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Course Testimonials


Arabic Course Reviews — Shariah Program Testimonials

Arabic Course & Islamic Studies Testimonials

The learning of the Arabic language is from the essence of this deen. Arabic is the language of the Quran and in it Islamic scholarship is conducted. These testimonials attest to the effectiveness of this course in instructing the student with full Arabic; all that is needed to understand classical texts in their original Arabic language. Classes are structured so that students of this language learn Arabic in its entirety. Arabic Grammar and Arabic Morphology are given the importance they deserve. Read the testimonials yourself and learn why these Arabic classes have become so popular in a few short months.



In the name of Allah, ar-Rahman, ar-Raheem and may his abundant blessings fall on the best of creation.

As with many Muslims born and raised in the West, the heritage of the Islamic intellectual tradition is one that I was brought up to revere, venerate and consider my own. Surrounded both at home and in the mosque by stories of luminaries like Abu Hanifah and al-Ghazzali, it was impossible to escape without a distinct impression of the vastness and sophistication of Islamic scholarship, as well as its central contribution to the history of both the Eastern and Western worlds.

Yet, despite being an integral part of my identity, the reality of a truly comprehensive Islamic education was always just beyond my reach. The more I thought about this, the more I realized that I, like the vast majority of North American Muslims, was in fact divorced from a true understanding of our own intellectual history. Content with stories and anecdotes, or at most a rudimentary knowledge of basic fiqh, we were, and continue to be, deprived of the deep and profound insights of the scholars of the Islamic world. Granted, I was able to catch glimpses of our tradition here and there: reading books, frequenting halaqas, attending conferences, and occasionally visiting Muslim lands. Yet, these were isolated rarities, providing no systematic method of tying together the subjects of our study in any intelligibly cohesive manner.

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.

The Shariah Program is convenient, rigorous, affordable and of the highest quality. It is an incomparable initiative on the North American Muslim scene; our duty now is to see that it continues to be a success. Those of us in Toronto no longer have an excuse to neglect our tradition of knowledge and scholarship.

Junaid Quadri
Waterloo, Ontario

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Before I start I just want to say that the contents of this brief text are entirely from me, and none of the course organizers had anything to do with its content.

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.

Course Material Sessions are organized into sarf (morphology), nahw (grammar), seerah, tajweed, and a reading/vocab session. The pace is fast but reasonable. I have previously studied some Arabic in Damascus and in comparison to my previous course this one is very thorough and systematic. What we cover, we cover comprehensively without leaving out bits and pieces. The emphasis on the "gurdans" i.e reciting the verbs aloud makes a big difference in comprehension, although it can be nerve-wracking in the beginning.

We use several textbooks, some of which are very hard to find here. We cover subjects and use the relevant part in the textbooks. There is no single text for any of the subjects. The first few months are spent mostly on Arabic (and Tajweed) before starting the Shariah portions of the course.

Why I like the course

  • I don't know of anything comparable being offered elsewhere in Canada or the US in English. WHAT YOU COVER IN THIS COURSE IS WHAT PEOPLE GO OVERSEAS TO SYRIA, PAKISTAN AND ELSEWHERE FOR. I spent 9 months in Damascus studying Arabic and this course is better organized and more thorough, and you can take it without quitting your job. If this had been offered then I wouldn't have needed to go (for the Arabic-there are benefits to being in a Muslim country). And once you finish you'll have a solid foundation to go abroad and study further.
  • Sessions run every week from 8am-2pm and are REGULAR. I have never seen last-minute cancellations or teacher no-shows (barring snowstorms).
  • The teachers know the materials inside out and are very well qualified to teach it. This isn't your well meaning but busy/not-so-knowledgeable local brother teaching a "micro-halaqa" in his spare time. Nor is it a "feel-good" conference or seminar that lasts a few days at most. It is a systematic, rigorous, sustained 5 year course that starts with the basics and builds on that for a good grounding in the basics of the Shariah.
  • The teachers are committed to the course and give it priority. There are 4 teachers so the burden isn't unreasonable on any individual, and nobody cancels because they have other engagements.
  • It has textbooks so one can (and is encouraged to) read ahead and prepare for what's coming next. You can also refer back once the material has been covered in class. No danger of coming late and missing the handout because there weren't enough copies. No photocopied, handwritten, disorganized class notes reinventing the wheel.
  • The only foreign accent you'll hear from the teachers is British! No struggling to understand/make yourself understood.
Conclusion I've attempted to give my honest view of this course here, and contrast it to (in my opinion) the sorry scene of Islamic education in Toronto in general. I've left out detailed course descriptions because you can read that elsewhere. I hope I haven't put the Eye on it, so let me say Masha'Allah, and may Allah bless and reward the teachers and organizers for their efforts!

