My Experience in Egypt

June 21, 2008

Alhamdulillah, by the Grace of Allah (SWT), I have been privileged to spend the last four months living in Cairo, Egypt as I study Arabic at the Fajr Institute (www.fajr.com – what a prime-time website, huh?).  As my time is starting to near its end (unfortunately, I’m scheduled to depart Cairo at the end of July), I thought it may be a good idea to reflect on my time here and to possibly, insh’Allah, offer advice to those will travel abroad for their studies whether it is to Egypt or anywhere else it may be.

SO WHY EGYPT?

It seems to be a thriving place for the aspiring student of knowledge with many people flocking here to study.  The Visa to stay here is a gimme if you are an American and the cost of living is extremely cheap.  I think it is the best option for someone wanting to study Arabic in the Middle East.  Jordan is also fantastic, but extremely expensive.  Yemen was a lil too-third world for me, but if you can hack it, it is also a place of extreme benefit.  I would not recommend studying in Syria, especially if you are an American.  One of my friends got deported from Syria because they thought he was an American spy.

No doubt that there is a lot of hustle in Egypt, especially if you pick Cairo.  However, if you choose to be patient, insha’Allah, you will be rewarded greatly.  Or, you can try to keep up with the bustle (as I did sometimes) and enjoy the ride.

ARRIVING IN EGYPT

Alhamdulillah, I was fortunate to come to Egypt with a good friend of mine and we planned to experience everything together.  We left Florida together, have studied together at Fajr, have lived together (with another brother) and will depart together, insh’Allah.  Regardless of where you go, always try to live with someone at your destination.  It helps keep companionship and it can be good motivation in your studies as well (plus it helps to have a backup alarm for Fajr!).  If you are going to Egypt (or possibly anywhere else in the Middle East) and do not know anyone, let me know, and maybe, insh’Allah, I will be able to hook you up with someone there.

As far as arriving in Egypt goes, be prepared to stopped, held, and questioned at customs by the Egyptian-version of the FBI.  I’m pretty sure some Egyptian government officials are intimidated by a person who grows hair on their mandible (jaw) and that is why we got pulled to the side.  My advice would be to just answer their questions and brush it off.  Never give them your real address on where you are staying.  They are known to come see you if you do.  They had my phone number and called me a couple times during my stay asking me to come in to see that.  I completely blew them off and would recommend you do the same thing.  Everything here is done by paper (20th century stuff!) and eventually they will forget about you.

As far as being in actual Egypt is concerned, just carry a copy of your passport around and everyone will treat you like royalty (yeah).  Bust out the English whenever talking with a police officer and know the USA Embassy phone, just in case (I would also recommend registering with the Dept of State while traveling abroad).

WHERE TO STUDY?

If you are coming for Arabic studies, Nasr City is the place to be.  There are numerous Arabic centers located in Nasr City including Fajr, Diwan, Sibawayh, and Al-Ibaanah.  I personally chose Fajr and absolutely loved it there while at the same time other brothers have had mediocre experiences at Fajr.  Fajr is the oldest and most established.  It has 13 total levels (each level = 75 hours) and if you finish the 13th level, you receive a certified diploma from the Egyptian Ministry of Education that certifies you to teach Arabic (I think).  The books used at Fajr are from a series called “Arabia Bayna Yadaak” (Arabic Between Your Hands).  Diwan, from what I’ve heard, is extremely nice; however, it is more expensive.  I believe they use the Asassy books at Diwan.  Al-Ibaanah has its own books that it uses.  However, I would like to point out that Ibaanah heavily concentrates on grammar at the beginning and thus, many of its students are not very good at speaking.  Many students also branch off and do their own thing with a private tutor, which can for some people, be an excellent idea.  If you want to go to Alexandria, the place to study is definitely Qortaba.  Insha’Allah, keep reaffirming you intention to study solely for the sake of Allah (SWT).

TELL ME ABOUT NASR CITY

Nasr City (Madinat Nasr) is a mash’Allah, baller-awesome place.  It is considered middle-to-upper class in Cairo but is still relatively inexpensive.  Everything you need is pretty much located in Nasr City.  Al-Azhar University is located here as well so you can manage to run into quite a bit of its students.  Whenever you go out to eat or walk around, you will run into some foreigners who are aspiring students of knowledge.  They tend to stand out for some reason.  Talk with them, network, enjoy!  Subhana’Allah, I’ve met people from the north of Egypt (i.e. Russia, Kazakiztan), east of Egypt (i.e. Malaysia, China), south of Egypt (i.e. Nigeria, South Africa), and, of course, west of Egypt (i.e. Holland, Denmark just for extra emphasis!).  Unfortunately, Americans are seriously lacking in numbers as compared to Frenchmen and Brits.  The only desis you’ll probably find are those from Britain and the USA.

