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Bayyinah Dream – So How Was It?

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Disclaimer: These are solely my opinions and not those of Bayyinah Institute, their faculty, volunteers, staff, students, associates, or otherwise.

My Journey

Last year I was blessed by Allah to move to Dallas for a year and attend Bayyinah’s 10 month Dream program. After graduating from the program in July 2011, I returned to the pure land of New Jersey (pun intended) where I am currently studying at Montclair State University for a Business degree.

 

A few years back, I developed a desire to some how understand the meaning of the Qur’an. I developed an intense yearning to leave off everything for some time to go study Arabic abroad (at that time). In the process of looking for a place to study, I came across the Dream program in 2008 and intended to go when it was originally announced. That same year, Bayyinah announced that they wouldn’t be starting due to logistical reasons, which lead me to research various institutions to study with in Egypt and other countries. This eventually started to pan out for me. I did my research about the areas, food, living, programs, etc available for an American student wishing to travel abroad, and knew what I wanted to study and how to go about it. I also had a friend who had previously traveled to Egypt and was willing to come study with me.

In early 2010, Bayyinah announced that the program would begin later in the Fall. After consulting my parents who felt more inclined for me to stay in the USA as opposed to traveling overseas, I applied to Dream and was accepted.  One year later,  I feel I made the right decision, alhamdulillah.

 

Studying in the USA vs. Studying Overseas

Though some may feel strongly about traveling overseas to study, I will present my personal conviction as to why I felt it was more beneficial for me to have studied in Bayyinah over studying overseas:

  1. I had no prior experience in understanding or speaking Arabic. I felt this was a hand-crafted program for me which catered to my needs as a student of the language.
  2. The faculty was diverse. We had linguists, scholars, and all around experienced people to learn from.
  3. My studies were more focused. I had teachers and senior students on my back making sure I was doing my work, studying, and getting ready for weekly exams. Knowing myself and the way I study, I think I would have found myself in a shwarma shop, goofing off, or just not being serious if I went overseas.
  4. The faculty was well versed in teaching the Qur’an in a way which is relevant to us as American Muslims. We went over passages in light of pressing issues such as feminism, Atheism, life of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in Makkah vs. Madinah, terrorism, extremism, down to how to conduct a beneficial conference, marriage in light of the Qur’an, and more. I don’t think I could have gotten that in Egypt.
  5. Translation and commentary of 10-12 ‘ajzaa (plural of Juz [which means part]) of the Qur’an. I believe that 100% of the student body of the class of 2011 would agree that this was the best part of the program, hands down. Again, I don’t think I could’ve gotten that overseas.
  6. Seeing friends and family 3-4 times in the year. Without a doubt, I probably couldn’t have done that if I went overseas.
  7. I would’ve had my classes cancelled because of revolutions spawning from fed-up populations who were overthrowing their dictators.

You Get Out What You Put In

The Dream Program is not any different from other learning institutions in this regard. They will provide you the keys to opening a gateway to learning the Qur’an, but will not put the keys into the door and open it for you. You will need to work and exert yourself to open this new pathway of seeking guidance from Allah. Whether in the past or now, a teacher can only motivate a student to learn, but it is up to the student to use that motivation by making the right decisions through studying, memorizing what is given to them, and putting in the extra effort needed. As our teacher Shaykh Abdul Nasir said in the beginning days of the program, “Get off cruise control and hit the pedal to the metal.”

Just as universities have students who graduate Cum Laude, as well as those who graduate with barely a 2.5 GPA, those who attend yet don’t learn anything, those who go on to graduate school, and those who attend and don’t graduate, Dream is the same way. All students aren’t equal, so we can not  judge them equally.

 

 

Curriculum and Teachers

Instead of me typing out the curriculum, the bulk of our studies are based off of this FAQ sheet. Give or take a few items, we fulfilled 75-85% of this curriculum, alhamdulillah. The objectives of each module are listed as well.

The bulk of the program was taught by Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan and Imam Zia Sheikh (May Allah keep them steadfast and safe). Hafidh Wisam Sharieff taught a three-month tajweed/Quran fluency module which ran until December. Ustadha Menahal Begawala conducted a weekly session of root analysis of the Quran which ran throughout the year. Shaykh AbdulNasir Jangda taught us classical texts, Ustadh Nuh Fares was the main instructor for Arabic conversation and literature. We also had a reporter from Al-Jazeera, Ustadh Bashir Ansari, who taught us media Arabic.

 

Brothers and Sisters Getting on Each Other’s Nerves (In their respective genders—well, eh. Read below!)

We’re a big ummah with many different personalities. It was like that for the companions and for us too. It wasn’t until the Dream program I truly internalized the meaning of the hadith “A Muslim is the brother of another Muslim” [Reported in Muslim]. If you have a younger/older brother/sister, you know how you guys knock heads sometimes, agree, disagree, fight, yell, make up, go out to eat, etc. Girls do the silent treatment thing when they get mad, etc (I’m not a girl so I can’t really comment here). Basically, everyone knows each others’ dirty laundry after living together. It’s really important that as people who lived together that we don’t broadcast each others’ faults to the rest of the world. The Prophet (SAW) said, “A servant does not hide the faults of others in this world except that Allah will hide his faults in the Hereafter” [Bukhari].

Family is defined by the fact you know each others’ faults, yet persist in loving one another, being friends, and helping each other in becoming better Muslims. Don’t EVER get sidetracked from this.

 

Conclusion

The program did have some hiccups throughout the year, but we all knew this wasn’t going to be easy.  This is the only program in the West of its nature. Advice to current students, when hiccups happen, they eventually go away. Buckle down, stop complaining, and do what’s asked of you. Look at what YOU can do better.

 

 

I wasn’t the top student in the class, but I hope I wasn’t the worst either.  None the less, there’s always room for improvement. I could’ve invested my time better, spoken more Arabic on campus, and a whole ton of other stuff. But in  all honesty, I can keep putting up bullet points and commenting on them and keep speaking about how you need to be cognizant of going to the masjid for Fajr and ‘Isha, studying hard, calling your parents daily, regarding your knowledge as sacred, understanding that respecting your teacher is what will bless your knowledge, etc. But for now, I want to keep it short. Be sincere in your intention to learn Allah’s book and he’ll take care of you.


But I Can’t Attend the Dream Program

It’s okay. No, seriously. You’ll be fine. Dream is a means to the goal, not the goal itself. If your intentions are clear to study the Arabic language to learn Allah’s book, then know that your intentions will take you where you want to go. I personally know of people in the United States who are fluent in the Arabic language simply by keeping up with a teacher whom they meet once a week, hanging out with others around them who speak classical Arabic, or by attending online classes. Don’t wait for Bayyinah Dream to start your Arabic studies.

