Meeting Other Students

As-salaamu `alaykum wa rahmatullaah 

One of the benefits of studying Arabic in a class with other students is the beauty of meeting people from all over the world (literally from all the corners of the globe!). In class, I would be thrilled whenever a new student joined us as it meant a new insight into their background, life back home etc (yeah, this stuff fascinates me although unlike science and medicine, anthropology & humanities were never my cup of tea!)

Imam al-Shafi’i said it best when he said, “I love the righteous, though I’m not from amongst them”. These accounts below are of a few blessed individuals that came across my path and who unfortunately I don’t think I’ll ever be seeing again (names have been changed). Sometimes, people have an impact on us and leave many a memory, even though time together may have been very short. Bearing in mind I was only a teen when I went abroad, and I was easily inspired and thus looked up to many people… but of course I’m not able to include everyone, so these are a select few who I wasn’t able to keep in touch with.

There was Ruwaydah from Kosovo, who was just a gem. I would visit her often, doing homework together and she’d teach me how to make a banana and peanut cake (of course, I was too busy eating it than listening to even the ingredients!). We’d talk about common things in life – from war and politics to marriage (which I guess means more politics) and of course banana/peanut cakes lol. She was an amazing sister, never failing to cheer me up (and always making me laugh in class! Hmm… is that a good thing?).

Then there was Salihah, a very, very wise sister from Albania, full of good advice. She would always have a balanced approach to things and look from a different perspective.

One person who inspired me a great deal was Layla from Kazakhstan. She was the most fluent amongst us when it came to speaking and reading Arabic. Subhanallah, her modesty and kindness shone from her like light shines from the moon. She would mention her dreams of teaching Arabic when she went back to Kazakhstan, and of course knowing the situation back there (of persecution, and public ban on teaching even Arabic), we asked how – she simply replied, ‘she’ll try even it has to be taught in secret’. This always fired me up, how something as innocent as teaching Arabic could be a threat and consequently banned?! Allahul Musta’an. Anyway, one day just before she left, she came into class and gave me a book. It was al-Ajroomiyyah, with the Sharh of Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen! The sister knew that I, being the bookworm that I am, had been looking for this particular book (published by Dar al-Ansar) for so so long. She said that she couldn’t find it, so she gave me her own personal copy.

There were also Zaynab and Firdaws, 2 sisters from South Africa (one of Asian descent and the other of mixed European and African). These sisters were very studious masha’Allah and in addition to being able to recite exceptionally well, they were memorising text like al-Shatibiyyah and were well on their way to receiving Ijazahs in Qira’ah (inspirational!)

I also met the funniest twins from Kyrgyzstan. At ages 16 or 17, they were the youngest in the class (after being teased in class for some time, I was glad someone younger than me turned up!). They’d crack us up in class with their unique character and even the teacher would be left in stitches lol masha’Allaah.

I had the honour of meeting an older sister, Khalida from Malaysia. She had the characteristics that were very much the epitome of the Malaysian people, tabarak’Allah – very welcoming, humble, kind and generous. Very inspirational she was, holding strong to the Fast of Dawud (AS) – fasting on alternate days. I must go and visit her one day insha’Allah, apart from being such a gem; she owns one of the plushest hotels on the small Islands of Malaysia!

I also met a plethora of reverts coming in from Europe, the UK and USA. Alhamdulillah I’ve been able to keep in touch with the UKers on our returns, and was delighted by some old students turning up!

Other sisters whose company I was blessed with came from other countries including France, Pakistan and some from Algeria/Morocco. Cairo is bustling with Indonesians, who all study at al-Azhar, one of them helped me find out a lot about al-Azhar when I had planned to enrol (I didn’t after she showed me the timetable!).

There are also many Russians that study Arabic in Cairo. Subhan’Allah, I was quite shocked when one of them said to me that Muslims in Russia number 1 in 5! In our local masjid one time, my dad came back from the ‘Isha Jama’ah quite late. He told us of his amazement in witnessing a Russian brother complete memorisation of the Qur’aan (khatm) and even more amazing was his level of Tajweed.