Follow-up on Oct 2003

Well, it's been about 10 months from the start of the course, and we are now nearing the end of the first year of the Shariah Program. It's been a long, tough journey, but well worth it. I'd advise new students to stick with it no matter how tough the first few months seem. The electric shocks to the brain definitely take some getting used to, but the payoff is immense. The majority of the first year has been spent on Arabic, but we've also done reading from Imam Zarnuji's Instruction of the Student as well as started our first fiqh book, the famous Mukhtasar al-Quduri. We've also been translating the Qasas an-Nabiyeen series of books; all in their original Arabic of course! In addition, the grammar books we have been using the last few months are themselves in Arabic. We've also had the privilege of listening to an occasional series of guest lectures from Sidi Hamza Karamali on the Ihya Uloom ad-Deen. All in all it's been the longest sustained Islamic education I've had the blessing to receive and insha'Allah things will only get better in the second year when we start to translate the last third of the Quran itself in class and move deeper into the Quduri.

For anybody contemplating joining the program I'd say: GRAB THE OPPORTUNITY! And if you can make it for the full-time program go for it! It's not everyday this chance comes along in North America. With the dearth of qualified traditional scholars, the opportunity to study full-time with one in a small class is not to be missed. May Allah reward the teachers for their sacrifices—and without a doubt, they have made heavy sacrifices for this course—and allow us to benefit fully from this unique chance to pursue Islamic education right here in Toronto.

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Bismillahir-Rahmanir-Rahim

Assalaamu Alaykum,

About Me
I am currently completing a qualifying year for my Masters degree in Islamic History at the University of Toronto. My undergraduate degree is in Political Science, which I completed at the University of Waterloo. I intend to complete my Masters and then pursue a PhD in Islamic Politics. I started the Shariah Program with the first batch of students back in January and I continue to take these Arabic lessons on a part-time basis. I am also a part-time teacher at a local Islamic School.

My interest in the Arabic Language
I had always felt that my attachment to the Qur’an was incomplete due to lack of understanding the language in which it was revealed. I began taking Arabic lessons at local mosques and Islamic centres in my area. These lessons failed to keep my interest due to the method of teaching as well as the slow pace in which they were conducted. I found myself looking to options overseas, especially since I’ve heard people taking the journey to such lands as Syria, Yemen, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. I thought that this was a journey that I would be destined to take as well, if I was serious about learning Arabic. I had gone as far as registering for a summer intensive in Yemen. During my last year at the University of Waterloo, while I was making preparations for possible post-graduate studies abroad, I received word of Arabic lessons starting up in Toronto. After I received the details of the program, my plans for departure were put on hold and I was to give these local Arabic lessons one more try.

About the Course
After the first day of classes in the new Toronto Shariah Program, I knew that these Arabic lessons were like none I’ve taken before. The intensity that we began with on the first day of classes has continued till present day, which makes this program different from any other offered in Toronto. The methodology of the teachers is tried, tested, and true and has flourished worldwide, especially in such areas as Pakistan, India, the United Kingdom, South Africa, the Caribbean, and North America. These Arabic lessons mix innovative learning with a traditional curriculum. The medium of study is in English, which is unique and definitely relevant in this part of the world.

The length of the program is 5 years but since it is structured by semester, students have the opportunity to take their studies as far as they find suitable. The first couple of years focus mainly on the Arabic language itself. Two main subjects are concentrated on during the first few months, sarf (morphology) and nahw (grammar). These two subjects alone equip the student to understand approximately 60% of the Qur’an within months. Along with these two subjects, important topics, such as, tajweed, conversational Arabic, and fiqh are introduced to give the student a comprehensive understanding of the language and its usage.

An important aspect in any field of study is the teacher of the course. This program is a success not only due to the intensity of the Arabic lessons, but also because of the teachers. Mufti Yusuf Mullan and the other young scholars are able to relate to the students, especially because they are born in the West and do not have the same baggage as some other teachers who come here from abroad. Their knowledge of the Arabic language and of Islam on the whole can only serve to enhance the experience of anyone studying with them.

My Recommendations
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).

Please feel free to contact me for further information or for any questions you may have.