Arabic Resources

  1. Qur’an Intensive – This is a 1-month summer intensive Bayyinah conducts usually in June. It requires the student to be present in Dallas for 1 month in which fundamental lessons in Quranic arabic are taught. The program is conducted and taught by Shaykh AbdulNasir Jangda.
  2. Shariah Program – This is a program known for their Quranic Arabic department. It’s run by Mufti Yusuf Mullan, a graduate of Darul Uloom, Dewsbury, UK. Though I haven’t taken the program myself, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it. I’d recommend starting here for Quranic Arabic.
  3. Studio Arabiya – This program has a good spoken Arabic program. It’s based out of Egypt through an American student at Azhar. They also have a Quranic Arabic department as well.
  4. LQ Toronto – This website teaches the Madinah books with a video to go with each lesson. In my opinion, this is currently a trending curriculum to learning Arabic online. It’s 100% free.
  5. Qibla (Formerly SunniPath) – I know a lot of people who study Arabic with them online. Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan also has good things to say about them and their Quranic Arabic program.
  6. Bayyinah E-Learning – The website is not complete yet, but there are still some very good resources on there. Also be sure to check out Ustadh Nouman’s notes on the 10 day course on the Bayyinah website. Heck, you might as well listen to the podcasts while you’re there too! :).
  7. Islamic Online University – This is a program run by Dr. Bilal Phillips and Shaykh Ismail Kamdar (fellow MM author). They have an Islamic bachelor’s degree program in which they teach Arabic grammar courses parallel to Islamic studies.

You can also read about a few of my experiences at Bayyinah Dream here. This was a blog which I started with the intention of blogging everyday. But due to time constraints and other priorities, I could only keep up for a few weeks.

I hope this post helped shed some light on the program. Feel free to post a question/comment below. I look forward to hearing from you all.

By the way, if you’re part of the graduating class of  Bayyinah Dream 2012, just remember that we (Class of 2011) set a standard really high for you guys…and we’re not expecting you to break it :)

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Nihal Ahmad Khan is currently a student of Islamic Law and Theology at Nadwatul 'Ulama in Lucknow, India. He was born and raised in New Jersey and holds a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in Business from Montclair State University and a diploma in Arabic from Bayyinah Institute's Dream Program. He began memorizing the Qur’an at Darul Uloom New York and finished at the age of seventeen at the Saut al-Furqan Academy in Teaneck, New Jersey. He went on to lead taraweeh every year since then. Along with his education, Nihal has worked in various capacities in the Muslim community as an assistant Imam, youth director, and a Muslim Chaplain at correctional facilities and social service organizations. Nihal is also an MA candidate in Islamic Studies from the Hartford Seminary in Connecticut.

93 Comments

93 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Ahmed Brown

    December 1, 2011 at 6:42 AM

    In terms of your knowledge of the Arabic language, both Modern Standard Arabic and Qur’anic/classical: can you give us an idea of where you were prior to starting the Dream program and after?

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      December 1, 2011 at 7:08 AM

      I didn’t have any grounding in any of the two before Bayyinah. Afterwards, alhamdulillah, I can hold a decent conversation in Modern standard arabic. As for Quranic, the feeling of understanding what you’re reciting in Salah in priceless. I will also be teaching a class in the community on Quranic arabic in the coming days.

      Alhamdulillah.

  2. Avatar

    Nihal Khan

    December 1, 2011 at 7:22 AM

    By the way, I would love to hear from other Dream students as well; even if our opinions on the program aren’t the same :)

  3. Avatar

    Ismail Kamdar

    December 1, 2011 at 7:42 AM

    Another option for learning Arabic online is to join the Islamic Online University‘s BAIS program, enrollments for the new semester are currently open. Dr Bilal Philips and I are two of the Arabic teachers in this program. :)

    • Avatar

      mw_m

      December 1, 2011 at 9:52 AM

      This looks very interesting….I wish I’d found out about it earlier. What level of Arabic proficiency are students expected to achieve by the end of the program?

      • Avatar

        Nihal Khan

        December 1, 2011 at 1:15 PM

        The expectations are that you can understand most of of the Qur’an (on a language basis) when you open the mushaf, have the ability to teach basic arabic, and converse in Arabic at the end. About 5 months into the program, we were requested to only speak Arabic on campus, so that really helped out.

        But at the end, it’s about what you put into it.

        • Avatar

          mw_m

          December 2, 2011 at 12:07 AM

          jazakullah khair akhi….but my question was directed to Br. Ismail :-)

          • Avatar

            Ismail Kamdar

            December 3, 2011 at 7:06 AM

            The level of Arabic by the end of our four year program is expected to be the same as that of a graduate from Madinah university inshaa Allah.

    • Avatar

      Umm Sulaim

      December 1, 2011 at 11:08 AM

      Yes it is a great program. I have learnt so much, not just of Arabic but of other fields of Islam too and I have made good friends.

      I had a good background in Arabic and other fields prior to joining, but I have learnt much more in just two months!

      And I did not have to travel or live with other students for that; the latter is unthinkable.

      Umm Sulaim

      • Avatar

        Nihal Khan

        December 1, 2011 at 12:48 PM

        Salam Sr. Umm Sulaim,

        Nice to hear from a student of the new batch. Please do share your experiences so far :)

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      December 1, 2011 at 1:02 PM

      Jazakallahu khair Sh. Ismail. I’ve added the link to the resources section :)

      • Avatar

        Ismail Kamdar

        December 3, 2011 at 7:07 AM

        Jazakallah Khair Akhi :D

      • Avatar

        aisha

        April 14, 2015 at 7:37 AM

        salam very happy for the brothers may you remain steadfast on the deen

  4. Avatar

    Riza

    December 1, 2011 at 7:44 AM

    Asalaamu Alaykum,

    I’m not sure if this is a review or a reminder. There are a lot of things that should be considered in a fair review of the program which aren’t addressed here but its a great reminder and pointer for those interested in the program.

    As a dream student myself, I don’t think that the program can be accurately judged after only a year. On top of that, whether or not its the right program for an individual varies from person to person. If you can afford it, handle the studies, take 10 months off of work and school, put up with setbacks every once in a while, have SOME basis in Arabic and are self motivated then it might be the program for you. Id still advise talking to previous students such as Nihal or Myself.

    Remember, just because a program is in the US doesn’t mean its free of hiccups and setbacks. Its a new program, expect delays, schedule changes and given the nature of the beast (full time+) and it’s intensiveness you better have a BEAUTIFUL patience. Trust me, you don’t know what studying is til youu take this program. You will study until your brain hurts… and then realize its only 3 hours into the day.

  5. Avatar

    Riza

    December 1, 2011 at 7:55 AM

    Although overseas may be a cheaper and better options in a sense, the edge you will find with Bayyinah is the constant fire lit underneath you, you will be pushed to study whether you want to or not. Wheras overseas you are your own motivator in that sense, a lot of times.

    What you will still need for Dream is some kind of self study skills, because being able to do so will free you from so many restrictions.

    If one were to find a program with similar credentials overseas, is a serious student, has a mentor and coach then I don’t see the difference between that and Dream. In fact, it may even surpass it in the sense that you can hire a personal tutor, choose your curriculum, learn at your pace and even sit with scholars for other subjects while your there.

    If you choose to go overseas… take me with you!

    • Avatar

      Hassen

      December 1, 2011 at 10:01 AM

      As a student overseas I would recommend that anyone who is serious to study Arabic should begin in their local community before committing to a year-long program like Bayyinah or going overseas, for 2 reasons:

      1- This will help a student get the ball rolling in the comfort of their home and they can carry that momentum with them to the difficult step of moving away from home and devoting one’s self to purely studying.

