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A Guide for Studying Arabic and Quran in Morocco



Going abroad to study Arabic is one of the best ways to learn the language. With a vibrant culture and a rich intellectual heritage, Morocco is naturally a destination of choice for students from across the globe. What follows below is a guide for those looking to go there to study Arabic and Quran. It is based on my experiences there last year.

Language Institutes

There are several schools spread across the country which focus on teaching Arabic to non-Arabs; English-speakers in particular. I went to Fez because of its intellectual history and the numerous opportunities to benefit outside class as well. I studied at ALIF (Arabic Language Institute in Fez). It is one of the oldest Arabic schools in Morocco having been established for some 30 years now.

Bou Inania madrasa in Fez, Morocco

Bou Inania madrasa in Fez, Morocco

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ALIF boasts some excellent teachers; some who are graduates from the Qarawiyyen. They have a well-developed 7-level program which takes you to an advanced competency in Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) i.e. Fusha. The curriculum followed is that of the Al-Kitab series which is taught at most Western universities (the colloquial sections in the book are skipped over). Most students are on exchange programs from American and British institutions. The default language of instruction is Arabic for all-classes; with English being employed at varying degrees depending on the level and teacher. Some teachers are strict about teaching in Arabic only; others are a bit lax.

This program does a very good job at taking a holistic approach and focuses on your speaking, reading, writing and listening skills– as opposed to just reading. They generally go through the material thoroughly –especially at the beginner levels. Classes are small which is very beneficial; on average about 4-6 students per class. However, this swells up to about 10-12 students during the summer time. In classes with 3 or more students, you get 20 hours of instruction per week, 15 hours within classes with 2 students and 10 hours/week if you are the only one. The material covered and tuition remain the same.

The main pros of the school are that it’s quite well organized, has good teachers, and their program builds a strong foundation for further studies. Despite the criticisms of Al-Kitab, I found it to be a very good book and it greatly aided my comprehension and understanding. Plus, ALIF adds complementary exercises to reinforce language skills.

The cons are that the school is rather pricey; although at a similar rate as other Moroccan schools and still cheaper than most options in North America. With multiple instructors rotating through the levels, sometimes you can end up with a teacher who might not be as good as some others, and at times your classmates aren’t of the appropriate level. Also, since almost all students are English speakers, you don’t get complete immersion and end-up using English outside class.

Like most language schools, the focus is not getting students to read Quran – although you are still learning classical Arabic in a modern context. To comprehend the Quran, you have to complement your studies with resources to familiarize yourself with Quranic vocabulary, expressions and constructs. The teachers are all Muslim and well-versed in the tradition, so they can always answer any specific questions you may have. To understand Quran, one needs a good foundation in the basics of the language. This school will provide you with that.

These are all general things you have to work around when studying abroad – it’s not specific to this school per se. If possible, I would try to avoid going during the summer months as this is a busy time with a lot of students doing summer exchanges. Nevertheless, you’ll still find it beneficial if you’re focused and keep on top of things. Just keep an open mind and you’ll be okay.

I’ve listed below some other schools in Morocco I found on the internet. I can’t comment on them; though I know students who went to Subus-Asalam and Qalam and mentioned good reviews about them.

Subus-Asalam CenterQalam wa LawhINLACCLC, Ibn Ghazi, Arabaphon

Quran Studies

Moroccans have a deep-rooted commitment to the preservation of the Quran, which makes it one of the best places to memorize and study it. Just by virtue of living there, your attachment to the Book will increase. One of the most unique aspects of Morocco is that a juz from the Quran (i.e. 1/30th ) is read in each mosque every day – half after Fajr and half after Maghrib. They do this congregationally in a magical rhythm which is a treat for the ears and the hearts – a precious skill to learn in itself.

To this day, most Moroccan madrassahs employ a pen and tablet to help students memorize the Quran. If memorizing is your goal, then attending one of these schools is your best option. I had friends in Fez who were enrolled in these Quran schools (at Masjid Hafsa) and also a few in the southern desert villages (at Madrassa Imam Nafi’ near Rachidia and the Madrassah of Faqih Bahlool (Zawiya Rahalia) in Kelat Sraghna). The main way to enroll in these schools is to show up and try to get in – there isn’t an online process and there might be an entrance exam. It can be hard at times as the administration can a bit suspicious of foreigners, but all the people I know were eventually able to enroll. The tuition is usually either free or there is a small fee associated with it.

If your goal is to improve your recitation and study tajweed on the side, then the Dar-al-Quran schools are your best options. These are little institutes set up in every neighborhood for people to drop-in and recite to a teacher. Most people I met there were working class people who had already memorized the Quran and were reviewing with the shaykh in the evenings. My teacher there could easily teach Hafs recitation as well, as opposed to the official Warsh. The tuition is quite affordable as well – about 100 Dhs for a semester ($10).

Furthermore, these centers are women-friendly. Some of them are exclusively for women while others have times allocated (usually the mornings) for women and evenings for men. Whatever neighborhood you end up staying in, just ask around for the local Dar-al-Quran and you’ll be directed to one.

Update: I came across the website of Madrassah Sharif al Wazzani for girls; there’s a similar one for boys in Majorca, Spain called Madrassah Muhammad Wazzani. Some of the Spanish students I met go to this school before going to Morocco as it serves as a good starting point.

Housing and Food

There are a number of housing options in Morocco. Many students who come on exchange programs do a homestay with a local family. This is usually set up by the host institution where you study and they dictate the prices – I’ve seen this to be between $80-$100/week with meals included. Most students have a positive experience with this living arrangement; although you have to keep an open mind and be accepting of a new family and culture.

Another housing option is the ALIF residence villa which is conveniently located across from the institute. It’s equipped with all the amenities one needs and saves you plenty of time and the frustration that can come with a new country. It’s relatively affordable too (about $300-$350/month depending on the room) but the prices go up in the summer and it can be hard to find a spot at that time too. Keep in mind the residence is co-ed and the atmosphere depends on the type of students living there at the time. Like with anywhere else, it’s your job to find good and wholesome company.

Moroccan tagine

Moroccan tagine

For long-term stays, finding your own apartment is usually the best option and the above two are good to get you accustomed to the country. The schools can find you an apartment or you can find other students and try to room with them. I’ve heard various rates (i.e.$300-$600/month) depending on the number of rooms, location, furniture etc. I think $350/month is a decent approximation for a two bedroom place.

Food is very inexpensive in Morocco and this is where you’ll save the most. Bread is 1.25 Dh, a pack of milk is 3 Dh, a pack of cheese is 12Dh, coffee is 7Dh. A decent dinner with meat will be 20-25 Dh. Budgeting 50Dh ($6) a day is decent if you eat out all the time – it’s much cheaper if you cook. (These are prices locals pay – you have to find the non-tourist areas to get these).

 The Qarawiyyen

The jewel of Fez and the pride of Islam’s intellectual heritage, the Qarawiyyen university is located in the heart of the old city;  it continues to operate today after being founded nearly 1200 years ago. Being able to attend the classes here is the most rewarding aspect of studying in Fez. They still follow the traditional format and curriculum, with classes taking place by the pillars of the old mosque. The teacher sits on a throne-like chair and the students sit on the floor encircling him.

I found the administration generally open to letting foreign students sit in and audit the classes. Some of the teachers would even try to include you in the class and were quite open to answering questions. Classes are mostly in Fusha though the local dialect, Darija,  is used in varying degrees depending on the teacher. Attending the lessons is a great way to improve your listening and comprehension skills, as well as learning the traditional Islamic sciences.

Do note that there are no classes during the summer months (June – August). Final exams start around mid-May so that’s when they end. All summer the old mosque where the classes take place is closed and opens only for the daily prayers. Also, unfortunately, I was told that some classes will be moved this year to a new campus outside the old city. However, some, I believe the advanced levels, will continue to be taught in the old mosque – so that resource is still there.