Riyad Khan
University of Toronto
riyad_k@hotmail.com
416-451-0382

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As-salaamu-alikum dear reader:

My name is Salman Sayany and I am an Engineering Student at the University of Toronto. I have been with Mufti Yusuf Mullan studying Arabic in the Toronto Shariah Program for about the past 4 months.

My past experiences of trying to learn Arabic include going for regular halaqa's on the basics of Nahu (Arabic grammar) and Sarf (Arabic Morphology), as well as semi-private tutoring in Arabic with bright young scholars in the Toronto area. Moreover, in the summer of 2002, I attended a 2 month session at Salahadeen Islamic Center in which we covered the first book of the Madina University Arabic Course. Indeed, these past experiences were of great benefit and gave me a foundation to build on, however, its extent and impact was only of so much consequence. After a certain amount of time spent trying to learn a language like Arabic using the previous methodologies, the realization dawns that because Arabic is such a complex and vast (yet beautiful) language, regular, systematic and proven instructions under qualified scholarship is needed to truly reap the benefits of the treasures of Arabic.

I enrolled into the Shariah Program in late May 2003 and went in the evenings 3 days a week for just 3 hours a session. I noticed sizable improvements in the comprehension of Arabic in a very short time. In fact, just after 3 months, we had covered in profound detail about 60% of all of Arabic Morphology (Sarf) and about 50% of intermediate Arabic grammar (Nahw), and all of this without the loss of detail or comprehension.

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.

In conclusion, I would like to say that I know only of praise for the Shariah Program and its teachers from the people whom I trust. On one occasion, I was sitting with Sidi Mustafa Azzam (from the Shafii Fiqh Group) and I heard him say that Sidi Hamza Karamali (also from the Shafii Fiqh Group who teaches monthly at the Shariah Program) said with regards to the Shariah Program, "I haven't seen anything like the Shriah Program in... (Pause as if to indicate a location, and then he continued)... I haven't seen anything like the Shariah Program." Anyone who knows who Sidi Hamza is will know the elevated magnitude of this praise. This program is a rare and wonderful opportunity, so for your Deen and Dunya, I sincerely advise you to not let it pass without benefiting.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me at salman_sayany@hotmail.com .
Wassalaam
Salman

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As-salamu alaykum,

I would like to share with you the unique experience I had this past summer during the two-month intensive. I decided to take this course because I was becoming dissatisfied with the level of incompetence I had with regards to understanding the language of the Qur’an.

Due to the fact that this program was fairly new and not many people knew about it, the size of the class during the summer was relatively small. I am now studying in a larger class with the January students and have exposure to more teachers. However, over the summer I studied primarily under Mufti Yusuf Mullan. Alhamdulilah, I am grateful to Allah for allowing me the experience of studying with such a knowledgeable and forbearing teacher. He understands his students well and adjusts his curriculum to optimize results. His method of teaching with emphasis on repetition is really helpful in cutting down the time required for memorization.

Initially I was a little nervous because I wasn’t sure what to expect. I did not have any training in the language whatsoever prior to this course. When I was in the process of registering, I spent almost a week leafing through various books on “tajweed” and “intro to Arabic” in order to avoid embarrassment during the first week of class.

Alhamdulilah there has not been a single instance where I have felt embarrassed or discouraged. With a basic understanding of the alphabet one can go a long way. The lessons are dynamic and every part of the course comes together to reinforce a solid understanding of the core concepts.

At the end of every class, I walk out with so many interesting things to think about. Whether they are profound verses from the Qur’an or wise words to a student from a teacher who lived a thousand years ago, the program proves to be much more than what can be expressed by a mere listing of the course outline.

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

wa-salam,

Farhan Hashmi
hashmi_f@lycos.com


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In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Compassionate

Assalaamu-Alaikum!

I am currently a student of the Shariah Program in Toronto. I have previously studied some Arabic in Madinah University and Zaytuna Institute, and would like to comment on the Shariah Program.

Summary:

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. This will enable the students to study the advanced subjects from the source (Usool-ul-Fiqh, Usool-ut-Tafseer, Hadith, Tafseer, Mantiq, and Balagha).

Evaluation:

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.

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.

Wassalaamu-Alaikum!

Asim M. Javed
asimmjaved@hotmail.com

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In the Name of Allah Most Merciful Most Compassionate

Salaam Alaikum

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. At present we are learning Arabic, Tajweed and Seerah and this is what I feel so far

1. The aspect of this program that stands out most is the dedication of the teachers to make sure that they can impart their knowledge to the students. All of them have an excellent command over the Arabic and English languages and are able to explain the most difficult topics with great ease.

