Opportunities For Sisters To Study The Deen / Live In Saudi Arabia
***Please note that I have no contact/link with the universities. Please do not provide your e-mail address, telephone number or any other personal details. I am just a brother who has collected/gathered this information together so as to help those who wish to study the deen in an Islamic University by providing some information. Again, please do not provide any contact details to myself. Jazaak-Illaahu khaira.***
Also, when asking me a question, please keep speech to a minimum. No ‘lol’, no smiley faces, no excessive talking etc. I’m a brother just like any other brother… (Jazaak illaahu khaira) Excessive speech will be edited/deleted.
There are a few ways in which a sister can study the deen / live in Saudi Arabia. One way is by applying directly to the respected universities (if you already have a mahram there in saudi). For those who do not have any mahrams in saudi, then another way is to get your mahram (husband, brother, father, father-in-law, son etc.) to apply along with you. And finally, to live in Saudi can be done by your mahram (husband only) calling you over once he has his own place and is working there in the Kingdom.
I will discuss these below:
Studying The Deen In Saudi
Saudi has four main universities where the deen is taught at a high level.
- Islamic University of Madinah, (Madinah, Saudi Arabia)
- Umm Al-Qura University (Makkah, Saudi Arabia)
- Imam University (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
- Daar Al-Hadith (al-Khayriyyah) (Makkah, Saudi Arabia)
UPDATE: A full list of the Saudi Government Universities can be found on this page. Masha-Allaah there’s quite a lot of Universities in the Kingdom…
- Madinah University:
As for Madinah University, then there are no courses for sisters. Madinah University only caters for brothers and brothers only.
UPDATE: Madinah University May be planning to extend their University to also accept female students. They are making progress in terms of the sisters’ facilities, and we may see something more concrete next year – and Allah knows best. Not only does this open the door to sisters who want to apply, but also could potentially make it much easier for married students.
UPDATE: (31/03/10) With regards to sisters studying the deen in saudi while their husbands are students in Madeenah uni, the following can be considered:
“There are women teachers of course, but the male scholars have the most famous halaqaat (in Masjid Un-Nabawi), and they also teach the sisters.
There are basically two main types of women’s teaching which is done by men.
* At the Masjid An-Nabawi, the audio is transferred from the shaykh’s microphone and broadcast into a certain area of the women’s section (which is completely separate, unlike Makkah, which is partially separate). The women who want to learn from that shaykh sit in that certain place, so that they can hear the audio.
* In the Islamic institutions, colleges, etc. – They teach via one way video link, and the sisters have an audio link and a classroom assistant who manages the whole thing. The shaykh can hear their questions, but can’t see them, and they can both see and hear the shaykh. The classroom assistant is a woman who makes sure they all behave themselves. There is an amazing 3 year course which is taught in this manner by some of the major scholars in Madinah.
I know there are women who teach as well, and I’m sure there are some prominent people of knowledge amongst them, but they don’t have a really open role, and the major halaqaat are still taught by the male scholars.
Allah knows best.“
So if sisters can learn the Arabic language (which can also be done while they are there in Madeenah via private tuition) they can then “attend” the halaqahs by the noble shaykhs at Masjid An-Nabawi.
- Umm Al-Qura University:
As for Umm Al-Qura University, then sisters can apply here as they do cater for sisters. Sisters would, however, need to apply with their mahram or already have a mahram living in Makkah throughout her time there. Unlike the other three universities, Umm Al-Qura is not solely an Islamic University, it is just like any other university in Saudi Arabia, however one of its departments/faculties is Islamic Studies. The Arabic program is for two years and all classes maintain an Islamic environment where sisters can relax with their hijaab.
Like all universities listed above (excluding Daar Al-Hadith), the university pays it’s student a monthly stipend of roughly SR. 845 and also provides free hostels (accommodation) for it’s students. If a sister is there with her husband and wishes to live with him, then they can do so at their own expenditure, which will obviously be away from the main batch of hostels. If she wishes to stay in the universities hostel (which may be the case if she is there with her brother) then accommodation is free.
The tuition is likewise free, irrespective of where she stays. The students also get one free round-trip air ticket every summer holiday.
For more information, please visit this page.
- Imam University:
As for Imam University, then this also caters for sisters.
Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University does have a women’s section, unlike the Islamic University of Madinah which is a male-only University, but this section of the University does not offer scholarships to foreign women to study. The Arab women that do attend are either housed in their own dorms or remain with family members living in Riyadh.
* * *Awaiting for more info* * *
- Daar Al-Hadith:
As for Daar Al-Hadith, then unlike the above mentioned three universities this is not governmentally run. It also doesnt have a Arabic program which means students must already be fluent in Arabic. It only caters for sisters who are residing legally in Makkah, Saudi ‘Arabia, and show proof for their legal residence.
The best option for sisters would be to apply along with their mahrams to Umm Al-Qura University. However, if sisters wish to live in Saudi, then things are a bit different. Below is the information regarding that.
Living In Saudi
As for living in Saudi Arabia, then this seems to be a more easier option for sisters than it is for brothers. Brothers wishing to live in Saudi usually go on a teaching course (usually a TEFL or a CELTA) and apply for a job in Saudi Arabia. Sisters however can simply get their husbands to apply and then go over with them.
A Sister can likewise apply to a TEFL or CELTA course depending on her circumstance. As for a married sister, than it is better for her to get her husband to apply on one of the english teaching courses. Once he has passed the course, he can apply for a job in Saudi Arabia and call her over. If I’m not mistaken, she can go with him to live in Saudi Arabia from day one (unlike if her husband applies to one of the Saudi Universities and gets accepted, as this way he will have to apply once he is there, and this could be very difficult).