Notice for entrance exams at the Qarawiyyen

If you are a high achiever and want to formally enroll in the Qarawyieen, the admission requirements are shown on the left in a notice about entrance exams. For those that can’t read it, the two main conditions for writing it roughly translate to: a) Memorization of the Glorious Quran with completeness and mastery b) Memorization of a few basic texts (Mutoons) – I presume this to be introductory texts like Ibn Ashir, Ajroomiyah and Imam Nawawwi’s 40 hadiths. I’ve heard Quran memorization requirements for foreigners are a bit relaxed, though I can’t confirm this. Again, I am not aware of an online process for enrolling in Qarawiyyeen, so you have to just show up and try to get in by writing entrance exams, talking with administration etc. It’s assumed you’re fluent in Arabic as there isn’t an official program, to my knowledge, to teach the language to foreigners.



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Waleed Ahmed writes on current affairs and politics for MuslimMatters. He focuses on Muslim minorities, human rights and the Middle-Eastern conflict. Based out of Montreal, he's currently pursuing a Ph.D. at McGill University in fundamental physics. Waleed also has a keen interest in studying Arabic and French. He spends his spare time reading, playing basketball and praying for Jon Stewart to run in the next presidential election. contact: waleed dot ahmed at



  1. Pingback: A Guide for Studying Arabic and Quran in Morocc...

    • Avatar

      Nailah Isaac

      October 15, 2014 at 8:28 AM

      Asa, I am considering letting my 21 yr old son and 18 yr old daughter attend the school. Do you think it is a safe environment for such young student? My main concern will be that they will be taken advantage of and triple charged for things because they are foreigners. Also what do you think their monthly expenses will be?

    • Avatar

      Ana Nur

      October 20, 2014 at 11:38 AM

      im 19years old and study in my country,Malaysia (in tahfiz wal qiraat)
      after finish my diploma here(around early in 2016 inshaaAllah,biiznillah) i would like to further my study in Morocco
      may i have a look any university there that i could continue in the same course

    • Avatar


      November 25, 2015 at 10:54 AM

      Do you know if al qarawiyyin admitts women in the university since I’ve heard that that’s not the case

      • Avatar

        masaheh -zaid-

        February 8, 2016 at 1:03 AM

        aslamualaikomm……ahlam wamarhaban fiki anisasity al muhtaramah ana mr: masaheh suemaeng-zaid-
        min thailand uridu adrusu luqatul al arabiah wa islamiah jamiahtikom inshaallah
        bitarikatikom wa musaadatukom inshallah….barakommullah… shukrannnn…

    • Avatar

      Ali yerima mimi Aidara

      June 26, 2016 at 11:47 AM

      I have 3 boys In hafiz school in Africa they are doing good I want them to go to maroc to learn arabic and Qur’an very good in’shaa’allah

    • Avatar

      Alfesani Cassim

      December 18, 2018 at 5:38 AM

      Salaam Waleed,
      I’ve just stumbled across this page and find its content amazing, jzk for sharing your experience. I wanted to know the duration of the Arabic course, there are obviously different levels but I wanted to know how long it’ll take to get the foundation done to a good level and get a good grasp of the language, also I plan on studying in Fez insha’Allah could you please let me know the name of the dar-al-quran you attended or the whereabouts maybe? Thanks.

      • Avatar

        Waleed S. Ahmed

        December 18, 2018 at 9:30 PM

        Wasalam Alfesani,
        I would say about 6-8 months of study will be enough to get the foundations done. At Alif, if you can do up to level 500 or 600, you should be at a good level. As for the Dar ul Quran, I can’t remember if it had a was just across the Mcdonals/Mall. If you ask around, you should be able to find it. Good luck!

  2. Avatar


    January 31, 2014 at 9:48 AM

    I am currently studying abroad (via my university in Morocco). I have found much difficulty in finding supplemental Quran programs, so your article is very helpful. Do you know of any places in Rabat specifically or contacts willing to give Quran lessons privately a couple of times a week?


    • Avatar

      Waleed Ahmed

      January 31, 2014 at 9:59 PM

      Waslaam Nicole. Unfortunately I don’t have any contacts in Rabat for Quran studies. I would advice going to the local mosque and asking for the closest dar-al-Quran….I am sure there are opportunities. Try to take advantage of the group recitals after maghrib..though I am not sure how it works on the women’s side. You at Qalam wal Lawh? What’s it like?

      • Avatar


        February 2, 2014 at 8:23 AM

        Thanks for the advice, I will definitely ask at my local mosque. I studied at Qalam wa Lawh over the summer in 2013. Now I am at the Center for Cross Cultural Learning continuing my Arabic studies! :)

        • Avatar


          March 7, 2014 at 10:51 PM

          asalaamu alaikum

          I was wondering if you found a Quran teacher in Rabat? I am also looking for one and have asked around at local mosques.

    • Avatar


      September 15, 2015 at 12:41 AM

      Could you help me with a list of universities where the mode of instruction is English, if there are any. So I could enrol for a postgraduate course and enrol in a madras by the side

  3. Avatar


    January 31, 2014 at 10:03 AM

    masha-Allah Waleed, great article — happy to hear that you benefited from Morocco! All the best, insha-Allah.

    • Avatar

      Waleed Ahmed

      January 31, 2014 at 9:54 PM

      Salam Armaan! It’s funny you stumbled across this. It certainly was a beneficial experience..couldn’t have gone there without your help, jazakillah for all the assistance!

  4. Avatar


    January 31, 2014 at 4:32 PM

    as-Salāmu ʿAlaykum,

    in 2012 I absolved a 1-month Fusha-Arabic-program in Rabat – Qalam wa Lawh school … the athmosphere in the school is really good and the teachers are really helpful. They keep the groups small up to 8 people and it’s quite productive. They also offer nice excursions to discover the country. Going to the Sahara (Merzouga/Desert) was a great experience.

    • Avatar

      Muslim Brother

      April 5, 2014 at 7:07 PM

      As Salamu Alaykum WW, I am considering going to Morroco as well. I looked up the school, and seems good and fairly priced. I was wondering what class you would recommend for someone like myself who can read Quranic Arabic Fluently


      • Avatar

        Waleed Ahmed

        April 6, 2014 at 5:50 PM

        walaykumasalam. they usually do a test to determine your level before you start and place you appropriately. If you’ve done some arabic, level 2 might be a good place to start.

  5. Pingback: A Guide for Studying Arabic and Quran in Morocco – MuslimMatters | AfricaHot

  6. Avatar

    Umm hadi

    February 1, 2014 at 10:54 AM

    Masha Allah well informative article. Taqabbal Allahu minna wa minkum.

  7. Avatar


    February 2, 2014 at 11:42 PM


    Beforehand I would like to apologize if my question has no direct corellation with this post.. I am just commencing studying Arabic language on my own, I find it hard without any teacher around. I am working and barely have no time to study on a schedulled time.What I need is a learning system that can be adjust at my own pace. If any of brothers and sisters know a trusted online Arabic learning with interactive teacher that can give feedback on our progress and difficulty, would you please let me know. I really want to be able to acquire Arabic and thus to be able to comprehend the Holy Qur’an… Thank you very much indeed in advance.

    • Avatar

      waleed ahmed

      February 3, 2014 at 12:44 PM

      There are a couple of good live Arabic classes being offered online. Some of the onsite schools from Egypt like diwan, cairo institute, fajr etc have them. check seekersguidance and Qibla as well. I use StudioArabiya and have found them to be quite good too.

      • Avatar


        February 3, 2014 at 11:10 PM

        Thank you very much indeed for the information. I’ll dive into them forthrightly.

        • Avatar


          February 4, 2014 at 5:03 PM

          this site has many audio podcasts .very helpful to start and get familiar with arabic language

        • Avatar


          February 4, 2014 at 5:12 PM

          also this book is helpful
          Easy Arabic Grammar von Jane Wightwick und Mahmoud Gaafar. i think they have more series for studying,
          maybe good to check

    • Avatar

      The Quran seeker

      February 3, 2014 at 8:25 PM

      Assalaamu alaikum sis,
      I am currently taking this course called Arabic through the Quran with ustadah ola shoubaki,
      We are in our fourth week but you might want to contact her and see if she would let in new students.We are learning Arabic to help us understand the Quran.The website is

    • Avatar


      August 15, 2016 at 11:03 PM

      Islamic online uni (Intensive Arabic Program) is very good ma shaa Allah

  8. Avatar


    February 4, 2014 at 6:15 PM

    This looks like it could be really helpful. Are there any other writers from Muslim Matters who might be able to write similar articles for other countries?

