Madina Book 1: The Beginning


A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. [Lao-tzu]

Part 1


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Asslamo Allaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh,

This is the introduction lesson to the "Arabic Course for English-Speaking" taught at Madina Islamic university written by Dr V (Vaniya) Abdur Rahim (HA) nearly 4 decades ago.

Today the books are available in two separate formats:

  1. Arabic Course for English-Speaking Students vol 1 to 3 (complete set)
  2. Madinah Arabic Reader for children - with illustrations


The primary difference between the two prints is that the second print contains vowel signs and pictures which will make it easier for a beginner to read Arabic and pronounce words. It is our recommendation that you should buy Madinah Arabic Reader for children - with illustrations (Volume 1) and at the end of the book move to the normal Arabic Course for English-Speaking Students vol 1 to 3 (complete set) and practise reading Arabic without vowel signs as that is the intention of the Author.

Being able to read Arabic is a prerequisite for this course, you may want to brush up your reading by practising and revising here:

Why learn Arabic?

Allah (SWT) emphatically states in the Qur'aan:

إِنَّآ أَنزَلۡنَـٰهُ قُرۡءَٲنًا عَرَبِيًّ۬ا لَّعَلَّكُمۡ تَعۡقِلُونَ

[12:2] We have sent it down, as an Arabic Qur'aan, so that you may understand.

Allah (SWT) in his infinite wisdom has categorically linked His word (i.e. the Qur'aan) with the Arabic language; therefore, the two are interlinked until the day of judgement and declared inseparable.

Shaykh Allamah Shabbir Ahmed Uthmani (RA) writes in his Tafseer, "The Arabic language, which is the most eloquent, versatile, regulated and magnificent of all languages, was chosen for the revelation of the Quran. Because the Messenger (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) was an Arab, it logically follows that its first audience will be Arabs. Then, by means of the Arabs this light spread all around. The words "so you may understand," indicate the reason for revealing the Quran in Arabic i.e. that you, who are the nation of the Messenger, should first taste its knowledge and thereafter make others do the same. So it happened."

Shaykhul-Hadeeth (Maulana) Mohammed Zakariyya Kandhalwi (RA) wrote a treatise on the virtues and superiority of the Arabic language entitled, "Fazail-e-Arabi (Virtues of the Arabic Languages)" and mentions many narrations on the subject of the virtues of learning the Arabic language which all students are requested to obtain and study.

Some of the narrations about the Arabic language are as follows:

Sayyidina Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (RA) said: Learn Arabic for it strengthens the mind and enhances chivalry . [Shu'abul-Eman']

Sayyidina Umar Ibn Al-Khattab (RA) also wrote to Abu Musa al-Ash'ari : Learn the Sunnah (Prophet's Tradition) and Arabic. Learn to parse the Qur'an for it is written in Arabic . [Musannaf" of Ibn Abi Shaibah] In another version, he said: learn Arabic for it is part and parcel of your Religion . It is also narrated in the aforementioned 'Musannaf' that Ubayy Ibn Ka'b said: Learn Arabic as you learn (memorize) the Qur'an .

Why Madina Series?

The reason for choosing this book is because concepts and exercises are clearly laid out and the emphasis is on learning through repetition rather than memorisation so don't get overwhelmed as concepts will be repeated many times.

Why is this Lesson so hard?

We have purposely made the introduction a little harder than the actual Lesson (1) to set the bar a little higher from the very beginning and to set the right expectations. All of these concepts will be repeated over and over again throughout the course to ensure that they are internalised. Remember! The course is based on learning Arabic through repetition rather than memorisation...

Arabic Alphabets (Consonants & Vowels):

Arabic language consists of 29 letters (including Hamza) which are mostly consonants. If these letters are simply thrown out and strung together like

ع + ب + د = عبد

Arabic Short Vowels:

It will be extremely difficult to read and decipher the meaning so these letters must be combined with vowels to assist the viewer in reading and interpreting the words correctly. There are mainly 3 short vowels in the Arabic languages which can be displayed as a single unit (known as Damma, Fatha & Kasra OR Paish, Zabar & Zaer in Urdu).

