The Cost of an AlMaghrib Class

21 02 2008

It’s been a while since I wrote a post and a topic that has been on my mind are the cost of AlMaghrib classes.  I have often been confronted with the question, why do the classes cost so much?  I have heard rumors that the students from other groups and organizations have used the price tag of our classes as a criticism by which it has been said only the “haves” could attend the classes.

There are numerous ways to respond to all of this, and if I wanted to debate or explain each point, I very well could to the point that there is nothing left except for a person to say either it’s worth it to me or its not, and removing the negative stigmas surrounding the cost.

Those answers would all focus on convincing you that the cost is justifiable and that the intentions of AlMaghrib are not to use Islam to drain people of their money.  Instead I will speak for myself, and myself alone.

Shaykh Muhammd reminded us of the story of a man who had just converted to Islam, and was fighting jihaad alongside the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallim, and after the Muslims won the war, there were spoils from that war of which this newly converted Muslim sahabi received some.

Upon receiving these spoils, the man told the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallim, “I did not become Muslim for this reason.”  The Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallim corrected him and said, “What blessed wealth in the hands of a blessed / righteous person.”

Meaning, if there is wealth,  then what better place for it is there for it to be then in the hands of a righteous person?  And then Shaykh Muhammad continued, saying that when you look at money, and wealth, it’s not in and of itself good or evil, but rather, it magnifies what is already in one’s heart.  If someone already has sufficient evil in them, even if they look good on the outside, it can and probably will bring it out.  And likewise, when someone is good, then that money magnifies the good within that person because it is spent on what is good.

It’s a very interesting point.  I generally  believe that if on a minor level, a person is weak, lazy, disorganized, stingy, or corrupt, then such failings will carry themselves forward at a higher level.  I recall once sending out an email to my volunteers stating that Wasat was not a corrupt third world dictatorship.  Meaning, we were not going to hold one set of standards for our friends and families with hook ups while waving a standard set of policies for everyone else.  The reason I said this is because this type of mindset is what pervades our Muslim political leadership today, and people complain about this, but the fact is that the people at the ground level, even practicing Muslims, are often lacking the moral ethical framework to make the connection between the culture they propagate with such behavior, and how that chain reaction carries to higher levels – so is it really any wonder that we say change will not be effected unless people first change what is within themselves?

The same holds true more specifically, in my mind, with money.  When there is corruption of intention and action, it will bring itself out, and I believe strongly in that.  With AlMaghrib Institute, my observation has been that rather than creating harm, the benefit that AlMaghrib Institute has brought, the love and respect for knowledge, and even of people with differing views, of etiquette and adab, all this and more and the number of lives that have been touched and changed for the better are the result of the magnification of such wealth being used by people with the right intention and purposes in mind.

In the end, it is about results, and those are the results, with these standards, with these rules, with these costs.  Alhamdulillaah, working the past 3 years for AlMaghrib as Ameer for Chicago, my life and perspective has changed in many ways, and I’ve had the priviledge of seeing others change and benefit in so many ways as well.  I personally am not aware of any program that is as organized, professional, and most importantly, spiritually heart-hitting and lifechanging than the AlMaghrib program.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m offering my own perspective – what does it for me – rather than laying out the plethora of reasons that may convince others because another lesson that Shaykh Muhammad reminded us of – the most difficult day that the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallim endured – the day when the daw’ah was rejected in at at-Ta’if.

After all that happened, when the Prophet sallallaahu alayhi wa sallim had left, bleeding from stoned, not knowing where he was going, he said in a du’aa to Allah, “Oh my Lord, in whose hands will you put my trust in?  Are you putting my trust in the hands of a near relative who will frown at me, or someone far from me to have control of my affair?” 

He sallallaahu alayhi wa sallim then said, “As long as You are not angry at me, then it doesn’t matter.”

And with that lesson in mind, that’s why I say I’m offering my perspective – it won’t matter to me how many naysayers exist to criticize the pricing because my concern is not with them – it was simply with making sure that Allah subhaana wa ta’aala is not angry with me and is instead pleased.

When someone puts forth something good and beneficial, there will always be critics and criticism, some sincere, some not, and Allah knows best which is which, and it is not for me to judge.  In the end, if the price is not to someone’s liking, there are plenty of other programs which are free, and I encourage those people to benefit from those.  And when they want an AlMaghrib quality class, ahlan wa sahlan, we’re happy to have you onboard as well :D

May Allah subhaana wa ta’aala guide us all to doing what pleases Him.  Ameen.

