Alhamdulillah. Still having a break from study which will start a new semester soon. It is time now to continue where I have left off about Segovia from the last post. If you want to know how to go to Segovia, please read this post. 

After getting down from Sepulvedana bus, we followed the majority of the tourists inside the bus towards the main square where the tourist information centre of Segovia is located. 


It is not that far from the main road. We walked about ten minutes and stopped along to take some shots of the beautiful buildings around Segovia such as the ones above. 


First thing first! A trip to Segovia is not complete without visiting the huge Roman aqueduct. We were dwarfed by the grand aqueduct towering over us! Look at the size against the hobbits below. Masha Allah. Time for a few selfies here and there. :)

Below is the Segovia tourist information centre. We walked in to ask for the local map ='plano' and there is a public toilet inside the building where we have to pay 50 cents. As it is hard to find a public toilet unless you eat in a bar or restaurant, then this service is precious.


Initially I thought that Segovia would be much colder since it was further north than Madrid is (about 93km northwest of Madrid). So I put an extra piece of cardigan because I prefer to be warm than cold when walking around Segovia but when we arrived here it was not so. 


Towards the left, there is a wide staircase up to the aqueduct where we can grab a few shots of the gorgeous aqueduct while people-watching too. Hehe..


This is the local bus in Segovia but we prefer walking as the city centre is not that big compared to Toledo which we visited during the summer of 2016. Furthermore, the weather was not that cold. I especially need the exercise. Winter made my face puffy..haha. Excuses..


As we walked along the route according to the Segovia local map towards Plaza Mayor, we arrived at this grand Catedral.


Along the road of Marques del Arco we found many shops selling souvenirs and we couldn't resist. As per our custom, getting a magnet fridge is a must for every place we visit. The magnet comes in various sizes and I bought a medium size for 2.50 euros while my husband bought a ceramic plate for the olives for 3 euros. It is quite unique.


After getting some souvenirs, we walked towards Plaza de la Reina Victoria Eugenia (picture above). Our goal was to visit the infamous Segovia Alcázar. It looks like Disney Castle.

The Alcázar of Segovia (literally, "Segovia Fortress") is a castle, located in the old city of Segovia, Spain. Rising out on a rocky crag above the confluence of two rivers near the Guadarrama mountains, it is one of the most distinctive castle-palaces in Spain by virtue of its shape – like the bow of a ship. The Alcázar was originally built as a fortress but has served as a royal palace, a state prison, a Royal Artillery College and a military academy since then. It is currently used as a museum and a military archives building. -Wikipedia.


The winter view of Segovia in January 2017 with the Catedral as the tallest building in the picture above.


This is the Alcázar of Segovia. The castle is gorgeous from the outside. Not that big but cozy. The entrance fee is 8 euros per pax.


The above pictures are taken from inside the Alcázar of Segovia. Breathtaking view of the city can be seen from here. Subhanallah. 


Another challenge awaiting us. We went this far so I thought that we should climb the 152 stairs up the Torre de Juan II. However...I was exhausted halfway!! Luckily, there is a rest area as if they know some would lose their breath plus shaky knee caps. Hehe..This activity is strictly for those who are not claustrophobic. The space of the staircase up to the tower is narrow.


After visiting the Alcázar of Segovia we walked along Socorro road where Casa del Sol is located and we saw the walls as in the picture above. The sun definitely highlighted this wall more against the blue sky. 

We went further to do some shopping and I found my first 'monopod' here for 5 euros and finally could grab our first 'monopod' shot in Segovia. :)

The total time we spent in Segovia was roughly four hours. We reached Segovia at 1.15pm and went home at 5.15pm. You can view our bus journey here.

Till then. Wassalam. 


Source: Common Wiki.

Alhamdulillah. Masih ada udara untuk bernafas. Masih ada hidung dan paru-paru untuk bernafas. Jika hendak dikira nikmat dari Allah sesungguhnya manusia tidak dapat menghitungnya. Manusia sering kufur nikmat Allah. نعوذ بالله من ذلك (Kami berlindung dengan Allah daripada perkara (perkara buruk) tersebut (daripada menimpa kami).)

Saya suka dengar ceramah Ustaz Pahrol Mohd Juoi dari Radio IKIM. Antara ceramah yang saya gemar ialah ini: Hitung Kesyukuranmu Bukan Kesukaranmu.


Apa kena mengena dengan tajuk 'Kisah Jari Telunjuk' pulak kan? Atas tu muqoddimah je..hehe. 

