Ltd. was founded by Justin Mustafa Majzub who studied Arabic and Persian at Oxford
University. Realizing that there was a lack of quality
products for teaching Arabic, Mr. Majzub set out to produce books
and other Arabic educational materials which would make learning the
Arabic alphabet easier and more enjoyable.
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The first step of this process began in
the late 1980s when Mr Majzub started working with Dr. Bassam
Saeh, his former Arabic tutor at Oxford University who was at
that time head of Arabic at the King Fahad Academy in London.
Together, they began to write a story to help children
overcome the key difficulties associated with learning the Arabic alphabet.
The story which emerged from this collaboration was produced as
a play by the children at the King Fahad Academy school in
1990, and after many subsequent revisions this story became The
Prince of the Letters (Amir Al-Huruf) - the first book in
the Abjad Alphabet Learning System.
Work on this story led to the discovery of the Abjad
alphabet pyramid, a sevenfold categorization of the Arabic
alphabet. Each level of the pyramid was allocated one of the seven colours of the
rainbow. This new and colourful classification has proved to be
an extremely effective tool for introducing children to the Arabic alphabet.
The Prince of the Letters
story treats each letter as an individual living in the
letter kingdom. Letters have "hands" and "tails"; they can "hold" each other, or "hold" a "tail" of their own colour
at the end of a word. Letters without "hands" -
naturally - can not hold a
following letter in a word. Through
the use of such simple ideas as "hands", "tails" and "holding"
most of the complexities of the Arabic script simply dissolve away.
This book's wonderfully woven story is supported by their richly
illustrated pictures to engage children, and to draw them into a
world of learning that will last a lifetime.
Prince of the Letters could be produced as
a picture book, the Abjad letters had to be designed. These
designs were used not only to illustrate the appearance of the letters in the
illustrations of the book, but they were also used to create the unique Abjad
typeface which was used to set the text in the picture
book! This needed to be done so as to prevent any visual
discrepancy between the letters used in the body of the text and
the letters appearing in the pictures. But the Abjad letters are
much more than a typeface, the Abjad letters are in fact,
letters capable of transforming themselves into all their own
required character forms!
The Abjad plastic magnetized
letters are the 3D embodiment of the Abjad letters
illustrated in the book. These plastic letters give children the
possibility of feeling and playing with the letters. They are the
same size and colour as the key the representations in The
Prince of the Letters. This allows children to use them
interactively with the book. Having a functional, colourful and
tactile alphabet set removes any sense of apprehension a child
might feel in coming to grips with the alphabet. The accompanying Abjad picture books help children further by represent ing each letter
as an easily identifiable individual, and easily explaining all the transformations each letter undergoes.
The Abjad plastic letters were
only manufactured after a long and arduous process which required
the solution of highly
complex design and engineering problems.
The final - and seemingly simple - solution allows letters to link
correctly to any following letter! Moreover, each letter is
capable of transforming
into any of its own different character forms! The late Bahij Andari, an
extremely gifted Lebanese calligrapher, best known for his design
of the type-face for the Arabic newspaper
Al-Hayaat, made an important contribution during this
developmental stage. Likewise, Dr. Mahmoud Rasch of S.L. Stuttgart,
best know for the design of the umbrellas in the courtyard of the
holy mosque of Medina, was instrumental in overcoming the key
engineering difficulty in the design of the tools used to
manufacture the plastic letters
the 1990s, Mr. Majzub developed and incorporated
the Abjad letters and stories into a comprehensive Arabic
Alphabet Learning System. A system which incorporates the small
Abjad plastic letters, giant wooden letters, picture books, write
on-wipe off books, workbooks, colouring books, audio tapes,
posters, jigsaws, memory cards, pop-out cards, stickers and CD-Roms,
etc. Abjad is currently expanding the system by working on a half hour animation
as well as a 30
part TV series.
The development of Abjad as a Learning System has
involved much deliberation and
consultation with parents, teachers, calligraphers, animators,
illustrators, designers, TV program makers, printers, and
plastics manufacturers, toy manufacturers, as well as many other
technicians. Not only were Arab and Muslim teachers and families
consulted in the U.K., Egypt and Arabia, but opinions and ideas
were sought in Turkey, Iran, Syria, Jordan, Pakistan, India and
Malaysia, as well as the U.S., France, Switzerland, Spain and
Germany. The latest phase of this collaboration and consultation
was Abjad's move to Egypt in 2001 in order to work
more closely with Egyptian schools, teachers and other educationalists.
driving idea at Abjad,
from the outset, has been the creation of a learning
system of excellence. A system that would appeal to a child's
sense of sight, sound and touch. Abjad set out to provide
Muslim and Arab children - and indeed all those interested in learning
Arabic - with an alphabet learning system second to none. The foundation of that system is now in place - over 100 schools are making use of the Abjad system in Egypt alone !
here to read a more detailed description of the
Abjad Arabic Learning System.
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