Siraaj

PS – We have about 350 now registered to come to The Shepherd’s Path, alhamdulillaah, and about 180 have paid and saved their spot.  Hope to see you there too, insha’Allah ;)

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24 responses

21 02 2008
Faiez

“…And when they want an AlMaghrib quality class, ahlan wa sahlan, we’re happy to have you onboard as well.”

Word.

21 02 2008
Jibran

much needed topic to be talked about, good 1 mr. siraaj.
assalamualykum

21 02 2008
Siraaj

I’ve wanted to address it for a while now, but until today, I wasn’t properly able to articulate my thoughts. Insha’Allah, tomorrow at the free night, I’ll have a bit to say about what AlMaghrib is all about, and how others can benefit ;)

Siraaj

22 02 2008
bandar

When i used to listen to lectures on cd..I always wished that I was in the audience and there with the ustaaadh. Usually the places were not in chicago and far away in another state. Because of Al Maghrib that need is fulfilled and personally I think that the price is nothing compared to the benefit one gets.
There may be some who truly can’t afford it. I’m sure these are not the complainers..usually they will make dua..and there are plenty of people that have donated for sponsorships and if allah swt wills they will get to go. But there are some that talk smack just for talking and downgrading any work that is being done that is good. These people have to look within themselves and do an iman check. It kinda reminds me of the muslims that were talking smack when the trench was being dug.
Often times they complain about how other religious groups have well funded, well organized organizations, and Muslims don’t. Well AL maghrib is that well organized group that wants to deliver quality..So it should be well funded..and these funds are not going to magically appear. It should be the ummah that provides…when we provide for things like this Allah swt will provide for us.

When it comes to seminars they are very expensive. I am a member of the NSCA (National Strength and Conditioning Assoc.) and seminars are not less than 500 bucks. A seminar that will give you deen and get you acquainted with allah swt’s law with real deal scholars not some quacks costing $165 is FREE in my book.

Remember Muslims that the deen never grew by the masses. It was always a small group, Inshallah may we be among that small group and may we provide the deen success.

Ma’salam

22 02 2008
mujurip

naw, i still think its expensive. ;)
I’m a hardcore muqallid so sorry I’m not changing my views.

22 02 2008
KashifN

Good post Siraaj, and i’ve heard the same criticisms levelled at AlKauthar Institute here in the UK. I think that sometimes people might not also appreciate how high the costs are to arrange and manage an event that looks and feels professional.

Another thing is that people sometimes fail to see the bigger picture. There will no doubt be events that generate a “profit”. So where might that profit go if you’re a non-profit organisation like AlMaghrib or AlKauthar? It goes back into the organisation to help set up new cities, or perhaps subsidise a city which perhaps couldn’t sustain itself, but which needs the Ilm transplanted there.

23 02 2008
Abu Zayd

Masha’allah, well-put. I remember discussing these issues way back with Ustadh in our first seminar in NJ many years ago. Seems like a distant dream, with hardly 50 people in the class, with prophetic words from Ustadh about his vision of success, and that there would be much criticism about the costs of the classes when the work expands on a larger scale. How true it was when he said at that time, that if he wanted to kill the whole AlMaghrib enterprise, all he had to do was to make the classes free.

May Allah reward your hard work and dedication.

Abu Zayd

23 02 2008
Critic

Jazakallah khair Siraaj, for giving your opinion, it’s enlightening when Ameer of qabilaat stands up and defends his group. May Allah give you strength to keep the spirit of islam lightening in chicago.

“Every time you doubt intentions of others, that means your intentions are not pure” – Yasir Qadhi once said this in Al-Mughrib course.

The above quote of sheikh Yasir is applicable to people in both camps. I am not going to argue with any notion that what you said is right or wrong, and I am not going to defend people like me who do not support or participate in Al-Mughrib course. But I will definitely put my opinion or suggestion that might not be accepted, but probably give you something to implement in a hope our muslim ummah shall unite and work together united ONLY and ONLY for seeking “Allah’s pleasure”

Pros,
- I am awe stuck with Al-Maghrib’s organization, discipline and structure
- I am impressed with volunteers (like you and others) who have shown true dedication and have marketed knowledge seeking like no other organization has ever done.
- I have great respect for the knowledge of ALL instructors/sheikhs who come from Al-Maghrib
- I commend the decision to let hafidh quran attend the sessions free.