  9. Avatar


    February 8, 2014 at 2:10 PM

    Wow. Firstly
    السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
    Secondly, you don’t understand how thankful I am for this post, for the past year I have been thinking so much about going to Fez to memorise the Quran but as you probably know there is a lack of information on the internet about this. I do have a question, you see the madrassahs where you go to memorise the Quran how would one know where they are? I was thinking of just going to a masjid and asking the imam to guide me to one, would you happen to know of any Madrassas that help teach the memorisation of the Quran in Fez?

    • Avatar

      waleed ahmed

      February 8, 2014 at 7:49 PM

      walaykumasalam. Glad you were able to find this to be useful. As for the madrassahs, you pretty much have to ask around when you get there. depending on where you stay, you can ask at the local mosque, the qarawiyyen,etc. The school I know of, which is also featured in the video I linked, is in an area called ‘Mon-flow-ree’ in Fez (I don’t know the spelling so I just transliterated it). Some of my spanish friends were studying there. There is also one in an area called Wad Fez. There are prolly others as well, you just have to ask around. Go visit them, talk to the administration and see who will take you.

      • Avatar


        May 10, 2015 at 5:48 PM

        As salaamu aleykum wr wb akhi jazzaka Allah kheyr for the informasion.ive been looking for this a loong time know. Could please give me some info about a institute in marocco who gives the holepack meaning from scratch where you learn arabic and then study to became alim(fiq) forgive me for my english jzk.

  10. Avatar

    O H

    February 9, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    Check this blog by an experienced student of arabic who has travelled multiple countries in pursuit of the knowledge of this divine language. There are many tips for those looking to travel overseas or studying online.

  11. Avatar

    Aneesa Hussain

    February 12, 2014 at 1:59 PM

    Assalamu Alaykum, MashaAllah really informative article JazakAllah Khair. I’m going to study Arabic in Fez in September inshaAllah but our universty has a partnership with INLAC I have no idea how reputable it is especially in comparison to Alif can anyone help me out?
    Thank you

    • Avatar

      Waleed Ahmed

      February 15, 2014 at 10:58 PM

      walaykumasalam. I don’t know much about INLAC either..sorry. If you’re going on an exchange then you should be okay; I presume host schools do their research before sending students abroad. Do let us know here how you find it when you get there : )

  12. Pingback: A Guide for Studying Arabic and Quran in Morocco | BloomingPeaches - Sit. Think. Imagine

  13. Avatar


    March 2, 2014 at 7:50 PM

    JAzakallah Khair for the post. Very helpful and timely alhamdulillah. I was wondering whay would be the city to visit to get onto this journey of learning quran for myself and kids. Fez? Is there any fulltime school for kids for the purpose

    • Avatar

      Waleed Ahmed

      March 13, 2014 at 12:24 PM

      I would certainly recommend Fez; there are schools in other cities too in Morocco but my experience primarily was in Fez. The schools I have mentioned in the comments and article for Quran are open to all..I’ve seen kid and adults both attend them.

  14. Avatar

    Aneesa Hussain

    April 7, 2014 at 5:35 AM

    Assalamu Alaykum inshaAllah I will be going to study at Alif in September can anyone else who is doing so please get in touch with me JazkaAllah khair

    • Avatar


      July 24, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      Assalam aleykum aneesa. I’m planning to travel to morocco from mid-august in order to improve my arabic iA. I’m planning on enrolling at Masjid Hafsa for Quran memorisation (in warsh) but i’m not sure about the institute for arabic as of yet. I’m looking at advanced studies as i’ve already studied arabic for a few years and i need to improve slightly in order to go on to study in mauritania iA. Hopefully i can also benefit from classes at al-qaraween.

      I’m also not sure about accomodation although i’d be happy to stay with a host family.

      If i get any more information i’ll let you know iA.


      • Avatar


        October 10, 2015 at 1:43 AM

        Assalamu Alaikum Brother Haithem, I know this has been a long time since your post but have you been able to reach masjid hafsa? If yes can you please give me more details InshaAllah I am planning to go there. And also were you able to attend some classes at qarawiyyin? JazakaAllahu Khayr

    • Avatar


      September 15, 2015 at 12:35 AM

      how is the experience over there? I can read arabic with difficulties. Planning on coming to ALIf in February inshAllah

  15. Avatar

    Abu Hatim

    May 13, 2014 at 1:27 PM

    Did anyone find a problems entering and leaving the country? any questions about where you studied or who you studied under?

    • Avatar

      Waleed Ahmed

      May 13, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      I didn’t have any problems. I actually did tell them I was there to study arabic and showed a letter from the school (I am not sure if its best to reveal it or be evasive…i didn’t have any issues). the only thing to ensure is you don’t stay past 3 months on any visit (unless you have residence visa). Most people take a train to one of the spanish territories (ceuta or mellilla) in morocco so that they are able to leave the country and re-enter.

  16. Avatar


    May 20, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    Asalamu alikum Can I please have your email address?

    • Avatar

      Waleed Ahmed

      May 28, 2014 at 12:06 PM

      it’s posted on the contact page of my personal blog…i avoid posting it on forums to avoid spamming.

  17. Avatar

    Intan Shafira Binti Abdullah

    June 11, 2014 at 3:55 AM

    jazakallah khayr for this informative article. but i have some question. do you know the fees for learning arabic there ?

  18. Avatar


    June 14, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    salam wa3alaykoem, i wish to know a school for learning arabic and quran in fes near bansouda during the summer vacations, i like to go incha’Allah with mi doughter. can anybody help me for information please? BarakAllahoefikoem wa salam wa 3alaykoem.

    • Avatar

      Waleed Ahmed

      June 18, 2014 at 10:18 PM

      walaykumasalam. There is the zawiya of sh abdullah al haddad in ben souda where they have quran lessons on sundays I’ve heard. In addition to that option, I would suggest finding the local darul quran. the people at the zawiya would have information on this as well.

  19. Avatar


    July 13, 2014 at 11:55 AM

    Salam i am safwan from malaysia. How if i want to study arabic and syariah at morocco.. And how much for the fees per semester. Can you tell me about the visas

  20. Pingback: Places to learn Arabic in Morocco

  21. Avatar


    August 16, 2014 at 2:22 AM

    JazaakAllaahu khayran for the beneficial post, may Allah make it heavy in your scales on the day of judgement. I was wondering if you knew of any salafi (not madkhali) areas within Morocco, or the very least perhaps a salafi memorization madrasah? BaarakAllahu feekum.

    • Avatar


      October 23, 2014 at 3:27 PM

      What is salafi memorization bro? Thank Allah there aren’t many salafis in Morocco and I pray it remains that way.

      • Avatar


        October 24, 2014 at 2:29 AM

        Uh, a memorization school run by Salafi’s? The truth will prevail and falsehood will vanish, I ask Allah to make us from the people of truth. What problem do you have with Salafi’s, do you have a problem with the ‘salaf'(the first three generations of Islam)?

  22. Avatar


    August 17, 2014 at 11:10 AM

    Also, what are your thoughts on hiring an ustaadh to teach you arabic one on one? What would a good teacher in Morocco typically charge, and what are the pros/cons of this as opposed to joining a institute?

    • Avatar

      Waleed Ahmed

      August 19, 2014 at 11:38 PM

      wasalam. can’t comment much as I didn’t study privately. Morocoo is expensive if you do private tutoring; it has its benefits thought if you’re at a good level and just have specific texts you want to cover with a teacher.

      • Avatar

        November 15, 2014 at 5:09 PM

        Salam Waleed, I hope this note finds you well brother. I have been following your website and blog, and I am so grateful to your for spreading a good word about Islam and about Arabic.

