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Arabic Course Reviews — Shariah Program Testimonials

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For me, then, the Toronto Shariah Program has brought the Islamic tradition, my tradition, to life. Beginning with a study of the Arabic language that is unparalleled by anything else out there, the program has already given me a facility with classical Arabic texts I never thought possible without sustained study in an Arab country. Comprehensive, detailed, and systematic, Mufti Yusuf Mullan draws upon the centuries-old curricula of the madresa system in the Indian-Pakistani Subcontinent and combines it masterfully with modern teaching strategies and a keen understanding of the level of the students he teaches to produce a serious knowledge of the language in a minimal amount of time -- a good year of regular study and attendance will provide you with the essentials of the Arabic language, as well as enough practice to start feeling comfortable with the texts.

The focus on Arabic in the first year is indispensable for advanced study in subsequent years, but is not exclusive to other disciplines. Already, we have had lessons in tajweed, seerah, fiqh, and tafseer, as well as exposure to such masterpieces as the Ihya’ of Imam Ghazzali. Due in large part to the encouragement of Mufti Yusuf and his teaching staff, I now look forward to exploring more and more of the classical texts in the hopes of continuing to bridge the divide that has separated me from a comprehensive understanding of my intellectual heritage thus far. The organization and guidance of the Shariah Program is an essential part of that journey.

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Why be interested?
Have you been sporadically going to halaqas for years, but have little or nothing to show for it? Do you crave a serious course that doesn't seem like a "guilty conscience assuager" but actually teaches you something? Do you want to go beyond the numerous lectures/ conferences but don't know where to go? Do you want an organized curriculum, with textbooks, punctual, regular sessions, a clear path and a beginning and an end-goal? Have you been raised here and can't access courses in foreign languages? Do you constantly dream of going overseas for Islamic education but don't have the time/money/freedom-from-responsibility to do so? If you answer Yes to any of these questions then you should seriously consider this course.
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For anyone intending to take Arabic lessons, this is the place and the time to do so. The program is designed particularly for young high school, college or university students or those with full-time jobs who may not have the time to study on a full time basis. This is what first attracted me to the program and it has allowed me to carry on my full time university studies, hold down a part-time job, and stay in Toronto with my family all while acquiring the knowledge of the Deen. Insha Allah due to this program I will no longer feel disconnected from the Book of Allah and the sayings of His noble Prophet Muhammad (SAWS).
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Since classes have been in session for 2 ½ months, at this point I can only comment on how the Arabic 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.
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Alhumdulillah, I have enrolled in the shariah program that is being held in Toronto and would like to thank the organizers for bringing this one of a kind program to non-Arabic speaking seekers of religious knowledge. I have taken Arabic classes before and also a few shariah classes and find the methodology of this course's teaching quite unique and refreshing.
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This is a new and outstanding course. There is nothing like this, the teachings are thorough, the manner in which the language is taught is fun and innovative, and the environment is very encouraging. There are many schools with this sort of knowledge, but none give you such a spiritual environment, complete understanding of what is being taught, and no course has such a one-on-one feeling.
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It was only until I enrolled in the Shariah program here in Toronto that I came to realize the key to understanding this language from an instructional perspective was in 2 fundamental points, namely the methodology (i.e. how it is taught) and the dedication of the teachers. Based on the Dars-E-Nizami School of Methodology, the Shariah program is being taught using the same classical methodology that Scholars have used over hundreds of years in various parts of the world.
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I believe after the age of 20-23, living in this country, it becomes fairly difficult for an individual to drop the increasing responsibilities and societal pressures and to enter into an Islamic School for the number of years that is often required. Alhumdullilah, This course has changed all of that. This course offers a part-time schedule and covers all of the subjects that are taught in a standard Shariah course and I believe will equip me with the tools to become a better Muslim and have an active role in the Islamic community.
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A few of my favorite features of the Shariah Program System of learning is that we study classical texts such as 'Hidayt-un-Nahu', Qudoori and later in the course 'Mukthasar al-Mani' (just to name a couple) in their original Arabic, which reinforces previous Grammar/Morphology discussions as well as obtaining baraka from studying such auspicious texts. There is something very refreshing and rewarding when you are able to decipher Classical Arabic texts on your own. Furthermore, the environment of learning is formal yet fluid, which facilities the students need for questions and answers as well as paves the way for further discussions. The classes are always regular and the teachers have all mastered the subjects which they teach. I can say with confidence that anyone who attends classes regularly and puts in some personal effort can achieve high Arabic fluency and Shar’i science foundation in a very short time.
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This program is truly a strong undertow in the sea of knowledge in the West. All you have to do is take a dive and the current will take you to amazing places Insh’Allah. I came across the following quote in one of the books during the first week of class which sums up my feeling for the program in a beautiful way:

