Before reading this page, make sure that you have read the other pages on the site. Once you have read them, and you understand a little bit more about being a student, you need to pray istakhaarah, to seek Allah’s help and guidance in achieving your goal.

Before you make the decision to proceed, there are a couple of things that you need to bear in mind.

Firstly, getting in to the university is not easy. For every one student who is accepted, there are several who are rejected. Allah makes things easy for whoever He wills. In this regard, you need to make sure that your reliance is completely upon Allah. I remember when I applied for the university, I encountered several obstacles. Whilst in Madinah, I didn’t have the required documents to apply (I wasn’t allowed by the Hajj organiser to take a photocopy of my passport, and I didn’t have the required references), and when I got to the gate of the university the guard wouldn’t let me in. After submitting my application, I was told at one point that no European students would be accepted in that year. After being accepted, my visa didn’t come through and the time limit for starting study had long expired. These are just some of the things that I experienced. My point is that you must be completely reliant upon Allah. I remember one of my teachers saying: “I never set out to accomplish something, relying completely upon Allah, except that Allah made it easy for me. And I never set out to accomplish something, seeking someone else to help me, except that Allah made it difficult for me.”

Secondly, you need to realise that going to Madinah is not a condition for seeking knowledge. Some people are under the impression that it is similar to the relation between prayer and wudhu – if you don’t make wudhu you cannot pray. They say: ‘If I don’t get accepted, I can’t seek knowledge.’ You should be seeking knowledge in your own country as much as you are able, constantly looking for new ways to seek knowledge, and constantly challenging yourself to do more. I know more than one brother who has taught himself Arabic, to the level of near fluency, without so much as a proper teacher, let alone travelling to another country! If you are pinning your hopes on getting accepted, and that it will change you from being lazy in seeking knowledge, to being active, then you are only fooling yourself – except those whom Allah gives the tawfeeq to repent and correct themselves. For the vast majority of students who come here looking for a quick solution, they only end up learning knowledge which will be a proof against them on the Day of Judgement.

Seeking knowledge can be from the greatest of blessings which Allah bestows upon one of His servants, and it can be from the most severe of punishments. More than one of the scholars of the past defined Allah’s statement: “those who are firmly grounded in knowledge”, as being those who act upon what they know. We ask Allah to give us all sincere intention, and the ability to act in a way that pleases Him.

To summarise, there is a fantastic example in the mother of Sufyaan Ath-Thawree (may Allah have mercy on them both), when she sent him out to seek knowledge saying: “Go and seek knowledge…when you have written ten hadith, look at yourself; If you find that you have changed for the better, then learn more. Otherwise, do not concern yourself with it.”

So how do you start if you want to apply? The first thing you need to do is evaluate your suitability, according to the information on this site, and by speaking to other students. For example, how are your grades? If they aren’t so good, it might be worth you thinking about doing another course, or resitting some exams. For example, you could do intensive GCSEs or A-levels. If you are currently studying, you might want to finish your existing study first, because a good grade in your current course would give you a better chance of being accepted. The only factor which might affect this is your age. If you are getting near to 25, you might not have a choice but to apply, even if your grades aren’t so good.

Once you are happy that you have done everything you can, and that you want to apply for the coming year, you need to work on getting your documents together. Make sure that you collate all of your personal documents first, such as education certificates, birth certificate etc (see Documents you need to apply). Then you need to go about getting your references. I mentioned a little about references in the FAQ, and you can speak to other brothers who have applied, if you know of any. Be prepared to travel to meet people. If there is an Islamic conference coming up in your area, or anywhere in your country, you might want to attend, and try to meet some of the speakers and/or organisers who might be able to help you. If you are stuck, you can always add a comment here, mentioning your city/country, and I can see if I know anyone in your area who might be able to help.

Once you have got all of your documents together, you need to make a decision about how you are going to submit your documents. As I mentioned in the FAQ, you have more chance of being accepted if you come for an interview, but you are limited because of the visa opening times. Most embassies will start issuing ‘Umrah visas around February (and will stop in Ramadhaan), which may be too late to get accepted in the following year. Of course, those who are able to come for Hajj, would probably have a good chance of getting their application considered inshaa Allah.

The university is moving over to a completely electronic submissions process, and this is your best option if you are unable to come. It allows you to track your application and makes sure that your application is proper and complete before you submit it. This is expected to go live in the coming months.

Another option is to ask a student to hand in your application for you. It is better if you know a student from your city, but you can post a comment here if you are having difficulty. I actually prefer the electronic process over asking a student, because it is more reliable, easier to follow, and the university really doesn’t give very much weight to the fact that another student handed in the papers on your behalf. You could achieve the same or better result, simply by asking the student to write you a reference and then including it as part of the electronic application. However, until the electronic submission system goes live, it is the next best option after coming in person.

Even when asking a student to hand in your papers, I strongly advise sending them by email, as long as the student has a printer, because the postal system takes a long time, and is generally unreliable. The university has no objection to accepting printed copies of documents from a scanned image. The only issue is the photographs, which I normally print on photo paper, so it is basically the same result.

The final option is to post your documents. However, this is strongly advised against once the electronic application facility goes live.

If you are not submitting your application electronically (which applies to everyone for the moment), you will need the paper application form here.

I ask Allah by every name that is His, that He named Himself, or sent down in His book, or taught any of His slaves, or kept to Himself in the knowledge of the unseen that is with Him, to give us all the tawfeeq to seek knowledge, and to act upon it, and to call others to it, and to be patient as a result of what happens to us when we do so. And peace and blessings be upon the Prophet Muhammad, and his family, and his companions.