        I was wondering if you could possibly share a word or list our webiste on your blog. I will be more than grateful to you.

        Thank you and may Allah bless you

  23. Avatar


    August 19, 2014 at 12:16 AM

    salam wa alakum.

    I am interested in learning how to read and write arabi and learn quran in Morroco. Can you please recommend a place for a single female traveling from the United States?

    • Avatar

      Waleed Ahmed

      August 19, 2014 at 11:42 PM

      I’d recommend the same places as above. For quran, I’ve posted the link to madrasah sharif wazzani which is just for girls.

      • Avatar


        October 14, 2015 at 7:44 PM

        Salam I am interested in studying in morroco howvis like for foreign students can you email me so e details on

  24. Avatar


    September 2, 2014 at 3:26 AM

    Assalamu Alaykum

    I would like to know what is the best school(Quality teaching) or city to study Fusa in Morocco? My goal is to learn Arabic for religious text and possibly for conversation. Many reviews I have read regarding Qalam Wa lawn mention that it is over prices and badly organized. Can anyone comment on this.

    • Avatar


      October 20, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      I am currently attending Qalm wa lawh, it is fairly well organised from what I have seen. Their is a variety of teachers some with different skill sets but the classes are well done and that with the extra free half an hour one on one tuition a day I think it is beneficial. If you wish to study further whilst here there our lots of local teachers. The classes are quite well arranged and fairly strict about class max size. The other cultural activities are beneficial in as much as learning a variety of vocab. Generally Rabat is in a good location to travel around Morocco as it is almost the centre of the train network.

  25. Avatar

    Abu Aliyah Al - Maliki

    October 15, 2014 at 9:28 PM

    As salamu 3alaykum

    There is a new online enroll system in Qarawin university in Fes.

    And they also changed the entry requirements, what is now needed to enroll proper is just a diploma of a secondary school without any previous memorization of the holy Quran or Mutun!

    though for foreigners there is a special legal authorization needed from the moroccan education ministry.

    Check out the above website and get in touch with further or much more detailed Information’s about the modernization and Internalization process and progress of the once well known traditional Qarawin !

    Everything mentioned above good comes from Allah the all mighty and everything mentioned above false comes from me and the rejected shaytan !

    Barakallahu feekum

    Allahumma zidna 3ilmaan ( Oh Allah increase us in Knowlege )


  26. Avatar


    November 27, 2014 at 2:33 AM

    I’m planning to to go to Morocco in Jan 2015. I would like to study Arabic and perhaps other islamic subjects.
    I have an unusual schedule of working three weeks and then having three weeks off. It is in my three weeks off that I plan to travel and stay in morocco. Does anyone have any recommendations on where I should study (schools in fes or Rabat etc) and what the best option is for accommodation seeing as I won’t be there full time. I’m guessing I will have to opt for private tuition….?

  27. Avatar

    Umar Ajami

    January 16, 2015 at 3:18 PM


    I’m so glad that i found this site.

    I’m a new muslim, i have very strong intention to memorize the Holy Quran in morocco, i need you to kindly help me get a very good madrassah that can help me make this dream come to reality.
    i need someone to help me with the travel arrengement, i will take care of all cost that come.
    this is my email & tell #
    hope to hear from u soon

    • Avatar


      May 27, 2015 at 2:35 PM

      I’m 55years old from Malaysia
      My husband and I decide to study Arabic and quran at any madrasah in morocco
      Please advise how to register and visa. Tq in advance

  28. Avatar


    April 27, 2015 at 5:52 PM

    Salam – I am already working and taking 3 months time out to study Arabic. This is a pretty large time investment to take off work. I am now have to make a decision whether to study at Middlebury or Qalam wa Lawh (QL). Middlebury is an established institution so I have a good idea what to expect, although I am little hesitant of the undergraduate culture during Ramadan. I have not heard anything from QL however other than it being chaotic. Is there anyone who can share an honest review of the teaching quality at QL?
    Jzk. M

  29. Avatar


    May 27, 2015 at 2:29 PM

    I’m 55years old from Malaysia
    My husband and I decide to study Arabic and quran at any madrasah in morocco
    Please advise how to register and visa. Tq in advance

  30. Avatar

    raheem sharafadeen

    June 21, 2015 at 8:03 AM

    Aslkmwbt, I really appreciate ur can I study both Quran and Arabic and Islamic studies in Morocco as a begginer from,nigerialastly,how much will it cost me ?

  31. Avatar


    July 4, 2015 at 5:03 PM

    Slm, I am 26 yrs of age and I am a Nigerian. I don’t have any Quranic recitation background. Is there any program for people like me? If yes, how long is the program and how much will it cost?

  32. Avatar


    July 24, 2015 at 11:41 PM

    As salaam Alaikum,
    I am 27 year from India. currently working in industry but i am to quite my job for 3 months and fully engaged in learning Quranic Arabic understanding and reading Quran correctly. if any good institute for me please help me out. I tried online class from egypt but not so helpful. If any please email me.

  33. Pingback: Comment on A Guide for Studying Arabic and Quran in Morocco by jamil | Souqhub | Blog

  34. Avatar


    January 12, 2016 at 8:58 PM

    At the end of may I will be travelling to Alif institute to study arabic however rather then stay for 6 weeks I would like to stay till October. During that period I’d like to focus and invest all my efforts in my quran hifz and studying arabic simultaneously, is there any advice you could give ie. Extend my 6 week arabic course to a longer period, specific dar al quran to go to etc.


    • Avatar

      Waleed Ahmed

      January 23, 2016 at 12:02 PM

      wasalam….good to hear about your plan. I think if you are studying at ALIF, it would be hard to manage memorizing full-time at the same time. the classes take up time and there’s homework most its important to put that time into arabic as the language takes time to sink in. I would recommend memorizing a small portion on your own daily (perhaps after fajr everyday) and then just meet up with a teacher to recite to him once or twice every week. this way, you can focus on arabic but still have memorization going on the side…without burning yourself out. there’s a dar al quran across the mcdonald’s near ALIF …so that’s prolly a good place to go to recite to the teacher.

      • Avatar

        Mohamed Camara

        June 22, 2016 at 8:37 PM

        Salafi teacher I want for Quran and Arabic my email is

  35. Avatar


    February 10, 2016 at 10:19 PM

    Salam alaykom. I would love to go study in morocco to become hafiza al Quran. Are their any madrassa that offer full time quran memorization for female adults in tanger. Keep in mind I’m a beginner.

    Please if any one knows of any madrassas let me know as soon as possible. May Allah swt reward you all immensely for your efforts. Jazaka allah khayrun

  36. Avatar


    February 21, 2016 at 2:58 AM

    Salam does anyone know of Islamic classes or any scholars who could teach in Morroco, I’m referring to Nahw , sarf etc . Any numbers would be greatly appreciated! I would prefer Rabat!

  37. Avatar

    yahya sowe

    March 8, 2016 at 11:05 AM

    hello my name is yahya Sowe 22 years of age I am from Gambia who want to further his Arabic university in Morocco if I have the chance to study in Morocco I will be so glad.

    thank you

  38. Avatar

    Bashiru Iddrisu

    June 24, 2016 at 6:17 PM

    Pls I am Bashiru Iddrisu 17years of age and I am from Ghana,Pls Pls I love quran and I went be to come a hafiz and study more Arabic in your university in Morocco, I will be happy if you give me opportunity to study in your country dad always wish and went me to be come a hafiz bat Allah jalajalu have called him to the home of truth Pls help I need to be come a hafiz so help so dat my kulub will be at rest . Thanks

  39. Avatar


    September 1, 2016 at 7:15 PM

    “Asalaam-u-Walikum”. I have some islamic songs I have made as “a tribute to Islam”.
    I would be please to share it with my brothers and sisters.
    My contact me at

  40. Avatar


    September 1, 2016 at 7:20 PM

    “Asalaam-u-Walikum”. I have some islamic songs I have made as “a tribute to Islam”.
    I would be please to share it with my brothers and sisters.
    contact at

  41. Avatar


    September 13, 2016 at 5:13 AM

    Assalaamu Alaikum Brother,

    Jazak Allahu khair for your compelling & informative article about studying Arabic and Quran in Morocco!! I especially appreciate that you have covered all the bases and even paint an appealing picture for sisters who wish to study Qur’an abroad. I had considered Medina until I discovered there is no formal program at the primary university there for sisters. Of course, inshaaAllah, I will make istikhar before making a decision and travel to Morocco for exploratory purposes, but I can already envision myself there! I should add that I am a mature, vital, healthy sister with grown, married children. I wonder how older sisters are received in Morocco. I wonder whether they are permitted to seek knowledge fisabilAllah.

