In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Compassionate
I am currently a student of the Shariah Program in Toronto. I have previously studied some Arabic language in Madinah University and Zaytuna Institute, and would like to comment on the Shariah Program.
This is a new and innovative program that began approximately 2 ½ months ago. The following are some of the salient features of the program:
Instruction in English
Classical approach to the Religious Sciences
Teachers who have Ijaza in their respective subjects
Part-time schedule (12 hours every weekend, for 5 years)
The initial focus of the program has been, of course the Arabic language, with the aim that as soon as possible, textbooks will be read in the original Arabic language. This will enable the students to study the advanced subjects from the source (Usool-ul-Fiqh, Usool-ut-Tafseer, Hadith, Tafseer, Mantiq, and Balagha).
Since classes have been in session for 2 ½ months, at this point I can only comment on how the Arabic language is being taught. This program is very intensive. It requires complete dedication and commitment. That being said, it is as far as I know, the only program of its kind in North America. It provides an opportunity to learn the Arabic language via a methodology that has been used by non-Arab students for centuries. As such, it is the most efficient way to learn the Arabic language.
For those students who have had some exposure to the Arabic language at Zaytuna, or elsewhere, the Shariah Program is a natural extension. In the Zaytuna Arabic Intensive we got a firm understanding of what the Arabic language consists of. In this long-term program we have the opportunity to go into much more detail.
In the Shariah Program, we start with the basic definitions of Sarf and Nahw, discuss the overall framework of the Arabic Language, and then proceed to study in detail, each aspect of the language. Concurrent with the study of the Morphology and Syntax, we read simple texts such as "Duroos-ul-Lughatul-Arabiyyah", and "Qasas-un-Nabiyyeen", with emphasis on pointing out and understanding the application of the grammatical theory. This includes up to 4 levels of parsing on sentences, to fully understand their construction.
This course is not for the faint of heart, nor for those merely wishing to "pick up some Arabic". It is for students who can memorize, are seriously committed to learning the sacred sciences, and who realize that this is not possible without some level of mastery of the Arabic language.
Asim M. Javed