      2- This will also help the student realize what studying Arabic really entails and to see if they have the personal drive required of a serious student. I suspect that many prospective students would imagine that studying Arabic is a great Imaan-boosting experience. But in truth, it’s not like that most of the time (especially in the beginning). It would be beneficial to get that reality check before making such a big commitment like moving to a foreign country.

      And a last point I’d like to make is that studying Arabic to understand the Quran requires quite a lot of dedication, so if a student really has that drive there’s no reason they shouldn’t start right now with whatever resources available to them. Moving to another country or campus is not going to magically bring out the inner-student of knowledge within you :) If you have what it takes to be a student o knowledge, then prove it to yourself and start right now.

      • Avatar

        Nihal Khan

        December 1, 2011 at 1:10 PM

        Jazakallahu Khair Br. Hassen.

        So true, subhanAllah. It’s so important to start using the resources we have at hand. It was a sunnah of our ulama and salaf to use the local shuyookh to the best extent, and then go study elsewhere. May we be able to fulfill this tradition of our scholars!

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      December 1, 2011 at 1:11 PM

      Jazakallahu Khair Riza. You the man.

  6. Avatar

    Nayma

    December 1, 2011 at 8:26 AM

    We visited the campus last week alhamdulillah and my daughter loved it. She was like: “Mama, I always wondered how it would be to sit on these seats” (from pictures online). :-)
    We stayed with a sister who went to Bayyinah the first year. I am so grateful that they have this option for our children in the US. May Allah help the program succeed and get only better.

  7. Avatar

    Amatullah

    December 1, 2011 at 10:07 AM

    You can’t really review something if you haven’t experienced it yourself :)

    I haven’t gone to dream so I cannot say it is or isn’t better than overseas. With that being said, I see quite a few generalizations here about Egypt! Alhamdulillah I was able to go to cairo with some of my family and I had a fantastic experience. Of course our time was a bit easier than other students because I had my brother, sister and my mom with me.

    Before mentioning anything, I think it’s important to say that if you are considering going overseas – the best thing to do is take advantage of the local resources you have in your community. It will help you tremendously. Imam Suhaib said once, you don’t go to Egypt to learn noon sakinah :)

    The best thing in my opinion about Cairo is having masajid all around you and being with Muslims. Ramadan there was amazing subhanAllah. It was nice to finally be “normal” in a crowd of people :)

    Although I had some prior Arabic experience, my siblings and mom had absolutely no background in Arabic. They did extremely well over there, my brother surpassed me in his studies mashaAllah. We all had private teachers plus some group classes on the side. We were able to tell our teachers exactly what we wanted to learn and they put together a curriculum for us.

    As for being more focused, I have to disagree with that again. I think it depends on the student. If you have the motivation to learn the Qur’an and its language, then you will be a good student no matter where you are.

    Alhamdulillah we were able to take classes with a very famous and extremely qualified Arabic teacher, Dr. Ayman Ameen. I believe he had two PhD’s in Arabic language. He taught all around the world in places like Russia and Malaysia. He had free group classes and he actually taught teachers at centers like Ibanah. His classes were my favorite. He taught us nahw, sarf, ajrumiyyah, alfiyah, balaghah, tafseer and i’rabul Qur’an and was going to start a sharh of Diwan Imam Shafi’i but we left before the classes began. What I liked the most was that he had written books for each of these subjects so we had our notes with the copy of his book that included everything he taught. Even though he was a scholar of the language, hafidhahullah, he spoke to us in an easy to understand manner and was all about showing us the beauty and meaning behind the Qur’an. He shared so many gems with us, it was awesome mashaAllah.

    Something that wasn’t mentioned here is that Egypt offers you a chance to learn the Qur’an as well – tafseer, tajweed, qira’at, etc. It is so easy there to find qualified teachers and not pay more than $20 a month for your classes. The biggest scholar of Qur’an now in Egypt is definitely Shaykh Esa Ma’sarawi (he is the head of the Qur’an printing at Azhar) and even he has a school. In fact, he interviews the students before they are accepted! Huffadh had to go through a rigorous one year muraja’ah program before they could qualify for their ijazah. The teachers at the school were all students of Shaykh Ma’sarawi. His school was only $10 or so a month. When it comes to the Qur’an, I think I was at an advantage since I already completed the tafseer with Al-Huda alhamdulillah so that background really helped me with connecting everything I learned.

    Lastly, one of the best experiences for me in Egypt wasn’t the learning but meeting people. SubhanAllah, we live in a different world over here. I think it is good for a person to experience how life is “on the other side”. You have a chance to get involved in sadaqah that you aren’t able to do in the West – like going to orphanages or buildings that only house disabled Muslims. You see real poverty over there and you come back home with a new perspective on life and blessings.

    Oh and most classes weren’t cancelled during the revolution :)

    Overall, I don’t think it’s fair to say one experience is better than the other without considering what the student wants or their goals. Alhamdulillah, all of options and resources we have available to us is a huge blessing. Allah azza wa jal has given us istikharah and if a student is considering one of the other, they should weigh their options, speak to students who’ve done both and ask Allah for guidance.

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      December 1, 2011 at 1:08 PM

      Jazakillahu khair Sr. Amatullah!

      It really sounds like you had a great experience out there, mashaAllah!

      May Allah give us the ability to learn his book and teach it in whatever way possible, ameen!

    • Avatar

      Meena

      December 3, 2011 at 12:28 PM

      Alhamdulillah, thumma alhamdulillah, I am a Dream student for the year of 2011-2012. Our program this year is very different from the program last year, as all the students from last year keep telling us over and over again. The main difference is that we’re going way slower than last year’s program (we’re covering 2/3 of what last year covered) and Ustadh Nouman is basically our only teacher and we will have some weeks where other teachers will come in to teach.

      Going off of all of the overseas conversations…for me, going overseas was not an option at all. I barely got the permission to move from Cali to Texas for a year, going overseas was undoubtedly out of the question. So for anyone who doesn’t think that going abroad is feasible, coming to Dallas is an excellent option…especially for the single sisters out there.

      I think the biggest benefit about it being in the States is that we are learning Arabic that is contextualized to us as American Muslims. I don’t think you can find that anywhere else in the world.

      Another one of the hugest benefits is that Bayyinah has invented a new/easier way of teaching Arabic For example: when we were first learning all of the grammar, we were taught them not by their formal terms, but with other terms in English so that we could first learn the concepts and master them and then later tack on an unfamiliar Arabic term to them (noun/verb sentence instead of jumlah ismiyyah/fi3liyya, special mudafs instead of dharfs, and same thing with huroof naasiba and learning the “light and lightest” versions instead of mansoob and majhool versions of present tense verbs; when memorizing/conjugating verb charts we go in a different order of pronouns; we started learning sarf with the mazeed feehi families and not with the fa3ala root, but with different words that went along in a story so that we’d never forget them. Bayyinah has almost reorganized the way of teaching Arabic to the point where it’s easier to learn and retain what we are being taught. There are all these little tricks and loopholes and ways to memorize information that they’ve found and are imparting that knowledge to us.