    • Avatar


      November 22, 2016 at 1:34 PM

      wasalam..yes, inshallah, you’ll have a good experience. there used to be lots of older women attending classes at the dar al quran I attended, so there are certainly opportunities. Best of luck!

  42. Avatar


    February 22, 2017 at 12:57 PM

    Im a revert to islam who has nearly finished memorizing the entire Quraan, and I speak arabic. I would like to go to this school.

  43. Avatar


    December 2, 2017 at 7:44 AM

    Dear friends I am 56 years old 6 years ago I suffered a brain hemorrhage which paralysed my left side. I have always had a desire to learn arabic and islam/Quran in a islamic country, is there any opportunity ofr adult learners

    • Avatar

      waleed ahmed

      December 3, 2017 at 1:00 AM

      Mashallah, its great you want to learn..may Allah facilitate learning the Quran for you… you’re never too old. I would suggest finding a local teacher first and try to get your basics covered.

  44. Avatar

    Abu Muslim

    January 31, 2018 at 10:04 AM

    As-salāmu ‘Alaykum Wa Rahmatullāhi Wa Barakātuh!
    Brother Waleed, may Allāh preserve you, Amīn.

    I pray finds you in good health and Imān.

    In regards to Qur’ān memorisation (Hifz), you mentioned in the post, some of your friends attended the Madrassa Imam Nafi’ near Rachidia.
    I have a few questions, In shā Allāh.
    1) Do they enroll brothers and sisters over the age of 20?
    2) How does one apply to the Madrassa?
    3 ) Do they have a website? If not, where can I find more details about them?
    4) How much does it cost and it is monthly, annually, terms etc?
    5) What is the address of Madrassa Imam Nafi’?
    6) Can they provide accommodation?
    7) I recite in Hafs but would like to memorise the Qur’ān in Riwayatul Warsh, In shā Allāh. Is that possible?
    8) Are there any requirements for enrolment?
    9) Is there an entry exam?

    • Avatar

      waleed ahmed

      February 3, 2018 at 12:52 AM

      Thank you for your prayers. Please find my responses below:

      1) Do they enroll brothers and sisters over the age of 20?
      Yes..I know many older students who were there.
      2) How does one apply to the Madrassa?
      Like I said, you just go to the admin of the school and talk to them. I have email of the principal at the school in kelat siragna I could send you; though you’d still have to go there to enroll.
      3 ) Do they have a website? If not, where can I find more details about them?
      No websites that I am aware. The school is in a desert village where I don’t think they even have internet. I found this video about it though:
      4) How much does it cost and it is monthly, annually, terms etc?
      It is usually free
      5) What is the address of Madrassa Imam Nafi’?
      Its a well known school in a village called Tizougharine near Rachidia. You can ask the locals to take you there.
      6) Can they provide accommodation?
      I am not sure; students I knew there had their own accommodation. The school in Kelat Siragna has accommodation which is quite substandard and most people won’t be able to live there. Better to get your own place.
      7) I recite in Hafs but would like to memorise the Qur’ān in Riwayatul Warsh, In shā Allāh. Is that possible?
      Don’t think it’ll be a problem.
      8) Are there any requirements for enrollment?
      Just having proper paper work and stuff…they are quite bureaucratic, so it can take sometime before you are enrolled.
      9) Is there an entry exam?
      Don’t think so.

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Dr Yaseen Mazhar Siddiqui: An Obituary Of A Scholar of Seerah

Meraj Din


A leading scholar of Islamic studies with focus on Seerah literature and history, he unconventionally broke many stereotypes—both orthodox and modern and all his life epitomized the cause of Islam on the intellectual front.

With the death of Yaseen Mazhar Siddiqui, at the age of 76, Muslims in South Asia lost one of the most respected and leading scholars of Islam. A graduate of, and now professor at Aligarh University is less known in the West for his 29 books than for his Catalogue of Arabic Manuscripts at the Aligarh Muslim University, India, published in London in 2002 by the Furqan Heritage Foundation. An eminent Muslim religious scholar, academic and historian who served as director of the Institute of Islamic Studies at Aligarh Muslim University. Siddiqui was a well-placed and reputed figure of great spiritual and intellectual insight recognized on national as well as international level. Siddiqui was instrumental over the past 30 years in the framing, development and streamlining the influence of Islam in Aligarh Muslim University. To commemorate the outstanding services of Hazrat Shah Waliullah and to promote the Islamic values, the Institute of Objective Studies instituted an Award known as “Shah Waliullah Award” to honour eminent scholars who have done outstanding work in Social Sciences, Humanities, Law and Islamic Studies. The fifth Shah Waliullah Award was rightly conferred on Prof. Mohd Yasin Mazhar Siddiqi, as the renowned scholar for his contribution to Sirah and Historiography in Islamic Perspective in 2005.

Siddiqui was an exceptionally modest and humble man, with an intellectually engaging and honest commitment to Islam, away from self-eulogizing claims of pseudo-intellectualism. His commitment to Islam, which occupied him for his whole life, left an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of people across territorial boundaries. One thing all this illustrates is Siddiqui’s intense sense of duty — a sense that he unthinkingly expected his colleagues to share. Siddiqui’s well-stocked mind, clarity and unflinching intellectual honesty devoted to respond the questions of Orientalist scholarship on Sirah literature and subsequent other corollaries. He had little time for Islam’s own accounts of its origins rather his interest revolved around “Qurʾān and Sirah” and its role in shaping the worldview of Muslims who are struggling to makes sense of their identity amid the challenges emerging from dominant discursive colonial Eurocentric episteme. Leaving the conventional hollow claims, without efforts to prove how and why so much sanctity is attached to Islam and its sources—Qurʾān and Sunnah/Sirah being the primary one, he reckoned, to fill the gap using contemporary sources and knowledge of Hadīth, from orientalist and now its pedigree of modernist claims. This task required both personal and intellectual bravery. As he knew the central beliefs of Islam, such as the way the Quran took shape, the place of Sirah, its underlying methodology, he was equally aware how outside scrutiny has tempered the flare, especially when the conclusions are expressed in a witty and sardonic style. His soft way of speaking, affectionate manner and hospitable nature made him a much-loved figure. Because of his erudition most people who came in contact with him thought of him as a teacher; many saw him as a spiritual mentor. With his humble appearance, it was easy to mistake him for a country bumpkin.

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Born in India in 1944 in the Lakhimpur Kheri district of United Provinces of British India. He graduated in the traditional Dars-e-Nizami (pure religious textual studies of Islamic texts) studies from Nadwatul Ulama in 1959, and Master’s in literature from the University of Lucknow in 1960. He passed the intermediate exams from the Jamia Milia Islamia in 1962 and then acquired a B.A. in 1965 and B.Ed. in 1966 from the same University. In 1968, Siddiqui recieved a M.A. degree in History, M.Phil. in 1969, and Ph.D. in 1975 from the Aligarh Muslim University. Yasin Mazhar Siddiqui benefited from great teachers like Maulana Rabi Hasni Nadvi, Maulana Syed Abul Hassan Ali Nadvi, Maulana Ishaq Sandelvi K. A. Nizami, Abd al-Hafīz Balyāwi and Rabey Hasani. Anwar was welcomed as an independent member of various advisory committees and expressed pride in the research done in the field of Sirah.

