You may have noticed that we have an awesome new partner and sponsor Alif Arabic, as demonstrated by this incredibly cool, new, personalized flash button by our very own in-house KidBloggersClub Digital Design Services.
Anyways, my girls and I have been taking Qur’an and Arabic for about two weeks now full-time and absolutely love their services! As you know, we are a very mobile family; in the past four years, we have not been in one city, state, or country for more than four months at a time. We recently returned from a six month trip to Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Gaza. In just the past three weeks, we have been in five states (and NOT just “passing by” them; we stayed days and nights traveling as tourists or visiting extended family).
The purpose of sharing our extremely hectic schedule is to emphasize two things:
- We’ve tried MANY Qur’an and Arabic programs, class-settings (i.e., private tutors, immersion overseas, small group classes, etc.) and curriculum,
- Consistency is difficult in both their Qur’anic and Arabic studies because of our mobile lifestyle.
Starting with Alif Arabic
To put our review in perspective, I will share our present status when we started with Alif Arabic two weeks ago:
Alhamdulillah, the girls and I are very comfortable shopping overseas by ourselves and holding conversations in Arabic. The girls have traveled to over a half-dozen Arab countries, regardless of the dialect, everyone thinks our oldest two are fluent in Arabic. They know how to adapt to Palestinian, Egyptian, and Saudi Arabian Arabic, but when they are in other countries, they use fusha Arabic to communicate. Our youngest speaks comfortably with kids (who all think she’s fluent), but with teachers and adults she’s less comfortable. While our girls have taken classes in formal writing and reading; I never took any formal or informal Arabic classes. I learned conversational Arabic from living overseas for collectively three years.
Two of my three girls have been taught the Qur’an with arkam, the rules of Tajweed since they were very young. The youngest and I were just taught arkam for the first time this past year in Gaza. I do not focus on memorization; my goal is to read the Qur’an correctly according to the rules of Tajweed.
How Many Lessons We’ve Taken So Far
As of today, my girls had seven and a half hours of Qur’an; 30 minutes a day for five days a week each; two hours of Arabic thirty minutes a day for three days a week each. I have taken three hours of Qur’an and three hours of Arabic classes 45 minutes a day twice a week.
Top 10 Reasons Why Alif Arabic Is The Ideal Qur’an and Arabic Program Online
- Alif Arabic Accepts Girls and Women. Yes, our No. 1 problem with a family of three girls and a non-Arabic speaking wife has been to simply find a program who teaches females and have female teachers to teach us!
- Schedules the First Class Within 24 Hours. Since we travel so much, we need the flexibility and ability to schedule almost on-demand. While this may sound quite “demanding” to try to find a program to fit “my” crazy lifestyle; I’ve always been a mom who takes quite a while to decide to make a purchase, but when I make that purchase I want access right away. In a non-Muslim country, Qur’an and Arabic classes are in high-demand, so it always frustrated me that due to limited resources (typically human resources, and lack of know-how) to meet the growing need for flexible scheduling for classes.
- Classes Are Available 24 Hours a Day, 7 Days a Week For Students All Around the World. With a hectic travel schedule both internationally and nationally, being able to have instructors available 24-7 is absolutely awesome! I think this is very important that parents can schedule evening or weekend classes to satisfy their school kids’ schedule. However, I prefer normal business hours and the least busy times of the day which are rarely available from in-demand Arabic or Qur’an tutors because they are typically teaching in schools during those times. Most online programs, even if they publicize “great availability,” at time of scheduling, could never accommodate me. I know that Alif Arabic even has students in the UK and Australia, Alhamdulillah. Note: Students must be at least 6 years of age.
- Many Highly-Trained Male and Female Qur’an and Arabic Instructors. Keyword = Trained. I specifically did not use the word “Qualified,” because instructors may have titles showing that they know the Qur’an or Arabic language, but have no teaching experience or training in being a teacher.
