Profile of Dr. V. Abdur Rahim

Overview of the Profile of Shaykh Dr. V. Abdur Rahim

حفظه اللهُ تعالى

* An outstanding Scholar of Arabic Language and Literature;

* Deeply learned in the Glorious Qur’aan and Sunnah;

* Majored in English Language and Literature (University of Madras, India);

* Holds M.Phil. and Ph.D. Degrees in Arabic Philology from the University of Al-Azhar (Cairo);

* Formerly Professor of Arabic Language for 30 years at the International Islaamic University of Madinah;

* Has taught Arabic Language at the Islaamic Universities around the world: at Omdurman – Sudan, Germany, Washington D.C. – U.S.A, and British Guyana;

* Has been teaching Arabic as a foreign language for more than 50 years;

* An expert on European Languages: their etymology, phonetic change and semantic development;

* Formerly the Director of the ‘Institute of Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language’, Islaamic University of Madinah;

* Currently the Director of the Translation Centre at the ‘King Fahd Glorious Qur’aan Printing Complex’ (Madinah, Saudi Arabia), serving as its Director for over 15 years.

V. Abdur Rahim was born in the small town of Vaniyambadi in the state of Tamil Nadu, India in 1933. After finishing his secondary school studies, he joined Presidency College, University of Madras where he majored in English Language and Literature. He graduated in 1957. In 1964, he joined al-Azhar University, Cairo, where he did his M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Arabic Philology.

It is to be noted that Abdur Rahim learnt Arabic by himself. The school where he did his secondary school studies offered Arabic, but the lessons it offered consisted of only memorizing the conjugation tables. Abdur Rahim detested this method. He thought that it was the most unnatural way of learning a language. Only dead languages like Latin, Syriac, etc. are taught this way. Living languages teach sentences straightaway. He decided to design a curriculum to teach Arabic to non-native speakers of Arabic.

In 1969, he joined the Islamic University of Madinah to teach Arabic Philology. Here, he was also associated with the Programme of teaching Arabic as a foreign language. The course he designed for this purpose is now known as دروسُ اللغةِ العربيةِ لـغير الناطقين بـهاDurûs al-Lughah al-‘Arabiyyah li-Ghair al-Nâtiqîna Bihâ. (Now these books are popularly known throughout the world as “MADINAH BOOKS”.)

When he was learning Arabic by himself, Abdur Rahim studied the many problems that beset the non-native students of Arabic, and tried to solve them. He discovered that all these problems can easily be solved by applying the principle of ِتقديمُ الأصولِ على الفروعtaqdîm al- usûl ‘ala al-furû‘, i.e. teaching the primary elements before the secondary elements. The following are some of the manifestations of the application of this principle:

1 Teaching the primary case-endings before the secondary endings, so you teach the masrûf noun before the mamnû‘ min al-sarf, and the al-af‘âl al-arba‘ah before the al-af‘âl al-khamsah.
2 Teaching the sâlim verb before the other categories.
3 Teaching the al-mudâri‘ al-marfû ‘ before the al-mudâri‘ al-mansûb or al-mudâri‘ al-majzûm.
4 Teaching the plural of intelligent nouns before that of non-intelligent nouns.

Another principle Abdur Rahim advocates is that rules of waqf should not be applied during the teaching stage, for in that case the student cannot learn the correct ending of the last word in the sentence as, ma smu-ka and ma smu-ki, for example, are both reduced to ma smu-k.

The following are the books Dr. Abdur Rahim has written in the field of teaching Arabic as a foreign language:

1. Let’s Begin to Read Arabic : A Beginners Guide to Learning the Arabic Language and the Qur’aan.
2. Durûs al-Lughah al-‘Arabiyyah (3 parts).
3. Key To Durûs al-Lughah al-‘Arabiyyah (3 parts: in English or Urdu).
4. Key To Exercises of Durûs al-Lughah al-‘Arabiyyah (3 parts).
5. Teachers’ Guide To Durûs al-Lughah al-‘Arabiyyah (3 parts).
6. A Glossary of Words used in Durûs al-Lughah al-‘Arabiyyah:
Arabic-English Dictionary
7. Ahaadiith Sahlah.
8. Nusûs min al-Hadîth al-Nabawiyy al-Sharîf.
9. Nusûs Islâmiyyah.
10. From Esfahan To Madinah In Search of Truth: Salmaan al-Farisi’s Hadiith.
11. Al-Bâhith ‘an al-Haqq.
12. Innahumâ min Mishkâtin Waahidah.
13. Fii Balât Hiraql.
14. Abshir bi-Khayri Yawm.
15. Arba‘ûna Hadîthan.
16. Al-Mus‘if fî Lughati wa I‘râbi Suurati Yûsuf.
17. Selections From the Glorious Qur’aan – With Lexical & Grammatical Notes, DVDs and Audio CD.
18. Suurah al-Hujuraat – With Lexical & Grammatical Notes and Audio CD.
19. Both These Lights Emanate From the Same Niche – With Lexical & Grammatical Notes.
20. Madinah Arabic Reader : 8 Part Course for the Learning of Arabic as Taught at the Islaamic University, Madinah. (for Children)
21. Duruus al-Lughah al-’Arabiyyah li-ghayr al-naatiqiina bi-haa li l-’atfaal. (for Children)
22. Europe Speaks Arabic.

Currently, Dr. V. Abdur Rahim is Director, Translation Centre, King Fahd Glorious Qur’aan Printing Complex, Madinah Munawwarah.