I was out in the tennis court the other day, watching my oldest son tennis game. During the break, I met with my (former) student at the Sunday School. He is originally from Iraq, and lets say his name is Ahmad.
Me: Ahmad, have you registered for our Sunday school?
Ahmad: [looked at me, puzzled]
Me: [I looked back, even more puzzled] Don’t tell me you forget to register?
Ahmad: No, no, no. I mean, I have already known Arabic …
Me: [waiting him to complete the sentence, but he did not continue]
Me: I am speechless.
I was speechless, and I told him that, although I did not tell him the reason. The reason is simple: we do NOT teach Arabic in our Sunday School.
We do teach a lesson on how to read the Quran. The fact that Ahmad thinks that being able to speak Arabic means that he can read the Quran, that what made me speechless.
Of course, Quran is in Arabic and Ahmad — very likely — is very fluent in Arabic, his native language. He will be able to read newspaper in Arabic very well. The one very important fact that he missed is: we do not read the Quran the way we read the newspaper.
In Indonesian language, we use the (French?) word “courant” when we refer to a newspaper. And my Quran teacher always say, you do not read the Quran the way you will read courant.
But why I found it very difficult to convey this message to an Arab?
# 6:00 pm