2. The aim of the Arabic course is to make us conversant with classical Arabic so that we can understand Quran and Hadith to gain the pleasure of Allah (swt). That by itself is the best of all aims and ambitions.

3. The course presently (in its 3 months stage) is focussing on the Arabic language with emphasis on Sarf (etymology) and Nahw (grammar). In parallel we are studying a few simple Arabic books - "Duroos-ul-Lughatul-Arabiyyah" (course in Arabic Language), and "Qasas-un-Nabiyyeen" (stories of the prophets), with emphasis on understanding the application of the grammatical theory that we are learning in the Sarf and Nahw classes, and Inshallah hope to move to classical (religious) Arabic books. This is a five year course and it aims to cover Hadith, Tafseer of the Quran and a few classical Arabic books all in its original Arabic texts.

4. Each student gets a lot of personal attention and this is due to the sincerity of the teachers. May Allah (swt) reward them for their effort! Ameen.

I would certainly recommend anyone who has the desire to learn more about Deen to join these classes and my personal opinion is that this is the best class that I have come across anywhere. I have previously studied Arabic (for a brief period) under Dr. Bilal Philips in Dubai and another teacher in Ottawa and the differentiating factor in this course is that it is geared towards the understanding of the Arabic language from a religious perspective.

All this being said, this course is quite intense (12 hours a week), and requires dedication and commitment by the students. May Allah (swt) make us from those who are desirous of gaining his pleasure in all our actions. Ameen

Wassalam

Uvaiz Ahmed
Sr. Software Engineer
McData Corporation

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In the name of Allah, most merciful, most beneficent, the creator of the thrown who is the only one deserving of praise.

About Me:
My name is Mohtanick Jamil. I am currently a student of the Shariah program held at Masjid Taqwa. Previously, I have had little experience with any formal knowledge regarding the Arabic language because I am still very young.

Synopsis:
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.

The material is hand picked by Imam Sahab and other respected scholars. It is perfect text that encompasses the entire needs of a student and it is delivered very leniently. It is easy to grasp and the benefits are endless, even compared to other schools.

The teachers are extremely well versed scholars who have given many talks and who are completely able and authorized to teach. These wells of knowledge can be found no place in Canada. Muftis, Alims', Huffaz, and Qaris'; they are all prepared to work with the student and meet his/her needs.

Teachings include
- Arabic verb conjugations
- The study of Arabic grammar
- Building sentences
- Furthermore, the life of our beloved prophet (PBUH)
- And finally, the proper manner in which to read the holy Quran

My Benefits:
This course has just started; there's no telling where it'll go. It currently provides the first five years of the Alim course. It has been only two months since I started and I am already seeing the benefits. We learn in perfect detail the Arabic language; a great gift. It is the language that Allah speaks, should we not learn it? The talks of the Prophet are extremely beneficial and filled with quotes from the Quran and Ahadith. As I said, it is an endless sea of knowledge. I had never imagined such knowledge, and only in the first two months!!

Furthermore, I love the environment. The fellow brothers have become my best friends over this time. I feel so close to everyone and I so much enjoy this course. I would highly recommend this course to any Muslim who is looking to attain the knowledge that our lord has made obligatory upon us. I can find only one downside; that is that I will have to leave in five years. By then I will, InshaAllah, have attained great knowledge, but the environment is too cosy to leave

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Assalamu-aliakum Wr. Wb.,
Name: Saeed Shaikh
Education: Bachelor of Applied Science and Engineering (Computer Engineering) University of Toronto (9T7)
Profession: Independent PeopleSoft Technical Consultant

My interest in learning the Arabic language came to light during my post graduate years. Reflecting on these past years, I had spent about 4 years, more or less, in what I would call my many 'failed attempts' and 'false starts' in learning this beautiful language. Alhamdulillah, these many attempts were of course generally beneficial and I pray to Allah s.w.t to reward all those teachers who had taught me over the past years. With all the previous classes though, I was disappointed to find the classes would either dwindle down in attendance and then stop or the methodology of teaching lacked an overall direction and structure and the students would eventually lose interest and hope. At the same time, I would also ponder on how students who went abroad to study were able to grasp the most difficult concepts and be able to read Arabic with understanding in such a short time, usually within the first year of their studies. 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. With concurrent emphasis on Sarf and Nahw along with various interactive and intense group exercises (with lots of repetition), the student can expect to engrain and embody a solid foundation of even the most difficult concepts of the Arabic language in a very short time. To supplement the intense Arabic component, the Shariah program also provides much needed sessions in Tajweed and in the Seerat of our beloved Prophet Muhammad, Peace be Upon him. These sessions provide for a concurrent spiritual element in the midst of the Arabic learning and puts to light the purpose of our studies and a reminder of our service to Allah s.w.t. At present, there are 4 dedicated scholars teaching in this program and their commitment and dedication to teaching is what makes all the difference. May Allah s.w.t reward my teachers most generously and grant them the best abode in the hereafter.
Wassalam
Saeed Shaikh

