The 2023 edition of HalalTrip 40 is brimming with remarkable Muslims who have made significant contributions in their respective fields. Their outstanding efforts have left a lasting impact, whether through groundbreaking achievements, community engagement, or serving as inspirational figures.
On this occasion, we’re zooming in on one of the HalalTrip 40 awardees in the Advocates category; Assad Masud, the visionary founder and CEO of Arabic Unlocked. A groundbreaking platform that is revolutionizing Arabic language learning.
In a world that's constantly evolving, finding ways to connect with our roots and spiritual essence can be a challenging endeavor. However, for one individual, this quest has not only become a personal journey but also a mission to empower millions. Meet Assad, the visionary behind Arabic Unlocked, a groundbreaking platform aimed at bridging the gap between Muslims and the Quran through the power of language.
Growing up, Assad always felt a profound desire to connect with the Quran, but it often seemed just out of reach. The turning point in his journey occurred during his first Umrah pilgrimage at the age of 13, where he made a solemn promise to himself and his mother. He vowed that the next time he returned to Makkah, he would speak Arabic fluently and truly understand the Quran.
After high school, Assad embarked on a transformative journey. He relocated to France and enrolled in the Institut Européen des Sciences Humaines, where he completed their two-year Arabic program in just one year. His dedication and relentless pursuit of knowledge led to fluency in reading, writing, and speaking Arabic. Assad recalls, "Much of my studies consisted of experimenting with different resources, methods, and techniques to learn quickly and effectively. I was consumed by a passion to learn and improve my Arabic."
Back home, Assad began teaching Arabic and volunteering as a translator in his local masjid, initially translating the Friday khutba and tafsir classes. Soon, he was translating academic courses and seminars for renowned Islamic scholars. This experience revealed a gap in effective Arabic learning resources, a challenge he had also faced himself. Thus, the idea of Arabic Unlocked was born.
"We launched Arabic Unlocked in 2020 during lockdown, and quickly gained traction with our app and products," Assad proudly states. "Today, we have over half a million downloads and thousands of students in our online academy.".
Arabic Unlocked is not just a platform; it's a movement. The mission is clear: empower and connect a billion Muslims worldwide to engage directly with the Quran in the language of revelation. Assad explains, "Our products combine technology with the latest research into language learning, catering specifically to different goals and levels.".
The Arabic Unlocked app offers a gamified learning experience, ideal for casual learners seeking to enhance their Arabic skills in just a few minutes a day. Simultaneously, the Arabic Unlocked Academy provides comprehensive online academic courses, designed for committed students looking to take their Arabic proficiency to the next level with a flexible, self-paced program.
Currently serving the English-speaking market with a focus on adults, Arabic Unlocked has grand plans for the future. Assad adds, "We're working on expanding our app to serve speakers of all major world languages, enabling them to learn Arabic. Similarly, we're developing the Arabic Unlocked Kids platform to engage younger children and foster a lifelong connection with the Arabic language and the Quran.".
Assad's motivation to embark on this ambitious journey is deeply personal. Having experienced learning Arabic and understanding the Quran firsthand, he realized that this profound connection was within reach for all Muslims. "Understanding the Quran is more achievable than most people believe," he asserts. "So, knowing both of these things, I felt it was my responsibility to share my knowledge and experience with the world. If it helps just one person connect with the Quran and improve their life, then it's worth the effort.".
Every endeavor faces its share of challenges, and Arabic Unlocked is no exception. Assad candidly acknowledges that finding the right people—be it investors or team members—has been a significant hurdle. However, he offers a timeless formula from a Hadith for tackling challenges: "Tie your camel and trust in Allah.".
Anas bin Malik narrated that a man said:
"O Messenger of Allah! Shall I tie it and rely(upon Allah), or leave it loose and rely(upon Allah)?" He said: "Tie it and rely(upon Allah)."
[Hasan (Darussalam), Jami` at-Tirmidhi 2517]
In conclusion, we asked Assad for a piece of advice he would give to the younger Muslim generation who might be facing challenges, such as rejection, disappointment, or setbacks. He offers profound wisdom:
"Identify your strengths. Invest time in deep introspection until you understand yourself better than anyone else. Determine what you excel at and what challenges you. Discover your passions and the causes you deeply believe in. Recognize that Allah has blessed you with unique gifts. Acknowledge them and put them to use.".
"Begin by seeking Allah's guidance. Pray for His assistance in finding the right path and have unwavering trust that He will guide you. Maintain a positive outlook on your Creator, knowing that He desires the best for you. Make frequent Dua and express immense gratitude for all your blessings.".
"Always remember that there is one supreme goal: to please Allah. Ensure that every aspect of your life aligns with and serves this objective. If you ever find yourself on a path that doesn't contribute to this goal or leads you astray, be prepared to swiftly change directions or make course corrections to stay on the right track.".
In Assad's inspirational journey and the birth of Arabic Unlocked, we find not only a powerful testament to the transformative potential of dedication but also a shining example of how one individual's mission can empower millions to connect more deeply with their faith. Arabic Unlocked is not just a platform; it's a pathway to a more profound connection with the Quran—a gift that Assad aims to share with the world, one person at a time.