      I would like to echo something that Br. Nihal mentioned in his article, Dream is only a means to achieve a goal and not a goal itself. Don’t bank on going to Dream to start your studies in Arabic, who knows if that will ever happen for you. Exhaust your local resources and aH there are so many online resources that are available to us as well these days. The only thing is, it’ll take an incredible amount of dedication and persistence to be studying Arabic on your own/on the side.

      • Avatar

        Nihal Khan

        December 5, 2011 at 11:30 PM

        MashaAllah, great to hear!

        What do you mean you’re only covering 2/3 of the material from last year?

        • Avatar

          Meena

          December 6, 2011 at 11:47 PM

          Our curriculum is less than the first year’s. We are going slower and more in depth. The first year did Module 1 (Nahu and Sarf) in 6 weeks, we finish Module 1 in January.

  8. Avatar

    Yasmin

    December 1, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    I found this post to be very help ful because I’ve never heard of the Bayyinnah program but it seems very interesting!

  9. Avatar

    mohammadi murtuza

    December 1, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    MashaAllah a genuine and honest experience by Hafidh Nihal Khan. By the way, I read this post in my email window where the name of the writer does not show and as I read through, I thought this must be no other than Nihal Khan and yes when I checked it on MM page I was right! Why, one may ask… because Hafidh Nihal Khan was our Imam/Hafidh during Ramadan Taraweehs and his khutbahs and other talks had a similar tone.

    I agree with his reasons about taking classes in the US. I have had a chance to live in the other part of the world as well as in the West, and as much as the feeling of being amongst or surrounded by our own is a good feeling, we need to know how to deal with those around us – in schools, workplaces and elsewhere; and where else can we learn these except at a place where those who teach know the challenges their students face on a daily basis.

    One question that I have is: How many students graduated from Bayyinah this year? What do these students who have taken courses and Diplomas from these Institutes do once they graduated? Have they started teaching people in their communities? (I know Hafidh Nihal Khan wrote he started teaching)… I am sure every community needs teachers for children as well as older adults who have just started to realize they had not learned proper recitation and understanding of the Qur’an, and also new muslims. This so that the younger students get a head-start on the basics of Arabic should they desire to learn further.

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      December 1, 2011 at 1:06 PM

      Jazakallahu Khair Br. Murtuza!

      Are you from the Redlands community? Trying to remember your face :)

      • Avatar

        mohammadi murtuza

        December 1, 2011 at 6:53 PM

        Yes, I am from Redlands and I am a “sister”, and you & a friend were at our house for Iftar once, thence on we had packed food for your iftars. I am the sister on whose hands a lady took her Shahadah on the 1st of Ramadan.

        btw, you have not answered my questions in the last paragraph.

        Mohammadi Murtuza-Siddiqui

        • Avatar

          Nihal Khan

          December 2, 2011 at 2:44 PM

          Oh, you’re Omer’s mother if I’m correct :)

          As for students, there is a wide spectrum of the activities they are involved with after graduation. Some are teaching the community, their families, friends, etc. Others are tryin to further their learning.

          • Avatar

            mohammadi murtuza

            December 2, 2011 at 7:36 PM

            You got it! and JazaakAllahu khairan for the response.

  10. Avatar

    Abu Yusuf

    December 1, 2011 at 11:52 AM

    Salaam Alaykum,

    One question that I haven’t been able to get an answer yet on is whether the students who graduated Bayyinah do indeed meet the “expert” level in the ACTFL exam which is what the brochure stated was the expectation for Bayyinah graduates, if I’m not mistaken. This is important for furthering and getting admission into graduate programs in Arabic. The ‘expert’ level designation is mandated by the admissions programs. So what level were you or other graduates able to achieve on that exam?

    Also, it appears (based on comments I had read from a Bayyinah student previously) that the University of Madeenah 3-volume books are covered in a span of 2 weeks. How is that even possible? The Madeenah books cover 85% of Arabic grammar and covering all that in 2 weeks (with students grasping and internalizing everything) seems well nigh impossible.

    Lastly, you mentioned that topics like feminism were covered. Could you elucidate upon that?

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      December 3, 2011 at 12:13 PM

      – I have not taken the exam so I can’t really tell you. I don’t think any other students pursued it either.
      – Not sure where you heard we covered the Madinah books in 2 weeks, it’s not true. We had classes for specific portions of the Madinah books for specific students. We had a 1 week intensive, again, for specific students for only the first book.
      – We went through the Qur’an and spoke about how men and women have certain roles in society. We touched on the feminist movement and broke down parts of it.

  11. Avatar

    Amir (MR)

    December 1, 2011 at 12:37 PM

    Can you type in Arabic like you can type in English?

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      December 1, 2011 at 12:49 PM

      Not as quickly, but I’m getting there.

      • Avatar

        Yusuf - Cincinnati

        December 2, 2011 at 6:56 PM

        Use the phonetic Arabic keyboard?…. I can type Arabic pretty fast with it since it’s second nature from the English.

        • Avatar

          Nihal Khan

          December 3, 2011 at 12:14 PM

          My keyboard can type in Arabic letter with a keystoke…like this:

          سلام يا يوسف!

  12. Avatar

    Nihal Khan

    December 1, 2011 at 1:04 PM

    Btw, I’m not saying in this article that Bayyinah is necessarily better than going overseas. I’m giving my own opinion of how I personally benefited from staying here and not going overseas, and how I may have been as a student if I did go overseas.

    Maybe my opinion is subject to change if I get a chance to travel, allahu alam.

  13. Avatar

    fhq

    December 1, 2011 at 7:26 PM

    as salaamu alaykum,

    is a graduate of this program able to independently read classical books in Arabic other than the Qur’an, without tashkeel (such as books of tafsir)?

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      December 2, 2011 at 2:41 PM

      Yes. There is a whole module dedicated to reading without tashkeel.

      Currently I am actively reading Tafsir ibn Kathir without much trouble. It is important to keep reading though or else the skill will fall off.

      I think I will add a short synopsis into the post of some of the content we went over.

      • Avatar

        Fezz

        December 4, 2011 at 4:36 AM

        How proficient were you before you joined the course?

  14. Avatar

    Nawal

    December 2, 2011 at 5:34 AM

    MashaALLAH I always had a dream to attend the bayyinah dream. living in the other part of the world I always do pray for the success od the dream program InshaALLAH. How I Ever Wish Bayyinah was to come to India :)

  15. Avatar

    Ahsan Arshad

    December 2, 2011 at 9:56 AM

    alhumdulillah, and thanks to the efforts of everyone involved in this institute. It is a voluntary effort afterall and we all need to play a part in such programs

    @mw_m: I am a sem.2 student of islamiconlineuniveristy.com & in their bachelors program, there is an arabic studies course in every semester, however the benefit from this degree is primarily by being introduced to a basic and some advanced level in the islamic sciences overall.

  16. Avatar

    Riza

    December 2, 2011 at 10:10 AM

    Just to point out, most of these programs, including Bayyinah, are not voluntary non-profit work. They are for profit institutes who charge a tuition. Personally, I think they are a great idea and opportunity for us in th e west but I don’t feel an obligation to volunteer.

