Sunday, January 26, 2020

This blog

This blog is a copy and paste of various forum posts from an old website called  The posts and comments are from various authors.

Singapore - activities

One thing that has to be said about Singapore is that it is well designed and has plenty of recreational activities. Parks and other facilities are spread out throughout the island, so that there is always something nearby any area that you are staying in. Among the few things that I noticed while living there for a year was:

1) Libraries. The Singapore library system is very good, integrated, and has lots of branches all over the island.

2) Parks. There are small playgrounds readily accessible to all of the high density housing areas. The place that we stayed at had at least 4 to choose from within a few minutes walk. They are well maintained and have good equipment. Larger parks have more facilities, and can be easily accessed by bus. Parks are spread out throughout the island. Details of each are on their website: Parks are connected for biking, jogging, etc:

3) Community centers. There are various centers from very small to large, throughout the island. They run activities and courses for all ages.

4) Science center: This is a bit far away on one side of the island. It has a yearly family membership program though, so you can enjoy many trips out there. There is a lot to do, and things are always changing. They also have an imax theatre.

Other than that, there are a lot of museums and other activities that can be found. Getting a good travel guide will help you plan your free time.

Singapore - cost of living

I've seen references saying that the cost of living in Singapore is very high compared to many other countries. I would have to disagree with that in some aspects (based on living there for one year).

What is high:

Rent. Depending on location and quality, prices can pretty high. Although if you stay out farther on the edges of the island and not in close proximity to a train station, you should be able to get a more affordable place.

Vehicles. If you're not very rich, don't bother. Singapore tries to limit the number of vehicles on the island, so they only allow a certain number of vehicles to be purchased every year. This is done by auction, and the permits are likely going to be more than the cost of most cars. The public transport there is excellent, and taxis are widely available. There really isn't a need for a car. Its purely a status symbol there.

What is not high:

Education. I was quite surprised how cheap the islamic kindergartens and primary/secondary madrasa seemed to be.
Food. In most cases, I found the prices of groceries to be similar to what you would see in Malaysia once you convert SGD to MYR. Eating out is not much different as well.
Transport. Public transport isn't too expensive.
Internet/utilities. I don't remember these being very high either.

Singapore - general Islamic info

Without going into too much detail here, the majority of Singapore's muslims are Malay, so they are very similar in beliefs and practices you would find in Malaysia (see the forum there). There are several other pseudo-islamic sects that you will find in Singapore, which are more underground in Malaysia. There is an Ahmadiyyah masjid (masjid taha), a baha'i organization, as well as a Shia masjid. Some sunni masjids have more than one solat time due to madhab differences.

There is a government agency controlling islamic affairs ( They help handle general muslim affairs (masjids, zakat, marriage, funeral, etc). There is a halal certification for Singapore, however in comparison to Malaysia, there are far less restaurants and food suppliers that bother with selling halal food. The Islamic hub is located in Toa Payoh North bordering Bishan. There is a madrasah school in the same compound as Muis and one of the larger masjids. Some masjids will display translations of the Khutbah in english on projectors.

Other than masjids, prayer space is almost non existant. There are some websites that try to keep up with Musollah locations, but if you start looking in Singapore, the results are quite strange. In the year that I lived there, I don't think I found any place outside of a masjid. Usually what was listed was stairwells, part of a parking lot, going to some office and asking for a specific person so you can use their closet, etc. There are a fair number of masjids at least, though they may be out of walking distance, and transport may be a bit slow.

Singapore - prayer locations

What was once a few online text lists of prayer locations has now been moved to a better (map integrated) site including masjids and other prayer locations A mobile application also exists for this purpose:

Alternatively, this site has recent postings (with pictures):

Singapore - halal food

The Singapore Islamic council has a halal certification program and also provides a list of certified locations: Unfortunately the list is a PDF, so its not quite so useful as a search system.

Singapore - Permanent residency

From what I have heard and read, Singapore PR doesn't have much for time requirements in terms of when you can apply. Its open for anyone there on a work pass. Approval is based on a wide range of evaluation criteria (length of time there, family ties, job skills, ability to contribute, education background, your age [younger is better], etc).

The island is suffering from the same problem that is found in Japan. The country's population is shifting towards age imbalance with too many people aging and the younger generation not having enough kids. So, besides providing incentives for locals to have more kids, the PR program is set up to help bring in younger people who can contribute economically.