 جِ   جَ   جُ Arabic letter with Short Vowel
Kasrah Fatha Damma Short Vowel Name
 Bottom  Top  Top Short Vowel placement
 i  a  u Short Vowel Sound
 The "i" in sit  The "a" in ba  The "u" in put Similar English Sound


Letter with Kasrah
Letter with Fatha Letter with Damma
Isolated (Original) Form

















 ِج  َج جُ  ج
 حِ  حَ  ُح  ح
 خِ  خَ  ُخ  خ
ِد  دَ  ُد  د
 ذِ  ذَ  ُذ  ذ
 رِ  رَ  رُ  ر
 زِ  زَ  زُ  ز
 سِ  سَ  ُس  س
 شِ  شَ  شُ  ش
 صِ  صَ  صُ  ص
 ضِ  ضَ  ضُ  ض
طِ  طَ  ُط  ط
 ظِ  َظ  ُظ  ظ
 ِع  عَ عُ  ع
 غِ  َغ  غُ  غ
 فِ  فَ  فُ  ف
 ِق  َق  قُ  ق
 كِ  كَ  ُك  ك
 ِل  لَ لُ  ل
 ِم  مَ مُ  م
 نِ  نَ  نُ  ن


 هَ  ُه  ه
 وِ  وَ  وُ  و
 يِ  يَ يُ  ي

Arabic Tanween (Double short vowels):

The double vowel-marks signs are an extension of the single vowel-marks. The double vowel signs add the '-n' sound to the single vowel and it is called "Tanwin"

جٍ  جاً
  جٌ  Arabic letter with double short Vowel
Kasrah-tain Fatha-tain Damma-tain Double short Vowel (Tanwin) Actual Name


(An Alif is added to the end)

 Top Double short Vowel placement
in  un  oo followed by an "n" Double short Vowel Sound
 The "in" in sin  The "un" in funn  The "un" in uno Similar English Sound


Letter with Kasrah-tain
Letter with Fatha-tain Letter with Damma-tain
Isolated (Original) Form

















 جٍ جًا  ٌج  ج
 حٍ حًا  حٌ  ح
 خٍ خًا  خٌ  خ
 دٍ دًا
ٌ د  د
 ٍذ  ذًا  ذٌ  ذ
 رٍ  رًا  رٌ  ر
 ٍز  زًا  زٌ  ز
 ٍس  سًا  سٌ  س
 شٍ  شًا  شٌ  ش
 صٍ  صًا  صٌ  ص
 ضٍ  ضًا  ضٌ  ض
 طٍ  طًا ٌ ط  ط
 ٍظ  ظًا ٌ ظ  ظ
 ٍع  عًا عٌ  ع
 ٍغ  غًا  غٌ  غ
 فٍ  فًا  فٌ  ف
 ٍق  قًا قٌ  ق
 ٍك  كًا  كٌ  ك
 ٍل  لًا  ٌل  ل
 مٍ  مًا  ٌم  م
 نٍ  نًا  نٌ  ن


 هًا  ٌه  ه
 وٍ  وًا  وٌ  و


يٌ  ي


In the second form, with the last letter of the word carrying a Tanween (Fathatain)

We strongly encourage the students to adopt the names of these short vowels in Arabic.

These short vowels on top of the consonants give meaning to the word e.g.

(Abada) meaning "To Worship" عَبَدَ


عَابِدٌ (Aabidun) meaning "The one who worships"

Part 2

Arabic Words:

Broadly, Arabic words are divided into three (3 categories):

  1. اسم (Ism or Noun): This category is defined as those words that impart a single meaning on their own and do not afford a tense e.g. "Masjidun" i.e. you know what this word means and it has no association with time. Pronouns are also included in this category.
  2. حرف (Harf or particle): This category is defined as those words that do not impart a meaning on their own e.g. "Waa" i.e. you would not know what "Waa" means on its own unless and until you join some words to the right and left of it.
  3. فعل (Fi'l or verb): This category is defined as those words that impart a single meaning on their own and afford a tense e.g. "Abada (He worshipped)" i.e. you know that this refers to the action of worshipping which occurred in the past

This Level 1 course will predominantly deal with Ism & Harf with a conjugation table of simple past tense as Dr V (Vaniya) Abdur Rahim (HA) doesn't introduce anything else in Book 1.


In this course you will be doing a lot of writing so lets get started.

Click on this link to get to onscreen Arabic Keyboard

Type 8 Arabic words of your choice OR type these and copy/paste them into your reply

مَسجِدٌ (Masjidun means "A Masjid")

المَسجِدُ (Al-Masjidu means "The Masjid)







Bonus Question?

Can you spot the pattern in these words? What are the changes?

