Category: Status Updates & General News


Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu,

I have just finished a complete update of the blog, including updating and checking the information on all of the pages, a redesign of the site in general, and what I hope is an improved way of organising the information. A lot of old information has been removed or updated, and I have started a serious attempt to include other universities as part of the blog.

There are loads of changes to the actual WordPress options, including limiting the number of posts on the front page, and new comments appearing at the top of the list of comments, instead of the bottom, which should help for pages which have hundreds of comments.

If I am missing anything, or have inadvertently deleted something really important, please let me know!

The only thing left to do now is to answer all of those comments!!

Baarak Allahu feekum,

Wassalaamu alaykum warahmatullah,

Muhammad

Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullah,

I’ve had to stop answering questions for the last month or so, just from being snowed under with work.

A few updates for you all:

  1. In shaa Allah, I’m going to get through the backlog of over a hundred comments which I need to reply to, over the next few days.
  2. I’m going to set some time to revamp the website, to cover more universities, and generally update the information, in shaa Allah, within the coming week.
  3. The electronic application for Madinah university is coming close to be ready to go live. I have submitted FAQs for the official site, and will soon post them here as well, for your comments.
  4. The university seems now to be accepting requests from students to bring their wives, on the condition that the students are from countries in which Muslims are a minority, like Europe, the US, etc. They are currently accepting applications – so any students who are married should go and submit their papers. This seems to be a temporary measure to cope with the massive influx of new students this year, and requires the student to sign a pledge that they will not ask the university for any form of help and support, and will take full responsibility for the consequences of bringing their wives.

Finally, I am looking for brothers to help maintain this site. I would love to be able to respond to every question within a day or two, but often the response time is more like 2-4 weeks, simply because of the other projects I’m involved in. I also really need a brother from Makkah and a brother in Riyadh, so if anyone knows of someone who might be willing to help, please forward their details to me.

May Allah reward those who have posted comments and are having to be a little patient while I get round to replying to them all.
Baarak Allahu feekum,

Wassalaamu alaykum,

Muhammad

Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullah,

There are a few updates which I wanted to let everyone know about.

Firstly, as I have mentioned previously, there is going to be a four fold increase to the number of students accepted this year, in shaa Allah. Most of the places have already been allocated, and the main ‘deadline’ has already passed. However, I doubt that they will have filled every single place, because of the massive increase in places, and as I keep saying, there is no official cut-off date, in the sense that they stop accepting applications. However, once they have allocated all of the places (which was scheduled to happen about a month ago), all other applications will be considered for the following year. This can be thought of as an unofficial deadline, but people can still be accepted after it has passed, just not very many.

Secondly, there are some very big changes scheduled to happen in the coming few years which seem like they are going to change the Islamic University (for better or worse) – and Allah knows best.

  1. Firstly, as mentioned above, the university is going to have much larger facilities and therefore accept more students. This has its good points and bad points. The concern is that the standard will be even more watered down than it already is, in terms of both teachers and students, as the university struggles to cope with the massive increase in numbers.
  2. Secondly, masters may (this is still unofficial as far as I know) be changed to 2 years instead of 4-5 years, with no research paper (only a standard dissertation written over months not years). This will make the masters programme much more accessible, in shaa Allah, with a large increase in the number of students who are accepted. This again can be good and bad, since it represents yet another compromise in standards and quality, but on the other hand, makes the programme viable for more people.
  3. Thirdly, there is a rumor that 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.
  4. Finally, the university is planning to expand to cover non-Islamic specialisations, making it a mainstream university, rather than a purely Islamic one. I don’t know the timescale for this, or whether any scholarships would be provided to students from outside of Saudi Arabia, but the change is something which is being seriously talked about.

On one hand, I’m really pleased that the university is becoming more accessible and many of the difficulties mentioned on this blog are becoming easier, in shaa Allah. On the other hand, there is a serious concern that if changes happen in an unplanned way, a lot of the quality and the atmosphere of the university may be lost. Also, there is a major push to lower the standards required of the students, which are already so much lower than they were five or six years ago, and a million miles away from what they were 10 or 20 years ago. It used to be that students graduated with a solid foundation in all of the major Islamic sciences, whereas it now seems that the gaping holes in the university syllabus are getting bigger and bigger, with each course becoming more and more specialised, and focusing less and less on classical sources (with some exceptions of course). The blame for that doesn’t rest solely with the administration; the students have to accept their fair share of the blame.

If you look at certain major Islamic universities in the world and what has happened to them, you can see how much they were affected by these kinds of changes. These kind of changes can be something very positive, in shaa Allah, if they are accompanied by adherence to the Sunnah and a solid Islamic framework, as well as a firm respect for the status of Islamic  knowledge. However, if they are implemented simply to make a university closer to its counterparts in the West, then they can be the beginning of a serious decline, making a university more concerned with quantity than quality, and turning what should be the single most important and comprehenive field of study in the world into little more than a token degree and a hobby course, no longer producing future scholars and serious students of knowledge. Some might say that has already happened to some extent.

We ask Allah to protect this university and to make it a source of benefit for the world, and to grant the teachers, students, and management the ability to fulfill the amaanah which they have been given.

Wassalaamu alaykum warahmatullah,

Muhammad

Assalaamu alaykum warahmatullah,

One of the things that I have been thinking for a while is that the Islamic University should change the condition of not taking into account qualifications after high school/GCSE level.

There are some really good potential students who fulfill all of the conditions, except that they have gone on to study a degree, or even a post-graduate qualification, and so the time between their high school graduation and their application to the Islamic University is more than 5 years, and they are rejected on that basis.

The purpose of the condition is to stop applicants who have not done any study for more than 5 years, which is fine. However, stopping a student who graduated from another university a year or two ago doesn’t make any sense. Most students in the US/UK graduate from high school at 17 or 18. This effectively means that nobody older than 22 or 23 can apply to the university, because more than 5 years has passed. A student who has just received a first class degree might be rejected, simply because it has been six years since they passed their high school exams. The strange thing is that if they were to sit even one GCSE exam as an external candidate after their degree, they could still be accepted.

I mentioned this to one of the brothers who is responsible for accepting new students, and he has promised to make a formal suggestion at the next meeting that this condition be changed to include university degrees, as well as high school qualifications.

We need everyone to make du’aa that this is accepted, since it would make a huge impact for so many students.

Inshaa Allah, I will keep everyone updated,

Wassalaamu alaykum warahmatullah,

Muhammad