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  1. #1
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    Mar 2008
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    Default Frequently Asked Questions

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What makes this course unique?

    Unlike the majority of courses which focus too heavily on grammar, lack a reading/vocabulary component, or use a series of overrated text books, giving a false impression of being the end-all in studying classical Arabic, the Shariah Program combines centuries-old traditional teaching methods using classical manuals written by scholars with modern methods. Importantly, the level of the students is kept in mind all throughout. Right from the onset, 50% of the time is spent on reading from Sayid Abul Hasan Ali al-Nadwi's Stories of the Prophets. This essentially brings the theory to life at a very early stage. The key concepts are introduced at calculated times allowing the program to move quickly and efficiently. After completing approximately 4 months of coursework, a 132-page classical Arabic grammar text is covered in its entirety. Prior to that, focus is kept on only those aspects of the language which have the broadest application.

    Generally a year of consistent attendance is sufficient to produce a serious understanding of the language. This allows students to start feeling comfortable with the texts. At that point, Tafseer, Fiqh and Classical Logic, as well as more advanced grammar, are introduced using texts in their original Arabic. The problem with most programs is that they finish prematurely and do not allow students to attain any level of proficiency. The Shariah Program, on the other hand, allows for a steady, systematic accumulation of knowledge over a long period of time. This is needed for students to reach the level of appreciating the miraculous nature of Qur’anic expression and be affected by divine speech, as a pre-Islamic Arab would be. In short, this is no 30-hour intensive course without a goal or without direction. Rather, it is a long-term program designed to relieve students from further study of grammar for life.


    2. What is the prerequisite for this course? How much prior exposure do I need to classical Arabic?

    The classes assume that students are fully comfortable with the Arabic alphabet and can read Arabic script with diacritical marks (vowels) written upon the letters. No comprehension or exposure to grammar is expected. If you can read the Qur'an semi-fluently without too much difficulty, you should be fine insha Allah.


    3. How intensive is the course? How many hours of commitment are expected from me every week?

    The course is quite intensive. We have students in our course who have reported dedicating somewhere in the vicinity of 12-15 hours per week to these studies. Needless to say, they know the material very well. At the very low-end you will need to dedicate 3-4 hours per week to listen to pre-recorded material and 2 additional hours to attend the 2 weekly 1-hour tutorials.


    4. Can you tell me more about these recordings? How concise are they?

    These recordings (as of August 2009) are being revised and re-recorded from scratch in a non-classroom setting. There is zero time wasted in the audios attending to non-beneficial questions. In addition, there are no pauses and gaps in the mp3 files - something very often attributed to classroom instruction. We have done our best to keep the files as concise and direct as possible. A prospective student will need to keep up with the weekly assignment of recorded audios and ensure he or she does not fall behind in this regard. Certain concepts might be difficult and will require subsequent listening. The recordings themselves are quite clear insha Allah.

    In regards to brand new students who might need repetition and review, we did not think it appropriate to dwell on the issues excessively within the audios themselves. Rather, they should review the concise audios on their own until the concepts are firmly embedded in their minds. Students requiring additional help with the concepts should pose their questions on the student message board and during the 2 live weekly tutorials. These combined resources will be more than sufficient in providing a solid line of information and support for new students.


    5. I already know some Arabic. What are my options?

    We generally have 2-3 levels of classes running at any given time. The classes commence twice a year. You can join any of these existing classes. For example, if you enquire in December 2009, you will be given the option of joining the class which began in October 2009 or joining the class which began in March 2009. Having said that, our classes do move quite quickly, and you will be surprised how much material is covered in even a short 3-month period. All too often, students who have completed all 3 Madinah Arabic books choose to join our classes from scratch. You can start off by visiting our audio samples page. The entire first week's material has been placed there. Afterwards, feel free to contact us with details of your particular level of exposure and comfortability with the language to discuss your options further.


    6. I've missed the start-date and there are several months left before the next start-date, what should I do?

    Those who are contemplating signing-up now, have 2 options:

    1. Sign up and begin listening to the material with the intention of catching up to the most recent class. This is accompanied by detailed class notes, PowerPoint slides, and access to the Arabic Learning Forum, which collectively parallel the audio material. With this option you will need to catch up with the class which might have begun 2 months earlier. You would do this by listening to the recorded lectures for the days you missed. You will simultaneously begin attending the weekly live classes. The catch-up load will depend on how late you are in registering. As a rule, you can assume 3 hours of listening to pre-recorded material for every week missed.

    2. Sign up now and begin listening to the audios at your own pace, in anticipation of the next re-start of the live classes. The bulk of your learning experience will be through our archives and via our interactive student message boards. The live tutorials focus on reading practice by students themselves, and verb table recitation practice. This is the component of the course where students are able to participate and be corrected by the Instructor in real-time. These live tutorials are not a series of lectures! Considering there is no lecture given in the live tutorials, there will be minimal overlap with the recordings. Thus signing up now, and attending the live tutorials several months later, is a viable option.

    In summary, those who are interested can begin learning the language by registering at any time during the year. Keep in mind that the live tutorials, which encourage independent Arabic reading and translation, will only restart every 6 months. The most recent start was on October 3rd, 2009, and the next is approaching on March 27, 2010.


    7. OK, I've understood my options. It seems waiting until a week or two before the start-date is the more obvious thing to do?