Cons:
- It’s heartening to see when founder & knowledgeable Sheikh himself acknowledges and keeps mentioning in every possible lecture that Al-Maghrib is founded and created for american muslim youth whose parents have money to afford or spend. (I am not sure about you, but I definitely have problem with this thought)
- If this effort is “fee sabhi lillah” why would you not put a target price of how much is required, and then try to find places/location like muslim banquet halls, masjids which could be rented at low cost donation, and bring the cost down and probably more muslims could afford to attend.
- Cost is definitely an issue when more than one member of the family (say 2 or 3 kids) would like to attend. I personally know parents who have been annoyed when Kids come and demand, especially when kids at times are driven due to their friends attending the sessions. (What’s their intention wallahu allam)
- What about competing with different cities, if it is about knowledge seeking or learning, it’s a shame that we market our deen based on numbers in comparison of how many students attend (I personally have experience this when WASSAT was trying to reach 301 number in one of the lecture, when DURBAH or houston had done more :-( Sorry you need to open your eyes, heart and ears and disregard that every possible criticism is due to shaitaan)
- Why are students restricted to record their audio in the classroom? if it’s about the knowledge seeking and if money that is spent on holding such a session is accomplished by 100/150 students attending, why are lectures not recorded and distributed free? (I agree I don’t have any right to question how you run your business if it is a business, but if you say this is fee-sabhi-lilah and your concern is knowledge seeking then share it with more people so that they could benefit).
- When Hafiz-e-quran can attend free, why isn’t their an effort to contact every hafiz who is in chicagoland area and encourage him to join, as much a marketing effort is done to entice past and current students to attend the session, I doubt if an effort to contact all hafiz and aware him about the free sessions.

This might seem like a big complaint list, but this is just my opinion. I don’t expect you to answer any of these issues, these are mentioned here not to get an argument going but to provide some ideas to see if this can be approached in a better way. Knowledge seeking is an ibaadath, helping others attain that knowledge is an ibaadath, etc.

Let’s just keep our hearts and minds clear by reminding each other with hadith narrated by Umar r.a.h about “reward of action is based on ones intention”

Salaam
Brother in Islam

24 02 2008
Siraaj

Walaykum as salaam akhi,

Jazakallaahu khayran for adding your input. Although you haven’t you are not an active participant in our seminars, it’s good to hear from others to try to understand what sort of feelings are out there about how we work, which gives us the opportunity to clarify issues:

1. I’ve heard numerous lectures by Shaykh Muhammad Alshareef on AlMaghrib, and I haven’t yet heard one with the words that these courses were designed for Muslim youth with money to spend. Can you please point out the lecture? I’d like to hear it.

What I do know, and have talked about at our recent class, actually, is that Shaykh Muhammad designed AlMaghrib classes to put the best possible effort into every detail, significant or insignificant, so that the Islamic knowledge seeking was no longer painful, but rather, enjoyable, so much so that they would re-prioritize their spending so that it goes into their own personal development, which in turn would cycle into establishing other daw’ah efforts and helping others.

If the fear is that people with no money couldn’t come to the classes, then that’s simply not true. From Day 1 of these seminars, in just about every class, I’ve stood up and announced that money would not be a barrier to the knowledge, and any who wanted to study could come, provided they made their best effort to take responsibility first. When others truly cannot pay, we raise the money within the community, and alhamdulillaah, there are many people who love to spend on those less fortunate, and those spending are usually those from within the classes who have been blessed with wealth by Allah subhaana wa ta’aala.

2. This is a good question, and probably requires a very long answer. The short of it is, when you run an organization like AlMaghrib, the class costs aren’t just for spending on the class itself in the city – everything from logistics to paying the salaries of part time administrators to being able to sustain times of financial difficulty as well as expanding the daw’ah into other cities and, yes, countries all require money.

So, if it’s thought that the reason the costs are high is because the volunteers are picking out expensive venues, that would be untrue. Even if our venues were free, everyone would still get charged $165 for the reasons mentioned above.

3. Alhamdulillaah, this is good news to hear, that kids are bothering their parents to pay for them to learn Islam! We are taught to keep good company for this very reason, that people of good company will influence us to virtuous deeds, insha’Allah.

4. The purpose of the competition is to encourage one another to work harder. When AlMaghrib Institute was formed, Shaykh Muhammad raised his standard for how Islam would be taught, but he expected us as organizers to raise our standards of work ethic if we wanted to have the blessing. As part of that, Shaykh Muhammad used a means of giving us incentive to strive harder – to compete with other cities for the reward of Allah subhaana wa ta’aala. And we know that Umar tried to compete with Abu bakr and could not. Our history if rife with Muslims competing with one another to do good, and we are even told to compete with one another for good by Allah in the Qur’aan.