One thing to note, PR's may be required to serve in national service. This may vary depending on the type of PR path you take and other factors.

Reference 1
Reference 2

Turkey - citizenship

Disclaimer: I haven't been to Turkey and don't know much about it, although I recently heard it is quite easy to immigrate and stay there. Checking online confirmed this, however one requirement (besides length of time stayed) is turkish language ability.

General requirements:

1) 5 years of uninterrupted stay in Turkey (some places say if you are married to a citizen it is only 3 years)
2) Good character
3) disease free
4) able to support self financially and taken steps to show they intend to reside in turkey

Reference 1
Reference 2
Reference 3

Another more detailed guide to turkish citizenship.

Sudan - citizenship

Disclaimer: This information is from online research sources and excerpts of Sudanese law. Actual process may be more complicated.

Source (Sudanese Nationality Act of 1994 and 2011 (amended))

Citizenship can be obtained by nationalization for those who:

Are a sane adult
Resident in Sudan for more than 5 years
Good moral conduct

Other sources are mixed on some of the information regarding length of time. Arabic language proficiency may be another requirement. Dual citizenship may not be recognized either. [secondary source]

Sudan - in general

by Ibraheem

I have been looking into Sudan for awhile now. I had thought of going there for hijrah but I was brought to Kuwait at this time. I am still thinking about Sudan as I am told it is fairly easy to attend a good university there and I am looking to extend my education.

I have a Sudanese friend who works for UNICEF and lives in east Sudan currently. I also have some Sudanese students. Sudanese people are by far some of the friendliest I have ever met, and I have met many different peoples from all corners of the world. Sudan is an Islamic country, but if thinking of going there, you must prepare yourself if you are more a follower of the Sunnah as it seems great numbers of the population follow more of a sufi type path. I have not visited there yet, but this is what I am finding in my research. For example, the Prophet peace be upon him, his birthday is a big big celebration there where many people sit together and do dhikr and I have seen on youtube, dancing and drum beating etc. I see it as a great place to do dawah of the Sunnah.

I am currently doing more research about getting jobs and housing there and will update as soon as I learn more in shaa Allah. From what I can tell, the country is at peace now, there are still many problems in South Sudan and it is not surprising. The west does not like the government of Sudan at all and in shaa Allah will not make any more major problems in the country.


I have been able to maintain hijrah and am now in Sudan Allhamdullilah. For westerners, you must have someone make a visa for you, like a sponsor. It isn't really too difficult, it is basically a service that some people can provide. Costs around 500usd for my families visas to be made here. But we received a discount and it was done for us on very short notice. Many foreigners are here to study Arabic and Islamic studies in the International University of Africa. Few westerners though. The westerners are mostly studying at the Kulliya Jebra. I will post more after getting settled into housing etc. in shaa Allah.

Sudan - getting settled

by Ibraheem

We have been here for a month now. To come to Sudan, you must have someone make a visit visa for you first. Someone that is here, like a school, or business. The cost to pay a visa service company is around 250usd per passport. They are then your "sponsor" for your initial visit. The visit visa is good for two months. I am not sure if it can be extended but I would guess that it could be. There is also another visa fee on arrival at the airport, 150usd for USA passport holders, 100usd for others. There is also a "passport registration fee" that is paid at a small office on the outside of the airport and that is around another 25usd.

The two main schools for study here are the International University of Africa (IUA) and the smaller (much smaller) Kulliya Jebra. The IUA has many students from around the world, the school has all courses of study including an Arabic program and Islamic studies. The smaller Kulliya Jebra has an Arabic course and then Islamic studies courses, for a bachelors degree. The Kulliya is a known school that is upon the Sunnah and the professors themselves are students of Shaykh Albanee, Shaykh Bin Baz, etc.
There are also well respected mashaykh from Yemen that live in Khartoum and give lessons outside of the schools.