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Assalamu-Alaikum,

I have started an Islamic Shariah Course in January 2003. This document comments on the course and I hope it is useful in obtaining an overview of the course.

Background:
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 the Islamic Sciences, 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.

The Course:
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 maaz_99@hotmail.com if you have any further questions or comments.

Sincerely,
Maaz Alam

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Who am I and what brought me to this course?

Assalamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatu,

My name is Ziring Zurar and I am an elementary school teacher at the Islamic School of Hamilton. I was born in Canada twenty-five years ago and have been living here ever since. I have recently enrolled in the new and only one of its kind Sharia Program organized by Sheikh Yusuf Mullan. I have previously studied some Arabic in Damascus, Syria where I stayed for seven months and continued studying Arabic using a different methodology when I returned to Canada. When I first saw the advertisement for this course I was very sceptical that anything of this nature could be available in Canada. This is something that many people travel overseas for extended periods of time for. Upon my return from Syria I have had my eyes on many masjid billboards and internet sites looking for something even remotely similar to this. To my disappointment I couldn't find anything. The closest I found were 6 months courses or online Sharia courses, which were not even teaching traditional Islam but rather reformist twentieth century "visions" of Islam. Fortunately, there were the deen intensives and rihla programs imparting traditional knowledge. May Allah reward those who have been working so hard to provide this avenue of traditional learning and spiritual development. However, once you've been to a couple of these, you've been to all of them. The same program is essentially repeated over and over again every year, without a substantial development of previous knowledge experiences. I was looking for something which would give me an accumulation of knowledge in a systematized fashion, with the goal of removing my disability and illiteracy, allowing me to access my Islamic heritage myself rather than just be told about it. I found the weekly Halaqa's of benefit as well, but they are also not comparable to a systematized Sharia Program. Nor do I believe they were intended for such. Halaqas for the most part covered snap shots of a wide variety of issues. They are beneficial in helping you keep to the straight path. In short they gave a little of everything. It seemed like they were giving a taste of the sacred sciences. I found the Halaqas in some respects like the deen intensives on a smaller scale, the icing on the cake, but I still had not found the cake.

When I saw the advertisement of this course I thought it would be another of the propaganda reformist courses. But although my hope of finding something of this nature in Canada were just about dead, my curiosity motivated me to write the internet address down. I was confusingly surprised when I looked at the proposed curriculum on the internet. Not only was this a serious program which had a definite and clear goal ahead of itself, it surprisingly looked traditional, using classical relied upon texts agreed upon by the ummah. My years of failing to find such a course in the west, made me a little pessimistic so I literally thought it was a trick and didn't pursue it. A couple of months later and a couple weeks before the course had begun I heard some friends talking about the Sharia program happening in Toronto. I naturally asked what Shaira Program?!? To my astonishment it was the one I saw a few months ago. It turns out it was legitimate after all, and the organizer and head teacher Sheikh Yusuf was a student of Mufti Taqi Usmani!! Needless to say, I called him up right away and joined the class.

The course:
I mentioned previously that I had studied some Arabic prior to this course both in Damascus and upon my return here in Canada. I wanted to give you some idea of how I find this class in comparison to my previous experiences. First you should know that there are different methodologies of studying Arabic. The methodology used in the University of Damascus relied on a submersion into the language straight away, kind of a jump into the deep end, and the hope that you will figure out how to swim. There was virtually no explanation of grammatical constructs and it was expected that with enough exposure you will get the hang of how things work. It may have worked when I was a child learning to swim, but as an adult trying to learn this language, I found myself drowning in the ocean of Arabic and becoming frustrated with my attempts to learn. The other attempt was to provide you with the tools of understanding the language, an emphasis on grammar (nahw). I did this when I came back to Canada, and it consisted of learning the classical nahw text known as the Ajroomiyyah. I found this more rewarding because unlike English, Arabic is a language which has a strong emphasis on grammar. It gave me the life jacket or tools to attempt my jump in the ocean of Arabic but at the same time I didn't have much opportunity to try the life jacket I was now given.