In addition, there were also scores of Chechens. Such a pleasure to be around them, masha’Allaah very studious, strong and hard-working people. We heard the account of one sister who at the age of 8 or 9 year, had her whole family killed in front of her eyes during the conflict (as she hid in a closet), when the invading army left, she left and in obvious shock began to tread the mountains. She was found by a group of Mujahideen, and they helped her get back on her feet and paid for her to get some education in a more stable country.

I could go on, but the stories will never stop. This is without doubt one of the benefits in studying with other students – you meet people that influence you to really aim high and achieve a lot in life, some tell a life of amazement and others… well, Allaah `azza wa jall puts them in your path for a particular reason…

24 thoughts on “Meeting Other Students

  1. SubhanAllah sister

    your posts are very inspirational, and they are very eloquently written. MashaAllah.

    May Allah increase you in your knowledge, and make you a means of guidance for others. Ameen

    Wassalam

    Your brother in Islam, Raheel

  2. assalaamu `alaykum ya Fajr!

    What a heartwarming post! Wow, you have met a lot of people, didn’t you? I can definitely vouch for the Russians and the Indonesians, mashaAllah!

    I think you’re forgetting a very dear friend of yours whom you’ve nearly sacrificed your life for in Egypt. Remember that time you had to sit with her in the scorching heat and you told us that you were on the verge of blacking out but still remained with her? THAT’S WHAT FRIENDS ARE FOR! TabarakAllaah :D

    Nimo

  3. السلام عليكم

    Your stories remind me of mine when I spent time

    studying in Cairo. SubhnAllah, your statements

    about the Chechens are so true, they are really

    studious.

  4. Wa `alaykumusalaam wa rahmatullah

    Actually, most of the accounts above are from 2/3 years back so didn’t really include many people in my recent trip! I would’ve loved to write about my above-mentioned friend, but she turned up in London tabarak’Allah! (that list was of people I don’t think I’ll be seeing again :-( ).

  5. Wa ‘alaykum as-salaam wa Rahmat Allahi wa Barakaatuhu,

    Jazaaki Allah khayr. I REALLY enjoyed reading this post.

    It’s amazing when we stop and reflect on the people Allah has put in our lives and the way knowing them has impacted us. SubhanAllah wal-Hamdulil-Lah.

  6. Asalaamu ‘alaykum

    Excellent post, JazakAllahu khair you met some really interesting people. You seem like you have a broad/open mind yourself.

  7. Asalamulaykum

    Hope you are in the best of health and Imaan and in a state pleasing to Allah swt.

    Does anybody know of any sisters going to Al-Fajr or Cairo, Eygpt to study in the near future? Or could you please guide me to a method to find any sisters that maybe going?

    I plan to go next month, My Mahram will be dropping me off there and returning. Would be good to know some sisters and settle down for the studying?

    InshAllah hope to hear from you soon.

    Masalama

  8. I need to choose a good institute to study with: fajr or diwan or sibaway. I have young children, my 4 year old will insh’allah be in school but my baby will be home so it seems private tutoring is probably the more hassle free way to go.

    Part of me wants to be in a class, so that I get to interact w/ others and make some friends. Ofcourse then I have to worry about child care and going out every day. Plus sometimes people aren’t so friendly or you may not make ‘friends’ so choosing a class setting might just backfire.

    But another part of me feels like I’ll just learn so much faster and that’ll be tons of fun so private tutoring is the way to go.

    Any advice?

  9. Aww, may Allah make things easy for you, sister.

    I would perhaps take into consideration the child’s well-being and work around that insha’Allah. It might be quite distracting for you (and not so good for the baby) were you to place him/her in child-care and you study elsewhere.

    But Allahu a’lam ukhti, you’re the best judge of your situation, assess it and see what’s best for you and your child (hey, you never know, you might be one of those people who learn much better on their own) :)

    Tawakkali ‘ala Rabbiki

  10. As Salam ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah!

    Are there any brothers coming to Cairo to study?

    If yes, then we have a room available for anyone who might be looking for a place to stay long term. We are looking for a practicing Muslim brother. If anyone is interested, then please contact me on my email: dis_is_abdurrahman@hotmail.co.uk.

    Jazakum Allah Khayran Wa As Salam Alaykum Wa Rahmatullah!

