My Defining Moment in Egypt

November 16, 2008

In my last two weeks of living in Egypt, there were several moments that helped me define how I need to view life.  Most of these moments would be viewed as commonplace, but the reflection that was built off of them helped define me.  I will only talk about one of those moments in this post.

There aren’t many people in the world where one feels such affection towards them where it completely changes a person’s perspective on how they live their lives.  Obviously, love for one’s spouse is true and real, but the affection and love I’m talking about here is different than that of one’s spouse.  It is the love of another human being for the sake of Allah.  It reminds us of the famous hadith of the seven types of people who will be shaded on the Day of Resurrection with one type being two people who love each other for Allah’s sake and the meet and depart because of it.  Personally, I get along with people incredibly well, alhamdulillah, and there are a number of brothers out there I feel I can relate to on a personal level and I love them for the sake of Allah.  When I mention love for Allah’s Sake, I mean this innate feeling of affection that is deep within one’s heart and for love is not something we can control.

Today, I wanted to talk about love for a scholar on a personal level.  I met the Imam of a masjid close to where we were living in Madinat Nasr and I asked him if I could study some Quran with him.  His name was Sheikh Adel and he was extremely personable and friendly.  I loved every moment that I spent with this brother.  Every question I asked him something, he would either answer it directly with evidences he had memorized or he would tell him he would look it up and get back to me (and sure enough he would).  I felt awe in my time with Sheikh Adel and I felt honor that this brother would give his time to teach me.  Sheikh Adel had several other students he would teach as well as the responsibilities of the masjid and his job.  Additionally, he would sit with his teachers and continue his ever-lasting quest for knowledge.

I felt like a little child when I was with Sheikh Adel, especially in terms of my knowledge as compared to him, I was ashamed of where I stood in terms of Islamic knowledge.  His knowledge of Tajweed was amazing, even in the different recitations of the Holy Quran.  He was an honest, humble, and sincere man.

Many times for lessons abroad, students pay their teachers to compensate them for their time.  Especially on learning that one is from America, many teachers see dollar signs in their eyes.  My teacher was different.  He refused to take anything from me in exchange for his time.  In fact, he gave me a gift while I was studying with him!  Subhan’Allah, how some people are truly attached to the Hereafter!

However, the moment that truly struck a chord in me was the last time I met him as I prepared to return to the United States.  I was walking with Shaykh Adel in Madinat Nasr and I asked him, “How old are you, bro?”  He responded, “23.”

I knew Shaykh Adel was young, but I assumed he was in his late twenties, definitely older than me.  However, it turns out, I was several months older than Shaykh Adel.  This conversation got me thinking about the blessings we have in life.  Here in America, we have amazing opportunities in terms of dawah and calling people to Islam.  However, the main thing I realized was what we, the new Muslim generation, need to emphasize with our children.  We, along with everyone else who truly wants it, have the potential blessing of having our children raised with the Quran.  There were people that I came across on a daily basis in Egypt who were raised around the Quran.  They memorized it at an early age in their respective villages.  They knew the Quran in the different qiraat.  Their lives were based on the Quran.  Take these children and compare him to some of children we see being raised in America that don’t even know how to pray.  Now, I’m not saying raising your child in a village in Africa is the way to go.  I’m simply saying that regardless of how we decide to live, we HAVE to give our children a beautiful relationship with the Quran while they are still young.  They can be scholars of Tajweed and still become engineers (like Shaykh Adel).  They can love the Quran and still love science and medicine.  However, our priorities need to lay with the Quran first and foremost.  Just because we are living in America does not mean we should deprive our children of knowing and following what is truly important.  The Quran is where the true blessings lie whether you are in America or Egypt.

(Note: This post is a reflection from my time in Egypt.  For an informational post on my experience in Egypt, please see:


5 Responses to “My Defining Moment in Egypt”

  1. Amer Says:

    Assalamu alaikum brother,

    May Allah reward you for providing useful islamic information.

    I had read your previous account of your experience in Egypt. After that I was very interested to learn Arabic especially in the Arab area or Egypt. I did some research(Google) and found that the fajr institute is offering a variety of courses. I had some questions regarding your choice of Egypt and the course. If you could provide me with your email address then that would be great. By the way I will post some of the questions here:

    1. Why Egypt?
    I think you answered that very well in the previous post. If you would like to add something to that.

    2. What was your Arabic proficiency level before taking the course?

    3. What is your proficiency level now after you completed the course?
    I am asking the above two questions because when I browsed the website of Fajr institute, they have written that there are 14 levels for Arabic and it would take nearly 1 year to finish all. Now I was interested in a short term course like a month. Ibn Hisham is a good choice for me. So I want to know what level of course you took, how much time did you spend there? and if you stayed there like a month for eg ibn Hisham course then was it enough to learn Arabic?

    4. What was your cost of living?
    This I wanted to know so that I can budget my travel. The course is around $400 apart from that how much will be the expenditure? If you could tell me your rough estimate that would be great.

    I think this comment is becoming rather lengthy. So I will stop here and get back to you through email.

    And please ignore any grammatical mistakes or spelling mistake as I wrote this comment in a hurry and didn’t cross check it.

    Jazakallah for the info brother.
    Allah hafiz

  2. Bismillaah

    Assalamu Alaikum!

    Thank you so much for your heart felt post. It felt very truthful and sincere. May Allaah increase my ilm to that of this brother’s immediately and yours as well. Amiin

    Would you kindly reciprocate a link to me please?

    Thank you so much for your time and efforts

    Sincerely & Gratefully
    Halimah bint David

  3. Wa assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah,

    Br. Amer – Please free to email me at and insh’Allah I will try my best to give you some insight. However, I must say it is hard to accomplish a significant amount of Arabic in only one month. Nonetheless, the experience is worthwhile in my opinion. If you only have one month, you may want to consider enrolling in a Quran Institute in Egypt instead. The cost of living is very minimal outside the tuition costs. Food is cheap and housing is also cheap. If you are going by yourself, about $500/month should be sufficient.

    Sr. Halimah – Ameen to your duas. I am in the process of adding a links page on my blog and hope to have it up in the next week or so. I will, insh’Allah, add a link to your website when it is up. Jazak’Allahkhair for your kind words.

    Wa assalamu alaikum

  4. dpeat Says:

    Oh! Subhan’Allah, here’s where I need to comment. LOL! Sorry!


    I mean, masha’Allah, it was very inspirational. I think nowadays the Qur’an is the most neglected part of our religion. Even for some of the more religious Muslims, who pride themselves upon praying five times a day, neglect Allah’s book. We need a total and complete return to the Qur’an and that’s memorization, reading tafasir, reflecting upon it, and applying what we learn.

    I know I don’t read Qur’an as much as I should, so this is also a criticism for myself.

    May Allah ease our way in returning to his blessed book, ameen.

    Oh yeah, my blog is I have been writing about politics lately, but I plan to start writing about religion a lot more insha’Allah. I just bought the whole series of tafsir ibn Kathir, so make dua for me that Allah blesses me and raises my understanding of his book.

    And Jazak;Allah khair for sharing all your stories and insight!

  5. SH Says:

    They can love the Quran and study the liberal arts, too. :p

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