Study in Egypt: My Story
by Ummu Mansuur Najlaa; Cairo, Egypt
1. What has your experience been like for studying Quraan in Egypt?
Alhamdulilah well firstly my spouse and I decided to bring our children here more than
ten years ago in order to learn Arabic, learn Quraan and raise them amongst the
Muslims. Being from the West and not knowing the language is a great barrier that we
had to cross with regards to our Islamic education here. That being said, I have many
children and Allah always aided me in regards to what I wanted to accomplish. I see great
progress from where I was to where I am now; and I hope to achieve more of my
personal goals with regards to learning Quraan, InshaAllah
2. Can you tell me what some of the Quraan programs are like there in Egypt?
I have gone to three different kinds of women’s Arabic and Quran programs in the past. The first time was basically in the masjid. It was free and we met a couple times a week for three hours each time. I was the only English speaking foreigner most of the time and the rest of the sisters were natives. The teacher spoke in Ameyyah (Egyptian dialect) a great majority of the time and I was very frustrated because I couldn’t understand most of it, although I had studied fus-ha for almost a year before this. MashaAllah the teacher was still very patient with me and tried her best to help me as much as she could. I love that dear sister for the sake of Allah, May Allah reward her Ameen.
The class was for learning how to read a specific surah with the application of the tajweed rules, and not for memorization. However and only by the will of Allah, just by sitting in the class, about a year and a half later, I ended up retaining 10 pages of that surah.(Baqarah). The other major achievement though was being able to read directly from the mushaf on my own, with about 60% accuracy, and especially because I knew bare to nothing previously, just the letters and some of the sounds. Learning some Arabic prior definitely helped because I recognized many words and knew their meanings, so understanding what was being said is the greatest blessing mashaAllah. Taraweeh was never the same LOL.
The second program I went to was a private center which caters to the needs of the
foreign student, called Dar Al Fajr. The cost was $20 every few months…TheArabic teachers and Quran teachers spoke fus-ha a great majority of the time and there are different levels, or grades. I started at level 1 and in each level the syllabus includes tajweed, knowing its rules and its application. We also had tafseer and Aqeedah lectures
once per week included into our regular class for no additional cost alhamdulilah. There
is testing each level before moving on to the next. And there is in the beginning a
separation of those who are native speakers and those who aren’t. Later on, as the non
native speakers get more fluent, they are joined with the native speakers. I had an overall
good experience with them, and even I was allowed to bring my young child with me in
my classes. But I left due to a difficult pregnancy and it became hard to go to school and
back. In addition the policies have changed to no children in the group classes which I
understand. Also visa policies are enforced so one must be updated on their immigration
status when enrolling and registering for the center.
The last place I found in walking distance from my apartment, was through Azhar
system, though it is a private center. It’s called ‘Mahaad Al Alameen. It’s for whoever
wishes to join with them and the cost is around 60$ for the whole year. Very affordable
but very rigorous because there are 4 other subjects one takes in addition to the Quraan
classes. In general the Arabic and Quran teachers spoke Ameeya and natives and non natives were mixed together. Our classes met twice a week for 3 hours in the morning. We took around 2
pages each class to memorize and be prepared to come back with it the next class.
Eventually we got up to 5 pages per week, which put us at a juz per month. This was like
the other program I was in previously so I was used to it, but it was hard if I had to miss a
class, because one must review constantly to retain what was learnt. This center is catered
for adult education, though in the summer the children’s programs are open to the public.
When I asked Umm Mansuur: If someone found a way to take a year off from working and focus on Quraan, how much could they accomplish in a year?
She replied: It highly depends on the motivation of the student. He or she could come and finish the whole Quraan in that amount of time, if they focused on that, and nothing else.
Sometimes people find that they want to learn Arabic first and then memorize and some
are able to do both mashaAllah. I think realistically speaking, one could finish a juz every
other month or about 6 juz for the year, again it all depends. Allahu Mustaan
Ummu Mansuur still lives in Cairo, and continues to learn and facilitate the learning of her children. May Allah continue to bless them and aid them in their affairs, Ameen.