5. This is an interesting thought – why does everything fee sabeelillaah have to be free? How much money does the imam draw for his salary? How much does the masjid cost to build and then run? How much are the costs for arabic programs in chicago?

Besides, we WANT the students to come into the class, into the environment, and take notes, and actively engage the material and learn it. We have plenty of CD sets which people pop into their cars and IPODs and retain only some part of the knowledge. The minute it becomes freely available, that can no longer happen.

6. I personally do not know that many huffaadh in Chicago, but the ones I knew of, I worked to get them into the program. In our flyers, we do advertise it, and in our special programs, this is also on the site. If our room was filled with huffaadh, that would be awesome.

If you know of an effective way to reach out to more huffaadh to come to take their yearly free class, let me know, and I would be happy to invite them all, insha’Allah.

Siraaj

27 02 2008
Mahmoud

Salamualaikum,
This is a very good topic to address. I think that the iman rushes a person gets while attending almaghrib seminars are priceless and really, brother Bandar has a valid point in that most other seminars are very expensive compared to these and while I haven’t attended many other Islamic seminars I can say with confidence that the almaghrib shayouk are way better than the other teachers in other seminars. Making almaghrib seminars a steal and worth the money. I also didn’t even talk about the fact that while attending these seminars you make bonds with your muslim brothers and sisters that you can’t make anywhere else. Jazzukumallahukhair for bringing up this topic and hopefully people can begin to see that these seminars aren’t so expensive for the benefit you get.

27 02 2008
Ridwaan Ali

Assalaamu Alaikum, jazakamullah khayr. Many people have asked me this question as well. Just a quick review of the ahadeeth and ayaat about the virtues of spending in the cause of Allah, and the virtues of seeking knowledge will remind people that the cost of the classes are not a big price to pay when it comes to seeking knowledge. Read the story of Abu Talha and his precious garden of Bayruha’. Read the hadeeth in Sahih Albukhari about the three reasons people keep horses.

Scholars have historically tested their students on their commitment and willingness to seek knowledge. One of the Muhaddith from Egypt Shaykh Abu Ishaaq Al-huwaynee said that when he wanted to seriously study hadeeth he went to Shaykh Albaani and the Shaykh (Rahimahumullah) refused him and said he didnt have time. Then Abu Ishaaq said whatever you have I’ll take it, Shaykh Albaani replied when I leave my house to go to the masjid for Salah then you can study with me on the way. Abu Ishaaq spent months like this then the Shaykh saw his determination he started spending hours teaching him. He became so beloved to Shaykh Albaani, when asked close to his death who the people should take Ahaadeeth from after his death, he said first Shaykh Muqbil and then Abu Ishaaq

Here in Egypt, if you go to some of the big shuyookh and say you want to study with them, the first question they will ask is you is, Have you memorized the Quran? How many hadeeth have you memorized? They will tell you go and memorize first, because they want to test your determination, and perseverance.

Similarly, I think Almaghrib is doing the same when asking people to pay the tuition. I think all of us would agree that paying $165 is much easier than memorizing the Quran, but insha’Allah if you do it there’s a free Almaghrib class waiting for you :-)

There’s always room for improvement and Almaghrib is always willing to hear suggestions.

Jazakumullah Khayr

3 03 2008
Curious_Me

Assalamu Alaikum,

How is it that the Tayyibun Institute (www.tayyibun.com) which has no external funding source yet have two fully functioning centres and employs dozens of qualified teachers from Medina University and other places able to teach students for more than reasonable affordable amount for months on end (not some one day or two day event) yet Al Maghrib and Al Kauthar charge so much?

It makes little sense when Tayyibun have rent/bills to pay, costs of resource material, have to pay teachers not for 1 day or 2 but months! Yet masha’allah their fees are not so high making it affordable for the community.

Also their quality of teaching is excellent as they go in depth through Kitabs, etc. so you fully understand the material.

Allaahu Alam how the brothers do all this for us.

Wa Alaikum wa Assalam

3 03 2008
Siraaj

JustCurious,

I’ve never heard of Tayyibun Institute til now, and I looked at the site. From what I gather, the instructor gives a semester long class in what appears to be a semester – is that correct?