Begini ceritanya. Tahun lepas saya ada mengikuti kelas bacaan Al-Qur'an di Islamic Center Madrid yang biasa kami hanya sebut Masjid M30 kerana ia bersebelahan dengan lebuhraya M30. :)


Masjid M30

Niat saya sebenarnya untuk belajar bahasa Arab komunikasi pada mulanya tetapi disamping itu ingin juga menguatkan lagi tajwid bacaan Al-Qur'an.

Bila saya masuk kelas tersebut, kelas komunikasi bahasa Arab tiada di situ sebab kebanyakan mereka berbangsa Arab dan mereka semestinya sudah tahu bahasa Arab. 

Bila saya ditanya, "Cuba sebut huruf alif ba ta.." Saya pun sebut. Kemudian guru kelas itu beritahu saya, "Eh..kamu dah boleh baca. Kamu tahu baca Al-Qur'an tak?" Saja jawab, "Ya, saya boleh baca Al Qur'an. Alhamdulillah."

Kemudian guru suruh saya baca Surah Al-Ikhlas dan sebagainya. Dia terperanjat. "Bacaan kamu sangat baik. Masha Allah. Mereka semua di sini sama ada tidak tahu baca Al-Qur'an atau pun mahu belajar tajwid."

Subhanallah. Saya yang terperanjat. 

Orang Malaysia tidak tahu baca Al-Qur'an munkin bukan sesuatu yang luar biasa tetapi bila saya lihat mereka yang muda-muda dalam umur belasan tahun hingga ke 60, 70-an tidak boleh baca Al-Qur'an walaupun berbangsa Arab, tiba-tiba buat saya sebak. 

Walaubagaimanapun, Subhanallah. Allah gerakkan hati mereka untuk mendekati Al-Qur'an. Itu lebih baik. Alhamdulillah.

Kemudian guru suruh saya menghafaz Al-Qur'an kerana katanya bacaan saya bagus. Alhamdulillah. Dia suruh saya hafaz Juz Amma kerana bagus supaya saya boleh tukar-tukar surah untuk dibaca ketika solat kerana ia tidak berapa panjang. 

Tidak lama kemudian, saya masih tidak berputus asa untuk mencari kelas bahasa Arab komunikasi. Minggu lepas saya singgah solat Asar di Masjid Estrecho (gambar di bawah) dan terjumpa kawan kepada anak kawan suami saya. Namanya Iman. 



Iman datang untuk belajar membaca Al-Qur'an di tingkat 3 di dalam masjid. Saya bertemu dengan guru kelas tersebut yang berasal dari Syria. Mungkin ada silap paham dalam perbualan kami, guru tersebut ingat saya ingin belajar tajwid.

Beliau suruh saya datang ke masjid sama ada hari Jumaat atau Ahad. Ada kelas mengaji dari pukul 4 petang hingga 8 malam. Saya kata saya akan datang hari Ahad Insha Allah.

Terus...saya turun ke tingkat dua untuk menunaikan Solat Asar kerana azan berkumandang. Sebaik sebelum solat, saya terpandang seorang makcik, dia memandang ke belakang dari saf hadapan. Kemudian dia melihat ke arah saya lantas tersenyum. Saya pun membalas senyumannya. 

Oleh kerana ruang saf di sebelah makcik itu kosong maka saya pun duduk sebelah dia. Saya hanya ucapkan salam dan dia membalasnya. Usai solat saya pandang ke kanan. Ada seorang kakak, saya sangkakan dia bangsa Maghribi kerana orang Maghribi ada yang kulit cerah, sawo matang dan juga gelap. 

Tak terlintas yang dia dari rantau Asia. Kemudian makcik sebelah saya terus tanya saya, "De dónde eres?" Maksudnya kamu dari mana? (lebih kepada kamu dari negara mana?).

Saya pun jawab saya dari Malaysia. Bila dia terus kata dia dari Indonesia..terus kami bercakap dalam bahasa rumpun kami. Hehehe. Seronoknya!! Subhanallah. 

Tiba-tiba kakak di sebelah saya tu kata dia pun dari Indonesia dan dia lihat jari telunjuk saya tidak bergerak-gerak seperti orang Maghribi ketika tasyahud, tentu saya orang dari Asia tenggara. Hehe..

Saya jumpa empat kakak Indonesia di sini. Kesemuanya rajin belajar mengaji di sini. Subhanallah.