  11. Asalamu Alaikum sister

    I’m looking to go study Arabic in Egypt this summer- but I really don’t know where to start.

    I’m a single mother with a 5 year old daughter- so it makes the task all the more daunting. But I want to study in an institute, that offer safe accommodation, classes for children and as well for adults and affordable tuition.

    It seems that you have studied there, would you please guide to the right resources and people?

    JazakeeAllahu khairn ukhtee

  12. Wa `alaykumusalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    It’s difficult to direct if one is not in the country, but the best thing you can perhaps do is contact one of the main centres in Nasr City and request your specific needs, e.g. accomodation (get shared accomodation with other sisters if you don’t wish to be alone), which is within walking distance of the centre, tailored classes, airport pickup etc.

    I know there are some nurseries around (ask about Rawdhat al-Fusha when you get there) which your daughter can benefit from, and this will also free you for studies insha’Allah. You can always opt for home tuition and have a teacher come to your house regularly. Classes for 5 year olds within the same institute is something I’ve never personally seen so I’m not sure if that’s an option. Nurseries are a lot more common.

    Going the extra way with specifics might cost you slightly more, but do explore within your means bi’idhnillah.

    Bi-tawfiq :)

    • JazakeeAllahu khairn ukhtee for all the info

      Having being there, is it generally safe for a woman to be living alone for few months?

  13. Wa iyyaki.

    I wouldn’t recommend it to be honest, sis. It’s generally safe, but there are other factors which play a part, such as daily life, going out, studying etc in which living with a friend or family member can make all the difference. I remember reading a particular quote:

    “You cannot live alone. Do not live alone, as the wolf eats up the lone sheep, and Satan is close to the one who is alone and is farther from two who are together. So, if you live somewhere, live with at least one other person, and this one person should be righteous.”

    Also, you wouldn’t want attention from locals as it’s generally looked down upon for someone to be living completely on their own. Foreigners stand out anyway lol, but it helps to be living with another person (maybe search for roommates before going, or ask the institutes to place you with someone). If and when you’re set on going, drop me a line and I’ll see if there are any sisters you can meet up with. You can always ask on here as well.

  14. Mashallah Sister! you have an amazing blog which I benefited tremendously from.

    Wanted to know if you know anything regardingh Qortoba Institute? My mind was set on that institute because that was the only one I heard of and b/c supposedly they follow a salafi manhaj, but after reading (and basically memorizing) your blod on studying in Cairo and Fajr, I am having second thought on limiting myself to Qortoba and maybe explore Fajr as well.

    But I want to know for sure since I would not want to skip around institutes during my study time.

    Jazakee Allahu Khairan

  15. As-Salaamu Alaikum Brothers & Sisters,

    I am from Canada and will be travelling to Egypt for Islamic Studies soon Insh’Allah. Can you
    please tell me where would be better for me to go to; Alexandria or Cairo.

    As of now I want to focus just on Arabic and Quran. What institute do you guys think would be the best for me to go for the above two in both Alexandria and Cairo.

    For Arabic I want to improve my listening, reading and speaking for now and move into deeper grammar gradually.

    By the way I’ve heard that Al-Fajr also has a Quran school. Is the Quran school integrated with the Arabic school or are they separate. It would also be very helpful for me if I can get Al-Fajr’s contact number. Both their Quran and Arabic schools.

    Can anyone provide me with the list of Arabic schools in Alexandria along with their contact numbers?

    Jazak Allahu Khair to all of you guys.
    May Allah forgive and Guide us all.

  16. Asalamu aleikum,
    I am a muslim woman, i live in a spacious quite two bedroom apartment with two living room, one bathroom a kitchen and a balcony, in Nasr city( haye Thamin). shops are all nearby. telephone line, internet. ac.
    the room has two single beds a wardrobe
    i want a good practising muslim sister, clean person.
    the rent will be $200.
    post a comment if intrested.

  17. Asalaam Alaykum. Insahallah i’m coming to cairo to study at fajr center on the 25 june from the uk, does anyone knw a brother who wants to share a two bedroom apartment? If you have any info, plz email me – ifran@hotmail.co.uk
    JazakAllah Khair.

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