There are also some malls in Nasr City including the famous City Stars Mall, which is a reminder of shopping malls in America.  City Stars is nice, but it is also a place of fitna and thus it would be recommended to go there during the weekdays during the daytime instead of the evenings during the weekends.  Genaina Mall has an ice-skating ring in it if you are into that.

HOW WE LIVE?  WHAT ABOUT COSTS, DUDE?

If you do live in Nasr City, the streets to know are Mustafa an-Nahas, Makram-Obaid, Abbas-al-Ekaad, and Sharia Tayhran.  Nasr City is broken into Zones 6,7,8,9, and 10.  Zone 7 (Hai Saba) is probably the nicest and most expensive while Zone 10 (Hai Ashar) is the cheapest and most developing.

We lived in Hai Thamin (Zone 8 ) right next to Siraj Mall.  Alhamdulillah, we were in a prime-time location and close to everything.  I lived with two other brothers in a 2 bedroom/1 bathroom flat.  Our rent was L.E. 1800 which translates to about $330 split three ways.  We lived on the 5th floor (note: the first floor here is not the first floor it is the ground floor as what is the real 2nd floor is called the 1st floor here) and there was no elevator (alhamdulillah, I lost some weight!).  If you are willing to live in Hai Ashar, you can cut your rent in half easy.

I would like to note that crossing the street in Egypt is crazy.  You will face death everyday while doing it.  Just suck it up and walk like you own the place and cars will try to avoid you, insh’Allah.

You can check out: http://www.geocities.com/learnarabicincairo for a map of Nasr City and other goodies about Cairo.

I LOVE FOOD

If food is your thing, Egypt is also a good place for that.  Koshari is huge here (tho I’m not a big fan, I prefer meat!) as are the other standard Arab dishes.  In Hai Saba (Zone 7), there are good Thai and Malay restaurants.  Assil on Mustafa an-Nahas in Hai Thamin (Zone 8 ) has some off-the-chain shawerma shami sandwiches, a must-try.

Almost all the food places deliever (even MickeyD’s and KFC!), but I would recommend going out to these places so as to at least get some exercise.  I would eat out everyday (but only one meal a day) and I would try to walk everywhere.

I, personally, watched what I would take into my stomach while in Egypt.  I didn’t drink the man –made sugar-cane juice because people are known to get sick off them.  Don’t drink the local water, your body won’t like it.  Drink bottled water and plenty of it.  Please be hygienic and smart.  Oh yeah, if you wear contacts, I would recommend bringing your entire duration’s supply (lens and solution), but glasses you can get pretty cheap here.

I tend to eat anything if it is hot (including corn cooked on a fire!) and try to stay away from stuff that is cold, including cold meat.  Fruits and veggies in Egypt are great as they are smaller but more flavorful (ballerlicious mangos).

MASAJID

Some of the big masajid in Cairo have graves in them and so I would be cautious of them.  Alhamdulillah, Nasr City is relatively new and thus does not posses any masajid with a grave (to my knowledge).  Masjid Bilal (cool name for a Masjid, IMO), located in Hai Thamin (Section 8 in Nasr City) is a popular masjid for Western students of knowledge (including Imam Suhaib Webb).  However, Masjid Bilal has heavy surveillance.

There are lots of local basement masajid everywhere in Nasr City (there are a double-digit number of masajid within a quarter-mile of our apartment building!)  I prefer the basement masjid-scene because it gives one the community feeling that is present in the masajid back in the United States.  Subhana’Allah, there are numerous knowledgeable people at these basement masajid as well.  If you live in Nasr City and are looking for an amazing and patient Quran teacher, I would recommend Shaykh Adel of Masjid Ridwan in Hai Thamin.  Email me for his contact.  Subhana’Allah, I thought he was awesome.  I remember one day he was sitting with his fellow shayook boys (they’re all like 30 years old) and they start testing each other in recitation of different ayaats of the Quran in different qiraat (this is a game for enjoyment for these scholars!).

As far as the different types of Muslims that are present in Cairo, you are going to get the whole shabang.  You have your twirling sufis (with shows every week!) and, at the same time, you have your neo-salafis.  If you ever go to Masjid Hussain, you can see some ‘unique’ characters there too (but try not to pray there!).

