Saturday, January 23, 2010

Sisters studying in Mauritania

Several emails keep reaching me from different people asking numerous questions about studying in Mauritania. Some of them to mention a few are: can sisters study in Mauritania, can I study arabic in Mauritania, are there provisions for families coming from the west, what is the rent cost in the village?

Insha ALLAH, I will try to answer only few questions that keep reaching me and I hope my answers help.

Sisters studying in Mauritania.
In reality, less has been done to enable sisters study in Mauritania under the tutelage of these amazing Shuyukh. Well, not to blame the Shuyukh because the environment is even not to inviting for males not to mention about the females.

I have been able to speak to my teacher on this issue and I found out that before the solution was discussed, I found sisters studying in the village where I study at present.
Nabbaghiyyah for me is a place in Mauritania that is second to none. In terms of ilm and access to Shuyukh, this is the number one place to be in Mauritania unlike what you can find in other mahaadhir.

I know of two brothers who are presently here with their wives studying with the Shuyukh. One of the brothers has a daughter. Their wives are taking lessons from the wife of one of the shuyukh here. She woman is the daughter of one of the great Shuyukh here in the village before his demise last year.

I have another teacher here whose wife is very learned. She can as well give lessons to the sisters that desire to study under her tutelage.

Close to where I live is a Qur'anic school where young sisters are memorizing the Qur'an. Few sisters from the village gather there five days a week to read to one of the mothers in the village who champions the affairs of the sisters studying in the school.

Getting accomodation for sisters shouldn't be a problem as I can speak to my teacher on this. But proper arrangement has to be made before coming. Renting a house in the village with flowing tap water and VERY basic facilities could be made available. In Mauritania, you don't really need much. There are small shops in the village to get ones needs or pay someone who can be delivering ones need everyday.

As for children studying here, that is not a problem. I have seen many small boys studying Qur'an, fiqh and Nahwu here and they are doing very fine. Small boys read to advanced students what they have studied and they can take lessons directly from the Shuyukh if they understand arabic language. Small boys do memorize Qur'an in the same place young sisters memorize.

There is also a small primary and secondary school in the village. I have spoken to children who study there and I am amazed at the level of their arabic fluency and knowledge of the Islamic sciences. So parents can register their wards in these schools if they fear their children won't be able to study if they come with them.

As for things they study here. They study almost all the common sciences taught in every part of the Islamic schools. But the major prerequisite a student need to fulfill before studying here is to possess a sound knowledge of arabic before making a move to come here.

Sisters, brothers and children have access to basic human needs. And for those who want to buy the whole world with them will have to go to the capital, get themselves what they need and have it transported to the village by the drivers who travel to the village everyday.

Everyone can study in the village. There is no one to big to study here. I have heard so many people tell me that, you know I am from this country so it will be difficult for me to acclamatize to the environment. This is very untrue and I see this as an excuse or laziness to seek the knowledge that has be made obligatory upon us. We have seen people from some of the wealthiest countries, from wealthy families that have decided to sacrifice their dunya for their aakhirah and they came out outstanding while they were seeking this beautiful knowledge. There are others from rich countries that had nothing but came to these villages, spent years working as builders under difficult situations, toiling to survive and at the same time studying. These are the true men because their Himmah (zeal) was too high and nothing could have suppressed it. Back home, we sleep on wonderful foams, nice sofas but we are here sleeping on mats, blankets and we find them more comfortable than the beds. It is not that we can't afford good forms but we now find sweetness on these mats than sleeping on bouncing foams and beds. This is one amongst many that we have learnt from his beautiful tradition (SAW), his companions and the pious predecessors.

As for internet, you can get a connection if you have a laptop and subscribe to the chinquitel internet provider. Chinquitel is one of the mobile phone service providers in Mauritania. It is not too expensive depending on your pocket.

Expenses; It is not too expensive to live in Mauritania. If you choose to be studying in the village, then there is no cause to worry except for students who have chosen to be frequenting the city then you will end up spending more during your visitations. Traveling to the city should only be during the times of necessity.

Visa extention here is the easiest thing to do. All you need is get your visa from the border or from any of the closest Mauritanian embassies. No visas at the airport.

Students can also join unversity studies with the mahdhara programme together. Many students here are registered at the universities and take lessons from the Shuyukh in the villages. During examination days, they leave for the universities, write their exams then return back to the villages. Such students even do better than those who attend lectures in the universities daily.

My teachers also teach at the one of the universities in the capital, MA and PhD students. They leave the village during the weekends days (thursday and friday) when there are no lessons in the village, deliver their duties then return to the village at the end of the weekend.

Students can study at any time of the year. No formal registeration required or filling of application form.

No arabic institutes available to enable beginners to study arabic but for those at an intermediate and advanced levels, they can have start taking lessons from the Shuyukh with the later faring better than the former.

I have discussed with the my teacher, the son of the Shaykh of the school about the need to start an arabic institute for non-speakers and I have been given a go-ahead to start up with this project. We need people to share with us ideas, suggestions that will enable us realize this dream.

We also need contribution from brothers and sisters to start up the institute and in completion of the school mosque which will be used as the prayer room and where lessons will be taken.

I decided to hurriedly write this before leaving for the village today. I have no much time to correct my mistake or put my words well. I ask those whose questioned are yet to be answered to give me time. Insha ALLAH in the nearest future, I will put up a comprehensive write up to answer these questions.

Your duas for this slave in this path.
Wa salla ALLAHU 'ala HabeebiHi wa aalihi was sallam.