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Thread: Qasid Institute, Amman, Jordan

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    Default Qasid Institute, Amman, Jordan

    as-salamu `alaykum

    would appreciate info on qasid institute, preferably from people who have been there to study, or are about to.(i have already seen the website)

    specifically the following information:

    1. costs of courses

    2. costs of living (family and single)

    3. experiences


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    I heard that Qasid is in Kharabsheh in Amman, not far from Shaykh Nuh Keller's zawiya. I think Shaykh Faraz Rabbani lives in that area too.



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    Senior Member ibn_abdullah's Avatar
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    As salaamu alaykum

    Qasid is within the village of Kharabsheh and is run, from what I understood, under the guidance of Shaykh Nuh and his students.

    Was salaam


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    Does anyone know if the classes are mixed-sex or not?


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    Senior Member Abdul Razak's Avatar
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    Assalamu alaikum,

    I studied at Qasid for about 11 months, so here is some information that may be of benefit to anyone interested in it.

    Students of Sheikh Nuh set up Qasid and they run it. Actually, it was originally set up for students of the Sheikh who were in the neighborhood and needed to learn Arabic. Sheikh Nuh tells all of his students to learn Arabic, no matter how long it takes, so one of his closest students worked on setting up Qasid. As it gained popularity, it became much more than just a tariqa thing though. Anyway, Sheikh Nuh has no say in the operation of the school. He praises it for its high quality instruction, but it is not his school by any means. Iíve heard people criticize the school, specifically because of the gender mixing issue, and say stuff like, ďWhatís up with Sheikh Nuh? I thought he was supposed to be strict.Ē Well, the school is not Sheikh Nuhís. So if you have a problem with it, donít attribute any of the problems to him, because he doesnít run it.

    Yes, the classes are mixed. There is a small divider than is put between desks sometimes, depending on the teacher and the students. If the teacher doesnít voluntarily put the divider between the desks, any student who has a problem with that is free to put the divider up his or herself. The divider is simply a long wooden board, made from a similar material the desks are made or, with a stand on the bottom that you can rest of the on top of the desk. And the classroom desks are set up in a U-shape, with the divider being put in the middle of the ďUĒ. In my opinion, being that I live in the west and I have gone to western schools all of my life, the mixed classes thing isnít that big of a deal. I have friends who disagree and thought having females in the same room was a big fitna. To each his own. If gender mixing is a big problem for you, Qasid might not be for you, to be completely honest. But in general, the atmosphere is Qasid is definitely on the conservative side. The male and female interaction outside of class is very limited during most of the year. I say most of the year, because in the summer months, there are many university students who study at Qasid who are a bit more liberal in their Islamic practice than the ďtypicalĒ Qasid student who is there during the non-summer months. So you are much more likely to see brothers and sisters talking outside of class during the summer than you are during the other parts of the year. Also, the brothers and sisters both have separate common room areas with computers where they can relax and hang out while they are not in class. So for the most part, there isnít unwarranted gender interaction at Qasid. But since every one is in the same place, people may overstep bounds sometimes, but nothing more than maybe lingering in the hallway and having a longer than necessary casual conversation. Nothing to lose sleep over in my opinion. On another note, the people who run the school are very strict, devout Muslims. They are simply trying to facilitate a high level education for males and females without sacrificing the quality for either. So they made the school co-ed. The director of Qasid, Sheikh Ashraf Muneeb, is a Hanafi (he graduated from Mahad Fath in Damascus), and he knows his fiqh. If you ever have a fiqh question or just need advice in general, he is very wise and helpful.

    During most of the year, the sisters there wear niqab because traditionally at Qasid, most of the students have been students of Sheikh Nuh (this is changing rapidly as the institute gains popularity), and all of his female students wear niqab in the neighborhood. Non-students of the Sheikh may or may not wear the niqab depending on their personal preference. I know of several who actually started to wear the niqab since they began studying at Qasid. That may have been to fit in with the other sisters, but Allah knows best, I never asked them their reasons. I had a funny experience when in my level 3 class I thought that there were no new students. But I noticed an extra niqab in the room and the absence of a niqab-less sister who was supposed to continue from level 2. Anyway, I was shocked when she introduced herself and it was the same sister who never formerly wore the niqab. She decided to put it on for whatever reason. It was a funny moment, but I thought it was pretty cool. Moving on, during the summer months when many university students study at Qasid, there are many sisters there who are much more liberal with their dress than during the rest of the year. Everyone wears hijab at the very minimum, but the niqab starts to become the exception rather than the rule during the summer session.