  17. Avatar

    ARM

    December 2, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    Salaam,

    Really nice review Nihal. Sooo how about bringing some of that Arabic to New York for a Tayybah class?

    And son, you and sister Amatullah need to forget about Egypt or America. I hear England is where its at. :)

    ‘Abdur Rahman

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      December 3, 2011 at 8:34 PM

      Thank you Mr. Fony–I mean Stony Brook.

  18. Avatar

    abu Rumay-s.a.

    December 4, 2011 at 2:55 AM

    Nihal:
    may Allah ta`ala bless your efforts and increase you in knowledge and sincerity. Ameen. Now, I’d like to know the level of understanding you attained from the course, so I’m gonna give you a little test, don’t look at the translation, tell me how much of the following verses do you understand.

    أَنزَلَ مِنَ ٱلسَّمَآءِ مَآءً۬ فَسَالَتۡ أَوۡدِيَةُۢ بِقَدَرِهَا فَٱحۡتَمَلَ ٱلسَّيۡلُ زَبَدً۬ا رَّابِيً۬ا‌ۚ وَمِمَّا يُوقِدُونَ عَلَيۡهِ فِى ٱلنَّارِ ٱبۡتِغَآءَ حِلۡيَةٍ أَوۡ مَتَـٰعٍ۬ زَبَدٌ۬ مِّثۡلُهُ

    وَٱلۡمُؤۡتَفِكَةَ أَهۡوَىٰ (٥٣) فَغَشَّٮٰهَا مَا غَشَّىٰ (٥٤) فَبِأَىِّ ءَالَآءِ رَبِّكَ تَتَمَارَىٰ (٥٥) هَـٰذَا نَذِيرٌ۬ مِّنَ ٱلنُّذُرِ ٱلۡأُولَىٰٓ (٥٦) أَزِفَتِ ٱلۡأَزِفَةُ (٥٧) لَيۡسَ لَهَا مِن دُونِ ٱللَّهِ كَاشِفَةٌ

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      December 5, 2011 at 4:36 PM

      Well, I could translate it word-by-word (if that’s what you’re looking for). But when we translate, we use Arabic dictionaries, lexicons, and even translations. This is so we could translate it in the proper context.

      ;)

      • Avatar

        abu Rumay-s.a.

        December 6, 2011 at 4:32 AM

        masha`Allah thats excellent.

        How about at face value, how much of the verses above could you understand after 10 months at bayyinah?

        This question is actually for all bayyinah students on this thread..just want to know what competency level is actually achieved with respect to understanding the Qur`an as I believe that is one of the main goals of anyone struggling to learn this beautiful language. Granted, I believe the verses above are a bit more difficult than the typical verses.

  19. Avatar

    Abdul-Qadir

    December 4, 2011 at 12:14 PM

    Assalamualaikum,

    I personally have used http://www.understandquran.com. Going through this FREE program, I am able to understand about 60% of the words on a page of the Quran (more depending on the surah). I now understand every single word in prayer. This program also goes through a word for word translation of common surahs, and duas we use everyday, and gives you an easy way to understand the most common verb usages in the Quran. Each lesson is about 20 minutes long, and there are 27 lessons. It took me one month. There are many other resources on the website as well to use, such as a full word for word translated Quran, and a vocabulary list that contains 85% of Quranic vocabulary. Do not expect to be anywhere near an expert after going through this program, but you will have a basic understanding of grammar. I recommend this to everyone.

    http://www.madinaharabic.com is also a good program. It goes over the madinah books, and it allows you to hear the words pronounced properly, and it has examples for you to go through.

    Each of these anyone can go through at their own pace.

  20. Avatar

    LinguisticMiracle

    December 4, 2011 at 4:02 PM

    as-salaamu alaykum waRahmatullah waBarakaatuh

    A shout out to all Bayyinah students:

    Any students who took notes of tafaseer within Bayyinah Institute, please forward them to our site; LinguisticMiracle.com (a collection of detailed notes of all Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan and Abdul Nasir Jangda) talks.

    Baarak Allahu feekum.

    PS: MuslimMatters, please allow this to approve through because it is for a good, unique learning purpose.

  21. Avatar

    Amatullah

    December 5, 2011 at 1:06 PM

    Wow @ Abu Rumaysa

    • Avatar

      abu Rumay-s.a.

      December 6, 2011 at 4:23 AM

      ukhtil kareema Amatullah..

      that little test is for all students, so give it a try….may Allah increase you and your family in sincerity and knoweldge….ameen.. masha`Allah i’m very impressed with your dedication in pursuit of knoweldge…

      actually, the reason I asked that question is that I kind of want to gauge my own level of Arabic (self learning) with that of serious students like you, Nihal, and others… :)

      • Avatar

        Nihal Khan

        December 6, 2011 at 10:14 AM

        I understand most of the Qur’an (face value, not deep tafasir) when I’m reading. Ayaat which are a little bit more isolated in language require a dictionary usually.

        We translated 10-12 juz of the Qur’an while we were there, so got a good amount :)

      • Avatar

        Amatullah

        December 6, 2011 at 8:10 PM

        I think it’s a great way to gauge, and it’s a refresher for me since completing Al-Huda (translation + word for word + tafseer) alhamdulillah! I think doing the i’rab would be a great test too :)

        jazaak Allahu khayran for the duaa, Ameen and for you brother!

  22. Avatar

    Amatullah

    December 5, 2011 at 1:10 PM

    @ARM – I heard UK is nice! Too bad the cost of living is way more than we’re used to. So I’ll take my kushari for 2 ganay :)

  23. Avatar

    Abdullah

    December 5, 2011 at 10:55 PM

    I hope my following comment is not taken in the wrong way but a person who is really close to the program made the following comment about it: More Hype, Less Substance.

    I think the program is wonderful but I feel the cost of it is just waaaay too high!

    Considering that the program is still in its infancy, I’m sure it will get better in the future. May Allah accept such efforts.

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      December 5, 2011 at 11:03 PM

      – How is the individual you know “really close to the program?” Are they a student? What “missing substance” did they expect which was missing?
      – As I stated above, the curriculum is listed and we completed most of it. You get what you put in.
      – The cost of the program is reasonable. It’s a different situation if someone can’t pay it, but the modeled cost seems fine. You’re getting an education for 10 months at roughly $8,000. That’s less then a full-year public university!

      Hope to hear from you :)

    • Avatar

      Faten

      December 7, 2011 at 9:12 PM

      Asalamu Alaikum,

      I’m a current Dream student and moved from out of state and without thinking twice I would do it again. Even if the program were to end right now, I would still say I benefited a great deal. I have to second Br Nihal’s comment on the cost. We have no problem paying universities and colleges tens of thousands of dollars for a simple bachelors degree but we think we should get Islamic education for free. Learning to understand the words of Allah (swt) is priceless. True students of knowledge turn their lives upside down to study and we’re blessed to have such a unique program easily accessible to us, Alhamdulillah. I would recommend this program any day

      • Avatar

        Nihal Khan

        December 7, 2011 at 9:55 PM

        Jazakallah Khayr Faten!