Oh yeah, get this, there is an Arab Tablighi Jamaat as well!  They do the whole 3 day stay in the masjid with bayaans all day and everything.  However, the weird thing is, there are Salafi Tablighis and they use Riyadh-us-Saaliheen.  I guess Fadail-Amaal hasn’t been translated into Arabic yet 😛

TAXIS, PLEASE

Everyone apparently complains about taxis in Egypt.  I personally would recommend walking everywhere and when going somewhere further away, using the bus or micro-bus system.  However, in my use of taxis, alhamdulillah, it has been a pleasant experience (I got ripped-off one time, but gave the dude the money cuz he swore to Allah it was legit).  The places to work on your Arabic are at your school, at your masjid, and with taxi cab drivers!  One way to ensure a cab driver will not rip you off is to talk with him the whole time you are in the cab and have fun with the driver.  He is obviously going to know you are not local, but that doesn’t mean you cannot befriend him (I would often just say that I’m from America).  Cab drivers would offer me advice, cassettes, their phone numbers if I ever needed anything.  I would negotiate a rate when going somewhere far, but would just pay them what I thought was fair if going somewhere close.  I remember when I was coming back from the airport once; one cab driver only wanted L.E. 20 from me even though we had agreed on L.E. 25.  Subhan’Allah, there are some really good people out there.  I would recommend that you pay your cab driver after you have gotten out of the taxi at your final destination.  Have fun with the cabbies.  Smile, it goes a long way and people tend to like you more, plus you’re following the Sunnah as this is a sadaqa for your fellow Muslim brothers.

If you sit on the big bus, they have shot-gun seats in the front next to the driver.  Sit there and you can have a say in what they play on the radio as well as well as get an amazing view of the road 🙂

As far as talking with the locals goes, some really good advice I received by several brothers was never to talk about politics or soccer (futbol as they call it).  Talking any politics will get you thrown in jail.  Don’t even say the word ihkwaan anywhere.  Futbol is also a diehard thing here.  You will know when a soccer match is going on b/c no one cares about anything else at that time.  Don’t pick a side to cheer for either b/c if you pick the wrong side, Allahu Alim what will happen to you.

DOING THE TOURIST THING

Yes, I did the tourist thing.  Pyramids were great, but a one-time thing.  Nile is a great river to walk next to.  There are these L.E. 2 party boats that are quite amusing to see.  Al-Azhar Park is fantastic and gives you an amazing view of Cairo.  It was definitely worth the L.E. 5 entrance free.

We went to Alexandria twice.  Alex is a beautiful place.  We went by micro-bus both times (about L.E. 20 each way) though train is also an option.  The micro-bus ride is death-defying, but I recommend just sleeping through it to avoid the anxiety.  Alex can be accomplished in a day-trip.  Definitely check out the beautiful library while you are there, it is breath-taking.  Seafood in Alex is fantastic.  Recommendation:  try the herb-stuffed sea bass at Abu Ashraf Restaurant (prolly the most famous restaurant in Alex and its open 24/7!).

Pollution

This, unfortunately, is a major down-side of living in Egypt.  The air pollution is ridiculous.  Almost everyone smokes including some little kids and women (biggest turn-off ever).  Supposedly, breathing the air in Nasr City is equivalent to smoking twenty cigarettes a day.  I managed to have some allergies when I first arrived though I have never had allergies before in my life!  Furthermore, there were even a couple instances where I would get random nose bleeds in the beginning.  At the same time, the pollution can be avoided by living outside Nasr City in an area like Rehab.  I would recommend this if you travel to Egypt with a family.  You do not want to risk your child getting asthma by living in Nasr City.

Noise pollution is something else too.  Apparently, the New York Times (www.nytimes.com, yeah, like you needed their website) reported Cairo is possibly the loudest city in the world.  Everyone honks their car horn like there’s no tomorrow.  I’ve heard of people having to replace their car-horn every three months (I didn’t know this was possible!).  My advice would be to just bear it and put up with it, insh’Allah.  Sometimes a horn does save your life.

LIVING IN A MUSLIM COUNTRY

This is my first time living in a Muslim country for such an extended period of time (I have visited family in Pakistan for a couple of months several times in the past).  Subhana’Allah, I absolutely loved it.  Granted you will always see Muslims doing un-Islamic things and you need to come here expecting it or you will be sorely disappointed.  However, at the same time, many of the people I have met are amazing and fantastic people.  In Cairo, there are parts where you can go and 95% of the sisters are wearing hijab and there is a masjid on every street (literally!) while at the same time there are parts of Cairo you can go to where you would not be able to differentiate it from a European society.

