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  1. Why should we learn a second language? 10 reasons! The younger, the better? A growing mind can pick up languages quickly, which is why it is an excellent idea to teach children different languages when they are young. It’s never too early for your child to begin learning one - or several - foreign languages. By teaching your child a foreign language from a young age, you provide an opportunity to develop powerful cognitive benefits that will help them to succeed not only academically, but in their future careers. 1.You can speak to more people At the end of the day, isn’t this why most people learn a second language? When you can speak to people in their own language you deepen connections and understanding. Learn a foreign language as a child and you have a lifetime to benefit from cross-cultural friendships, broader career opportunities, exciting travel adventures and deeper insights into how others see the world. 2. It grows kids’ brains Studies have shown that people who are bilingual are better at tasks that require multi-tasking and attention focusing than monolinguals. Brain scans show they have more gray matter in the regions of their brain that are involved in executive function. The hypothesis is that the effort to constantly choose the right language at the right time provides a “mental gymnastics” for bilinguals which gives them extra practice in focusing their attention. 3. demonstrate cognitive advantages There are also many benefits that children can reap when they learn a second language. A number of research studies have shown that children who have learned a second language at a young age demonstrate cognitive advantages, such as increased problem-solving skills and creativity. Children also develop an interest in and curiosity about different cultures and ideas when they have a foundation in other languages. This makes them more comfortable growing up in our increasingly global society, where languages and cultures intersect every day. 4. Building and keeping cultural connections Some of us are lucky enough to have a relative from the old country who still speaks their mother tongue frequently. To be able to communicate with them in that “foreign” language builds a bridge—not only to that person, but to the heritage and history they represent. To maintain that connection keeps memories, stories and traditions alive—and brings to life new memories, stories and traditions as well. 5. .Higher test scores Numerous reports have proven that students who have studied a foreign language perform much better than their monolingual peers on many standardized tests. In fact, the 2007 College Bound Seniors report (US), issued by the College Board, which administers the SAT, vividly demonstrates the significant benefits of studying a foreign language. The report shows that students with 4 or more years of foreign language study score on average 140 points higher (out of 800) than students with half a year or less experience on the Critical Reading section, and almost another 140 in the Math section and over 150 points higher on Writing. 6. Greater confidence Children are always discovering new things, but learning a new language is a uniquely rewarding experience—at any age. For children, the feeling of accomplishment that comes with their first steps toward a second language can spur them on to a deeper and broader passion for learning in general. And because children are at a special “window of opportunity” in which language learning is intuitive and natural, the ease and pleasure of the experience may boost their confidence and their desire for new discoveries. 7. Bigger view of the world Traveling abroad is an experience which can benefit anyone, offering not just new sites to see, but new frames of mind and new perspectives. But going abroad and feeling comfortable in the language of your destination means you’re doing more than just traveling—going from your home to another place, and then back home. You can feel as if you’re a part of the culture and the life of this new world, as if you aren’t a total stranger just visiting. Like reading a poem in another tongue you know, you will hear more than just the language—you will hear the music behind it as well, and the life. 8. Learning a second language prepares children to be expert problem solvers Children who learn a second language grow up to be expert problem-solvers and creative thinkers. Their brains experience a constant workout from a young age as they try to sort out which language to speak and when. Researchers have found that in addition to enhanced problem-solving skills, bilingual children are better at planning, conentrating, and multi-tasking. And, they score higher on standardized tests. By teaching your child a second language at a young age, you are setting them up for success. 9. It boosts empathy Dr. Katherine Kinzler, at Cornell University, tested monolingual and bilingual children on a task which required them to consider someone else’s perspective to understand her meaning. Children in bilingual environments performed better than monolingual children. As Dr. Kinzler explains, “children in multilingual environments have social experiences that provide routine practice in considering the perspectives of others: they have to think about who speaks which language to whom, who understands which content, and the times and places in which different languages are spoken.” 10. Create a casual learning environment The best way for a child to learn to understand a new language is to hear it being spoken regularly. Find television shows, books, CDs, restaurants, and other means of exposing your child to the second language on a regular, frequent basis. Visit a community where the language is spoken. Learning Arabic online Learning a second language is easier as a child The younger, the better? When kids are still babies, their mind is being constructed and structured every day in order to understand the stimulus that they get from the world around them. Experts say that children who learn a language before their teenage years are more likely than older learners to achieve native-like pronunciation. Furthermore, research has found that kids have an innate ability to acquire the rules of any language - an ability that disappears by adulthood. One of the main benefits of learning a second language at an early age is that children learn languages faster and easier. They have more time to learn, less to learn, fewer inhibitions, and a brain designed for language learning. In short, teaching your child a second language at an early age saves them from having to learn a second language as an adult. It’s never too early to begin learning a language: it’s fun, it promotes healthy development, and the many cognitive and social benefits will last a lifetime.