The methodology used in this course is a mixture of the two. There is a strong emphasis on grammatical concepts but without neglecting the practical application of these concepts. I find the strong and unique emphasis on sarf (etymology) which you don't get in the grammatical/nahw based approach very useful in helping me tackle the language. Among the many unique features of this course is their traditional approach of testing done before each class. The teacher goes around asking each student to recap what was done last week. This enforces the concepts and engrains them within the student.

As far as the subjects taught I think they speak for themselves. Could anyone imagine learning Usul, Fiqh, Hadith, Tafseer, Logic, Rhetoric etc. in a thorough manner anywhere in North America? I also like the initial focus on Arabic so that these subjects may be studied through the Arabic medium enabling us to be independent of translations and allowing us to gain access to the classical books written on these subjects.

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.

Please do not hesitate to call or contact me if you have any questions.

Zirng Zurar
(905) 648-7298
ziring@hotmail.com

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Comments on Arabic (Nahw and Sarf ) Classes that form part of the Shariah Program:

I joined this program three months ago and inshallah I will share some of my thoughts on this experience.

The Nahw (Syntax) and Sarf (Etymology) courses are taught separately in a traditional methodology that greatly emphasizes acquiring a strong grasp on classical grammatical concepts and not just the ability to converse. The lessons are well organized and concepts are introduced in a logical sequence. The pace is rapid and students are expected to prepare for the lessons before class. Key concepts are reviewed in class to ensure that students grasp them. Memorization is integral to the learning process. Over the last few months we have been working with three books on Nahw and Sarf and two other books that enable us to apply the concepts we learn. Our Ustads, alhamdulillah, have a firm grasp upon these sciences.

Although the teaching methodology is traditional, the class environment accommodates students like myself who might not yet be familiar with the classical etiquettes of seeking sacred knowledge.

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.

This course has given me an appreciation for the efforts that our scholars have taken throughout history to preserve and pass on this blessed knowledge. This course has also enabled me to recognize that one would be fairly challenged to have an in depth understanding of our tradition without having a firm grasp on Arabic.

To many of my sisters and brothers who are in a similar boat like myself, having learnt some worldly sciences and now working backwards to acquire fundamentals in the Deen, I would encourage you to join this program. Inshallah it will go a long way towards rectifying our otherwise reverse order of priorities, but the Merciful One knows best.

Jaza Allahu Khair

Mansoor Wani, MBA
Capital Planning Analyst
Government of Ontario

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Bismillah ir rahman ir raheem
As salaam alekum wa rahmatulahi wabaraketuh

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.

As a mother of two wonderful children and another on the way this November insha'Allah, I have this sudden unstoppable will to educate myself. I am in full realization of my accountability and it is like a weight on my shoulders. So what am I doing about it?......Well......I ...started surfing the net for any Arabic courses I could find. Finally my mouse fell upon "shariahprogram.ca". There it was! The Arabic course that was to change my life! There was a sister's program...and an intensive too......starting July 2003. The intro to the course made me a bit apprehensive as I had no prior background in the Arabic language. Yes a revert to Islam a few years ago, married to an Arab, my only exposure to the Arabic language was when my husband talked to his family overseas as I sat idly by not understanding a word! I could just barely read "alif, ba, ta" before joining the July intensive course. I sat in on the sisters' weekend course since the end of May . It is nearly 2 months later and I am able to read (very slowly mind you). Working shift work full-time and having two small children and a wonderful husband, my time is very limited so how was I going to concentrate on such a heavy-duty task? I knew it was going to be an enormous struggle. However, with constant du'aa and with ikhlass (insha'Allah) I put myself in the driver's seat, fastened my seatbelt and plunged full force in the pursuit of knowledge. I can, alhamdulilah, actually read and understand! Few small children's Islamic stories are read in the class and analyzed thoroughly. This in-depth analysis accompanied by Arabic grammar and sentence structure has illuminated that dark area of ignorance of the language and has thrown out my fears.