        I felt a change in my first 10 days there I remember. I will never forget that experience.

  24. Avatar

    LinguisticMiracle

    December 6, 2011 at 10:43 AM

    Asalaamu alaykum waRahmatullah waBarakaatuh

    Alhamdulillah I was able to grasp how the arabic language works (structurally) by listening to Ustadh Nouman’s podcasts of Juzz ‘Amma (and also abit of learning Arabic books), wa-alhamdulillah.

    But I wanted to ask you guys at Bayyinah institute – how far were you able to grasp the language? Are you now able to open up Lexicons like Lisaan al ‘Arab and derive meanings of words through reading them? Or do you feel you need to build up on vocabulary alot before anything like that can take place?

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      December 6, 2011 at 11:12 AM

      Deriving meanings seems like a bit of a job.

      From my own experience, I can go through dictionaries and pick out words when looking for their meanings. As for vocab, everyday is an opportunity to learn more.

  25. Avatar

    LinguisticMiracle

    December 6, 2011 at 10:45 AM

    asalaamu alaykum

    I forgot to add, what Dictionaries have you guys been recommended? And does anyone want to work with me in compiling a Dictionary of words used in the Qur’an, based on the uniquely deep definitions given by both Ustadhs’ Nouman Ali Khan and Abdul Nasir Jangda?

  26. Avatar

    LinguisticMiracle

    December 6, 2011 at 11:26 AM

    Asalaamu alaykum waRahmatullah waBarakaatuh

    Jazaak Allahu khayran. Thats a kool site and i’ll be using it inshaa’ Allah (smile).

    I still think we’re lacking though, in an English dictionary which defines Classical Arabic words in depth. This is extremely important because this is one of miraculous aspects of the language.

    • Avatar

      Amatullah

      December 7, 2011 at 12:39 AM

      wa alaykum salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

      The best in English is hands down Lane’s Lexicon. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to the classical Arabic books.

      • Avatar

        Nihal Khan

        December 7, 2011 at 12:45 AM

        It also costs close to $1000. Yikes!

        • Avatar

          Amatullah

          December 7, 2011 at 8:17 PM

          You don’t have to buy it, you can use the online version. I got a free CD with the PDF version from the Project Root List site, I just paid the $5 shipping.

        • Avatar

          Yusuf - Cincinnati

          December 7, 2011 at 8:49 PM

          Here’s a cheaper version:

          http://www.tyndalearchive.com/tabs/lane/

      • Avatar

        Sum

        March 12, 2012 at 9:02 AM

        but Lane’s is incomplete

  27. Avatar

    LinguisticMiracle

    December 7, 2011 at 12:10 PM

    Asalaamu alaykum waRahmatullah waBarakaatuh

    Imagine there was a Dictionary/Lexicon which was in English, gave the meaning of the word root, and then gave examples of Classical Arabic poetry along with it. That would be awesome!

    By the way, here’s a really good Quranic dictionary newly uploaded on the net:

    Arabic-English Dictionary Of Qur’anic Usage [2]

  28. Avatar

    Nihal Khan

    December 7, 2011 at 10:02 PM

    I started a blog while at Bayyinah to document my experiences. Though I was not able to continue blogging after a month, there are still a few beneficial posts to read.

    http://bayyinahdream.blogspot.com/

  29. Avatar

    Ab.S.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:43 AM

    Salam alaikum,

    Jazakum Allah Khair for the interesting insight.

    I am currently doing bachelors in Quranic Studies at جامعة المعرفة العالمية (Knowledge International University – based in Mekkah), they have a department for non-Arabic speakers (although I’m not familiar with it). It’s a distance learning course taught by some of the best scholars in the region. And it’s a distance learning system. Till now it’s been nothing short of awesome :)
    So those interested, check that out :)
    FYI, it’s a proper e-university that Sheikh Abdur-Rahman Al Susias initiated :)

    http://www.kiu.org <- that's the website.

    • Avatar

      Ab.S.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:45 AM

      *Sudais! Typo =

  30. Avatar

    Badeea

    December 30, 2011 at 6:06 PM

    Salaam,

    I have studied arabic previously- a beginners course from scratch in an institute in France. I was there for only a year but by the end of it i was pretty fluent in basic communication and reading and writing were not so bad either.
    However the course at bayyinah has sparked my interests because of its focus on Quranic text because in France we studied just like we were toddlers at school learning arabic- which was great fun and we learnt lots but the content was not so mature and academic.

    My question is- if i was to apply at bayyinah would it be worth while seeing as i already have a reasonable background in Arabic… ?
    Would i end up almost repeating my year in France in terms of the grammar and conjugation?

    And i read something about an enterance exam or something for bayyinah is that to determine what level of arabic you are already at? And if so- what use does it have if everyone is put in to one class anyway?

    Correct me if i am mistaken at all.. i am just wondering where i stand.

    Sincerely
    Badeea

    • Avatar

      Nihal Khan

      January 3, 2012 at 5:04 PM

      If you haven’t studied grammar in-depth, then this program will benefit you immensely. And as you mentioned, there is a great focus on studying the Quran.

      As for the entrance exam, you can contact admin@bayyinah.com about it. I do not know the details about entry.

  31. Avatar

    Bint Nuh

    January 1, 2012 at 10:17 PM

    JazakAllahu Khair for posting your experiences about the Bayyinnah Dream. I love to attend this program one day!

    Till then I am learning Arabic online, I wrote about my experiences on my blog:
    http://amuslimahsmission.blogspot.com/2012/01/where-how-to-learn-arabic-online.html

  32. Avatar

    Anon

    February 13, 2012 at 9:06 AM

    When does this program start? And what is your advice if you are living in the UK and considering moving to the US for this? Does the move warrant what will be gained? And how much will be gained, or would it be best to seek an alternative in the middle east instead? 

    • Avatar

      Nihalk1

      February 13, 2012 at 10:44 PM

      Salam,

      – It usually starts around the beginning of September every year.
      – Bayyinah does not handle visas for international students. All applications, sponsoring, etc are on the perspective student’s own time and dime.
      – Depends on your level. Check out the above comments and the post about this specific question.

  33. Avatar

    bintMohsin

    May 4, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    Bayyinah e-learning only has 4 units uploaded whereas they are notes for 7 units. Are they going to upload the rest of the videos soon? 

  34. Avatar

    ummuinshaAllah

    December 26, 2012 at 9:58 AM

    Asalamu’3aleikum.. As far as the memorization goes, how far off were u when u got in? is it really as intimidating as it sounds.

    ps; inshaAllah.. y’all’s record will be broken soon..

  35. Avatar

    Arabic Novice

    January 18, 2013 at 11:04 AM

    Assalamu aleikhum all who have commented on this page.
    It is wonderful to know that there is search a thirst and quest for understanding the words and guidance of Allah Almighty and Exalted.
    I Pray that all those involved with the Bayyinah programme are blessed and rewarded for their sterling efforts. In particular I pray that Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan is blessed with good health and is able to continue with his awesome mission.
    I derive great solace from all his work and have recently started subscribing to Bayyinah TV which is a medium for all his podcasts .Arabic with Husna etc.
    For those of you wanting to study in England Dr Ibrahim Surty’s Learning Quranic Arabic is also a worthwhile experience.
    It is a structured programme of Arabic based on Quranic texts. In addition to be in the presence of a learned, pious person who is full of wisdom is also a truly priceless experience.
    May Allah SWT make it easyfor us to appreciate the miracle of His book .
    Best wishes and kindnesses to you all.

