On the occasion of celebrating the International Day for Arabic language, which falls on the eighteenth of December of each year. Experts and academics affirm that, the Arabic language has the flexibility and ability to absorb the developments and transformations of the era, and to meet all intellectual, cognitive and aesthetic challenges.

Furthermore, writers, experts and academics in Qatar universities say that, enhancing the contribution of the Arabic language to the contemporary intellectual and scientific perspective, depends on the development of relevant institutions to their cadres, tools and platforms to advance the digital content of the Arabic language as necessity of this age, to confirm our intellectual and civilized presence on the information network.

Our language accommodates the requirements for the consolidation of digital content

The celebration of the International Arabic language Day is an occasion to shed light on the efforts of some countries and academic scientific institutions in employing the digital world to strengthen their programs, culturally, cognitively and scientifically. In this regard, the State of Qatar has made remarkable efforts in supporting and promoting Arabic digital content, through many initiatives that were implemented which include the launching of the Doha Historical Dictionary for the Arabic language, the launching of the national plan to digitize the national and cultural heritage of the State of Qatar, the partnership of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development with the “TED” platform, and the “Firasa” and “Ithra” initiatives of the Qatar Computing Research Institute of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, to revive the Arabic language and encourage its use in the digital world, and to improve the experiences of its users via the Internet. In addition, the Qatar Digital Library provides a collection of rare and valuable Arabic manuscripts on its online portal for free to all users and those interested in Arabic and Islamic heritage.

Qatar University Joins the World’s Digital Space

In the State of Qatar’s continuous efforts to enhance the digital content of the Arabic language on the Internet. Qatar University has launched three large-scale open digital courses namely; (MOOCS) through the International Educational Platform (edX), which are the Human courses in Islam, the Arabic language for Non-native Speakers, and the history and legacy of Qatar.

On this, Dr. Muhammad Abu Bakr Al-Muslih, an Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs at the College of Sharia in Qatar University, and the Head of the team for preparing the open digital course “Man in Islam”, explained exclusively to Qatar News Agency (QNA) that, Qatar University, in its working framework endeavors to keep pace with the development in the world of digital space. The university has developed a strategy for e-learning and digital transformation to enhance participation in this field, to integrate digital learning into the university’s education system, and to enrich learning experiences through research and innovation in digital learning, especially, after the incident of the Corona pandemic.  Al-Muslih also indicated that, the university has additionally established a special office for digital learning and e-learning in September, 2021.

Al-Muslih: The three digital courses to communicate with the world Cum the Qatar university’s launching of the first group of open digital courses

Al-Muslih explained that, launching of the three courses as a free and first group, through the International Educational platform (edX), is a part of the university’s strategy to build bridges of cultural and civilizational communication between Qatar and the world in introducing Qatari culture, identity, history and traditions. He pointed out that, this group came within an agreement concluded by the university with the (edX) platform last June, which is one of the largest distance learning platforms in the world, and its courses collaborate with more than 160 universities and educational institutions in 196 countries including Qatar university now.

An Exploratory Trip from an Islamic perspective

Al-Muslih noted that, the launching of these courses was as a result of the cooperation with the Digital Learning and E-Learning Office at the Qatar University, the College of Sharia and Islamic Studies, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Center for Teaching of Arabic to Non-Native Speakers at the University. He further explained that, the “Man in Islam” course is an exploratory journey for man from an Islamic perspective. This course is presented through video clips in Arabic language with English translation, in addition to formative exercises and readings, while the course of “Arabic to Non-Native Speaker’ is presented through an interactive visual educational material according to International standards in teaching languages. More so, the course of “History and Heritage of Qatar” sheds light on the major transformations in the history of the State of Qatar, from the stage of reliance on the pearl diving trade, to modern Qatar, and the subsequent developments to the present time, including the culture, traditions and geography of the State of Qatar, and its impact on the global level.

Abdul Rahman Mahmoud: Towards proving the certainty of language flexibility

Dr. Abdul Rahman Abdul Salam Mahmoud critically and academically stressed the importance of enhancing the digital content of the Arabic language, to prove the certainty of the flexibility of the language and its ability to respond to the prerequisites of modernization and newness historically, scientifically, electronically and communicatively.

On this note, He pointed out that, the concern for digital content is mainly related to the significance of the possible civilization, and the data of Arabic linguistics that is compatible with this era, and the requirements of modernization and development without backwardness or interruption that which refute and debunk the hypothesis of the backwardness of the Arabic language. He said the Arabic language of ours, has the ability to live, to outlive and to protect itself in the context of globalization. He explained further that, the Arabic language is the repertoire of Arabic history in its movement and its political and civilizational postures, as well as the repertoire of the unique Arabic aesthetic in its literature in general, and in its poetry in particular. From here, the language relates to the nation’s being, and fuses with its leaping spirit, just as the language touches on the Islamic faith as a religion and culture.

Hashim Mirghani: Our Arabic digital presence is very modest with its role

Dr. Hashim Mirghani critically and academically pointed out the contradiction between what he described as the presence of the Arabic language and its global spread, according to the latest statistics which states that, of four hundred and sixty-seven million people, Arabic language is the fifth most spoken language in the world after Chinese, Spanish,  English and Hindu. Besides, Arabic language is partially spoken and used for worship in some of its rituals by a billion and a half Muslims. To be candid, our Arabic digital presence is 3 percent modest in its global content according to the digital reports from the United Nations. 

Additionally, the number of Arabic language pages on the international network does not exceed 0.01 percent of the total number of its pages, which raises a storm of questions about the reasons for this strange paradox that must be discussed at all levels. He attributed some of the weaknesses in the Arabic content digitally, to the traditional institutions that are concerned with Arabic, either governmental or private, such as Arabic language academies, Arabic language departments, colleges, centers, and the negligence to invest in modern methods in teaching languages as is the case in Western languages, in addition to the intensity of language duplication between “classical” Arabic and the vernacular dialects, which requires bridging the gap between them. Mirghani called for the need to implement some suggestions, the most important of which is, opening the door to modernization widely by its well-known means of improvisation, derivation, permissibility and others.

The International Arabic Language Day is an historic resolution

It is worth noting that, the celebration of the international Arabic language Day, on December, 18th of each year, came as an implementation of the historic decision of the United Nations, General Assembly in 1973 that, the Arabic language be the sixth official language in the organization. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) annually highlights this occasion and the abundant contributions of the Arabic language to enriching the cultural and linguistic diversity of humanity, as well as, its contribution to the production of knowledge. This year, UNESCO has chosen, the contribution of Arabic language to human civilization and culture, as a theme to celebrate this occasion. The Arabic language, according to UNESCO, in its various forms and methods, oral, written, eloquent and colloquial, and its various lines and prose and poetic arts, has created wonderful aesthetic verses that capture and attract the hearts in various fields that include, but are not limited to, engineering, poetry, philosophy and song.

The history of the Arabic language abounds with evidence that shows its close links to a number of other world languages. The Arabic language was a stimulant for the production and dissemination of knowledge and it helped to transfer scientific knowledge, Greek and Roman philosophy to Europe during the Renaissance.

Source: Qatar News Agency