  2. Part 4 Keep in Mind that there are Three Levels of Intention When monitoring the acts of your spiritual heart, be aware of your personal intention for each action that you are about to carry out. Don't settle for less than the best intention. If need be, delay your act until the best intention is sincerely in your heart. Ask Allah to make your intentions pure. If this is difficult for you, then consider whether there is an alternative act that would please him more and come more sincerely from your heart. Level (1) The deed is done only with an eye to gaining some worldly benefit, such as a person who leads people in Prayer just to get money. This person has committed a sin. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "Whoever learnt knowledge by which the Face of Allah is sought, but does not do so except for attaining a goal of this world, (he) will not smell the fragrance of Paradise on the Day of Resurrection." (Abu Dawud) Level (2) The deed is done for pleasing Allah as well as for gaining some worldly benefit. This person's belief and sincerity may be decreased through performing this deed with mixed intentions, such as when a person goes on hajj for the sake of trade at the same time as performing his obligatory [or optional] hajj. This person's reward is based on his sincerity in the eyes of Allah. Level (3) The deed is done for Allah only but the person accepts, in good conscience, money or something else to help him perform this deed, for example accepting gas money to get to and from the place where he is to lead the Prayer. This person's reward is complete and what he took in exchange does not have a negative effect. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "That for which you are most entitled to take a wage is the Book of Allah." (al-Bukhari) Know that the People who are Sincere in their Deeds are on One of Three Levels. Again, examine the acts of your heart (Part 1) in each case and seek Allah's pleasure in becoming the most beloved of his servants. 1) Those who do good deeds solely to get rewarded by Allah —or out of fear of being punished by Allah. Know that good deeds are rewardable, but that motivation out of fear is the lowest level of sincere intention. 2) Those who do rewardable deeds out of being grateful to Allah and desiring to obey Him. This is the midway level of sincere intention. 3) Those who do obligatory actions, or any other preferred or allowed actions, out of love and glorification of Allah. This is the level of the Siddîqîn (the truthful ones) and it is the highest level of sincere intention. Purifying the Heart: Stand Ready for Repentance Keeping the heart pure means being ready to repent of anything connected with a less than the most sincere intention to please your Lord. It is obligatory that one repent immediately after realizing one's mistaken deed or faulty intention. One must not become discouraged at his inability to stamp out his wrongdoing once and for all. Rather, we must simply accept the fact that committing sin is a part of our human design. The Prophet (ﷺ) said: "Every son of Adam repetitively commits sins, and the best of those who repetitively commit sins are the ones who often repent." (al-Tirmidhi) He (ﷺ) also said: "If you weren't to commit sins, Allah would have wiped you out of existence and replaced you by another people who would commit sins. They would ask forgiveness from Allah and He would forgive them." (Muslim) The real problem for us is in keeping the acts of our spiritual hearts pure and free of the black marks which we can so easily accumulate when we persist stubbornly in committing sins and when we delay in seeking repentance for them. An ongoing 'maintenance' of our hearts is crucial. Satan wishes to ensnare mankind by tempting us, most especially to fall into any of the following pitfalls. He prefers for us the most sinful, first and foremost, and, if he is unsuccessful in that, then he tries the next most serious, and so on. Look Out for these Seven Keep in mind these seven, which are listed in descending order from the most serious sins to the lesser: 1) Associating partners with Allah in polytheism/idolatry (Shirk) and disbelief (Kufr) in the universal sovereignty and exclusivity of our Creator and merciful Lord 2) Innovation in religion (Bid'ah) and leaving off from the way of the Prophet (ﷺ) and the way of his Companions 3) Committing the greater sins (Kaba'ir) 4) Committing the lesser sins (Sagha`ir) 5) Inciting to an overabundance of the allowed things 6) Inciting to do certain acts of obedience when there are other acts more obligatory and greater in reward 7) Inciting the devils of men and jinn to annoy and bother the Muslim We continue in Part 3 with the seriousness of wrongdoing, its effect in weighing down and blackening our spiritual hearts, the effect of repentance in cleaning the heart, and how to be clear regarding the sincerity of one's repentance. for more Islamic articles please visit Firdaws Academy
  3. Why Study Arabic Arabic is spoken as a mother tongue by between 250 and 400 million people across 25 countries. Over a billion people can read the script even if they can’t understand the language. And Arabic happens to be one of the official languages of the United Nations. Therefore, many people learn the language for formal reasons. At about 1,500 years old, Arabic also happens to be a very old language. It was the language of scholarship throughout the rule of the Islamic empires – a period of well over 1,000 years from the 7th century right down to the 19th and even 20th. The greatest books of medicine, geology, law, philosophy, and basically any subject you can imagine were all written in the finest Arabic. Therefore, many of the most advanced people in their fields of study learn Arabic for scientific and anthropological reasons. Arabic is also the language of the Qur’an (the Islamic holy book). It doesn’t matter what your beliefs are, the Qur’an is unequivocally, undeniably and undoubtedly the greatest form of Arabic literature, and indeed the greatest form of literature, period. The beauty of this piece of literature is, in fact, quite literally, miraculous. Therefore, tens of millions of people learn this language to witness firsthand the beauty and miracle that is The Qur’an... religious reasons. In fact, emphasis has been placed on studying the Arabic language by the Prophet (PBUH) himself when he said to the effect: learn the Arabic language as you learn the Islamic obligations and practices. His companions, who, remember, were Arabs, used to learn Arabic despite the fact that it was their mother tongue. They used to say: teach your children Arabic. They used to correct each other’s grammar. They would consider it unacceptable to make a grammatical mistake. And the scholars that followed them in later centuries all emphasized learning Arabic. Imam Abu Hanifa said to the effect: I would’ve made learning this language compulsory had I not deemed it difficult on the people. That is because 1. in order to truly understand the message of God as it was revealed, one must understand it in the very language it was revealed, and 2. the Qur’an is a literary miracle – really, a full blown miracle – and in order to witness it, you need to simply learn the language and you will witness a miracle with your very own eyes When the tribe of Qureish in ancient Arabia sent their most infamous debater to the Prophet (PBUH), the debater barked and barked and barked. He was enthusiastic and completely vicious. His mission was to completely overtake the Prophet (PBUH) and he was relentless. But when he finished, the Prophet (PBUH) recited a few verses of the Qur’an, upon which tears started to flow from the debater’s eyes and he had to cover the Prophet’s (PBUH) mouth because he couldn’t take any more. Would you like to taste the same beauty that made that debater cry? You can start learning Arabic online at Firdaws Academy
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