Faith-based language learning

This might be the answer to some of the “hurry-up” language acquisition decrees: according to the Jakarta Post, an Islamic boarding school in Probolinggo, East Java, offers a rite called Ilmu Laduni (the knowledge from God) that “allows someone to learn something without really studying it.” Students, or patients as they’re called, say a prayer for several hours, recite a few Arabic sentences mixed with words from the Coptic language of Egypt, drink special water blessed by a cleric, and have water poured over their heads in a bathing rite.

The prayer is translated as “Oh God, I beseech you that a foreign language should come to me perfectly” and then “Oh God, I beseech you for a perfect language and its perfect meaning.”

“Mohammad Ali, an expert in Eastern literature at Airlangga University, Surabaya, said that what was recited was not a prayer in Islam but a mystic prayer outside Islamic conventions. He said this could be seen in the use of the words Nun and Amun, both meaning ‘the Celestial Deity’ in Coptic.”

One patient said, “It does not stand to reason, but my brother tried it and it worked. I would like to learn English quickly so that I can find a good position in the company where I work.”

The Post reports that “thousands of people have come here to learn a foreign language quickly. Each has paid between Rp 500,000 and Rp 1.5 million [US$55 to $166]. But independent study is possible, if one follows “the special requirements, which include fasting, praying and eating vegetarian food and abstaining from eating foods containing the element of fire.”

And as they say in the diet-supplement advertisements, your results may vary.

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