Part 3

Grammatical Inflection:

Consider the word Muhammad (Sallaho Alaihe Wassallam) in the following three examples with the same word appearing with three separate types of vowels:

لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللّٰهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰهِؕ

اَشْهَدُ اَنْ لَّآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللہُ وَحْدَهٗ لَا شَرِيْكَ لَهٗ وَ اَشْهَدُ اَنَّ مُحَمَّدً اعَبْدُهٗ وَرَسُوْلُهٗؕ

اللھم صلی علی محمدٍ و علی آل محمدٍ کما صلیت علی ابراھیم و علی آل ابراھیم انک حمید مجید

Now, consider the usage of the word "Khalid" in the English language:

  1. Khalid saw me
  2. I saw Khalid
  3. Khalid's son


The sequence of the word Khalid in the first two examples indicates that Khalid did something in the first sentence while something happened to Khalid in the second sentence, while the usage of an apostrophe indicates possession in the third sentence. In English the entire meaning changes the minute you rearrange Khalid e.g.:

  1. I saw Khalid
  2. Khalid saw I


Are two completely different scenarios!

In Arabic this is achieved by the vowel on the last letter which gives Arabic unprecedented flexibility in sequencing i.e. as long the "د"on Khalid has the right vowel (e.g. Dammatain, Fathatain or Kasratain) Khalid can be placed anywhere in the sentence and the meaning will be conveyed accurately e.g.:


with Fathatain (two Fathaas) an Alif is added and the vowels are placed on it



This Level 1 course will primarily deal with the following three (3) states described below:

  1. The default state of a word is Nominative case or the State of Rafa or Marfoo and the last letter of the word will carry a Tanween (Dammatain) or in case of a definite word a single Damma = كتابٌ
  2. This is the Accusative case or the State of Nasab or Mansoob كتاباً , with the last letter of the word carrying a Tanween (Fathatain) or in case of a definite word a single Fatha
  3. This is the Genitive case or the State of Jar or Majroor, with the last letter of the word carrying a Tanween (Kasratain) or in case of a definite word a single Kasrah كتابٍ


Rule 1 (Arabic Nouns are Marfoo):

By default, Arabic Nouns Marfoo and something happens to the word for it to become Mansoob or Majroor so it is safe to pronounce most words with a Dammatain on the last letter e.g:

 مسجدٌ, رسُولٌ , رَبٌّ , مَدرَسِةٌ

Tanween on the last letter also means that the noun is indefinite!

It is essential that the vowel on the last letter is pronounced and in our experience, this is a critical mistake that many students make!

Definite vs. Indefinite:

In English, consider the following two cases:

  1. (An) Apple
  2. The Apple

The first case is about any apple while the second is about a particular apple.

Rule 2 (How to make a Noun definite):

By default a noun in Arabic is always indefinite and it is made definite by prefixing "ال" to it and when "ال"is added one of the vowels (e.g. one of the Dammas, Fathas or Kasras) drops out e.g.

المسجدُ, الرسُولُ , الرَبُّ , المَدرَسِةُ

It is essential that the second vowel on the last letter is dropped and in our experience, this is a critical mistake that many students make by having "ال" and also Dammatain, Fathatain & Kasratain on the last letter.


In Arabic, all nouns are either masculine or feminine with the sign of the later being as follows:

  1. Taa Marboota (ة): All nouns with a ة at the end are always feminine e.g. سيَّارَةٌ
  2. Ali Maqsoorah (الف مقصورة (ى)) All nouns with an Alif Maqsoorah are also feminine e.g. مُستَشفى (Mustashfa meaning hospital). Note that there are no two dots under the "Yaa". It is a classical beginner error to pronounce this word as "Mustashfi" rather than "Mustashfa" so watch for the two dots!
  3. Ali Mamdooda (الف ممدودة (ـاء)) All nouns with an Alif Mamdooda are also feminine e.g. أَذْكِياءُ (Adhkiya'u meaning those men who are intelligent).
  4. Inherently Feminine: Some nouns are inherently feminine in Arabic e.g. شَمسٌ (Shamsun meaning Sun). These will be pointed out as the course continues


This may sound daunting to remember but we will practise it many many times so I wouldn' worry about it too much!

Endings for female names:

All female names in Arabic end with a single Damma in their Marfoo state e.g:

عائشةُ , فاطمةُ , خديجةُ


  1. Open your Book and select 10 nouns of your choice, try to pick 5 masculine and 5 feminine words.
  2. Write them in indefinite Marfoo, Mansoob & Majroor states
  3. Then add "ال" and write them in definite Marfoo, Mansoob & Majroor states