“Although I was able to spend only a few years in the company of such guides [the traditional scholars], my progress was rapid. Such is the fortune of the debris that manages to land itself on a rapidly flowing, pristine river.” - Shaykh Husain Abdul Sattar

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As far as teacher's expectations are concerned I think they are very reasonable. An hour a day of homework for someone without any backround would be more than sufficient. You may easily find someone in the course that just learned to recognize the alphabet prior to the course and is now able to recognize grammatical constructs, translate sentences, and conjugate verbs into the various types of past, present, future and imperative tenses. A testimony to the methodology of the teachers and their sincerity insha'Allah. May Allah reward them and all of us.
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It has been a blessing for me personally to have this opportunity to learn traditional knowledge while continuing to work full-time. Although by the grace of Allah, I was able to study part-time for about two years under some knowledgeable teachers in Halifax, in all honesty, the courses were not designed, for many valid reasons, to take a student on a path that the Shariah program envisions. To the best of my knowledge, this combination of traditional methodology and a rapid pace to suit mature audiences is unique in North America. I would think one would have to look to more traditional places of learning were one to seek similar knowledge at a rapid pace.
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Assalaamu alaikum,
I heard about this course from a couple of friends who were interested in joining. The program is very intuitive and helps put many things into perspective. Having a strong intellectual foundation regarding our Deen is essential in today's environment. This course provides a very nice alternative to senior students who don't have the time to complete a full time course. I'm currently in my last year of high school (OAC) and had no previous education on Arabic etymology or morphology before joining.
Abdullah Mohaseen

Assalaamu alaikum,
As requested, the following is an account of how I have found this course thus far. The structure, format and methodology are very good. The classical style of learning (on the floor, with benches, etc) as well as being in a mosque gives it an Islamic aura.
I will admit for new brothers who are considering joining that it is not an easy task juggling a full time job, family life, social obligations, and attending class every Saturday and Sunday. Sometimes it is exhausting. But is it worth it? Without a shadow of a doubt. It is amazing how much we have covered in such a short period of time. The difference between the secular educations we received and this is that one wants to and enjoys attending these classes, whereas secular education is something one acquires because one has to.
For any brother or sister who has ever had an interest in learning Arabic, and acquiring some of the knowledge that we will gain later in the course, I would highly recommend joining. But there is one condition. The individual must be committed. Also as requested, I work as a pharmacist to earn my living.
Wassalam Altaf

Most people that have a serious thirst for traditional knowledge travel to the far corners of the world to quench it. Rarely are the opportunities available to take a serious undertaking of this in the west. Syria, Yemen and Mauritania are typical destinations for these students. The Uloom as Shariah program provides a unique opportunity to study at this elevated level. Finally, teachers that have a complete grasp of Arabic, English and the ability to articulate in a comprehensive manner.
Anwar Hashmi
Hybrid Designer
Research and Development
Gennum Corporation

Alhumdulilah I wish to write a testimonial of the Toronto Shariah program which I have deeply benefited from.