    Not necessarily. As alluded to earlier, these classes are very serious. People often need to re-start a couple of times before they are able to get a strong handle on the material. If you wait until the last minute, there is a strong chance that you might fall behind in the early stages and become overwhelmed, especially if you happen to be studying Arabic grammar for the first time. On the other hand, if you register early, you will be in a very good position to take it through to completion. You will receive access to all the course material and can comfortably put yourself ahead by 5-6 weeks. This will ensure that you do not get overwhelmed. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to join as soon as possible and begin studying in anticipation of the formal start-date for the live tutorials.


    8. In reference to the payment I make now in anticipation of the upcoming class, how is that adjusted considering the start-date is several months away?

    Good question. We will count the months between your registration date, and the re-start of the live tutorials and rebate you 50% of that amount by increasing your subscription expiry proportionately. For example, if the start-date is October 3, 2009, and you sign-up early on August 3rd to get a head-start, we will take 50% of 2 months, i.e. 30 days and apply it to your subscription. The $200 payment would effectively be good for 5 months (instead of 4). In our example, the next billing date would be January 3, 2010.


    9. How are the 2 years divided? Is it done using a semester format or something similar?

    Generally speaking, we teach continuously for 2 years using a 4 week on, 1 week off schedule. Additionally, there is a 2-3 week break in summer and a longer 4-5 week break in Ramadan. From the 52 weeks in a year, our classes can be expected to occur on approximately 35 of those weeks. The rest would be breaks spread out in order to allow students to catch-up on material they may have fallen behind with.


    10. Is there any diploma or certificate I will receive upon successful completion of the course?

    The greatest testament to your having taken the course will be your own new found proficiency in understanding sacred text. Having said that, we will be mailing certificates to those who are able to display clear understanding by successfully passing all levels and participating actively on the student message board.


    11. If I have to travel or am forced to miss live sessions, what would my alternatives be?

    These live tutorials are also recorded. You can access them later. In the case of prolonged absence (2-3 weeks in a row), students should use the archived recordings to put themselves ahead by the amount of weeks they will be away. This is extremely important. Only by doing this prior to the absence are they able to ensure a seamless return back. Since access to our entire archive is granted upon registration, students can easily download the files to a portable device and listen while away. In short, making adequate preparations in anticipation of any prolonged absence is what we strongly advise.


    12. What are the exact costs associated to the online classes, and will they remain the same?

    Currently, the cost for the 1st-year students is $50/month, taken 4 months at a time - $200 is required upfront at the beginning of every 4-month period. In the 2nd year of the program, live weekly instruction increases from 2 hours to 4 hours and eventually increases further to 5 hours. (Dependence on recordings is reduced proportionately). In light of this, 2nd-year fees are $100/month which can be paid monthly (PayPal subscription), or 3 months at a time (resulting in a 10% discount).

    Apart from this, $50-70 should be set aside per year for course material.


    13. I am not comfortable with studying online. Do you have any classes held at a physical venue somewhere in the Toronto area?

    Yes. Every summer we have a full-time 2-month intensive which is held at the Instructor's residence in Mississauga. The classes are on the weekdays (Monday-Thursday), 5 hours a day for a consecutive 2 months. Likewise, a 6-month course is offered from January until June every year. People fly in from out-of-town to attend these classes.


    14. In terms of curriculum studied, how do these full-time versions compare to the popular online format?

    The 6-month intensive covers all of what our 2-year online program covers using the same methods. The summer intensive would be relative to 6-8 months of online study. Although these local variations of the program are, of course, superior to studying online in many ways, the online program has its numerous benefits. The greatest being the opportunity to apply the concepts through reading and constant review over a longer period of time. This is proven to result in very strong reading and comprehension skills.


    15. Are there any part-time Toronto based classes?

    No. In earlier years we did teach weekend-only classes for people living in the GTA, but this has been discontinued.


    16. Do you provide any one-on-one lessons?

    No, nor do we believe this to be superior to studying with a cohort of other students. In fact, being part of a dedicated community of students, all of whom have the same goal in mind, is very motivational. Without it, we have seen students rarely attain their goal. Having said this, the amount of attention we give to each and every student is considerable. This is evident on our student message board, where you will notice that the Instructor himself has the most posts. This is rare amongst online courses.

    Return back to the main site using the links below:

    Home Page
    Curriculum Page
    Sample Audio Page
    Registration Instructions
    Last edited by Yusuf Mullan; 08-16-2009 at 09:57 AM. Reason: made addition
    Learn Arabic - Large and ever-growing repository of tutorials on the Arabic language اللغة العربية.. Updated regularly!

    If you need to contact me for anything, please email. Please do not private message me on the forum. I'm no longer checking private messages regularly. jazakallah khairan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Mississauga, ON
    Posts
    3,708

    Default

    I'm leaving this thread locked. Insha Allah, I will add to it from time to time. If you have follow-up questions, you can send an email through the contact form, or send a private message to me here at the forum.
    Learn Arabic - Large and ever-growing repository of tutorials on the Arabic language اللغة العربية.. Updated regularly!

    If you need to contact me for anything, please email. Please do not private message me on the forum. I'm no longer checking private messages regularly. jazakallah khairan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Mississauga, ON
    Posts
    3,708

    Default

    Pushing this up also, since it gives a very clear picture to those considering the course.
    Learn Arabic - Large and ever-growing repository of tutorials on the Arabic language اللغة العربية.. Updated regularly!

    If you need to contact me for anything, please email. Please do not private message me on the forum. I'm no longer checking private messages regularly. jazakallah khairan

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