Muqodimah kedua lagi panjang..:)

Baiklah, isu jari telunjuk ini mengimbau kenangan saya ketika mula-mula berkahwin dulu. 

Suatu hari kami singgah solat di Pavillion, Kuala Lumpur ketika kami berada di Malaysia. Selepas solat zohor suami kata ada insiden kelakar dalam surau lelaki. 

Apa tu?

Dia kata, ketika hendak solat dia ada menjemput beberapa orang lelaki Melayu di dalam surau tu untuk solat berjemaah. Tiba-tiba salah seorang dari mereka bertanya, "Adakah awak fahaman Syiah?" Suami saya senyum dan kata tidak. Kemudian dia ditanya lagi.."Kenapa awak goyang-goyangkan jari telunjuk ketika baca tahiyat?"

Inilah dia "Kisah Jari Telunjuk".

Ini juga yang membuatkan saya berusaha mencari jawapan kenapa ada mazhab yang hanya mengangkat jari telunjuk sekejap tanpa menggoyangkannya dan kenapa ada mazhab yang menggoyangkannya. 

Ini juga yang membuatkan saya mencari-cari buku solat yang sudah berumur lebih 30 tahun dari sekolah agama saya ketika saya darjah tiga sekolah rendah. Subhanallah masih utuh dan dapat saya bawa ke Madrid.

Ini juga yang membuatkan saya mencari sumber untuk mendalami asas pengajian Islam. Buat masa ini saya dapat mencari jawapan "Kisah Jari Telunjuk" ini dari pengajian Diploma Asas Pengajian Islam dari Islamic Online University. Alhamdulillah.

Diploma ini diberikan secara percuma oleh IOU. Sesiapa saja boleh mempelajarinya sama ada orang Islam atau bukan Islam. Dengan syarat kena sentiasa aktif di dalam akaun itu dalam 90 hari. Kalau tiada aktiviti dalam masa 90 hari, akaun kita akan ditamatkan. Terpaksalah mendaftar sekali lagi dan bermula semula. 

Boleh mendaftar Diploma Asas Pengajian Islam oleh IOU di sini

كن عالما أو متعلما أو مستمعا أو محبا ولا تكن خامسا فتهلك -رواه البيهقى
"Jadilah kamu orang pandai, pelajar, pendengar, atau pencinta. Dan janganlah kamu menjadi orang kelima sebab kamu akan binasa." (HR. Al-Baihaqi).

Golongan yang kelima yaitu pembenci, yakni benci ilmu, benci orang pandai, dan benci kepada penuntut ilmu. Kalau kita membenci ilmu pengetahuan maka kita akan binasa sebab tidak tahu apa-apa..(di petik dari Hakikat dan Manfaat Menuntut Ilmu - Penjelasan hadith di sini).

Wallahualam.


Alhamdulillah. I have just completed Intensive Arabic Program (IAP) Semester 1 with Islamic Online University on 30th of January recently. 

IAP is divided in 4 semesters for a 2-year program. You may check the curriculum here. Semester 2 will start in a week time and the modules will be using Madina Arabic Book 2 as reference. I started the first semester from 1st of September 2016 and will be completing this program by 2018 bi iznillah. 

I have to keep repeating my intention of completing this program so that my desire won't be like a match stick. Sudden impulse and then dies easily. May Allah help me to be istiqomah in this journey. Amin.

Recently, prior to taking the final exam, I have received an email from a reader who would like to know my opinion on IAP. Here is the email.

Good evening,

I see you attended the Islamic Online University for Arabic study. Did you like it? I am considering taking this program. I want to learn Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and then later, Egyptian Arabic to understand Arabic culture and then the Quran.

Sincerely,

DM

The email is pretty simple but I just could not answer it in a simple manner. 

As the person asking has a unique approach on learning Arabic from his perspective, I also have a goal on why I decided to learn Arabic.

I learn Arabic to ease my understanding of Al Quran by taking Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and I would hope someday to teach this language to others too. Bi iznillah. 

Married to a Moroccan is definitely a huge plus as long as I don't ask my husband to explain the grammar rules. He is born with the language but not with the grammar. :) I need an Arabic language teacher to tell me that, hence taking IAP. 

My husband is a walking dictionary. If I don't understand the meaning of a word or how a word is used in certain context then he could explain that. Masha Allah. 

Learning MSA is definitely the way to go first in learning Arabic, in my opinion and I wholeheartedly agree with what was said by Mr. James M. Price. in his book - All the Arabic You Never Learned the First Time Around.