Cost of living. A one bedroom furnished apartment costs around 200-250 usd. Unfurnished around 150usd. Apartments are generally older and a little funky, but not too bad. Cost of living seems similar to S.E. Asia prices. Egypt is much much cheaper but seems to be unstable. There is civil war in the South Sudan country but that has no effect on the North it seems. Khartoum is very peaceful. Sudan is a very harsh country. Hot and VERY dusty, could cause health problems if you have any respitory sensitivities. The people are very kind and there is knowledge here, but the country is very poor (you will see trash EVERYWHERE), there is limited things to do like shopping, malls, restaurants etc. But for seekers of knowledge, this can be a good place. If you are looking for somewhere to go and study Arabic and take it easy, this is not the place.

I have no idea how to contact either school to arrange visas and admission beforehand. I know that people do but I don't know how. I got visas through a business service and then just went and did the admission at the Kulliya when I arrived.


by abdulKarim

assalam u alaikum dear brothers.
i have migrated from the uk to morocco and would like to help and
assist and advice those brothers who are on the path of the salaf and not extreme and
not involved in politics to come and live in morocco insha Allah.

my email address is:
and my whatsapp is: 00212611044678.

Malaysia - job search sites

No 1 site for this country and the region:

Some other major sites:

Not all positions will be posted on job search sites, so if you know major companies that you would like to work for, always keep an eye on their own job listings.

Malaysia - property websites

2) This is more of an all purpose market place, but it is good for searching for property for rent and sale.

Malaysia - common bidah practices

Muslim visitors to this country are often confused when several practices occur. This post is meant to highlight some of the common practices to help prepare visitors in advance.

1) Solat "sunnah" Hajat. This 2 rakats prayed when one is in need of something is based on a debated hadith. In Malaysia, they have added to this hadith by turning the prayer into a congregational prayer done with great frequency. Any time someone in the area is sick, school exams are coming up, people want to pray for Palestine, etc, they will announce a long intention of what is going to be prayed in solat hajat. These will often happen right after Friday prayers and Isha prayers. They start so soon after the fard solat, that you won't have time to do adhkar before you need to get out of the way. On occasion, solat hajat with be organized as a big event and held in a stadium or other large venue. This practice seems to be increasing in frequency, however the number of people at the masjid participating is 50% or less. Often saf's get very broken up and scattered due to the short time between the fard and everyone trying to get out or move to join this solat. The announcement for the prayer, and its intention, may be made in Malay prior to the beginning of the fard solat, so you will have some advance warning.

2) "Tahlil". This term is used to define a practice done in this region (Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and maybe Brunei/Phillipeans). In involves recitation of Surah Yaseen in a group (everyone reading out loud and not in sync). This is followed by a set of group dhikr and long dua in congregation. This practice is done in nearly every masjid and surau on Thursday night after Maghrib. It is also done when someone dies, and at periodic intervals after the death. For Tahlil events outside of the masjid (related to death), people will invite groups to their home, do the tahlil and serve food afterwards. It is also done in government departments, as a practice for newborns (seperate from aqiqah), housewarming after moving, and as a means of protection from jinns. The application of this practice is becoming wide spread. Often the recitation of the tahlil is done with many bottles of water present to bless the water. Recitation of Quran over water is becoming a more common practice, and you can find it for sale in various forms (surah yasin water, 1 juz, 30 juz, and even recited on food).

3) Al Fatihah. Often Al Fatihah will be read as a group after fard solat as part of the athkar done as a group. Also in the event of a death, people will read al Fatihah for the deceased. Ex: if someone were to announce a relative passing away on social media, a string of comments saying "al fatihah" will follow.

4) Mawlid and related events. Celebration of mawlid and other "islamic holidays" like isra wal miraj and hijri new year are common in Malaysia. Many practices have evolved around them at the masjids. On Mawlid, there will be parades of people walking out in support of Rasollullah (saw). Besides this, there is an increasing number of Mawlid type events which happen on other days besides the alleged birth of our prophet (saw). These may be labelled as Cinta Rasollullah or similar titles. These events are similar to large concerts where music, nasheed, and other activities take place. On occasion, some of what is said and done on stage is shirk.

5) "First day" of eid is for the graves. Visiting the graves takes a primary focus for many Malays on the day of Eid. After the first day, Eid will be celebrated on the following days.

Malaysia - halal food

Malaysia has been on the forefront of halal food certification in many ways. The government has an extensive certification and testing program to control the use of the Malaysia halal logo. Most restaurants around the country are either run by muslims, or certified halal. provides details on the certification and provides a Halal status lookup tool to help determine a company or product status.