- Native Arabic Speakers. The greatest advantage of a Native Arabic speaker is the natural pronunciation of letters and words. However, often a teacher’s dialect and accent gets in the way of teaching fusha Arabic. Fortunately, all three of our teachers are either scholars or well-taught in Qur’an; thereby making their Arabic ideal and nearly perfect. We had many Egyptian teachers both in the States and in Egypt itself, and often they are great Qur’an teachers but poor Arabic teachers. We have not found this to be the case at all with the Alif Arabic instructors.
- Arabic Instructors Have Excellent English. While finding a good Native Arabic-speaking teacher is difficult, finding one (let alone three or more) who have a good grasp of the English language is extremely difficult! My girls explain in great detail in their Alif Arabic review here. They explain how frustrating it is to have your Arabic teacher correct you in English the “exact” translation in English which is in poor, broken, unnatural, or incorrect English. It is one of my husband’s and my greatest pet peeves in learning another language. We want all our girls to be fluent in their reading and writing that they will be able to translate English to Arabic and vice versa. So, if you are to translate “al-bint al-hilwah” to “the girl, the pretty” it would be awkward and wrong. It’s “the pretty girl.” In almost every single case, overseas and in the States, an Arabic teacher would take offense or say we were wrong to correct them and insist it’s “the girl pretty” and simply take out the second article “the” to prove they know both languages better. We often witness that arrogance get in the way of a decent Arabic teacher, rather than pride in helping someone learn their native tongue.
- Instructors Love Their Work. The best of teachers love to teach their greatest passions. It’s so obvious that our three teachers love the Qur’an and the Arabic language, and love teaching it effortlessly. We’ve found many times in the States, an Arabic teacher is a teacher by default, a native-Arabic speaker who’s trying to fill the void of an Arabic teaching position, so they’re just doing their job–and quite poorly. However, this is definitely not the case for our Alif Arabic instructors.
- Instructors are Determined To Have Their Students Succeed By First Loving What They Are Learning. Alif Arabic teachers are encouraging, motivating, and happy throughout all of our lessons. They are extremely patient during the most difficult lessons too. Never once have my girls or I felt stupid, ashamed of our mistakes, or even hesitant in trying in fear of possibly sounding idiotic. They all want us to succeed; and this stems from their pure dedication to these subjects, not as a job. We are very fortunate that we have some of their most experienced instructors–all whom you can feel a profound love for Allah subhan Allahu wa Ta’ala. I find that my girls and I are first to laugh at our own mistakes to lighten the mistake…never have any of our teachers laughed, so we know they’d never laugh “at” us. They quickly remark with encouraging words and politely say “try again” or “listen to me”. The amount of patience and pleasantries that are extended by all three instructors to all four of us is remarkable and highly unusual for both Qu’ran and Arabic instructors we’ve ever encountered. Again, we’ve have dozens of instructors too. Masha’Allah, Alif Arabic instructors are ideal!
- Comprehensive Curriculum with Well-Paced Assessments.
- Arabic. The curriculum focuses on Modern Conversational Arabic, with certain benchmarks in Grammar, Listening, Reading and Writing. The first class is dedicated to assessing the student’s abilities. Depending upon your level of Arabic, the class is used with a mix of Arabic and English. However, there is emphasis in your correction comprehension of the language so you are able to translate what you are speaking or reading.
- Qur’an. My girls and I studied with an incredible tutor 6-days a week in Gaza this past Winter and we returned determined not to let our momentum drop. Masha Allah, we were very fortunate to have 1 of the 2 Shaikhs who has an ijaza and can give an ijaza for them. Masha Allah, to work with one of these Shaikhs the student must be serious and more advanced, as their time is very valuable. Masha Allah, the older two have been accomplishing amazing things with him during our short 2-weeks. However, he has formed an incredible relationship with our youngest which literally has brought her love, devotion, and abilities to a whole new level. Always the “cute youngest one” who can get away with slipping on homework, or just being passed off with the same surahs over and over again; Shaikh has found a way to encourage her to reach levels we all know possible. My girls have the utmost respect for him (as they do all their Qur’an teachers, many having been Shaikhs, Hafiz, etc.); however, they marvel at his most beautiful recitation of the Qur’an. They love his immense level of patience we have never seen in any Imam, Hafiz or Shaikh who teaches Qur’an to kids EVER before! Just like default Arabic instructors, its obvious when an Imam doesn’t want, like or know how to teach to kids. We’ve seen, heard, and watch screaming, hitting Imams both overseas and here in the States! All my girls are eager to please him with very strict homework but given in the most kind voice and tone (mashaAllah). They’ve always known that their goal is first to please Allah and their parents. However, they “feel” they can really do it with the help of this Shaikh, and we envision a lifelong relationship with him; insha Allah. My female instructor, masha Allah, helps me move faster than I’ve ever moved in 2-days’ work simply because she has an immense amount of patience, she allows me to move at my pace, and she teaches and corrects me until we perfect it together.