The structure of this Arabic class is wonderful. The first portion is taught by a most knowledgeable Arabic native teacher who teaches us Tajweed, mashaallah. I had no clue that there were actual rules in how to read the Qur'an correctly. Sister Bana teaches Tajweed with such clarity and dedication, making each student comprehend why a certain ayah has to be pronounced in such a way rather than another. It all comes down to meaning. Each one of us reads in front of her and she ensures we pronounce each letter according to the rules of Tajweed. Masha Allah may Allah reward her for her wonderful work! Ameen! She has made me appreciate the text of the Qur'an and has ignited a spark in me to practice and perfect my recitation to the best of my abilities. The second part of her lesson consists of Duroos involving Arabic vocabulary and basic grammar through the medium of an exercise book.

The next period is taken over by Mufti Yusuf Mullan, the head course instructor of this program. Masha Allah, may Allah reward him for all he has taught me and will teach me in the future insha'Allah ameen. The dedication to his craft of teaching is amazing. He is certainly very well versed in the structure of the Arabic language masha Allah. His style at first is very overwhelming -- a lot of material is covered and it jolts the mind! Yes especially a mind that has interwoven cobwebs in it for lack of studying after so long! The first half hour is spent translating Imam Al Zarnuji's wonderful book, "Talim al-Mutallim" (Instruction of the Student - The Method of Learning). By reading such books, we not only discover some of the wonderful classical Arabic texts of the Middle Ages but we delve into the intricacies of the Arabic language as well applying the verb tenses and other grammatical terms we learned in previous classes. Next we do some verb conjugations for a while and then he introduces a new topic. The variety of material covered makes it all the more interesting. The first few days I was like ....this is way over my head! And I was questioning myself...should I really be here? Everyone else knows how to read at least...not me! But alhamdulilah.....by the end of the first week things were starting to sink in and masha Allah! A whole new world has been opened for me. Once I get more of a handle on the Arabic language all the classical books will be available for me insha'Allah. Later in the year the other sciences will be introduced and discussions on the Seerah and Hadiths will insha'Allah take place. Each class Mufti Yusuf goes over the previous lessons and asks whether there is anything that needs clarification and through this method eventually the material all comes together.

I must admit it is not easy time-wise to juggle family and work to attend this course but Allah subhaanahu wa ta'ala has made things fall into place. I am able to change my shifts around to accommodate this class with the help of Allah, azza wa jal. Literally from not knowing a thing a few months ago (having to do a bit of homework on my own with books on "How to Read Arabic" and some practice in class) I am actually able to read! What an achievement, alhamdulillah! Sometimes I feel I am just barely keeping my head above water. Time constraints do not permit me to review what I have learned as much as I would like to. Practicing verb conjugations or the rules of Tajweed are essential; but, alhamdulilah...once I am on maternity leave I will have more time to review all this insha'Allah and insha'Allah by then I can read to all three of my children in Arabic!

Someone once said insha'Allah if we dedicate ourselves with full ikhlass we can revive the muslim ummah and become how we used to be, gaining and mastering knowledge. It is our responsibility as a society to overcome ignorance and dedicate ourselves to the studying of the blessed language of the Qur'an, Arabic. We have to take control of our selves and knowledge is the best power. It is the first step in success over the ignorant masses of the west. So folks take it from me if I can find time working midnight duties and juggling my schedule around for the sake of Allah you can find time too insha'Allah. Sisters especially! If your husband permits you to come. You must! It is incumbent upon you as mothers to teach the young, so fulfill your duty to Allah subhaana wa ta'ala and make an effort! Put on your seat belt and come enjoy the ride! Enroll in the shariah program. You will not regret it. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions.

fi aman Allah
A'isha (Jacqueline) D'Costa


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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. For years I have been in search for a program where I could acquire Islamic knowledge. Alhumdulila I was able to sit among scholars and benefit from them as much as I could. But there was this urge where I must learn the Islamic sciences and the language of the divine revelation and the dwellers of paradise.

In the past I have embarked on many paths in learning classical Arabic. To me the importance of learning the Arabic language was more than just familiarizing oneself with the mechanics of a language. My urge to learn Arabic was part of my quest in becoming a student of knowledge. I wanted to embark into an area where many writers have indulged into educate mankind of religious knowledge. Writers in Arabic included Persians, Spanish Muslims, Sicilians, Indians and many more. I wanted to learn Arabic so I may educate myself about the deen from its true sources as supposed to relying solely on translations.