Non-muslim restaurants may have difficulty in obtaining certification, and will post signs of they don't serve pork. Places that want to serve pork will often label that they are not-halal so that there is no confusion.

Large grocery will often have a separate section for pork products, wine and liquor. The main part of the store may have beer and some products that have non-halal ingredients. Products that are imported may have a halal logo from their own country or region which may or may not be trustworthy.

There is only one official Malaysia Halal logo, and some fake variants have been produced. So to be on the safe side, it is best to find what is the correct one to ensure someone isn't trying to fake the certification.

Malaysia - banking

When looking for Islamic compliant banks, they are easy to find in Malaysia. Malaysia doing well in developing this field for a long time. Most banks will have separate Islamic and conventional banking system. Others are fully Islamic. Although, some of the practices in the Islamic banking may have some issues. They do have shari'ah advisory councils and try to provide a halal service.

Among the most common banks with Islamic branches are:

Public Bank

For fully Islamic banking:

Al Rajhi
Bank Islam
Kuwait Finance House

Malaysia - zakat

Zakat in Malaysia is run by various state level departments. It is also a common practice in Malaysia to regard income as zakatable wealth, so employers may have a system in place to allow Zakat deductions to be taken from your pay check to help in this regard.

For individuals who need to give Zakat, each state department should have a website that has online payment options. However, these sites are in Malay and from my experience with a few of them, they require a Malaysian identity card number. So foreigners with passport #'s can't pass the website validate process. Many banks will have online bill payment features that include the option to give Zakat. This will save you the hassle of not having an ID card number and not having to fill out all of the information. They will ask for the type of Zakat (so if you don't speak malay, try google translate to find the correct type). Expect a call from whichever Zakat department you donated to, trying to get your mailing details, passport information and other details (again, most likely they will want to speak in Malay, so you may get passed around the office if you don't speak the local language). Once you have given your details, in future donations, they will usually use the same old information. They do mail receipts, which are very important for taxes, but sometimes they come many months afterwards. One weird thing that you may encounter is that state Zakat departments can be competitive with each other in trying to get donations. In one case, I received a refund in the form of supermarket vouchers, which was nearly 10% of what I had given to them in the first place. So I had to go through the hassle of trying to use these in a way that still worked out as a Zakat payment.

For tax purposes, Zakat is special. Usually when you make a charitable donation it will just be subtracted from your total taxable income prior to determining how much you owe. In Malaysia, Zakat is much better than that. It is subtracted directly from what you owe in taxes. So if you owe 5000RM at the end of the year, and have 5000RM of zakat receipts, your tax payment is 0RM. If you do make a lot of donations or have a high calculated refund amount, they may try to avoid paying you or drag you through a long audit. One advantage that I can see related to Zakat payment, is that you can select the state. The federal government controls most of the funds and is very selective on who gets what. If an opposition party controls a state, they are going to get punished by lack of funds. So being able to give Zakat to such a place can help balance that out in terms of supporting the poor.

Malaysia - Shariah law

Although Malaysia is mainly a secular constitutional government, there are some Shari'ah aspects that are implemented in relation to Muslim affairs. There is a dual legal system in the country, with a Shari'ah court system which is separate from the main court system. If a case that should be under the control of Shari'ah is brought to the traditional courts, they will usually refer it to them. Most of what it handles would be considered family law: marriage, divorce, child custody, and inheritance. It also has some coverage on apostasy, khalwat (close proximity of male and female who are not married or related), zina related offences, alcohol consumption, etc. Shari'ah law is implemented state by state, while many of the provisions would be similar between one state and another. Punishments are not the full Hadd punishments from the Quran and Sunnah. They are often fines, jail time, or a smaller number of strokes. One state in the north, Kelantan, has traditionally been pushing hard to implement more Shari'ah and even Hudud punishments. The topic of Hudud has been brought up many times recently, typically by the PAS party (religious political party which controls Kelantan). It is a political tool that is very divisive in this country, especially among the non-muslims. Shari'ah courts can also be a divisive topic in cases of muslim and non muslim family law, where one spouse converts and child custody and religious status of children becomes an issue. Side note: the religious departments of each state have an official conversion process and record system (including convert ID cards), to help ensure a convert's status as a Muslim.