Professor Siddiqui wrote more than 40 books and 300 research articles in Urdu, Arabic and Persian. His publications and presentations have reverberated throughout the discipline of Islamic studies and social sciences, profoundly shaping the scholarship of a new generation of scholars as they develop a thoughtful, knowledgeable, and critical approach to Seerah and history. He was well known for the great quality and high calibre of his originality of research in Islamic studies and all related subjects. He was recognized as one of the compelling and intellectually grounded voice on Seerah studies.  As a scholar and teacher, he embodied and followed strong moral and political principles, and formulated new ways of understanding the subject of Seerah, history, religious freedom, and the rights of religious minorities. His writings on the Prophet and his teachings garnered wide acclaim. He wrote extensively in reputed literary journal, ‘Nuqoosh’ and got international ‘Nuqush Award’, ‘Seerat-e-Rasool Award’ and ‘Sirah Nigari Award’. Two of his most popular works are Muslim Conduct of State and Introduction to Islam. The first book was Ehd-e-Nabwi mai Tanzīm-e-Riyāsat-o-Hukūmat and the second book The Prophet Muhammad: A Role Model for Muslim Minorities has gained such wide acclaim—mainly for the reason that its contents are divided into chapters (which stand on their own as a monograph) which deal with related specific subject matter. It is easy to understand how his style of presentation has endeared the book not only to common folk, but also to the people who would like to gain a reasonable insight into the true spirit of the teachings of Islam.

Almost every country outside the traditional Muslim “heartlands” asserts Siddiqui in his book ‘The Prophet Muhammad—A Role Model for Muslim minorities is home to a Muslim minority population today. For such Muslim communities, the political perspectives reflected by the corpus of traditional fiqh are of little or no relevance, and can even be hugely problematic. Siddiqui therefore takes it upon himself to develop an understanding of Muslim jurisprudence that is particularly suited to their context, making a valuable contribution to the limited, but slowly expanding, corpus of writings on fiqh al-aqalliyat or fiqh for [Muslim] minorities. Siddiqui argues that the basis of fiqh for Muslim minorities must lie in the Makkan period of life of the Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and his companions, a period of around thirteen years when the Muslims were a minority and did not enjoy political domination. In many senses, their position resembled that of Muslim minorities today. Muslim minorities need to see the role of the Prophet and the early Muslims in that period as a model for them to emulate, Siddiqui suggests:

The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) had close personal ties with several non-Muslims in Mecca, and Muslim minorities, Siddiqui advises, must emulate him in this regard and must have “excellent social relations with non-Muslims” (p. 194).

As Siddiqui succinctly puts it:

Muslims all over the world, especially Muslim minorities, have to prove that they are the best community, devoted to the cause of protecting mankind against suffering and blessing everyone with happiness, regardless of caste, colour or creed. Their position is of the best community and their duty is to serve mankind […] Their presence must guarantee help for everyone, especially of their non-Muslim country. However, this cannot be affirmed merely verbally or by recounting old stories. They have to prove it by their conduct. (p. 194)

This monograph and his other works are a brilliant contribution to the on-going debates about fiqh for Muslim minorities. It provides valuable insights for developing new and more relevant understandings of Islamic jurisprudence in Muslim minority contexts, envisaging the possibility of reconciling Islamic commitment with Muslim minority-ness, an issue that has largely escaped the attention of Islamic scholars but one that has sometimes been, and continues to be, a troubling one for many Muslims living as minorities. Siddiqui’s diverse and intellectually engaging work that speaks eloquently to a wide spectrum of readers with different backgrounds and interests. To use terms such as “monumental”, “one-of-a-kind”, and “exceptional” to describe this work is not exaggeration. A committed Muslim, throughout his career Siddiqui maintained the principle of genuinely evidence-based research. Dapper and courteous, he was a highly effective communicator, quoted widely in the local context  as well as cited in academia.

A direct criticism to his work also emerges from scholars who assert that in his Introduction of The Prophet Muhammad—A Role Model for Muslim minorities’ Siddiqi (p. 62) formally describes himself as a humble and error-prone human being. However, he then proceeds to negate the worth of all previous biographies of the Prophet, claiming that these ‘conventional’ authors used ‘outdated methodology and lines of argument’. Consequently, according to him, all previous studies of the Makkan period were ‘markedly inadequate’ and ‘the entire life history of the Prophet remains to be analysed’ since ‘no biographer of his has ever given thought to this obvious fact that the Makkan period of his life represents the phase of subjugation’. Therefore, Siddiqi considers the conventional treatment of the Makkan and Madinan periods of Islamic history as ‘downright pernicious’ (p. ix). One wonders indeed whether the author is aware of some of the most popular biographies of the Prophet—beyond the classical ones: Ibn Ishaq, Ibn Hisham, and Ibn Kathir—including the works by Muhammad Hamidullah, Muhammad Haikal, Martin Lings, Karen Armstrong, and Tarik Jan, all contradicting his assertions.

With quite a serious criticism on his assertions about various aspects of mis-reading the Seerah of the Prophet there still remains a lot to be talked about his contribution to diverse areas of Islamic Studies. And though he is no longer here to share his thoughts, he has done enough to enable us to think with him. Certain towering intellectuals become integral to the vey alphabet of our moral and religious imagination. They live in those who read and think them through-and thus they become indexical, proverbial, to our thinking. Siddiqui lived so fully, so consciously, so critically through the thick and thin of our times that he is definitive to our critical thinking, just like Mustafa Azami, Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi, or other Muslim luminaries are. He was – and remains – a brilliant intellectual, whose legacy of rethinking certain conventional assertions around Islam and efforts still reverberate today and will continue to do so.

He cultivated with joyous attention her relationships with family and friends. He mentored, as one of his students mentioned once, with remarkable care and intensity, demanding their best work, listening, responding with a sharp generosity, coming alive in thought, and soliciting others to do the same. He immersed himself, in illness and heath, in reading the Quran post morning prayers and transformed himself and transmitted the values of thought and love, leaving now a vibrant legacy that will persist and flourish among all whose lives were touched by his life and work.

May Allah Almighty bless him with the loftiest of abodes in the Gardens of Firdaus in the company of Allah’s beloved Messenger ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) and grant all those who cherished him patience.

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#Current Affairs

Role of The Faqih: A Case Study In The Closures Of Mosques During COVID-19



When the announcement of the closure of mosques came in the UK, the Muslims divided into two parties; there were those who opposed this decision whilst others were in favor of this decision. Those against began to deem those mosques as not wanting good for the Muslims and as straying away from the sunnah whilst throwing all sorts of accusations against those scholars of Fiqh who issued this ruling. As for the second group who were in favor of the ruling, they cited medical benefits in closing down the mosques (i.e. preventing spreading) as well as applying their logic to the situation. Before delving deeper into this issue, we need to first understand who the Faqih is, as well as what power of authority the Fuqaha have in Islam.

Who is the Faqih?

In traditional Islamic scholarship, the Faqih is the scholar who specialises in the field of Fiqh (Islamic jurisprudence). This speciality does not come over night, but rather through many years -perhaps even decades- of studying, training and then applying those skills developed, as with an any other field of profession. The student of Fiqh begins by studying the basics of the Shari’ah through studying a number of primer texts at this level. This level of study will normally be done based upon a single Madhab (school of thought) and can take up to a year or two depending upon the speed of their teacher. Once the student becomes prolific and understands the rulings of Fiqh of a particular Madhab, they will then move onto the second level, known as Marhalatu At-Tadleel (the level of evidences). This second level will allow a person to now look at the various rulings that they had learnt in level one and analyse the evidence that these rulings are based on. The next level up is Marhalatu Al-Muqaran (the level of comparative jurisprudence). At this stage, a person begins to learn about the different schools of thought and how they differ in their rulings, along with analyzing the evidences for these differences in opinion. This stage of study is the most vital as it can take anything between three to five years. The final level then is Marhalatu At-Takhasus (the level of specialisation) by which a student of Fiqh spends a year or two gaining the tools in analysing Islamic jurisprudence, enabling them to issue a ruling based upon a specific circumstance. The years spent to successfully complete each level may differ from teacher to teacher, or from institute to institute.