I loved the Egyptian people as I would chill with the Egyptians at the masjid, in our building, and just other random places (I think some Egyptians look very desi).  Fellow bearded people have an automatic connection in Egypt.  If you walking and there is another bearded brother on the other side of the street walking in the opposite direction, expect a big-wave and try to read “Assalamu Alaikum” off of his lips (yeah, pretty cool, huh?).  I remember once a random bearded brother even picked up in his car to give me a ride where I was going.

There have been some funny experiences here in Egypt as well.  I remember one time a brother asked me if I knew “Assalamu Alaikum” when he learned I was American (I think he was kidding, maybe).  Another time, I went to play basketball with some friends at a sports club.  They wouldn’t let me in cuz I was wearing a thobe (the fobs wanted to be more American like me), so I just took it off in the middle of the street as I always had my bball clothes on underneath ready to play, alhamdulillah.  One time our landlord’s wife sent over some soup for us.  It smelled delicious and I went straight for it, but the taste was waaay off from the smell.  We later realized it was fresh home-made jam (a lot of it) and it was good too, just not be drank in the same way as soup, lol.

I have made a general observation in terms of Islam in Egypt (can be extended to the Arab world) versus Islam in Pakistan (can be extended to the non-Arab world).  The Muslims in Pakistan, mash’Allah, have a lot of zeal and they want to be practicing Muslims, following the Sunnah and everything.  However, it seems, that knowledge seems to be lacking significantly in Pakistan.  At the same time, in Egypt, the knowledge is present and people know the Quran and are well-grounded in the Sunnah.  However, the zeal and desire to follow through with that knowledge is not present.  As Muslims, we need to bring these two extremes together where we can combine knowledge and desire.  Obviously, this reflection does not include all Pakis and Egyptians and it is a simple observation and it is just a thought.

I HEART EGYPT

I’ve loved my experience here thus far, alhamdulillah.  I have significantly increased my respect for Azhari students.  Subhana’Allah, they work out ridiculously hard and are a very impressive group of students.

I have had an amazing time in Egypt thus-far, alhamdulillah.  If you actually go to Egypt, email me and I may be able to give you some more personal tips.  I can be emailed at coolguymuslim @ gmail.com.  I pray that this summary may actually be of some benefit to someone who goes to study abroad.  Insha’Allah I may do a follow-up to this piece after I return back to Florida in a month.  Please keep me and my family in your dua’s, insh’Allah.  Go Islam!

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42 Responses to “My Experience in Egypt”

  1. Abu Ma'thur Says:

    Masha’Allah
    Jazaka’Allah for the information.
    May Allah reward you for it.

  2. LEQ Says:

    As a female student of Arabic in Nasr City, I’d like to warn ALL females of living in Nasr City. I’m at the Al-Diwan language school here, and while the language school is great, the surrounding area is not kind to females whether one wears the hijab or niqab.

    I cover everything save my hair and arms, and get harrassed every single day, several times a day by men and even children who jeer and say disgusting things. The day I decided to wear the hijab for my own safety, I was followed and groped by four males in a car as I was walking to school. I decided not to wear it again.

    I’ve spoken with other international female students living in Nasr City, and I’ve heard similar horror stories: taxi drivers exposing their private parts; men slapping them on the ass telling them to cover up; not being able to go outside to the corner store without being chided for walking the streets alone. Last summer, a female student who studied here for three months cried herself to sleep every night because of it. To say that we’re treated like prostitutes is not an exaggeration. A friend of mine was offered money for sexual favors by a taxi driver as she walked home.

    Al-Diwan is a great school, and because I can’t get a refund even if I wanted one, I’ve asked to transfer to the Garden City branch. The Nasr City manager said he could not transfer me for several weeks so I decided just to cut my time here short. I hadn’t been informed that a Garden City branch existed and didn’t find out until the first day I arrived as it wasn’t advertised until the Nasr City branch filled up. I’ve since heard of an unhealthy competition by the two branch’s managers which is quite unsettling, seeing that I had requested a transfer once I arrived and was denied until the day I was groped ten yards from the school and walked in in hysterics.