He said in a portion of the book dedicated to 'How to be a good Arabic student'

"My personal advice to those who do wish to learn Arabic well is for them to actively pursue learning a dialect. Here are some points, based on my own experience, which I feel are important to keep in mind if you wish to study colloquial.

The Four Noble Truths About Studying Colloquial Arabic

1. Do not study colloquial Arabic until you have a foundation in MSA.

2. Once you begin to learn a dialect continue to study your MSA. Never, ever, abandon your study of MSA.

3. Do not study a dialect before studying MSA.

4. Egyptian (Cairene) colloquial is probably the most widely understood Arabic dialect in the Arab world. That consideration aside, it is irrelevant which dialect you study. So pick a dialect that for some reason or other interests you."

His advices aside; while learning MSA I totally get the idea why he said that we should learn MSA first.

I am surrounded by many Moroccans and other Arab residents where I live and I could not avoid but to listen to their conversation in their dialect everyday. Although I could not understand them but when I got home I asked my husband which words I remembered from their speech. Surprisingly, some words I did learn them from my study and I could connect the dots easily since I learned MSA first.

For example; the word كيف in كيف حلك؟. It is pronounced as 'kaifa' in my study of MSA but the Moroccans around me said 'kif' colloquially. See? They are the same but just a bit twisted here and there. It is kinda interesting. :)

Mr Price also said, "If you ever want to be good at this language you will have to do more than take one course a semester at a university. But first of all, if you are right now taking a course at a university, make sure that you do the work for that course. Come to class prepared and be ready to contribute to the class that day."

Yes. This is true. Although IAP is a program where you need to study online which is different from the conventional study approach where you have a teacher in front of you to ask immediately if you have queries and students around you to discuss your worries and what not

but it is an excellent tool for us to study MSA wherever we are without geography restriction. You just need time, good internet connection, a computer, discipline and some money for the fee and expenses. 

The student definitely has to strive more and not just depend on the notes and modules provided by the university. Always ask the teachers and clear up your misunderstanding by emailing them.

My advice is to get the basic grammar right the first time! If you don't master them first thing first you will have a lot of confusion as you carry forward with the study. In the end, you will easily give up.

My approach is to study a module each day but only answer the modules quizzes after studying at least four or five modules. Never rush to answer the quiz after you complete a module. 

Write and write and write. I rewrote the whole thing on paper although I could simply print the text module and the notes out. This way, I could memorize the vocabularies easily. 

Never leave a day without studying Arabic. Set aside at least two hours. The earlier modules normally are easier. I spent two hours or so on each module but it gets tougher towards the end and on some days I spent almost six hours a day for a module. Watching the modules videos, writing, understanding, doing the exercise and memorizing the vocabularies. 

I am a homemaker and I could afford to spend that much time to study IAP however if you have a day job, you may need to schedule your priorities carefully.



IAP is an intensive course and honestly at some point I felt overloaded by the intensity of the information and burnt out too. 

Tough..but there is no other way around to go about it as Mr. Price said,

"No matter how good your teacher is (and there are some very good teachers of Arabic in this country), your teacher cannot learn for you. The things you will learn the best are the things you will teach yourself, either through reading your text books, or by exposure to the language in a natural context such as a newspaper, book, or a radio or television program.

You are the one responsible for your learning of the language, so teach yourself something every day. It is not easy, at times it will be discouraging, but you are more than capable of doing it if you want to. So you must do something in addition to any class that you may be taking, and you should do that something, at least a little bit, every day."

By the way, I am not in a rush to use my knowledge of Arabic to communicate yet. I still have a long way to go. My husband could understand when I use MSA with him but it is pretty awkward for him to use MSA to reply. He would use his Moroccan dialect and they are worlds apart. Wish me luck!

Lastly, I always always aim for 100% for all the modules quizzes, mid semester test and final exams however, if I could not get it..my goal is to be on the 90's range. Bi iznillah. 

For Muslims, I definitely encourage you to do your prayer on time. If you hear the adzan, get up and do not delay your prayer. Subhanallah. In my own experience, whenever I do this; studying and understanding the modules became easier. 

Last but not the least, hear out Chief Editor of Oxford Arabic Dictionary; Tressy Arts's comment on learning Arabic language,

"Fair enough, it’s complex, but it’s all logical, and regular. I, for one, had much less trouble learning these Arabic verbs than the Latin and French ones, simply because there is such an elegant method to them."

Touché! Subhanallah.