I became Muslim about 2 years ago and for some time I have recognized the necessity of knowledge and how much this Ummah needs it. Living in a non-muslim land its not easy to come by a program taught by reliable and god fearing scholars. The majority of the times if there was a program to enroll in, it was only for a short while and although you might reap some good benefit from it, that benefit was only temporal. The long term programs that I looked at were all taught in Urdu so there was no luck there either. I came to the point where I wanted to just drop out of school and go abroad and learn the dean from some god fearing people. The Arabic language is just a tool to attain that goal of gaining sound knowledge of Islam, I didn't just want that tool, I wanted to live Islam and learn not only the "facts". I wanted to attain that Islamic character. By many months of duas and hard patience just by doing some online research I stumbled upon this program, after calling the teacher I knew that this was my dua answered! The classes were flexible, the methods extraordinary, and for once I was able to be around pious living Muslims who had a zeal for knowledge. The methods force you to review and review. Many other brothers can attest to this fact, many brothers who have studied Arabic abroad have noted the excellent teaching method that's in use in this program and that this program is truly one of a kind, especially in Canada. Inshallah once I have studied for a few years and completed my college I will depart and use the knowledge I have gained to get a head start on formal studies in an Islamic institute abroad. Because of this program I have gained a level of god fearingness that was unknown in the past, I have a zeal for knowledge and by the grace of Allah I hope to be a benefit to this Umman.

Rasheed al-Ameen-carter


There have been times where I have stopped and asked myself, what does it mean to acquire sacred knowledge? Many philosophers have pondered on this question; some say that knowledge is endless where there is no cessation to learning. Others have expressed knowledge as power, where ignorance is a limitation that would hinder oneself from conquering the world. So what does it mean to us as Muslims to acquire sacred knowledge? The need to reach out to sacred knowledge is one that comes from the heart. To me knowledge is more than just reading the books. For me knowledge is to understand and reflect upon what one has learned. It's the deeper understanding of how things work, what are expected from us and what we as Muslims can give back.
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It cannot be stressed enough on how important and beneficial it is to gain knowledge. Today, people are constantly questioning our faith and observances, and at the same time, we have the obligation to practice our Deen. I can assure this is impossible to do without the proper 'ilm' (knowledge). And because of having many responsibilities, this ilm regarding our blessed way of life, though recognized as important, is not acquired. But, alhamdulillah, with the Shariah Program, everything takes care of itself- I can gain the knowledge that others put in years of full-time for and I can get things done elsewhere as well!

My brother began to attend the Shariah Program earlier and once I heard that classes for sisters would begin, I went crazy. The date for registration was marked on my calendar because it was months before they were going to start. Now, being in the fourth month of the course I feel that I had every right to be that excited the day I first held the blue flyer in my hand. The course has, alhamdulillah, exceeded my expectations by a huge margin. Although I am one of the few students who are in high school, this course has not helped me less than it has for any of the other sisters. In fact, I had previously taken an Arabic course, provided by the private school I had attended, and though no offense is meant, I must say that I learnt more than what the whole course taught me in just a few weeks and most importantly I understood it all!

I cannot be more thankful to Allah (swt) for providing me with this course. I would never have imagined that I would actually be able to stay at home, work towards a high school diploma and become a student of the Shariah. There is definitely no other course offering the flexibility that the Shariah Program does. Just as another brother said, "Masha'Allah, and may Allah bless and reward the teachers and organizers for their efforts!"

Khansa Muhaseen

Have not recent world events triggered a sense of urgency in yourself concerning your Deen and all that it encompasses? Why are we Muslims under attack and how are we to defend ourselves? Someone said history reveals that as long as Muslims held fast to the rope of Allah and considered the knowledge of Islam as the main driving force toward pursuit of other knowledge they made great contributions to society at large. How are we to achieve success if we do not improve ourselves! Mothers and fathers especially, you will be accountable in front of Allah about the tarbiyyah (education) of your children.
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As far as possible, study is linked to The Divine. Starting the day with the science of tajweed/recitation of the Qur'an bears witness to the purpose of the program, and to knowledge itself. In addition to translating other material, you'll be translating "Stories of the Prophets (as)" into Arabic. The classical approach to education (in perfect English where even English majors will pick up some English grammar) has so much to offer in itself and it's my honor to witness some of the brilliance it has produced, masha'Allah.
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Perhaps you have read the Sufi story about the man who traveled from Cairo to Damascus? He dreams that he will find a treasure in Damascus, but finds only trouble. He's rescued by a kind stranger who advises him that such dreams lead to grief: "once I myself dreamed that I should go to a certain house on a certain street in Cairo, and that I would find a treasure buried in the garden there." The man returns to Cairo gratefully and discovers the treasure buried in his very own garden.