    I’m on a fellowship from the U.S. Department of Education, and this school is approved by them. I will be recommending to them, as I did to the Nasr City manager, that female students be advised of the problems of sexual harrassment that have are being experienced here. From reports I’ve heard of Egyptian friends who live in Nasr City that the situation has gotten much worse for them in the last ten years, and it’s getting worse every day.

    I encourage anyone who knows of a female thinking of studying in Nasr City to pass the word. I wish I had been warned. I would never bring my mother or sisters here.

  3. zfnd Says:

    JazakallahKhayr for the beneficial information, enjoyed the writing style, masha allah


  4. JAZKHALLAHU KHEIR
    Subhanallah, its amazing how Allahs blessing work. Just last night i was surfing on the web for good arabic schools and BAM i ran into Fajr Institute and sounding like the place to go. All of the sudden BAM i run into yor blog and read this article mashallah its sounds awesome.

    But LEQ! Its sadden to hear this news? I dont know what to say…

    Can you or LEQ please give me any other options on where to go to study arabic!

    jazakhALlahu Kheir

  5. Anonymous Says:

    LEQ Says…..

    I am just referring to LEQ comment. I have lived in Cairo for 2years and even left my wife and kids and came back to the UK.

    My wife never had any problems here at all and we lived in madina nasr. Maybe you sister had some difficulties for not wearing the hijab in the beginning. Since Diwan is located in a populated area, you must respect the customs of the people.

    It’s a Muslims country and many Egyptians are religions. The bad boy type Egyptians will hassles you, since yourself is a girl who looks like a bad girl to them for not wearing the Hijab.

    You said u put the hijab on, to avert trouble, look at your intention, was it for the sake of Allah? That you wont to this honour or protection from Allah. No it was not so, don’t throw part of the blame the hijab and the Egyptians people, blame no one except yourself. Respect other peoples cultures and customs and they will respect you as a dignified Muslim. Min-sunnah@hotmail.com


  6. RE: Trapped in this Dunya

    Yes, unfortunately, some of the stuff LEQ mentioned in her comments is true about some women’s experiences in Cairo and possibly the Middle East, in general. However, if you are intent in studying arabic in the Middle East, I would still strongly urge you to consider Egypt if you can put up with the potential harrassement. There are obviously ways to avoid the harrassment as well (such as comin to egypt with your brother or other mahram if possible or to dress more modestly for the sake of Allah). As far as potential schools go, there is of course Fajr Center in Cairo. The Diwan Institute is also located here. Qortaba (www.qortaba.com i think) is in Alexandria, but I am not sure if they have sisters at their school (I assume they would) and Alex may be a good alternative to Cairo.

    Elsewhere in the middle east, I would definitely not recommend Syria, especially if you are American. Jordan is a good possibility but it is expensive. there is a school in Jordan called the Qasid Institute (google it for website) that is very popular with americans, but one complaint i hear is everyone jus ends up speaking a lot of english while there like in the masjid, etc. However, if you go to Qasid, please be careful. Itself is a great school, but there are a lot of extreme sufis in the area and in the student population there. I know one person who went them and he has some sufi tendancies after he came back. Yemen is also a possibility but would not recommend it for a single travelin alone sister. Qatar University also has a program for non-arabs to go attend for a year, fully paid for.

    insha’Allah, maybe this is of some benefit to you. Please let me know if you have any questions.

  7. Ali Says:

    what’s a neo-salafi? Also, what do you think a salafi is? Just curious…

  8. Ali Says:

    not to leave you in the dark, but if you want to learn about real salafiyya this is a very informative site: spubs.com

  9. ajmal Says:

    slaam peeps, cool guy muslim i love your blog 🙂 i have a question i am god willing travelling to Egypt to learn arabic will brothers studying there treat me differently as i do not have a beard? Slaam


  10. assalamu alaikum br. ajmal,

    sorry for the late response. Insh’Allah you would not be treated any differently if you do not have a beard, but in all honesty, it might come down to what school you are studying at. I would recommend for you to study at a school like Sibawayh where the students are much more diverse over a school such as al-Ibaanah, where the philosophy is very much one-sided and some brothers may treat you differently there. All the best.

    Wasalam,
    CGM

  11. Ilanaislam.e Says:

    Assalaamalaykum

    I think you failed to mention experiences in Egypt as a sister, it would be fascinating to hear some accounts on that.
    Also, I enjoyed you reflections at the conclusion concerning the difference between Desis and Arabs. I thought it was well thought out and precise.