References: [Comprehensive site with a lot of details, links to state's enactments and amendments, list of crimes and punishments, and family law]

Malaysia - English language dawah groups

This is a small list of some of the organizations that hold classes in the Kuala Lumpur / Selangor area.

Al Khaadem ( Led by Sheikh Hussain Yee. This is likely the most "on the sunnah" group of both teachers and students that you will find in Malaysia. The organization has classes all week in multiple languages. Wed and Sun are english language courses that rotate by subject every few months. New muslim classes are taught on saturdays. Live streaming is available on youtube. Taraweh prayers are held here during ramadan, as well as some other activites.

Weekly scheduled classes are FREE.
Location: Petaling Jaya, Selangor

Al Kauthar Malaysia ( Al Kauthar has been activing in Malaysia for many years. Most courses are held around Kuala Lumpur. Courses take place once every 3 months. The parent organization, Mercy Mission, holds a yearly Twins of Faith conference, and a separate yearly sisters conference. Additionally they have Play and Pray (kids activities) every few months.

Cost: 200RM (early bird), 250RM (normal) for 2 day weekend courses

Al Maghrib ( Seminars held every few months. Special talks held frequently. Conference (ilmfest) once a year.

Location: Selangor area

The straight path ( Frequently holding conferences on various topics.

Location: Selangor area

Yayasan Ta'ilm. ( Holds classes throughout the week on various topics. Mostly in Malay, however some are in English. Livestreaming is available.

Location: TTDI, Selangor

Arees University (, ... 072370241/). Holds advanced diploma courses in Islamic studies.

Location: Kota Damansara, Selangor

Qaiser Darussalam Publications ( Holds seminars, classes and events throughout the year. Mostly paid events.

Location: Bandar Damansara, Selangor Based in Subang Jaya, section 18. Hosts occasional talks and frequent sisters events.

Malaysia - Masjids and suraus

In all parts of Malaysia, there is no problem finding a Masjid or surau near by. In urban and rural settings, they are readily available. For medium to large masjids, there are a wide range of facilities available. Classes or talks are often given several times a day (in Malay language in most cases), typically after Fajr, during the day time, and after magrib. Visiting da'ees will usually give talks or khutbahs in masjids around Selangor when coming to give courses or when speaking at conferences.

Shopping centers, larger petrol stations, and offices will often have a surau within the building. So finding a place to perform solat is rarely an issue in Malaysia.


Are masjids normally located right within residential areas? In my experience, it seems like they are more like "drive to" type of places. Not walk to, if that makes any sense? Do all those countless tall apartment buildings have musollahs? What I mean more to the above, like in those places where I see row after row of apartment blocks, it seems like I never really see a medium to small size masjid anywhere. I just see larger masjids

I have lived in 3 different places over the last 2 years. Here is my experience with each

1) Normal housing area with a lot of undeveloped area around it. One house of the housing area was donated for use as a surau by its owner until a masjid was built within a 5 min drive. There were at least 2 other masjids of various sizes within 5-10 minutes in different directions.

2) Condo. There was a surau in the compound which had prayers as well as classes and other activities even though there was a masjid within a 10 min walk, or short drive down the road.

3) Housing area in a well developed area. There is a large masjid within a few minutes from my house (10 min walking). There is another surau in the same housing area, as well as several other surau's and another masjid all within 10-15 min away (due to traffic lights).

I would say most apartments and condos that I have seen have some type of surau either as a small separate building, or somewhere that may seem a bit less obvious somewhere on a ground floor. Housing areas usually have some type of surau or masjid within short distances or inside the housing area. The larger masjids may be more of a drive due to the larger need for parking.

Malaysia - encouraging IT development

There is a program that has been around for many years now called MSC ( which is a program that companies in certain geographic locations can get involved with. The program gives tax breaks, training incentives, and less restrictive foreign working hiring. The work permit process is even handled through different departments, to help ease the application processes. For anyone working in the IT field, or looking at jobs for companies that handle technology, it may be good to find companies in this list. They may be more willing to hire foreigners for positions. Malaysian companies are often reluctant to take in foreigners due to the extra work and cost. Even for those who have been living in country for a while, are established here, and are highly skilled, you may find difficulty with even getting an interview. Larger global companies may be easier as they often have more resources and connections for handling their internal overseas expat transfers.