- Fun, Interactive, Personalized, Student-Paced One-On-One Classes. Having some very bad experiences this past winter in three different Arab countries learning Arabic and working with Muslims–sadly to say–my girls were really turned off by the Arabic language. They resented it for many reasons, and I totally empathize with them because they were ridiculed and bullied by Arab-speaking Muslim children and adults–something that would NOT happen here in the U.S…or at least, it NEVER happened by non-Muslims here to us in the U.S.! Anyways, aware that they must learn Allah’s language and obey their parents, they went through the steps simply to “get the job done.” Having experienced Umrah helped them maintain their Qur’an, but wanting to keep a language of people who hurt them the most was not a pleasurable thing. Knowing Arabic is a desired language for the Ivy Leagues somewhat encouraged them, and knowing we have a “private language” when we’re in public and want to talk privately kept it alive a bit too. However, the past 2-months have been more difficult–until meeting Alif Arabic. They actually look forward to Arabic! The biggest compliment I can share is: They Want More Arabic Classes! The girls and I agreed that 3-days a week of Arabic is more than enough, especially if they get homework. You must remember, we’re not traditional homeschoolers, so taking 5-days-a-week classes of anything besides Qur’an is an atypical regime for us.
- Fun & Interactive. They are not bored at all. The 30-minutes goes by so fast. They’re reading, speaking, listening, writing notes, and can’t wait to start using their Writing Pad. I already started using the Writing Pad.
- Well-paced. All of us are where we feel is appropriate, and the assessments were right on target!
- One-on-One Skype Webcast. The full 30 minutes is dedicated just to one single person. No sharing time with other classmates, wasting time, or falling asleep. Note: All you need is a computer with Internet access, and a free Skype account.
- Monthly Reports. One service only Alif Arabic offers is their fully-translated Arabic-to-English monthly progress report for each student. While we haven’t received one, on the first day the Shaikh and his wife talked to me. Once the Shaikh had one issue with 2 of my daughters and the next day, they came back over-pleasing him, alhumdulilah. So, even an extra minute here and there between the teacher and parent was extremely helpful!
- Acceptable Cancellation and Reschedule Policy. When we started, I informed Customer Service of my anticipated week off. They have a generous 72-hour cancellation and reschedule policy. Since I gave them weeks’ notice, and informed them that I most definitely can give them 48-hours notice, once I reported my ~60 hours notice, we were able to cancel all classes and were not penalized. They have room for emergencies, and have a strict tardiness policy. In most cases both the instructors and the four of us have all be well-prepared and early/on-time for class, Alhamdulillah.
- Professional Business Designed To Meet A Great Demand. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a huge demand for Qur’an and Arabic teaching services, however I’ve talked to about three different programs like Alif Arabic over the past 3 years, and never able to find time, a female instructor, or qualified instructor. Also, having an average American family size of 3 kids, and my interest in learning as well; balancing 4 students for 2 different classes is quite difficult. However, with the 24-hour scheduling, the 24-7 classes availability, and all the above reasons–Alif Arabic is by far the very best online program I can find for my own family let alone to recommend to you. The best part is, they even found me (just like 2 of the 3 of their competitors did). Now, since they approached me given my strict desires in the “ideal” program, I had the pleasure to speak and work directly with their Head Director, Head of Marketing, and Head of Ambassador program. I assure you, Alif Arabic and their staff is committed to pleasing their clients and growing their brand.