    ***Below is an e-mail, with a few updates, that I sent to a brother who asked me about Qasid. It seemed appropriate, so Iím including it in this post as well**

    When I got to Qasid, I didn't know any Arabic. I studied some grammar for a few
    months at a masjid in Maryland, but the teaching style didn't facilitate any understanding, and I didn't know any vocabulary. By the time I made it to Jordan, I forgot just about everything I knew, which wasn't a lot in the first place. Without any vocabulary, grammar doesn't do much for you. So to repeat what I said before, I really didn't know anything.

    Once I got to Jordan and started at Qasid, I learned a lot. If learning how to speak is your primary goal, you should consider other options like Egypt or Syria. In Kharabesheh, the neighborhood Qasid is located in, many westerners are there because of Qasid and Sheikh Nuh. Due to the number of westerners, you tend to speak a lot of English, whether you like it or not. That is somewhat of a drawback, depending on what your goals are. You still improve your speaking significantly, but you could probably learn to speak Arabic more quickly somewhere else. In terms of speaking, I'm pretty weak. I was better in Jordan, but I wasn't really strong then either. I returned to DC in August, and I don't have any Arab friends to talk to, so I've lost a lot of my speaking ability. While I was in Jordan, if I wanted to say something, pretty much no matter what it was, I had the ability to express it. I might not have been eloquent, but I could get the point across and get most of, or at least a lot of what was being said to me. Some of the other students in my class were much better than me in speaking though. It really depends on how much you practice speaking outside of class, and I'm pretty quiet, so I didn't practice as much as I could have. If you can live with non-westerners while studying in Qasid, that might help, but there are other issues to consider if you want to do that that may or may not make the effort worth it.

    If your main goal is being able to read Arabic, Qasid is an excellent choice. The program is in 5 levels, each level is 3 months, except for the summer level, which is 2 months. During the non-summer months, classes are 3 hours a day, 5 days a week. During summer months classes are 4 hours a day. The classes are separated into sciences and skills, each 1.5 or 2 hours a piece (depending on whether it is the summer or not). For skills, you focus on grammar reading, writing, speaking, and grammar application. For sciences, you study classical grammar texts such as the ajrumiyyah, the mutammimah al ajrumiyyah, etc. etc. The grammar curriculum is constantly modified and improved to maximize the benefit to the students. You learn over 1000 words a level at least in the skills portion, and between skills and sciences, you learn grammar at a really high level. The grammar is really the strong point at Qasid. You analyze surahs from the Quran, hadith, and classical Arabic texts for nuances in grammar. Application of the grammar you learn is really emphasized. So after Qasid, you can read a hadith, a Quran ayah, a line from a fiqh book, etc. and break it down grammatically pretty comprehensively. Asking around, I've found that no other program offers what Qasid does offers in terms of grammar, in such a short amount of time.

    Your ability to read dramatically improves as you progress from level to level as well. I can pick up many books in Arabic now and understand much of what is being said. If I don't know a word, I'm at the point where I can get a dictionary and look it up and then just move on from there. At the beginning, even with a dictionary, you are lost much of the time. But when you get familiar with the structure of the language, you can piece things together much better. This really starts to happen during level 3. Grammar is important, but reading a lot is more important because that is the only way you can become familiar with the structure of the language. You read plenty at Qasid, and the reading is challenging, which is to your benefit because it accelerates the learning process for you. You will not be babied with mindless assignments that don't benefit at Qasid.

    I went to Qasid mainly interesting in developing my reading and understanding. I completed all of 3 levels and half of level 4. I now have the tools to pick up books in Arabic and make (many times struggle) my way through them. Iím definitely happy with the progress I made during my time there (10 months and 3 weeks).

    In terms of other Islamic sciences in the neighborhood, there is a lot. Sheikh Faraz Rabbani teaches Hanafi fiqh at various levels. You can take tajwid from a number of people, including the renowned Sheikh Salah al Kurdi, who is known for his prowess in that field. He is one of the two tajwid teachers affiliated with Qasid. Also, Sheikh Ali Hani lives in the neighborhood. He is a master in several Islamic sciences, among them being: ShafiíI fiqh, the Arabic language, tafsir, 10 recitations of the Quran, etc. Iím probably missing something, but you get the idea. He is one of the kindest, gentlest, and most humble people you will ever meet. He only speaks Arabic, so to really benefit from him, Arabic helps. He is an amazing person though, to make a long story short. Also, Sheikh Hussein teaches tajwid.

    I left Jordan last August, but if Iím not mistaken, Sheikh Hamza Karamali has sinced arrived from Toronto. That is good for the English speaking Shafiíis since he can fill he void left by the departure of Sidi Mostafa Azzam back to Toronto. There is also Sheikh Imaduddin Abu Hijleh of the Bukhari Institute in Boston. He has returned home to Jordan, and he lives in the area. He also teaches Shafiíi fiqh, hadith sciences, sciences of the Quran, and maybe some other stuff. You can see his bio here: http://www.bukhari-institute.org/sit...n/imadbio.html

    Of course, Sheikh Nuh is there also, so you can benefit from his lessons in tasawwuf 6 days a week in the evenings between Maghrib and Isha.

