Ola was born and spent most of her childhood in the UK. Her parents are native Arabs and she learnt their dialect of Arabic as a child at home although English remained her first language. Like many from her generation when she began to understand Islam in her own right, she began simultaneously to appreciate the absence of the Qur’an in her life which led her to enroll in a degree in Arabic in SOAS which by the grace of Allah she passed with a first class. Within a year of starting the course her life had been changed forever. The Qur’an was now understandable to some degree, she was able to memorise verses with understanding, her prayer was different, and that year Ramadan was different. The fundamental change that the Quran caused within her life led her to believe that if this was possible for her then it should be possible for all the sisters and thus began her dedication towards teaching the Arabic language.
She began teaching Arabic grammar from the second year of her degree to friends and to students from other disciplines at University. Facilitating the journey of students through the Arabic language has been and continues to be from amongst the most rewarding memories that she has, and she prays to Allah that He accepts those efforts from her.
Ola’s life then moved out of the UK for a while and she found herself with the opportunity to do a Masters in Arabic Linguistics from the International Islamic University of Malaysia where she lived for two years. At the Masters level, which was taught entirely in Arabic, Ola had the opportunity to develop her appreciation of the intricacies of the language and perhaps for the first time actually witness the miracle of the Quran. It was a fascinating two years which culminated in the development of the Arabic Gems website - an attempt to give English speakers the opportunity to witness what she had witnessed of the miraculous nature of the language and prose of the Qur’an.
Being native to the English language and the English educational mind-set has been the key to creating a unique educational experience to the English speaker attempting to learn the Arabic language. Drawing on her 15 years of teaching experience she has developed a course which has surpassed all expectations in facilitating the learning of the Arabic language to sisters both in the UK and all over the world. She has developed an intuitive style of teaching that is sensitive to the particular problems posed to the English-speaking mind when faced with the completely different grammatical demands of Arabic. She seamlessly weaves this into her explanations such that many questions are answered before they are asked, anticipating problems within the mind of the learners before they arise. The results have been very encouraging by the grace of Allah; seeing sisters who were struggling to learn Arabic flourish through their hard work continues to motivate her today as it has over the past fifteen years. We ask Allah the Exalted to make this heavy upon her scales and make her a continual source of benefit to the Ummah of the Prophet Mohammad (salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam).
Dr Thanweer Farquhar
Dr Thanweer is a medical doctor by profession who has spent many years studying Arabic grammar and working in the Middle East as a doctor. Over the years he has spent much time researching study methods and techniques which he has applied extensively in his own pursuit of knowledge, and through it has developed an extremely versatile approach to education and teaching. He was a valued member of Dr Bilal Philips’ Arabic language faculty while in Qatar and contributed to the development of the Arabic programme that is being taught in the Islamic Online University’s Arabic course.
From the inception of the ‘Arabic through the Qur’an’ course, Dr Thanweer has been extensively involved in designing and refining the curriculum and a valuable source of insight into developing a robust structure which has been fundamental to the success of the course so far. He is an inspirational teacher who combines conceptual clarity with a mature teaching approach to facilitate a unique learning experience.