    Jazakullahkhair

  12. AbuJadd Says:

    SalamuAlykum

    How far is District 7 from district 10.

    Please mail me back inshallah.


  13. Walaikumasalaam,

    District 7 is about a couple miles away from District 10. There are microbuses that run that route constantly so you wouldn’t have to take a cab.

    Wasalaam


  14. […] from my time in Egypt.  For an informational post on my experience in Egypt, please see: https://mustaqeem.wordpress.com/2008/06/21/egypt) Posted by coolguymuslim Filed in Akhlaq, Family, Love, Quran, Tazkiyah, egypt Tagged: […]

  15. Hussein Says:

    Assalamualaikum CGM,

    I love your blog! it’s well-written and very succinct.
    However, I’m having hard time now to choose which institutions to go there. I’m deciding between Fajr and Aleemcenter (which is also located in Nasr city) http://www.aleemcenter.com
    I’m traveling with my brother and I have also made couple of inquiries to these institutions.
    We intend to spend 8 weeks there and do intensive arabic (for like 5 hrs/day hardcore style =p). Apparently, Fajr charges way more than Aleemcenter. The margin is as high as US$500.
    What do you think about this?
    And if you don’t mind as well, do you know how much the living cost is there? (aside from rental, i.e. food, transportation, trips/ excursions)

    Thank you so much bro! I’m planning to go there this summer but need to start budgeting asap.

    Jazakullahkhair


  16. Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah ahkee,

    jazak’Allahkhair for your kind words. You kno, honestly, I don’t know too much about Aleem center. I did knw one brother who was there and he generally had nothing but good things to say about it. From my understanding, aleem center is composed to former teachers at Fajr and if thats the case, they should be fairly similar in a comparison.

    if you have only 8 weeks when you go, you may want to even consider sibawayh, i mean fajr center is good and all, alhamdulillah, but the truth is, sometimes things can be a bit hard with them, teachers often get 1 week vacation for every 5 weeks so if u have 8 weeks, you’ll likely have to skip one week or try to find a truly dedicated teacher, inshallah whatever u choose, all the centers are very similar, i eventually ended up doing private tutoring, i was happy wit that as well,

    relative cost is cheap, our apartment cost us 300$/month, food is cheap, if u want mcdonalds everyday, figure to pay what you would for it in the USA, if anything else is generally significantly cheaper than that, we generally did buses but if you want taxis, that will be more expensive but buses are very cheap, alhamdulillah

    inshallah pray istikhara and go from there, keep ur intentions pure and stay positive and inshallha youll hav an amazing experience, mashallah i really loved the ppl in egypt

    anymore questions, definitely lemme knw iA
    wasalam,
    CGM

  17. Anonymous Says:

    maashallah this was very useful i appreciate this advice although idk how good it is to avoid praying at masjid hussein. you should absolutely give your salams to him once you get to cairo

  18. ilyas Says:

    Thanks for writing/ posting/ sharing. its great info. I have been dreaming about going abroad (as just experience) for a while. This helps so much. if you have written about the (acutal knowledge) you learned there vs. (doing it in US) and the ROI, can point me to those post. please.

    j/k

    Ssallam,
    ilays

  19. Hufaizah Says:

    salaam, brother.

    That’s a great intro (for me, personally) on Egypt.
    I’m glad u’re enjoying ur stay there.
    ..And I totally agree with you abt studying in Syria, as I am one of those who got ‘banned’ from the country cuz of(the usual) VISA probs.

    But all in all, it’s great to live in a total Islamic community, isnt it? (alhamd lillah..=))

    May you have a great time spending the last days there.. I hope i feel the same way you described Egypt as soon as i get there.

    May Allah bless you.
    Wassalam.

  20. Ahlaam Says:

    Mashaa’Allaah, excellent information there!

    Could you shed some light on Ibaanah Institute please, a sister wants more information.

  21. Ahlaam Says:

    Jazaakallaah khayr for the link, it was useful. I’m trying to find some information on behalf of a sister. She wants to get some advice from anyone who has studied there and the level of fluency they were able to attain after their study there.


    • Unfortunately, I’m not too familiar with the students at Ibaanah so I can’t tell you for sure about their level of fluency. In my minimal experiences with their students, I did realize that they emphasis grammar significantly at the beginning and thus the Ibaanah students were not as well-versed in speaking but were rather working on nahw, etc. Other centers emphasis speaking so that one feels more comfortable before introducing any grammar to the students (i.e the Fajr center). It all depends on what one’s goals are and the time they have available for studying…

  22. Br M Says:

    Dear CGM Assalam alaikum

    Jzk khair for your wonderful post Mashallah.

