserted myself firmly into that madrassa, never missing a day, and always fully prepared for the lesson. I was surprised to discover that most of the ladies had no problem learning the special rules of tajweed, but all of us had problems discarding the accents of our native languages.
The other women were Arabs, but from various Arab countries. A Pakistani or two, an Indonesian, and I, rounded out the group. As you know, the various dialects of Arabic are different from one another not only in word usage, but in pronunciation of letters. The two letters most distorted by dialect are Qaf and Geem. The dialect furthest from classical Arabic is the Egyptian dialect, and half of the ladies were Egyptians.
So, I did not feel as odd as I expected I’d feel. My pronunciation issues were not more severe than theirs.
I practiced every day at home, when my husband was at work and the girls were at school. I derived an inner contentment from reciting the Qur’an, as opposed to reading it, or reading the translation of it. I started paying attention to the various recitors; some were easy to understand, and some had melodious voices.
Ahmed Al-AJami became very popular at that time, but I knew people who did not like his style because they thought it was too close to singing. I must confess, I liked his style for that very reason!
During the year, I discovered that my one and only neighborhood friend, an Egyptian woman, also studied at the same madrassa and was enrolled in the highest class available, with the best teacher. This was the class I wanted to enter, but the waiting list was long, with the requirement that you finished all the other classes first.
My friend spoke to the teacher about me, and I was allowed to sit in. Then I was allowed to read for the teacher, and she invited me to join the class! I’m not sure she was comfortable with me, but she recognized my diligence, desire, and accomplishment to date, thanks to Allah.
I spent the entire next year in that class, learning more than I’d ever expected to learn. To this day, I thank Allah for the blessing of putting me in that class. I am not worthy of it, especially since I’ve neglected the Qur’an since repatriating. The good news is that my solid foundation still stands.