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Now the question arises: those who dispute or speak ill of the scholars of Fiqh for their ruling, which level are you at (that is if you have started!)? After all these years of study, you will find that the true Faqih is tolerant and easy going in issues where legitimate differences of opinion exist and that is because knowledge truly humbles you. As for the person who has studied very little Fiqh however, you will find them rigid in their approach.

‘Dar Al-Mafasid wa Jalb Al-Masa’lih’

When a Faqih issues a ruling, not only do they rely upon the science of Fiqh in deducing that ruling, but they will use a number of other sciences to support their extrapolation. As mentioned previously pertaining to the ‘level of specialisation’, the student of Fiqh gains some tools: these are grasping an understanding of those supporting sciences; Usul Al-Fiqh (Foundations of Islamic Jurisprudence), Qawaid Al-Fiqh (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) and Maqasid Ash-Shari’ah (Objectives of Islamic Law). A true Faqih will use all of these sciences to arrive at a ruling. We have the perception that when a Faqih issues a ruling, they pull it out from their back pocket, but no, a lot of work goes into this. If we now apply this to the issue of the closure of the mosques due to COVID-19, let us analyse this issue.

In the science of Qawaid Al-Fiqh, we have a principle known as ‘Dar Al-Mafasid wa Jalb Al-Masa’lih’ (warding off the harms and bringing the benefit) which essentially entails ‘weighing the pros and cons.’ An action or item may be deemed impermissible due to the overwhelming harm it may bring even if it brings some sort of benefit. An easy example to understand this principle is the issue of alcohol which Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) spoke about within the Qur’an:

يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْخَمْرِ وَالْمَيْسِرِ ۖ قُلْ فِيهِمَا إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَإِثْمُهُمَا أَكْبَرُ مِن نَّفْعِهِمَا
They ask you about alcohol and gambling. Say, ‘In them is great sin and benefit for people. But their sin is greater than their benefit’” [Surah Baqarah; 219]

Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) acknowledges that there is some benefit within alcohol, but Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mentions that it also contains evil, meaning it has its harms. A person who consumes alcohol becomes intoxicated whilst their intellect becomes tainted; they lose control over their speech and actions, potentially leading them to commit horrific sins such murder or fornication. How many crimes do we see being committed due to the effects of intoxication? In another mode of recitation, this verse replaces the word كَبِيرٌ (great) to كثير (many). Both recitations are valid, and from the beauty of the science of Qiraat in showing the miraculous nature of the Qur’an, is that the different modes of recitation complement one another. Not only is the evil contained with alcohol great, but it leads to many types of evil. So because of this greater harm over the benefit, alcohol is impermissible in Islam.

Maqasid Ash-Shari’ah

If you look specifically at the issue of the closure of mosques, there is benefit in keeping them open during COVID-19: people will be able to come and worship Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) together, boost their Imaan, benefit from the Jumu’ah khutbah, strengthen brotherhood and sisterhood but at the same time, there are harms attached with this. Keeping mosques open could allow the mixing of people to cause the virus to spread amongst each other (carriers spreading it to those who are healthy) which could potentially cause death. At this juncture, I want to bring in another related science of Islam: the science of Maqasid Ash-Shari’ah. This science outlines the objectives of Islam and presents them as five:

  1. Protection of Faith or religion (din)
  2. Protection of Life (nafs)
  3. Protection of Lineage (nasl)
  4. Protection of Intellect (‘aql)
  5. Protection of Property/Wealth (mal)

All of the laws of the Shari’ah are based upon achieving these five objectives. For example, the Shari’ah prohibits a Muslim from visiting soothsayers or practising magic because it involves kufr which can destroy a person’s faith. In another example, why did Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) forbid fornication and adultery? If a child is born out wedlock, the lineage is destroyed, thus not fulfilling one of the objectives of the Shari’ah. The earlier example of the prohibition of alcohol is a means of preserving one’s intellect which is objective number four in the science of Maqasid Ash-Shari’ah. Moreover, an illustration of Islam’s preservation of a person’s wealth is the prohibition of ambiguous business transactions like that of gambling because a person is uncertain of how much they will gain. When a buyer and a seller meet to trade, the price and the product/service must be clarified for both parties to understand and have full acknowledgement of; it is impermissible for a person to pay for something in return for an ambiguous product or service.

One of the objectives of the Shari’ah is to preserve life. The coronavirus has proven to be a fatal and we have recently seen that it does not differentiate in attacking between the young, old, sick or healthy; everyone is susceptible. Anyone who contracts it can find them self in a life-threatening situation. So yes, keeping mosques open during this pandemic has its benefits, but the harms it brings is far greater, and the sciences of Islamic jurisprudence dictates that if harm is greater than the evil we must leave or push away that harm.

Learning from the Seerah

During the lifetime of the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him), the scholars of Seerah state that the Jumu’ah prayer was made obligatory in Makkah, however despite this the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) never offered the Jumu’ah prayer in those 10 years until he migrated to Madinah. When he came to the boundary of Madinah -what we know today to be Quba- the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) offered the first Jumu’ah prayer in Islam. The scholars mentioned that from the reasons the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) did not offer Jumu’ah prayer within Makkah despite it being legislated by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) was due to the hostile environment created by the pagan Arabs against Islam. The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) remained patient and thus, Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) blessed him when he conquered Makkah some years later proclaiming the greatness of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). Similarly, we too must be patient upon the decree of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He). The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) was -and still is- the best human being created by Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and the most God-fearing, yet he had Fiqh to understand his situation and the circumstances around him. This is how the Faqih has been trained to pass his rulings. Even if you look within the books of Islamic history, when life-threatening plagues would hit the Ottoman empire, the mosques would close so as to prevent the plague from spreading and taking lives. Yes, it causes us emotional pain to see the mosques closed because of our love and attachment to the House of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) but our religion is not based upon emotions, rather upon evidence and principles.

If we fall ill, we would take the advice of a medical doctor because we know that they are specifically qualified and trained to deal with our health. However, when a Faqih, known for their credibility and truthfulness within the science of Fiqh explains an issue, why do we brush them off?Click To Tweet Yes, we can seek further elaboration, but dismissing them without a just or valid reason is something which Islam is most certainly against.

The objective of this article is to provide a small insight into the role of the Faqih and how they operate with the amazing and vast science of Fiqh in order for us to achieve greater appreciation for the sciences of Islam and the roles played in delivering those sciences to the general Muslims. Our religion mandates that we take knowledge from credible sources and people. During this pandemic, it is essential we take medical guidance from qualified doctors and experts, and as for Islamic guidance, we take the advice of qualified scholars and Fuqaha. When a new contemporary issue arises facing the Muslims, abstain from being the first to speak regarding its rulings, but rather wait for the bona fide Fuqaha to speak and thereafter, seek guidance and clarification. For as Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) mentions within the Qur’an:

فَاسْأَلُوا أَهْلَ الذِّكْرِ إِن كُنتُمْ لَا تَعْلَمُونَ
So ask the people of knowledge if you do not know.” [Surah Anbiya; 7]

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Aqeedah and Fiqh

Prosperity Islam And The Coronavirus Problem

Danish Qasim


Hadith: “Hasten to perform good deeds before seven events: Are you waiting for poverty that makes you forgetful? Or wealth that burdens you? Or a debilitating disease or senility? Or an unexpected death or the False Messiah? Or is it evil in the unseen you are waiting for? Or the Hour itself? The Hour will be bitter and terrible.

Islam encompasses all of human experience. We believe in the good and bad from divine decree. The ‘problem of evil’ is not a Muslim dilemma because the abode of this world is a test, and the next life is the abode of recompense. Those who do evil in this world may enjoy comfortable and pleasurable lives. Pious Muslims on the other hand may live in immense suffering and oppression.

One’s state with Allah is not known through worldly position.

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The Quran has lots of mention of suffering in this world and the reward for the pious is constantly in the hereafter. Distance from the Quran distances us from what our Creator told us about living in His world.

Habituation to feel-good religious programs and motivational talks has left us unable to know how to be serious. The Coronavirus pandemic should be all the motivation we need for serious learning and hasten to good deeds.