    I am considering going to Egypt with my family (3 kids) for them to complete their Quran Hifdh and plan to be there for around 10 months or so. They have already memorised quite a bit Alhamdulilah. They are all aged under 11.

    I know your blog has primarily been around learning Arabic and I understand your concerns around small kids and asthma due to the pollution (my kids already suffer from this!).

    I am planning to go there in the next few weeks and would be grateful if you could provide me som names/contacts – esp shekih Adel who sounds fantastic. I have also hear about Madrassa’s at masjid Bilal.

    Btw, I am from the UK and if anyone else has been there or has some advice about going to Cairo with the family would be good to connect on lexuss999@rocketmail.com.

    Look forward to your reply inshallah.

    Wasalaam,

    M

  23. Br M Says:

    My email is incorrect in the previous post – should be lexus999@rocketmail.com..


  24. Also visit http://www.studyinegypt.org for more info inshaAllah…

  25. An Egyptian Muslim :) Says:

    I have passed by the blog, when I was searching for Foreign Muslims in Egypt, I saw dozens of them in Rehab, and would like to know who are you and what you are doing in our polluted country :).

    I was astonished with your comments :), but it was pretty funny to know how you are thinking of us, actually most of what bother you bother us, Egypt has a wide diversity of people in language, culture, social and educational level, but I do agree total with your comments and concerns.

    But need to add you need to differentiate between Muslims and Islam, this is very important, true Muslims are clean, kind, knowledgeable, easy smiley, dedicated and committed, but as you know not all people are good.

    Any way nice to pass by this great blog, actually I would like to know more about Foreign Muslims, I have a keen for analysing everything around me, I am an analytical thinker 🙂 “A Software Engineer, my job require that” , actually I see foreign people combine 2 great thinks being Muslims and applying Islam, most of what you raised up in your countries is near Islam, so you apply more than some Muslims who have been in ages in Islam, and that’s why I do like that.

    As you mentioned here Egyptians some how lack the keen and commitment, i guess this is because we are raised up in a different way.

    Any way welcome in Egypt if you need any help in Egypt I will be glad to help, mail me a.ejamil@gmail.com. I know personally the past Dean of Daawaa Cairo University.

  26. kamor Says:

    @ Min-sunnah@hotmail.com– You should be ashamed of yourself for making excuses for utterly bad behaviour. My God! Even such behaviour is not tolerated in the ‘decadent’ West where women go about almost naked. And you dare call her a bad girl because she’s not wearing hijab? Allahu Akbar! That actually says much about your mentality. As for those allegedly mistreating the women they have shown what level they can sink to if the account is true. Even in Medina at the time of the Caliph Umar (RA) there were non-Muslim women going about almost bare breasted- and the Muslim men did not molest them. Do you realize that the hijab is prescribed for the Muslim women to distinguish them from others? So, if there have always been the others, how come we read no account of the Muslims slapping them on the backside. The vile thugs who do this act should be taken off the streets until they successfully pass through rehabilitation. And so should anyone who try to justify their bestiality.

  27. Anonymous Says:

    Assalamualaikum

    I am planning to study at the Al Fajr Centre this summer. However i am having difficulty finding accomodation as i am unsure of the exact loaction of the center. Do you have a map(above link does not open) with the location marked? Jazakallah

    Zaheera


    • Walaikumasalaam,
      I googled it and found some maps but none of them have Fajr center marked on it. If you are doing the summer intensive they offer, it is not held at the Fajr center but at a different larger site I believe right at the border between Section 7 and 8 of Nasr City somewhere close to Mokram Obaid street. If you have any specific questions, feel free to email me, but sorry I’m not more help at the moment.

      -bilal

  28. Jameep Says:

    Hello,
    truely very informative Blog and well wirtten, i’m indian and considering a year to learn arabic.
    BTW didnot understand what you ment abouut the mosques which should not be visited.

  29. azmi Says:

    Very good infromation .. thanks. I plan to travel to cairo end of the year DEC together with my family, total 5. Plan to stay aroud 1 month. The youngest in the family is 10 yrs old daughter. I plan to travel around and try to learn Arabic within that trip. I’m looking the good place to stay to avoid the polution.DO thay have Arabic school at El Rehab. What do you think of garden city

  30. Md Khaleel Says:

    Assalamualaikum.. nice post brother..can i know the address for tabliqui markaz(centre) in Nasr City and also tell me about how this work(tablique) is carried out there??