I can’t speak for al Kauthar, but AlMaghrib classes have all that semester’s worth of material covered in two weekends – Friday 3 hours, Saturday and Sunday 12 hours, and then the same again next weekend (so 2 evenings, 4 full days, totaling 30 hours).

So it’s basically the same material in the same hours, it’s just a matter of how those hours are covered.

Secondly, your prices are cheaper for students in some classes, not so in others. And for workers, it’s not really cheap at all. Looking at the following page:

http://www.tayyibun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=40&Itemid=75

It seems your average course costs for students is 71.33 lbs or $141.69 / class – if AlMaghrib students pay 2 weeks before class, they pay $135. Now, I haven’t even added in your cost for people working. For working people, your class averages 81.33 lbs, or $161.55.

Your prices are actually more expensive.

Secondly, if you want to compare program costs, you ought to compare institutes that are similar. An institute that is based in one location will have costs which are unique to it vs an institute which is based nowhere but visits everyone.

Wallaahu a’lam.

Siraaj

4 03 2008
Curious_Me

Assalamu Alaikum,

Yeah I think they are UK based, not international?

They have Semesters (here we call them terms) lasting for three months period- thats right bro.

Sorry how can you cover all the semesters worth of material in two weekends?!? Thats not possible for the average brother or sister- have the Talib’ul Ilm who have gone on the path of knowledge ever managed to complete a full Kitab (unless its tiny) in depth with a Shaykh during that time ever? If you even proposed to go through the Kitab al Tawheed or Wasatiyyah like that with a Ustadh he would think you’re some comedian or exceptionally unique masha’allah!

Also Akh lets be clear after about two hours or so the mind drifts and ones attention span is gone- thats for everyone, its a proven fact that most teachers will know who have experience so how do you expect the average brother or sister to attend and actually learn (not just listen or inattentively sit there). As Institutes the point should not be to just state ‘oh but we taught you everything in two weekends- its complete, khalas’ but rather you should realise that even the students of knowledge have difficultly maintaining their attention so what do you expect of others? It should be justice of ilm not cost or for the sake of completing something so you can say ‘yeah they have been taught so they know it all now.’

Next al Kauthar and al Maghrib do not even teach the subjects in this particular methodological way ie. in terms of teaching through completing books as students of knowledge are taught (even Ustadh Muhammed and Ustadh Tawfique went through this process in their Medina days) rather its subject based i.e. one aspect of Aqeedah only such as ‘World of Unseen’ dealing with the ghaib so the students need to attend dozens of the al Maghrib/ al Kauthar courses to actually get the complete and full understanding of the Islaamic science which is very costly on the long run.

Also for more bigger subjects such as Wasatiyyah which I am enrolled for Tayyibun have only charged for one semesters worth when it will require two semesters i.e because its such a large subject masha’allah the Ustadh wants to teach adequately so he will take it slowly so we grasp a full understanding thereby regardless of the extra cost they are not charging for continuation and completion nor are they wanting the Ustadh to rush the subject. I don’t know its somethings like that they do for students yet not inform publicly to everyone which they do for us- see this info. is not on their website.

Akh also aside from a quality difference in timing and subjects you need to take into consideration currency difference when doing a price comparison between UK rate and US. In actual fact the course which most of the bros here demand ‘First Step to Quran’ is just too cheap considering its value and demand man.

When al Maghrib launch here they’ll see that for themselves in hiring just a room for one two days where as the Tayyibun brothers have to pay rent for their premises for a whole year regardless if its term time or not!

As in the case al Kauthar UK sometimes the other expense ie. hiring rooms is done in conjunction with ISOCs here ( eg. with UEL ISOC) so there are either no costs (as rooms are officially booked under ISOC name) or the expense is quite minimal yet the same course prices remain in place!

See the other thing I’ve noticed here is the community work- the Tayybun bros give back with free seminars and conferences to the public even whilst they still have more external expense of hiring halls to cater for such numbers whereby brothers and sisters attend and benefit from scholars that back them such as Shaykh Haitham al Haddad, see: http://www.tayyibun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=28&Itemid=40 for a few examples of this.

Tayyibun for their annual conference are again masha’allah helping the brothers and sisters without charge: http://tayyibun.com/Tayyibun%20Annual%20Con.jpg where as the likes of al Kauthar charged upto 20 pounds despite making enough money as it is from all their courses!

With these things you can see the difference between the brothers and why so many scholars and teachers here support them bro.

And by the way I am not a Tayyibun representative lol- I am just a student who studies with them currently.

Take care.

