Islamic Knowledge taught by Western-born Traditionally-trained scholars
I have started an Islamic Knowledge Course in January 2003. This document comments on the course and I hope it is useful in obtaining an overview of this Islamic Knowledge course.
My name is Maaz Alam, I am a second year Materials Engineering student at the University of Toronto. I was born and brought up in Canada. I attended public schools and had no previous exposure to Arabic other than regular Quran classes when I was a child. I always had a desire to learn classical Arabic and gain Islamic knowledge, but always lacked the time and the resources to carry out such ambitions. In general, Shariah courses such as this one often require years of full-time devoted studies. 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.
Currently we are taking 5 core courses each day, including, grammar (nahw), morphology (Sarf), Tajweed, reading the Arabic language and the biography of the Holy Prophet (SAW). This course is subject orientated rather than book orientated, thus once the class has grasped the concepts, we move quickly on to the next topic. This is obviously more productive and efficient than covering books cover to cover with diminishing benefits.
Our teachers have a very good command of the English language and are able to communicate ideas and concepts easily to us. They are young and friendly which helps us connect to them and also makes us feel very comfortable around them. They are helpful and never hesitate to clarify any topics or questions that we may have.
The students of our classes are educated and have very diverse backgrounds. We have students that have completed degrees in North American universities, degrees such as LLB and MBA's. Many students have also completed or on their way to a Bachelors degree. Due to the aptitude of the students, our teachers cover the subjects at an accelerated pace without the fear of us lagging behind. I believe a student that has completed both a secular and a traditional Islamic education will make a significant contribution to the Islamic society in Canada. Such an individual will recognize the demands and pressures that are faced by first and second generation Canadian Muslims.
To my knowledge this is the only course that is available in this format in Ontario and I would encourage any student who wishes to pursue Islamic knowledge to consider enrolling into this program. I believe that to truly enjoy the beauty and power of this religion one must take up the task of learning the Arabic language and acquaint themselves to the Islamic sciences. These studies are not solely for gaining knowledge but rather to implement the Islamic way of life into our lives, this is the most important thing aspect of this course. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any further questions or comments.
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