OPINION: Why the passing of Compulsory Teaching of the Arabic Language Bill 2020 was the RIGHT thing to do
As you learn and begin to understand a new language, you also start to understand the world-views and how they are contained in practical systems
The recent passing of the Compulsory Teaching of the Arabic Language Bill 2020, which makes the Arabic language mandatory in Islamabad schools, has been controversial.
As usual, Pakistanis have been making emotional arguments, with no logic whatsoever, on why Arabic should or should not be taught in the federal capital’s schools.
There have been arguments that learning Arabic would ‘overburden’ the students and make us ‘lose our culture.’
However, we should realize that whenever we decide something or voice an opinion, it should be logically based where the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. The decision should not be emotionally driven.
Personally, I believe that not only should the Arabic language bill be passed, but it should also be extended to the rest of the country.
Here are three reasons why I believe what I believe in:
Better understand our religion: Islam.
Pakistan has one of the largest Muslim populations on the planet. Yet, most of the devotees of Islam are laymen who rely on other senior figures to interpret Islam for them.
The masses lack the key to critically think and analyze, thus deluding themselves by following others blindly.
The key to studying Islam in-depth and thoroughly analyze its teachings is the Arabic language.
Though many books about the Islamic Sciences have now been translated, many books can only be genuinely cherished in their original language – whether it’s a commentary of Hadith, a book on Islamic Jurisprudence, or the Noble Qur’an itself.
As you learn and begin to understand a new language, you also start to understand the world-views and how they are contained in practical systems. Language is a foundation of cultural identity and development.
Learning a foreign language, such as Arabic, and its associated culture leads to a more open-minded view of the world and its people.
Once you acknowledge and appreciate parts of a culture and its systems, you begin to judge less and observe more.
Your mind begins to free itself from the shackles of previously understood notions. You will learn that we are all products of our specific culture.
Seeing the world from a contrasting perspective and understanding where you and others come from are valuable and priceless lessons in acceptance and tolerance.
Pakistanis often negatively view the Arab world. Yet, most of us fail to understand that the Arab world is vast and diverse.
From the Atlantic Ocean on the shores of Morrocco to the vast emptiness of the Rub’ al Khali desert in the peninsula, including what lies between it and besides, the Arab world is enormous!
Learning Arabic would broaden our perspective on how we see others, make us appreciate their views, and make us more tolerant and open-minded.
Learning a new language is always good for the brain!
Teaching Arabic would mentally ‘overburden’ the students?
The many cognitive benefits of learning a new language are undeniable. People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills.
They switch between competing tasks and monitor changes in their environment more quickly than monolinguals, and display signs of greater creativity and flexibility.
If that weren’t enough, as we age, speaking multiple languages also helps to stave off mental aging and cognitive decline.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Siasat.pk.
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