Wa Alaikum wa Assalam

4 03 2008
Curious_Me

Assalamu Alaikum,

Why has my reply you been deleted/ removed Akh?

I have it saved alhamdulillah- shall I re-post?

Wa Alaikum wa Assalam

4 03 2008
Curious_Me

Assalamu Alaikum,

Apologies its there now.

Take care.

Wa Alaikum wa Assalam

4 03 2008
Siraaj

It’s interesting, I can read your response in my email, but not on the blog, maybe it got marked by the spam blocker, let me see.

Siraaj

4 03 2008
siraaj

Salaam alaykum bro,

I read through everything you wrote twice, and I had this big smile on my face because I thought to myself, you don’t quite understand how AlMaghrib works =)

Ask yourself a simple question – why are students willing to pay anywhere between $135 – $175 (if they pay late) to sit two weekends straight through some boring Islamic seminar? And I’m not talking one or two, or 10 or twenty students here – I’m talking 200 students in our last class. Why would that be?

Answer – because it’s not boring. Our teachers have requirements, as does the flow of the class. Our teachers been trained to present professionally so that your attention DOESN’T wander as it might. The consistent feedback we get in Chicago, and in fact, that I just got was that the work we’re doing here is pioneering work – we’re not doing what everyone else is doing – we’re moving it to the next level so that people WANT to learn Islam.

We’re holding the organizers and the volunteers, and the program, to very high quality and professional standards. And that’s why, if you go to Toronto Canada, Yasir Qadhi’s Names and Attributes of Allah class had a class of 655 students in it, why Shaykh Muhammad’s Tafseer of the first Juz had over 550, as well as his Seerah class, and why in New York a class on Akhlaaq pulled in 300 students, and why if you look not just in these few areas, but all around the US and Canada, each city will host at least 100 students, if not more. here in chicago, when we put forth the effort, we get over 200 students in our classes.

I will say that a more personalized program will have its own advantages, and if you have students who will go to such a program and benefit, that’s great. Unfortunately, that only benefits the hardcore student of knowledge – how about reaching out to the masses? There is much that all of us need to implement and know, not as students of knowledge, but just as laypeople, and how many of us do so?

Lastly, for community service and free projects, i’d suggest checking out almaghrib forums – there are many many free projects and community service projects going on with Almaghrib students and programs.

Siraaj

PS – By the way, our dollar is far weaker these days, due to the warring, borrowing, and spending of the US government, so while the dollar of 2002 is not worth the dollar of 2008, the prices of classes have dropped, not increased, to keep up with inflation.

7 03 2008
Muslim007

Asalamolakum,

There has appears to be a lot of discussion in the blogsphere as of late with regard to the issues of classicism and ethnocentrism with regard to islamic organizations and institutes. I don’t want this to turn into an Al Maghrib bashing because there is no Islamic institute or organization in existence that doesn’t have this issue. But given that Al Maghrib is so popular, it is often the target!

With regard to the statement:
I’ve heard numerous lectures by Shaykh Muhammad Alshareef on AlMaghrib, and I haven’t yet heard one with the words that these courses were designed for Muslim youth with money to spend.

I dont agree with the above statement in any way. The cost is what it is and you can take it or leave it. For some its pennies and for others it is literally a couples of days salary. There is financial assistance available, but I understand why one would feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask- especially if the majority of the attendees are perceived as being wealthy. I think this is more of an internal/personal issue verses an institutional issue. AL Maghrib is not the end all be all institute, but if you want to take the classes and you need financial assistance then you have to humble yourself and apply!
Now moving on…

As a person who has actively taken Al Maghrib classes since they were first offered in the basement of masjid in College Park, there has definitely been a transformation in the student culture. I am not saying that this is a bad thing as this institute has really been a transforming force for many people. I am only in my late 20s and in some ways I feel that it is no longer a place where I feel I have a niche. I remember Al Maghrib’s student body way back when as a really representative group of individuals in terms of (age, class, gender, and ethnicity) dedicated to Islamic learning. Over time the Al Maghrib student demographic has changed somewhat- especially depending on qabeelah location. I don’t think as an institute it tries to attract only young affluent desi and arab kids, but just by the sheer nature who the active members are and the locations it is has expanded to (Houston, Chicago, NJ and so on) how could it not ? Even the types of discussions that are now posted on the forums have a different type of vibe. One can only stomach so many posts by 20 year old kids asking about how, why, where, and when they should get married. I am not saying that this isn’t an important topic, but as a child of non-immigrant non-muslim parents, I come from a different perspective -even when it concerns that topic. I am not bashing the institute in any way. I highly respect brother Muhammad A. in his endeavors to bring Islamic learning to the masses. May allah continue to make him successful! I’m Sorry I went off on a little tangent. I know most of my conversation had nothing to do with the cost, but this topic seems to be all over the place!

