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Dr. V Abdur Rahim: A Beacon of Arabic Language Education and a Legacy of Excellence



On October 19, 2023, the city of Madinah in Saudi Arabia witnessed the demise of one of its most illustrious sons. Dr. V Abdur Rahim, a pioneering Arabic language educator, author, translator, and academic luminary, passed away at the age of 90. His legacy, however, remains firmly ingrained in the minds and hearts of Arabic learners and educators worldwide.


Born in 1933 in Vaniyambadi, a quaint town in Tamil Nadu, young Rahim showcased an affinity for languages. His academic journey began at Presidency College, University of Madras, where he majored in English language and literature. But the call of Arabic, the language of the Quran, beckoned him beyond the shores of India. Rahim pursued higher studies at the iconic Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, obtaining his M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Arabic Philology by 1964.


As he journeyed through the world of academia, Dr. Rahim's career was emblematic of innovation and a fresh pedagogical approach. He joined the ranks of the Islamic University of Madinah in 1969 and was instrumental in revolutionizing the teaching of Arabic as a foreign language. The global academic community benefited from his expertise as he lent his skills to institutions spanning Sudan, Germany, the U.S., and British Guyana.


Dr. Rahim's magnum opus, the Madinah Arabic Course, remains a cornerstone in Arabic language education. The series, comprising a gamut of textbooks and audiovisual tools, demystified the intricate nuances of Arabic. Learners, irrespective of their linguistic backgrounds, found solace in his methodical and clear instruction. Beyond mere language training, his teaching cultivated a bridge of intercultural dialogue and mutual respect.


A multilinguist par excellence, Dr. Rahim's prowess extended to authoring several seminal books in Arabic, English, and Urdu. Among his noteworthy contributions is the book 'Attibyan', a guide tailored for new converts to Islam, simplifying the process of learning the Quran.


Dr. Rahim's commitment to the dissemination of knowledge extended beyond the classroom. He served with distinction as the Director of the translations section at the King Fahad Qur’an Printing Press in Madinah. This role saw him championing the translation and interpretation of the Quran into a myriad of languages, facilitating its reach to every corner of the globe.


In a befitting tribute to his remarkable contributions, Dr. V Abdur Rahim was conferred the prestigious President of India Award. A celebration of his relentless pursuit of excellence, this honor underscores his role in propelling Arabic language education and promoting cultural amalgamation through the power of linguistic understanding.


The sacred land of Madinah, which witnessed his final moments, honored him one last time as he was laid to rest in the revered Jannat al Baqi cemetery, in proximity to the Prophet’s Mosque. News of his passing reverberated across continents, with New Delhi's Team Clarion hailing him as a "world-renowned Islamic scholar, multilinguist, author, teacher, and translator."


The physical absence of Dr. V Abdur Rahim is palpable, especially among the vast international community of Arabic language enthusiasts, learners, and scholars. Yet, his indomitable spirit, his revolutionary pedagogical techniques, and his monumental contributions to Arabic language and literature ensure that he continues to illuminate the path for generations of eager learners.


In the annals of history, Dr. V Abdur Rahim will be remembered not merely as an educator but as an institution in himself - a beacon of hope, knowledge, and inspiration. His life and work stand testimony to the adage: "Teachers affect eternity; no one can tell where their influence stops."

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