- Customer Service Oriented. Their customer service reps work 24-7 as well; and they are incredible! They make all the scheduling possible. If you made it this far–you know scheduling and rescheduling my family’s classes must be crazy. I’m just happy they’re making it all possible–subhan Allah, with our preferred instructors. I know we’re early in the game, so my biggest recommendation is: Get In Now! We already built life-long relationships; and we’re all committed to keeping our present instructors even with our three hour time difference change.
- Lofty Goals. I’m so happy for Alif Arabic, alhumdulilah. They just secured a federal grant, because they are employing Egyptian employees post-revolution. They have Lofty Goals of Multiplying their present student base of ~220 students worldwide and ~2-dozen instructors by A Lot by the end of this year! And, I want to help them; don’t you? We’ll all gain from it too! More in the bonus section below.
- Most Affordable. I’m extremely frugal…one of the biggest reasons we stayed overseas for 4-months rather than 1: because it’s so much cheaper to learn Arabic and Qur’an there–often free. However, if you read above–free is not necessarily the best at all! When compared to their competitors, there’s no competition! For the amount of hours offered–the rates are low. MUCH lower than my private tutors; AND nothing compared to an evening or weekend class with untrained, over-stuffed classes for both Qur’an AND Arabic, because these are all one-on-one classes.
- Offers a 2-Class FREE Trial; So Get Started Today! Sign up here, and Please do not forget to say American Muslim Mom referred you. Yes, I will get a tiny percentage if you decide to register, however, you can too if you continue to read the bonuses below.
5 Bonus Reasons Why You Should Use Alif Arabic
- Summer Intensive Programs Designed for High School and College Students or Adults. Highly intensive three or six week program for either two or four hours per day, five days a week. Due to our hectic summer travel schedule, we did not even consider this option; but looking at the curriculum depending how far we all get throughout the upcoming year we’re may definitely be interested next Summer, Insha’Allah.
- Creative Marketing – #RamadanReady – 50% Off The Summer Intensive. Are you Ready for Ramadan? How are you preparing for Ramadan? Tweet and/or Facebook your Ramadan preparation with the hashtag #RamadanReady and tag @alifarabic, to receive 50% discount on these classes. More information available below:
- Register Today for Limited Time Only Special Discount for AmericanMuslimMom Followers! Totally convinced by this review? No need for the free trial? Ready to jump in a secure a great instructor right now? Register here for $88/monthrather than regular $95/month.
- Need-Based Scholarships Available! Can’t afford or even need partial financial assistance? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to mention American Muslim Mom as well!
- Get Paid To Refer Students! Want to grow your income by promoting an incredible much-needed service? Become an Alif Arabic Ambassador and gain a percentage of the monthly subscription. Join this Referral Program Today, and please don’t forget to say American Muslim Mom referred you!
My girls and I genuinely love Alif Arabic and feel that everything they offer is meeting our religious, personal, and academic needs. We know will be continue to use their services as I, personally, have big goals in mind and have been working on side-projects that will only make their services even better and more marketable. I’m offering my expertise, and personal time because I feel its all a service to Allah subahan Allahu wa Ta’ala. I’m also enjoying these incredible lifelong relationships with the various staff during our short time working with them–all because I took the first step and said “Yes” to letting Alif Arabic enter our home on a daily basis! Won’t you let them enter your homes?
Honestly, you have nothing to loose and everything to gain! With Ramadan around the corner, wouldn’t it be an awesome accomplishment to say Ramadan 2012 was so memorable for me because I was able to Read and Recite Qur’an based on the rules of Tajweed–all because I choose to invest in myself AND my kids by using AlifArabic!? Feel free to ask any questions or share any concerns you may have in the comments alone.
Islamic Warning: We do not listen to music, so If you don’t either, please mute your speakers before you watch any of their advertising videos. The sideshows are so well-paced with highly-descriptive content that you do not need to listen to the narrations and/or background music.
Disclosure: I received services for my review in exchange for my online publicity services which includes writing this blogpost; however all views and opinions are all my own–remember lying is haram .
- Review: Alif Arabic – Affordable Online Qur’an and Arabic Program
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- Learning Qur’an – Arabic as a second language
- Free Teacher’s Manuals from The History Channel