24 03 2008
Muslimah

What an interesting discussion, I just finished reading each and every post right now. I don’t have Al Maghrib in my city, however I have Al Kauthar here in Australia. Each Al Kauthar class will cost $95 here. Apart from the costs of each class going towards funding the course itself, I feel that when you spend such a big amount you put value into what you are learning. You take it more seriously, rather then a free class… in which you can easily avoid and there is no loss on your part.

Why is it today that if you were do studies in a university, college or any other learning institutes the fees are normally high. We either pay the fees or we apply for a scholarship or a concession… Tell me who seriously goes on whining about the cost being too much and deprives themselves of this education.

Why is it that when it comes to Islam everyone becomes critical! As for these Al Maghrib courses, if you can’t afford well and truly then make dua to Allah and inshallah there is someone out there to help you. I don’t earn a lot, I’m actually a student that alhamdulilah that has under $1000 in my bank account BUT If I were to see someone who was very eager to gain knowledge, I would be more than happy to help them out. Pay some of their fees or all of it! After all its a Sadaqa increases your wealth.

Don’t let the shaytan give you excuses and if you do have wealth then don’t hold onto wealth too much, like I learnt in one of my Al Kauthar classes…’ Treat wealth like the toilet, use it when you need to’. If you go with the right intentions, Allah will reward you greatly for your sacrifice.

Walaiykum Musalam.

30 03 2008
Watch your intention?

First of all, kudos (Thakbeer Allah Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar) to every institute which is established and effort by founders, sheikhs, teachers and volunteers who are making any effort to carry Islam the way it befits them.

Discussion about money which is never ours, it’s an Amana and we will be questioned about it’s spendings, it depends on whether I love it for myself or give it for the sake of Allah. Ilm of deen is priceless, so no value is worth the price, for the one who is charging or the one who is paying. One who has to pay should not hesitate solely because you are returning back to Allah, one who is charging you got to think if it is the money which is bring any discipline or seriousness

Ilm of Allah’s deen is an Amana as well, just because one was bestowed hidayaa from Allah to seek the knowledge and be proficient, and some volunteer workers who are hardworking and are talented by the grace of Allah to bring some discipline and organization they put a PRICE TAG to themselves that they deserve the money.

What if all the sahaba’s would have asked people in those days, to give them what they have to learn Quran, Sunnah and Aqidah from them just to make the students become serious. And what if those sahabaa’s would have said well there is no transportation and you have to come and only for a “double weekend”, or think about one sahaba complaining about another sahaba’s teaching methodologies, I ask Allah to protect me from such ill thoughts, Ameen.

Dear brothers and sisters, I am not a scholar to give Naseeha to anyone, but I see these same discussion and argument, people get so offended with each others criticism, this post is not to discourage anyone in their support for an organization and not to encourage someone to go against an institute. Be mindful, we will be rewarded/punished for our intentions. I would rather love to see people support the purity of Islam and teaching capabilities of our beloved Prophet. It’s NOT AlKauther, AlMaghrib, or others that matter, the most important thing is contents which is ISLAM through QURAN & Sunnah. Stop being so supportive and possessive about your institutes or sheikh, let’s just be thankful of each others existence, support each other and encourage for the sake and ONLY for the sake of Allah s.w.t

May Allah open our hearts and bring us close to work on a common goal, there is a saying to succeed outside (school,workplace, etc), you need to first succeed in home (personal behavior, relationship with other family members, etc). Similarly, for our dawa’h to succeed to non-muslims, remember we need to succeed in our dawa’h

30 03 2008
Siraaj

Salaam alaykum “Watch Your Intention”,

I agree with everything you said except the following:

“What if all the sahaba’s would have asked people in those days, to give them what they have to learn Quran, Sunnah and Aqidah from them just to make the students become serious. And what if those sahabaa’s would have said well there is no transportation and you have to come and only for a “double weekend”, or think about one sahaba complaining about another sahaba’s teaching methodologies, I ask Allah to protect me from such ill thoughts, Ameen.”