    One thing I have to mention, some of the classes are not free. The costs is about 20 Jordanian dinars (JDs) (a little over $28 US, using todayís currency exchange rates) a month per class, or something of that sort. It depends on who is teaching though, because some do not charge. Sheikh Nuhís lessons are definitely always free, but donít be surprised if you have to pay a fee for other lessons. I donít want to debate this issue, Iím just informing you of the situation. If you canít afford it, you can always work something out with the teacher. They are primarily interested in transmitting knowledge, so they will never deny lessons to students hungry to learn who just donít have enough money.

    My list of teachers and classes is by no means exhaustive. You can rest assured that there are plenty of Islamic learning opportunities in Kherebsheh outside of Arabic. If you go to Jordan for Arabic though, you should focus on that and not get distracted. Arabic is enough on its own, and if you spread yourself too thin, you will leave without knowing anything very well. If you need to study basic fiqh and tajwid, do that, and Sheikh Nuhís lesson arenít demanding, but outside of that, be careful not to overextend yourself.

    Living costs. Well, I lived in a HUGE apartment. It had 4 bedrooms. It costs 300 JDs a month ($423.46 US dollars) when I was there. Prices may have gone up since Iíve been there though. With Qasid and Sheikh Nuh bringing so many westerns to the neighborhood, landlords are cashing in and raising prices, so keep that in mind. There were anywhere between 3-5 of us sharing the apartment at any given time. Most of the time, there were 4 people there. So that was about 75 JDs a month. I didnít have that much money, so I lived on a pretty tight budget. I probably got by off of $200 US including rent. So I had about $100 extra dollars a month, give or take, for non-rent expenses. I was fine with that. Many other westerners that I know who were there would consider that living in abject poverty, since people have different financial circumstances. Anyway, how much money you need really depends on you. **One word of advice for the person who doesn't have a lot of extra money. The thing with the potential to eat your money up the quickest when you are at Qasid, is eating out. I'm telling you, money seems to evaporate for those that have a habit of eating out a lot in Kharebsheh. Be mindful of this if you are trying to save. Cook your own food, or risk being broke sooner than you'd like.** Iíd say for the type of person who generally goes to Qasid (who is generally relatively well to do. If your not well to do and living humbly doesn't bother you, you can get by comfortably on much less) to live comfortably, outside of rent, it would be good to have about $200-300 extra. Thatís for one person. For more people, you donít have to necessarily double the amount of money you need, but youíd need more. For a family of 3, for example, Iíd say after paying rent, you should have about $400-$500 a month available for expenses (food, cab fare, lessons, etc.). I hesitate in giving these estimations though, because peoples spending habits differ so dramatically at times. Anyway, use your discretion. If you have a small family, you can find nice places for cheaper than 300 Jds a month (once again, this is as of August 2005 when I left, prices may have changed.)

    When I was at Qasid, it cost about $1300 a level. There are 5 levels (actually there are more than that unofficially, but you set that up on a private basis) so that is about $6500 for the complete program, NOT counting any living expenses which are entirely separate. So yes, it is very expensive. You get a discount for signing up for 3 or more levels at once and certain group discounts. With all of the discounts though, you are only going to save about $1000 at the most. They might offer financial aid, but their most popular form of aid is deferred payment (interest free of course). If you speak with them about your circumstances, they'll try to work something out with you. But even if you work something out, the fact remains, it ain't cheap.

    I pray this was helpful. Was-salam.
    Last edited by Abdul Razak; 21-02-2006 at 05:04 PM.


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    Thank you for the info brother Abdur Razak.

    Although it is sad that even students of knowledge take the issue of free-mixing so lightly.

    May Allah rectify our condition as an Ummah. Ameen.


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    Senior Member Kareem's Avatar
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    is it hard to get into Qasid?


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    Senior Member Abdul Razak's Avatar
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    In the past, getting into Qasid wasn't that difficult. But now, because of its desire to keep classes small and its burgeoning popularity, they have no choice but to be selective. So unlike other Arabic institutes which basically automatically accept you when you offer payment, Qasid is more like a university in that it may accept you or reject you, depending on the criteria it uses to choose its students (which I don't really know about).


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    salams

    that was excellent - jazakallah khayr!


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    Senior Member seekeroftruth's Avatar
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    Don't you just want to go there...hmmm....

    so, how is your arabic dear sidi razzak....hmm...

    And has anyone else been there and are you going soon dear pir saheb....


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