From ajaramiya classes to learning Arabic in middle school, due to the changeability in the learning pattern it was difficult, for me, to continue in the learning processes. Hence I was left without fulfilling my goal in learning the language of the divine revelation, but my urge to learn and the determination of finding a program was still present. While in my pursuits in searching for a comprehensive program I came across Imam Yusuf's Shariah Program. When I looked through the curriculum, I realized that this was an inclusive program that highly concentrated on the Arabic language as well as the other Islamic sciences. To me this was the full package!! Alhumdulila I have been attending the Shariah Program since mid-April and I can assure that this program is one of its kind. It is an inclusive and reflective program designed for all to benefit. It's unique and makes use of the many knowledgeable scholars in the GTA into an all-encompassing program. Alhumdulila, with strong efforts I have benefited from this program, more than I have in the past. Stop, think, and reflect…what does it mean to acquire knowledge? It is the duty for all of us, as Muslim's, to ask ourselves this question and what we will do about going about achieving our setout goals. This is truly an opportunity you do not want to miss out from. Alhumdulila it is with the barakah of Allah that we have such a program offered to us that is still running with full strength. May Allah bless our teachers as well as those who have structured this program.

Ameen.

Yasmine Aslam
Hon. B.Sc. (Political Science and Geographical Information Systems)
T.E.S.L (Teaching English as a Second Language) Certification

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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

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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.

[Update: Nov 2003] Alhamdu-lillah, the Toronto Sharia program has now been underway for 10 months. This program is arguably in a class of its own. I do not think that there is a similar program anywhere in North America. Where else can one continue to engage in full time work, or full time secular studies, and acquire sacred knowledge concurrenlty? It is a testimony to the dedication of the instructors that in such a short period of part time study, we have covered the majority of the materials relating to Arabic Nahw and Sarf. If somebody had said to me a year ago that we would be able to read simple Arabic text, and understand it, I would have found it hard to believe. For any brother or sister who has the intoxicating desire to acquire sacred knowlege, this program is for you.
Wassalam Altaf

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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

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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

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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

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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

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In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

Without a desire to live with the aim of achieving paradise, this brief sojourn on earth becomes essentially meaningless. The key to such rightful aspirations is knowledge. The quran and hadith collection are replete with exhortations to acquire knowledge; seeking knowledge is compulsory. Of all types of knowledge, that of the religious sciences is superior in terms of its ultimate value to us as human beings. In the din and bustle of living we are apt to forget that we are created to worship Allah; worship in Islam is a broad concept and in order to fulfill this requirement properly, knowledge of the religious sciences is essential.

This course offered by Mufti Yusuf Mullan provides this broad base upon which our "worship" can be fully realized; it helps in the memorizing and correct recitation of Quran; the observance of true Islamic etiquette; the development of correct Islamic adaab and culture; it gives a deep insight into self development from an Islamic perspective and provides a framework for Islamic sociological thinking and practice.

And why do we need all of this? So as to prepare ourselves for the life beyond the grave.

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.

Wassalaam,

Rafioun Mohammed

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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.

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In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalamu alaikum warahmatullah

I decided on attending the summer Arabic program more to save the little Arabic knowledge I possessed than anything else. I had taken a few Arabic courses at the University of Toronto, and was soon struggling due to my own weaknesses. For the next couple of years after stopping my Arabic studies, I repeatedly intended to make my own independent course of study (which of course never happened) and I began to lose what I had struggled hard to gain. Studying Arabic in Syria or Yemen was always wishful thinking. So alhumdulillah, the summer Arabic program was a saving grace. (Note: I don't discourage people from studying Arabic at university because I don't regret it. I know the university has produced some excellent students in Arabic, and has surely taught many to read to some degree for which we are all grateful. I simply want to draw attention to another excellent alternative that is now available).

In a month's time, we covered over half of the introductory Arabic course at the university level, which is a good chunk of Arabic grammar itself. They really weren't joking when they said the program would be "intensive." The study is in-depth, and our grammatical analyses are also more advanced because perfecting Arabic grammar is essential to understanding sacred texts properly.

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.

The pace may be a little daunting at first (beautiful patience!) but the constant repetition of the material means that, insha'Allah, the bulb will light sooner or later and the fuzz will become clear. The constant drills ("not again!") will keep you from sleeping in class even if the teacher can't see you, and no matter how much you dread them, you'll be thanking your teacher before you know it. With internal beauty that shines through masha'Allah, Sister Bana has touched the hearts of many diverse women in the program.

Classes are small, there is genuine concern for students (so don't worry, the pace is not intended to weed people out), and there is real bonding (between sisters anyway) on this lifelong quest.

Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah
Aneesa Patel

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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

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