The problem is that you are dealing with a different culture of Muslim today. In the time you have quoted, you had Muslims who understood the concept of putting Ihsaan into their work. Their standard came from wanting to please Allah subhaana wa ta’aala. The students had a higher standard as well, when acquiring the knowledge.

The methodology of AlMaghrib Institute is designed to combat the weaknesses and excuses that the modern western Muslim may place to keep him or herself away from knowledge which they most certainly need. And, regarding value, I’ll take it a step further and add that results are what matters most – I was in the MSA for 8 years, and no matter what people did, event turnout was low and the consolation was “It’s not the quanity, it’s the quality.” The old “either/or” mindset, rather than an “and” mindset – we can have quantity AND quality.

When events are free, people start disappearing. I’ve even seen on my side, volunteers who get free classes don’t take them seriously and don’t show up, or take it casually, coming when they feel like, and doing other priorities of dunya instead. Would that have been the attitude of the sahaba to knowledge? Absolutely not, which is why I don’t believe this is a fair comparison.

Another reason this is not a fair comparison is because the sahaba stayed in one area and taught the knowledge – the students spent time and money traveling to be with those teachers, not the other way around. If all the AlMaghrib teachers said, we’ll stay in our area, the students should come to us, then how many students would come? That number drops. Then you say, how much would people pay to the nonMuslims for transportation costs to get to the shaykh?

A high quality effort like AlMaghrib requires serious planning, and I would say the majority of people who complain about prices and methodology are often naive to what it takes to run an organization successfully so that it turns enough of a profit to support the employees who work full or part time on this daw’ah effort, as well as the imams who develop their curriculums and teach them as they are.

Pick up the book E-Myth Mastery by Michael Gerber, and try to wrap your head around the material. If you think after that you have a better model that can:

1. Financially compensate the teachers and staff well
2. Provide an attractive quality event that people want to attend
3. Keep costs for the students lower than where they are now

Then I’d really like to see it myself.

Siraaj

13 05 2008
shedding light

as-salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

I would like to shed a some light on some of our brothers and sisters who may not be aware of the real picture behind organising an event. Sometimes all we may see is that the organisation is making a huge ‘profit’. Sometime we rush to our calculators and calculate…let’s see, if there are 250 students in a course and they are being charged 60lbs then this equals to 15000 uk pounds. WOW. I too was sceptical until i asked one of the organisers then i just kept making dua for them after that to Allah to make them successful and sustainable.

Let’s try to breakdown a typical course for UK for 250 students. (In some cities you may get 350 and others around 150. So its an average)

- Hall (main lecture hall and refreshment rooms) £5000. (one may get some hall in some cities for a discount but in other cities it may be huge).
- Course folders/notes at £1247.5
- TV Ad £3000
- Radio ad £350
- Flyers/Posters £400
- Refreshments £400
- Accessories (pens, pencils, paper, stapler, bluetack etc)£300
- Logistics (fuel, car/van hire, taking lecturer from to various cities during his visit)£300
- Instructors flight & hotel (get a quote from America to Australia or Australia to UK on short notice) £1500
- Free scholarships to non-muslims, new reverts and anyone else struggling financially worth over £1200

The total already comes to about £13700. So its a ‘profit’ of about £1300. Now this is without giving a gift to the instructor. Dont you think that we owe our teachers some sort of appreciation for their hard work and time?

Personally I would feel embarassed if i attended a long course knowing the time and effort put into it by the shaykh and he was not given anything as a token of appreciation. I mean doesnt he have a family to feed and expences to pay for too?

In some cities one may make a profit and in others a loss. A lot of extra funding is also required when the courses are to start off in a new city. So all these costs money.

How long will you keep asking people to donate ‘fee sabilillah’ to cover the costs? Many Institues have had to close because it was not sustainable. So i hope we turn our anger into duas and ask Allah to help sustain these sort of courses to benefit the ummah. We are usually happy or dont complain when it comes to funding our secular education yet rush to complain when it’s to do with the deen.

I am sure both the organisations mentioned above do help those who are financially struggling. It is certainly the case for Alkauthar Institute. I personally heard shaykh Tawfique say that ‘finance should never become an obstacle in seeking knowledge with Alkauthar.’ Everytime some stuggling who wrote to them they were helped by either a big discount or in many cases given free scholarships.

I hope we will think twice next time and appreciate what Allah has blessed us with. Just a quick reminder of the ayah to you all, ‘wala in shakarta la azidan nakum’ (And if you were to thank Him He will give you more).

was-salam

10 08 2010
bolidauto

WOW!!! Its really cool! Super!!!

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