  36. Avatar

    Fatima

    February 9, 2013 at 7:31 AM

    Salams. I’m a sister living in Saudi Arabia. Would you advise me to try for Bayyinah?

  37. Avatar

    Thinker of the future

    February 15, 2013 at 6:06 AM

    Assalamualaikum,

    I’m 15 from Malaysia. I’ve been soooo interested in Bayyinah Dream that I want to go for it when I’m older. Need help. Can someone tell me like Reaaallly in detail about Bayyinah Dream. I’m sorta blur here. (The fact that I’m waaaaaaay on the other side of the map :'(…) . Btw, Can anyone suggest me the best universities for Islamic Studies in US and how to get scholarships (from Malaysia :O ) for it? :D

    I’m very blur in this subject actually but I have to start thinking of it right. :)

  38. Avatar

    Serenah

    February 21, 2013 at 10:21 PM

    salam aleykum just wondering how the women got teached, were their women teachers or were they taught من وراء حجاب or was there اختلاط? my husband wants to know for my daughter.

    • Avatar

      AB

      January 25, 2014 at 2:12 AM

      The teacher can see sisters/brothers but there is a barrier between them

  39. Avatar

    Meraj Siddiqui

    March 29, 2014 at 11:45 PM

    Assalamoalekum Warehmatullah,

    Appreciate the first hand experiences here. May Allah Azzawajl reward all of you, much thanks to brother Nihal for his initiative.
    Would be nice to have inputs from people who graduated in 2013.
    “Walaqad yassarnal-qurana li-zikri”

    JazakAllahu khairan,
    Meraj Mustafa Siddiqui
    http://www.tinyurl.com/smartmuslims
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/muslimreverts1/
    P.S. Muslim reverts feel left out – this is a genuine complaint, lets do our bit where ever we are, may Allah Azzawajl give all of us taufeeq-Aameen!

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#Life

Jannah Wall Art | MuslimKidsMatter

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Assalam Alaykum wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuh

Jannah Wall Art

We thought long and hard about what to focus on this Ramadan. We decided it would be motivation! The desire to do pray has to spring from motivation. Being obedient to parents has to spring from motivation. Racing to do any good deed has to spring from motivation. Children love rewards and what better reward and motivator to focus on, than Jannah itself, the best and ultimate reward.

Each day in Ramadan, the challenge is to read a description or two of Jannah, cut out a petal, and write the description in a few words on the petal. Children then need to stick the petals next to each other to make a flower. By the end of Ramadan, the children will have made a beautiful flower containing the descriptions of Jannah to hang up on their walls to remind them why they need to pray, be good to their parents, give charity and accumulate as many good deeds as possible.

Everything has been provided for you including the descriptions of Jannah, the petal template, a sample of what the flower should look like and step by step instructions. You just need to print and execute!

GET YOUR FREE RESOURCE NOW

https://ilmburst.lpages.co/ilm-burst-ramadan-treat

May Allah allow us all to witness Ramadan and make us from those who excel in worship throughout the blessed month.

Wassalam Alaykum
The Ilmburst Family

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#Society

MuslimARC Releases Guide for White Muslims By White Muslims

The author of the MuslimARC Guide writes an introduction

Bill Chambers

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“As people who are both white and Muslim, we straddle two identities -one privileged in society and the other, not. We experience Islamophobia to varying degrees, sometimes more overtly depending on how we physically present, and at the same time we have been socialized as white people in a society where white people hold more social power than People of Color (POC). The focus of the toolkit is to provide resources and information that will help guide us toward good practices and behaviours, and away from harmful ones, as we challenge racism within the Muslim community (ummah) and in society at large.” MuslimARC Guide 

As part of our mission to provide education and resources to advance racial justice within the Muslim community, the Muslim Anti-Racism Collaborative (MuslimARC) is producing a series of community-specific guides to be a resource for those who want to engage in anti-racism work within Muslim communities.

The first in this series, the Anti-Racism Guide for White Muslims, has been written specifically for white Muslims, by white Muslims under the guidance of the anti-racist principles of MuslimARC. While white Muslims know that Islamically we are required to stand for justice, growing up in a society that is so racially unequal has meant that unless we seek to actively educate ourselves, we typically have not been provided the tools to effectively talk about and address racism.

The Anti-Racism Guide for White Muslims is a tool and resource that speaks to specific needs of white Muslims who are navigating the process of deepening their understanding of racism and looking for concrete examples of how, from their specific social location, they can contribute to advancing anti-racism in Muslim communities. The Guide also addresses views and practices that inadvertently maintain the status quo of racial injustice or can actually reproduce harm, which we must tackle in ourselves and in our community in order to effectively contribute to uprooting racism.

The Guide was developed by two white Muslim members of MuslimARC, myself (Bill Chambers) and Lindsay Angelow. The experiences, approaches, recommendations, and resources are based upon our own experiences, those of other white Muslims we have encountered or spoken to, and research and analysis by others who have been cited in the Guide.

As white people, we are not always aware when we say or write something that reflects our often narrow analysis of racism and need to be open to feedback from Muslims of Color. My own personal process of helping to develop this Guide made me aware of the many times I was in discussions with Muslims of Color, especially women, when I had reflect better upon the privilege I experience as a white person and also the white male privilege that comes with it. It is difficult not to feel defensive when you realize you may have said too much and listened too little on a topic that is really not about you.

Talking about racism is a hard topic and we anticipate that for many white Muslims reading the Guide, there may be a feeling of defensiveness and having difficulty learning from the examples given because you feel that the examples don’t apply to you. You may feel the need to call to attention the various forms of injustice you feel you have experienced in your life, for example where you felt like an outsider as a convert in Muslim community. Our advice is to recognize that those reactions are related to living in a society where we are very much shielded from having to deeply understand racism and examining our role in it. In the spirit of knowledge seeking, critical thinking, and the call to justice communicated to us in the Qur’an as expectations that Allah has of Muslims, we must push past those reactions and approach the subject matter in the spirit of knowledge, skill-seeking, and growth.

“People, We have created you all from a single man and a single woman, and made you into races and tribes so that you should get to know one another (49:13).” One of our most important purposes is to really “get to know” one another, build just and loving communities together, all the time knowing we all come from the same source and will return together. If this Guide does anything, let it inspire a deeper understanding of our unique identity as white Muslims and how to use it to advance a more just society.

You can find the  #AntiRacismGuide for White Muslims at http://www.muslimarc.org/whitemuslimguide

Further reading:

White Activism Is Crucial In The Wake of Right-Wing Terrorism

Beyond Muslim Diversity to Racial Equity

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#Culture

Emotional Intelligence: A Tool for Change  

Imam Mikaeel Smith

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Why do we consider emotional intelligence to be half of the Prophetic intellect? The answer lies in the word “messenger.” Messengers of Allah are tasked with the divine responsibility of conveying to humanity the keys to their salvation. They are not only tasked with passing on the message but also with being a living example of that message.