Substituting Cairo for Toronto and Damascus for Cairo, this has been exactly my experience! As a musician interested in eastern music, I traveled to Cairo in hopes of gaining a deeper understanding of music, culture and language. I will always treasure my year in Cairo, but I was disappointed with the language courses I found. Designed for those wanting "a little practical Arabic," they taught how to shop for vegetables and direct a taxi.

Imagine my delight when I discovered the Toronto Shariah Program! What a difference in the level of commitment and thought! Insha'allah, in my Toronto garden I will find the treasure of the great Arab poets and their balagha (eloquence). At first I found some aspects of the course difficult or intimidating: my reading skills were low and as a non-muslim I had never worn hijab. But the kindness shown by the sisters in the program is a credit to Islam, and the knowledge of the teachers is impressive. Many thanks to Yusuf Mullan and his dedication, and to all those who make the program possible.

Tricia Postle

I recommend this course to anyone who has a genuine concern for acquiring the knowledge that would facilitate attempting to live this life according to Islamic practice while consciously striving to attain the abode of paradise in the hereafter.
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"The best way to make fiqh complicated is to teach that it is simple." (Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad)

The Shariah Program is unlike any other Islamic educational program. Unlike the simplified (often over-simplified) sessions that have become popular, the Shariah Program seeks to teach the tradition from the ground up, as it was meant to be. Learning in this way garners a deep awe and appreciation for the Shariah sciences. In other programs often the knowledge of very qualified teachers is left untapped and unappreciated because of time constrains. Such sessions can be good for inspiring people to seek knowledge and practice their deen, or to teach a specific subject. But if one wishes to attain the tools needed to comprehend the Shariah from its sources, there is no substitute for the Shariah Program, unless one can leave one’s occupation and seek knowledge fulltime. Those interested in attending the class should be aware that it requires dedication and hard work both in and out of class, but when was anything worth doing easy to do?

S. K.
The Shariah Program is well thought out. It encompasses not only the Arabic language but places an emphasis on learning our deen. This is an excellent program, which gives us a great opportunity to learn this wonderful deen of ours, without actually having to leave all the comforts of our home therefore giving us control to manage our work schedules, studies or family.

Knowledge is a fundamental part of our religion. Even the basics like reading Quran has to be done in a proper manner. The Shariah Program not only gave me the ability to read the Quran correctly but I am also beginning to understand what I am reading. The tafseer of Quran that we have started with Mufti Yusuf is just amazing. This just adds to the joy and tranquility felt while praying.

The teachers at the Shariah Program are knowledgeable and sincere. The teaching methods used by them are in depth and practical which makes learning easy. Constant reiteration and practical application of the topics covered helps us retain what we have learned.

Moreover, the environment and bond between the sisters just makes me look forward to every weekend. It’s like a get together but with a purpose. Everyone is there to acquire the knowledge of the deen, some having more knowledge than others and some with their sincerity just inspiring the others like me to aspire for more but nobody boasting about herself. The sense of achievement felt at the end of the day, makes getting up early every weekend worthwhile. On the other hand a small sacrifice in this life and getting so much more in the life hereafter in itself should motivate us into joining the program.

May Allah reward our teachers with the best of both worlds for giving us the knowledge of His precious deen. And may Allah guide us towards the straight path and make this Program a means for it. Ameen

Atiyyah Tilly
Women in Islam | Islamic Spirituality | Islamic Jihad | Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) | Islamic History | Prayer in Islam | Islamic Marriage | Fasting in Ramadan | Eat Halal Foods | Worshipping Allah | Quran - Muslim Holy-book | Hajj - Pilgrimage in Islam | Islam - Fastest Growing Religion | Children in Islam | Islamic Finance | Conversion to Islam | Islam - Unseen | Biographies of Islamic Personalities | Myths about Islam
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