Abdul Basit Khawaja, Missionary, Ecuador
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Ecuador has been offering an Arabic course for the past seven years. The course originally began to help Ecuadorian converts read the Holy Quran and learn the salat, but with time, many other Ecuadorians expressed a keen interest in learning Arabic for themselves.
The Arabic course has been open to the public for five years now. Each course consists of 12 classes over three months and concludes with a final exam and a graduation certificate. Throughout the classes, students learn the Arabic alphabet, numbers, 40 Arabic words, and 10 commonly used phrases.
This year, the course began in September with 40 students. Among them were 14-year-old Anthony Nejib Dargham Yusti and his mother, Doris Yusti, who are Venezuelans living in Ecuador; who told me that their grandfather was from Syria.
Hearing their names for the first time, I was surprised to hear the name Nejib, an Arabic word.
They explained to me that their grandfather was originally from Syria, had migrated to Venezuela, and was now living in Ecuador. Their reason for joining the Arabic course was due to their Arab background. Anthony said, “I want to learn Arabic so that I can speak to my grandfather.”
By the grace of Allah, the course concluded in November with 16 students graduating. Doris and her son Anthony – who are among the graduates – are eagerly waiting for the next opportunity to join the advanced Arabic course.
One amazing benefit of this course is that it piques students’ interest in the Holy Quran, and many students purchase their own copies of the Holy Quran so that they can keep practising their Arabic. This year, six of the 16 graduates purchased their own copies of the Holy Quran.
Being one of the only sources to acquire the Holy Quran in Arabic with Spanish translation in Ecuador, the Ahmadiyya Mission has seen many Ecuadorians happily purchase their own copies. Alhamdulillah.