When ʿĀʾishah, the wife of the Prophet ﷺ, was asked to explain the character of the blessed Prophet ﷺ, her reply was, “His character was the Qurʾān.[1]” We are giving emotional intelligence a place of primacy in the construct of Prophetic intelligence because it seems implausible that Allah would send a messenger without providing that messenger with the means necessary to exemplify and transmit the message to others. If the Prophets of Allah did not have the necessary knowledge and skills needed to successfully pass on the message to the next generation, the argument would be incomplete. People could easily excuse themselves of all accountability because the message was never conveyed.

We also see clear examples in the Qur’ān that this knowledge was being perpetually perfected in the character of the Prophet ﷺ. Slight slips in his Emotional Intelligence were rare, but when they did occur, Allah gently addressed the mistake by means of revelation. Allah says in the Qurʾān, “If you (O Muḥammad) were harsh and hardhearted, then the people would flee from you.” This verse clearly placed the burden of keeping an audience upon the shoulders of the Prophet ﷺ. What this means is that the Prophet ﷺ had to be aware of what would push people away; he had to know what would create cognitive and emotional barriers to receptivity. When we study the shamāʾil (books about his character), we find that he was beyond exceptional in his ability to make people receptive. He took great care in studying the people around him and deeply understanding them. Only after the Prophet ﷺ had exhausted all the means of removing barriers to receptivity would the responsibility to affirm the message be shifted to those called to it.

Another example of this Prophetic responsibility can be found in the story of Prophet Mūsa when he was commissioned to call Pharaoh and the children of Israel to Allah. When Allah informed him of the task he was chosen for, he immediately attempted to excuse himself because he had a slight speech impediment. He knew that his speech impediment could potentially affect the receptivity of people to the message. He felt that this disqualified him from being a Prophet. He also felt that the act of manslaughter he committed might come between the people and guidance. All of these examples show that Allah’s Prophets understood that many factors can affect a person’s receptivity to learning something new, especially when the implications of that new information call into question almost every aspect of a person’s identity. History tells us that initially, people did not accept the message of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ; they completely rejected him and accused him of being a liar.

One particular incident shows very clearly that he ﷺ understood how necessary it was for him to remove any cognitive or emotional barriers that existed between him and his community. When the people of his hometown of Makkah had almost completely rejected him, he felt that it was time to turn his attention to a neighboring town. The city of Ṭā’if was a major city and the Prophet ﷺ was hopeful that perhaps they would be receptive to the message. Unfortunately, they completely rejected him and refused to even listen to what he had to say. They chased him out of town, throwing stones at him until his injuries left him completely covered in blood. Barely making it outside the city, the Prophet ﷺ collapsed. Too weak to move, he turned his attention to his Lord and made one of the most powerful supplications made by a Prophet of Allah.

اللهم إليك أشكو ضعف قوتي، وقلة حيلتي، وهواني على الناس، يا أرحم الراحمين، أنت أنت رب المستضعفين وأنت ربي، إلى من تكلني؟ إلى عدو يتجهمني؟ أو إلى قريب ملكته أمري؟ إن لم يكن بك علي غضب فلا أبالي، غير أن عافيتك أوسع لي، أعوذ بنور وجهك الذي أشرقت له الظلمات، وصلح عليه أمر الدنيا والآخرة، من أن ينزل بي غضبك، أو يحل علي سخطك، لك العتبى حتى ترضى، ولا حول ولا قوة إلا بك”

“Oh Allah, only to You do I complain about my lack of strength, my insufficient strategies, and lowliness in the sight of the people. You are my Lord. To whom do you turn me over? Someone distant from me who will forsake me? Or have you placed my affair in the hands of my enemy? [2]

The Prophet ﷺ felt that he was the reason why the people were not accepting the message. His concern that “my low status in the eyes of the people,” informs us that he understood that people naturally judge the seriousness of a message based on the stature of the message bearer. The people of Ṭā’if were extremely ignorant, so much that they adamantly refused to enter into any dialogue. In reality, this was not due to any shortcoming of the Prophet ﷺ; he demonstrated the best of character and displayed extreme patience in the face of such ignorance. But the beginning of the supplication teaches us what he was focused on: making sure that he was not the reason why someone did not accept the message.

Because his message was not geographically restricted like that of other Prophets, those who inherited the message would have the extra burden of transferring the message to a people with whom they were unfamiliar. The intelligence needed to pass the message of the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ around the world included an understanding of the cultural differences that occur between people. Without this understanding effective communication and passing on of his message would be impossible.

A sharp Emotional Intelligence is built upon the development of both intra- and interpersonal intelligence. These intelligences are the backbone of EQ and they provide a person with emotional awareness and understanding of his or her own self, an empathic understanding of others, and the ability needed to communicate effectively and cause change. Emotional Intelligence by itself is not sufficient for individual reform or societal reform; instead, it is only one part of the puzzle. The ʿaql or intellect that is referenced repeatedly in the Qurʾān is a more comprehensive tool that not only recognizes how to understand the psychological and emotional aspects of people but recognizes morally upright and sound behavior. After that this intellect, if healthy and mature, forces a person to conform to that standard. Therefore, we understand the ʿaql to be a comprehensive collection of intelligences analogous to Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory.

Taking into consideration the extreme diversity found within Western Muslim communities, we see how both Moral Intelligence and Emotional Intelligence are needed. Fostering and nurturing healthy communities requires that we understand how people receive our messages. This is the interpersonal intelligence aspect of EQ. Without grounding the moral component of our community, diversity can lead to what some contemporary moral theorists call moral plasticity, a phenomenon where concrete understandings of good and evil, right and wrong, are lost. Moral Education (Moral Education, which will be discussed throughout the book, is the process of building a Morally Intelligent heart) focuses on correcting the message that we are communicating to the world; in other words, Moral Intelligence helps us maintain our ideals and live by them, while Emotional Intelligence ensures that the message is effectively communicated to others.

My father would often tell me, “It’s not what you say, son; it’s what they hear.”

Interpersonal understanding is the core of emotional intelligence. My father would often tell me, “It’s not what you say, son; it’s what they hear.” From the perspective of Emotional Intelligence, this statement is very accurate. The way we interpret words, body language, verbal inflections, and facial expressions is based on many different factors. The subtle power of this book lies in the simple fact that your emotional intelligence is the primary agent of change and thus the most powerful force you have. You must understand how people perceive what you are communicating to them. What is missing from my father’s statement is the primacy of Moral Intelligence. Throughout this book, I attempt to show how the Prophet Muḥammad ﷺ demonstrated a level of perfection of both of these intelligences.

*With the Heart in Mind is available for pre-order at https://www.qalam.foundation/qalambooks/with-the-heart-in-mind

[1]Bayhaqī, Shuʿb al-ʾĪmān, vol. 3, p. 23.

[2] Ibn Kathir, al-Bidāyah wa al-Nihāyah, vol. 3, p. 136.

 

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