  31. wanderere Says:

    anyone know the mothly cost of heroes gym in nasr city

  32. Yasmin Says:

    Salam alaykom

    I just came across your blog when I was googling masjid ridwan. I have heard that they have arabic, islamic program and quran-both hifdh and tajweed, in the morning for female untill 12 o’clock and for men in the afternoon is it the same mosque you were talking about?

    I’m trying to find this mosque the explanation I got was it’s near masjid haramain and it’s not that far from Fajr center?

    If it’s the same could you please give me description from fajr center?

    JazakAllahu khairan

  33. mustafa Says:

    slaam bro’s & sisters in Islam. May allah reward our brother “cool guy muslim” thanks for the info bro. I am looking to study at al diwan for 9 months in sha allah. I will be with my wife and son who will be almost 1 years old when we leave for egypt. I am flexible with accomodation costs and would love to know what area would be the best for me to stay in? Thanks Jzk

  34. update on egypt Says:

    Madinatal Nasr is very popular but another area call ‘tajamal al awal’ ow fi lehjatul misrieen ‘taGamal al awal’ is also becoming a destination of choice for students once they have been there are while. Its a much quieter area than madinatul nasr, theres still a lot of development going on there, it has wider roads and space for kids to play for example, it has a much more local ‘mahalli’ feel to it and much much less traffic and noise/air polution. My sister and bro in law together with their toddler have been living there for the past year and a half (I was there with them in the sumer for a few weeks).

    Geographically its between Al-Rehab (less than 10mins micro bus away) and madinatul Nasr so you need to catch a micro bus to get to the Arabic marakiz in madinatul nasr (which can take about 30mins each way-depending on traffic) – thats the main disadvantage. The other being that there are not as many ready made (variety), eat out places there which is not brill for single bros looking for food at random times! (though many places will deliver from nearby Al-rehab) price wise its cheaper than the more popular madinatuil nasr which has become increasingly more expensive as the foreign students increase.

    Another advantage was that on fridays we could quickly get to a really nice, luxury small masjid in Al-rehab (nice thick carpet, top air con, brilliant views of greenery and almost country resort feel) – unfortunately can’t remember the name of it (its kinda behind the British School, next to the Leisure/Sports area I believe). The kutbah seemed to be good (wish I understood more!) and seemed to be popular with foriegn and local misiris with big beards mashAllah! lol.

    • Jasmine Says:

      Assalamualaikum brother,

      This is a very good and informative blog. I’m from Thailand. Actually, I come to Cairo for my internship but since it seems like there is nothing much for me to do. Therefore, I have decided to learn Arabic here (ECA). I don’t have any basic about Arabic, so I want to start from level 1 of ECA (if I’m not mistaken, ECA is for speaking only right? ). Now I still comparing between fajr center and ili. Now I stay in section 10. If I choose fajr, it’s not far from my place. But I still worry about transportation there. I think it’s quite dangerous to go to the center alone even though it’s not far from my place. Here at section 10, even though I also wear hijab and go out with 2 of my friends, I still feel not safe because of harassment. And as I have to go to the center alone I’m also worry. So, I want to stay at the accommodation provide by the center but unfortunately, fajr doesn’t have. Then I found the other place, ili (International Language Institute). There are the accommodation at the center provide as an option for the students. If I choose there, I have no need to travel to the class. Therefore, I would like to ask you about ili. Do you know or have ever heard about that institution? How’s it? What about the environment there? Is it safe for me to take Arabic course and stay there. I’m so sorry I write quite long and ask a lot of questions which you might be annoyed. I’ve already asked my friend but no one knows and I don’t know who to ask right now.
      Thank you very much. Jazakallah khairan


  35. Thanks for the tips you have provided here. Cheers!


  36. Please keep on posting such high quality stories as this is an uncommon thing to
    find these days. I’m always searching online for articles that can help me. Looking forward to another great website. Good luck!

  37. Hamidah Dost Says:

    Salam,

    I am a mother whose 21 years old son will be leaving for Cairo to study Arabic at Markaz Fajr. The course will commence on 8 February 2015. I am writing because I need your help to look for him a room where he can share with existing fellow students so as to cut cost.

    If you know any please keep us inform.

    May Allah pay you for your kind help.

    You can whatsapp my son, Shahzar Yar Khan at +65 81024257


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