Zayd ibn Thabit: The Man Who Learned a Language in Two Weeks

Zayd ibn Thabit: The Man Who Learned a Language in Two Weeks

Everyone knows that our Prophet (pbuh) only knew the Arabic language. Also, he couldn’t read nor write; that’s why his miracle was the Holy Quran, an utter
miracle in fluency. Since the prophet only knew Arabic, one may wonder: How did he manage to communicate with other nations that spoke different
languages?

The story started with Zayd ibn Thabit, one of the prophet’s companions and his most trusted revelations scribe. Ever since Zayd converted to Islam, he was so keen on accompanying the prophet and being close to him. When he was 13, he wholeheartedly wanted to be a member of the prophet’s army during Badr’s battle. Our kind noble Prophet (pbuh) patted his shoulder tenderly and told him that he appreciates his courage; however, he couldn’t let him join the army because he was too young. Sad Zayd went back to his house with a heavy heart but he didn’t give up. The next year, Zayd wanted to join the Prophet’s army in the battle of Uhud. That time, he thought he was qualified but still, the Prophet saw that he was young and immature. He couldn’t bring himself to enlist the small- figured kid. Zayd kept coming back to the prophet whenever there’s a battle but he couldn’t really participate in any battle till the age of 16.

It’s ironic that Zayd ibn Thabit isn’t known for participating in battles with the Prophet like other companions of the Prophet such as: Khalid ibn Al-Walid or
Amr ibn Al-as; but he was known for his knowledge and for being the most trusted revelations scribe. After being rejected from participating in Badr, Zayd
found a new passion in seeking knowledge. He was only 13 years old when he started memorising Quran and reciting it correctly with Tajweed.
The Prophet heard about Zaid’s skills through some men of the Ansar who said:

“O Messenger of Allah, our son Zayd ibn Thabit has memorized seventeen surahs of the Book of Allah and recites them as correctly as they were revealed to you. In addition to that he is good at reading and writing. It is in this field of service that he desires to be close to you. Listen to him if you will."

After hearing Zayd’s recital for the 17 surahs, the Prophet (pbuh) saw how intelligent this kid is and saw his potentials, he made him one of his scribes and
later on, he earned the position of the most trusted scribe. In addition to memorise Quran and contributing in collecting it later, Zayd was ordered by the
Prophet to learn Hebrew, the language of the Jews. Zaid, being the enthusiastic knowledge-loving kid, started learning Hebrew right away and within two weeks, he mastered it. He worked on translating the letters that came from the Jews to the Prophet, then, he’d write to them in Hebrew. When Zayd completely
mastered Hebrew, the Prophet (pbuh) told him to learn another language which

is Syriac which he also mastered. Before the age of 15, Zayd ibn Thabit was fluent in two languages besides his mother tongue, Arabic.

Also, Zayd studied the meanings of Quran very well and he knew the explanation (Tafseer) of it by heart, of course besides memorising it. During the era of Abu- Bakr, Abu-Bakr summoned him for the task of collecting the Quran and also, during the era of Uthman, Uthman called him again to collect the final version of the Mushaf, the one we use nowadays.

Even though they were hard tasks, Allah gave Zayd the wisdom and power to fulfill them perfectly. When he was ordered by Abu-Bakr for this mission, Zayd said:

“By Allah, if he (Abu Bakr) had ordered me to shift one of the mountains from its place, it would not have been harder for me than what he had ordered me
concerning the collection of the Quran."

Zayd ibn Thabit started his journey with Quran from a very young age but he accomplished many great achievements that Umar ibn al-Khattab said to fellow Muslims: “O people, whoever wants to ask about the Quran, let him go to Zayd ibn Thabit." Also, when Zayd died, Abu Hurayrah said: "Today, the scholar of this ummah has died."

• The lessons we learn from the story of Zayd ibn Thabit

1. Young kids have a great ability to learn. Their memories are way better than adults’ and they can memorise things faster the younger they are.
Their talents shouldn’t be wasted and we should invest in our kids by teaching them Arabic and Quran.

2. Young Zayd ibn Thabit didn’t have internet or many books to learn from. However, he still managed to learn two languages on his own while he was
between 13 and 14. There’s nothing impossible if you set your mind to do something. We have many sources for learning, we have online courses
like the ones we offer, and we have technology; we’re so lucky that learning is so easy for us. Don’t forget that Allah (SWT) ordered us to seek
knowledge. The first word that Allah (SWT) revealed to the Prophet was: “Read”. Hence, we should always read and search in order to become
better Muslims.

3. Memorising Quran will help keeping our minds alert and awake. It’ll also make us more fluent in our language. Besides all of that, Quran is full of
stories and situations that will help us in our lives. Learning and understanding Quran will make us better Muslims And better humanbeings.

4. Perseverance is essential especially when seeking to learn a new thing like a new language, Arabic per-say. Zayd kept hoping to be one of the
Prophet’s companions and when he couldn’t make it to the battles, he didn’t give up hope and he pursued another way, which is knowledge.

5. Knowledge is a very strong weapon. The more we learn, the more aware we become of our world. Also, learning and reading Quran makes us
realise how lucky we are to be Muslims. It also makes us realise how great Allah (SWT) is.

In the end, it’s important to say that the Holy Quran is a gift and to truly appreciate it, we have to read in it’s original language. Keep Zayd’s story before your eyes to see how dedicated the Prophet’s companions were. May Allah guide us all to the right path.