New-age religion and the prosperity gospel

Modern Islamic discourse intertwines notions of sulook (spiritual wayfaring) with new-age spiritual ideas which make spiritual progression a self-centering endeavor of ‘personal development.’ Missing from this discourse is submission to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), which entails doing what one is obliged to do- even if there is no apparent personal win. A self-centering religious perspective is antithetical to true religion, and ironically a spiritual pursuit becomes a selfish pursuit.

Within this approach, we see our practice of Islam not in terms of fulfilling obligations or understanding we must develop virtues we lack; rather we approach Islam as consumers and form identities around how we choose to be Muslim. This is visible on marriage apps where Muslims will brand themselves around how often they pray, whether or not they eat halal, and how practicing they are. Once this identity is formed, such Muslims are less likely to experience contrition and ultimately improve. The self is then a commodity on the marriage market.

When it comes to worship, for example, giving charity becomes an ‘act of kindness’ to fill the quota of selfless acts to becoming a better person. In other instances, acts of worship are articulated in worldly language, such as fasting in Ramadan being a weight-loss opportunity. One can make multiple intentions, but health benefits of fasting should not be used to articulate the primary benefit of fasting. In other instances, some opt to not pray, simply because they don’t feel spiritual enough to pray. This prioritizes feelings over servitude, but follows from a ‘self’ focused religious mentality.

Much like the prosperity Gospel, Muslims have fallen into the trap of teaching religion as a means of worldly success. While it is true that the discipline, commitment, and work ethic of religious progression can be used for material success, it is utterly false that religious status is on any parallel with material status.

Too many Sunday schools and conferences have taught generations that being a good Muslim means being the best student, having the best jobs, and then displaying the power of Islam to non-Muslims via worldly success and a character that is most compliant to rules. Not only does this type of religion cater to the prosperous and ignore those suffering, it leaves everyone ill prepared for the realities of life. It comes as a shock to many Muslims then that bad things can happen even when you work hard to live a good life. The prosperity gospel has tainted our religious teachings, and the pandemic of COVID19 is coming as a shock difficult for many to process in religious terms. There will be a crisis when bad things happen to good people if we are not in touch with our scripture and favor a teaching focused on worldly gains.

Why it leads to misunderstanding religion

Tribulations, persecution, and events that are outside of our control do not fit the popular self-help form of religion that is pervasive today. Islam means submission, and while we must avoid fatalism, we cannot delude ourselves into idolatry of the self. An Islam that focuses on our individual life journey and finding ourselves has no room for the ‘bad stuff.’ This type of religion favors well-to-do Muslims who are used to the illusion of control and the luxuries of self-improvement. Those who believe that if you are good then God will give you good things in this world will have a false belief shattered and understand the world is not the abode of recompense for the believer.

Islam means submission, and while we must avoid fatalism, we cannot delude ourselves into idolatry of the self.Click To Tweet

Tribulations may then effect faith because it questions the often subconscious teachings of prosperity gospel versions of Islam that we are in control of our own destiny, if we are good enough we will succeed. If this is the basis of a person’s faith, it can be proven “wrong” by any level of tribulation. Having one’s ‘faith’ disproven is terrifying but it should make us ask the question: “Does this mean that Islam is not true, or does this mean that my understanding and my way of living Islam are not true?”

My advice is do not avoid struggle or pain by ignoring it or practicing “patience” just thinking that you are a strong Muslim because you can conquer this pain without complaint. Running from pain and not feeling pain will catch up to us later. Learn from it. Sometimes when we are challenged, we falter. We ask why, we question, we complain, and we struggle. We don’t understand because it doesn’t fit our understanding of Islam. We need a new understanding and that understanding will only come by living through the pain and not being afraid of the questions or the emptiness.

Our faith needs to be able to encompass reality in its good and bad, not shelter us from reality because, ultimately, only God is Real.

Unlearn false teachings

Prosperity religion makes it much easier to blame the person who is suffering and for the one suffering to blame himself. As believers we take the means for a good life in this world and the next, but recognize that acceptance of good actions is only something Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) knows, and that life is unpredictable.

Favor from God is not reflected through prosperity. It is a form of idolatry to believe that you can control God or get what you want from God, and this belief cannot even stand up to a distanced tragedy.

Responding appropriately requires good habits.

Tribulations are supposed to push us towards God and remind us to take life very seriously. Even with widespread calamity and suffering, many of us still have a very self-centered way of understanding events and do not hasten to good actions.

For example, reaching old age is supposed to be an opportunity to repent, spend more time in prayer, and to expatiate for shortcomings. Old age itself is a reminder that one will soon return to his Lord.

However, we see many of today’s elders not knowing how to grow old and prepare for death. Most continue in habits such as watching television or even pick up new habits and stay glued to smart phones. This is unfortunate but natural progression to a life void of an Islamic education and edification.

Similarly we are seeing that Muslims do not know what to do in the midst of a global crisis. Even the elderly are spending hours reading and forwarding articles related to Covid-19 on different WhatsApp groups. This raises the question of what more is needed to wake us up. This problem is natural progression of a shallow Islamic culture that caters to affluence, prosperity, and feel-good messaging. Previous generations had practices such as doing readings of the Quran, As-Shifa of Qadi Iyad, Sahih al-Bukhari, or the Burda when afflicted with tribulations.

If we are playing video games, watching movies, or engaging in idle activities there is something very wrong with our state. We need to build good habits and be persistent regardless of how spiritual those habits feel, because as we are seeing, sudden tribulations will not just bestow upon us the ability to repent and worship. The point of being regimented in prayer and invocations is that these practices themselves draw one closer to God, and persisting when one does not feel spiritual as well as when one does is itself a milestone in religious progression.

While its scale is something we haven’t seen in our lifetime, it’s important to recognize the coronavirus pandemic as a tribulation.  The response to tribulation should be worship and repentance, and a reminder that ‘self-improvement’ should not be a path to becoming more likable or confident only, but to adorn our hearts with praiseworthy qualities and rid them of blameworthy qualities. Death can take any of us at any moment without notice, and we will be resurrected on a day where only a sound heart benefits.

Our religious education and practice should be a preparation for our afterlife first and foremost. Modeling our religious teachings in a worldly lens has left many of us unable to deal with tribulations to the point where we just feel anxiety from the possibility of suffering. This anxiety is causing people to seek therapy. It is praiseworthy for those who need to seek therapy, and noble of therapists to give the service, but my point is the need itself serves as a poignant gauge for how much our discourse has failed generations.

Benefit from Solitude

We should use solitude to our benefit, reflect more, and ponder the meanings of the Quran.  Completing courses on Seerah, Shamail, Arabic, or Fiqh would also be good uses of time. What should be left out however are motivational talks or short lectures that were given in communal events. In such gatherings, meeting in a wholesome environment is often the goal, and talks are compliments to the overall atmosphere. When that atmosphere is removed, it would be wise to use that normally allotted time for more beneficial actions. Instead of listening to webinars, which are not generally building an actual knowledge base that the previously mentioned courses would, nor is it a major act of worship like reading and reflecting upon the Quran. In other words, our inspirational talks should lead us to action, and studying is one of the highest devotional acts.

The pandemic should serve as sufficient inspiration and we need to learn how to be serious. I urge Muslims to ignore motivational and feel-good lectures that are now feel-good webinars, and focus on studying and worshipping. We should really ask if we just lack the capacity to move beyond motivational lectures if we still need motivation in the midst of a global pandemic.  The fact that after years of programming the destination is not the Quran for ‘processing events’ or studying texts for learning is symptomatic of a consciously personality oriented structure.

Muslims struggling to process a pandemic (opposed to coping with associated tragedies, such as loved ones dying or suffering) show the lack of edification feel good talks can produce.

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MuslimMatters has been a free service to the community since 2007. All it takes is a small gift from a reader like you to keep us going, for just $2 / month.

The Prophet (SAW) has taught us the best of deeds are those that done consistently, even if they are small. Click here to support MuslimMatters with a monthly donation of $2 per month. Set it and collect blessings from Allah (swt) for the khayr you're supporting without thinking about it.

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