Malaysia - question about Malaysia my 2nd home (MM2H) program


As Salaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah

I am interested to know details about the MM2H program from someone who has succeeded in gaining such a VISA. If anybody has applied for this program and attained it, please reply so that I can ask you my questions.


Wa alaikum as salaam wa rahmatullah.

For MM2H, there is a website that provides a lot of the details and allows for application through it The program is mostly targeting high income individuals who are retiring or want to have part time residence in Malaysia. The main requirements for the program [] is high amount of cash on hand, willingness to put 300,000RM in a Malaysian bank fixed deposit, and having a non-malaysian based income of at least 10,000RM/month. With the ringgit currently experiencing rapid devaluation (from 3.1RM / 1USD to 4.1-4.5RM/1USD) and the rapid increase in housing prices over the last few years (100% or more), the requirements may seem a bit easier now.

Originally the program did not allow participants to take up any form of employment in the country. This has been relaxed to allow part time work. Part time jobs are not very common here.


By jobs, do you mean employment inside the country, right?

What if someone has online sources of income from outside the country, would that be acceptable?


That might work for the proof of income, and I'm sure they wouldn't try to consider that as being employed in Malaysia.

While I was searching around recently, I came across something that might be an interesting way to come to Malaysia via business startup. Normally setting up a company has a lot of restrictions, but if it is done in Labuan [special status / duty free island in East Malaysia], it looks much cheaper and less restrictive. ... a-sdn-bhd/. I'm not familiar with anything related to setting up a company though. This would be interesting to know more about. The company being set up could be an online business or consulting/coaching type of busine

Malaysia - Corruption

Since there is a lot of international news lately with corruption in Malaysia related to 1MDB and the seizure (by the US justice dept) of roughly 1bil USD in assets linked to people involved with it, I thought I would do a quick article on corruption in the country.

Transparency international ranks Malaysia at 54/168 out of the countries that they review. Local perception is corruption is widespread and can be seen at all levels. At the lower levels, we have individuals expecting cash handouts from politicians when they are campaigning. Slightly higher in the government sector, we have police officers who are always ready to settle traffic violations under the table for 50RM or so, instead of the 150-300RM ticket. Higher in the corporate or government sectors, we have procurement people and managers who expect vendors to bribe them in order to get their company to buy the vendor's products or services. Even higher than that, we have larger scale corruption on large government projects. The most recent example: 1MDB.

1MDB was set up as a government investment fund that was supposed to improve the economic situation of Malaysia and improve the infrastructure. What the people have gotten is billions in missing money, billions in bad loans, shutting down media outlets who were reporting the story early on in the timeline of events (The Edge [business news], The Malaysian Insider), murders of certain individuals "in the know", the anti-corruption investigation agency was raided by the police, and the replacement of anyone that would even consider investigating or prosecuting anyone involved. So internally, there is little hope, yet there are many countries around the world that are investigating and seizing assets. The wall street journal even have a special coverage section on their website to cover the major news on this story. 1MDB is just one of many high profile scandals over the last few decades.

So where does that leave us? Overall Malaysia has a lot of problems that are obvious to the people here, but there isn't enough political force to change. The locals will freak out if there is a rumor of pig being in anything they might eat, yet many have little concern about the lawfulness of their earnings (or paying bribes). For the average employee at a company, you won't encounter many problems as long as you aren't buying or selling products. As for the traffic police, they don't get out much to enforce anything. When you see them, its at road blocks pulling over a few cars and trucks here and there. The concern for the average person is how all of this will affect the future. A few million missing from a project here and there is much different than the whole nation being indebted for many billions that the tax payer will need to cover or risk other economic fall out. For any potential businessman that wants to come here, do some further research and expect some disappointments. That isn't to say there isn't good opportunity here, and some honest business. Just be aware.

Malaysia - work visa without degree

Question by Ibraheem

Is it possible to get a work residence visa (not sure what it is called, or how long it is good for) for let's say teaching English, but, without having a bachelors or any type of degree?

How long is a normal tourist visa good for? For someone from the USA, UK, etc.
How many times can you leave the country and come back? Does this raise eyebrows?


As a foreigner, I would suspect it may be a bit difficult trying to get a job teaching english without some kind of teaching qualification or degree. There are a lot of english learning centers in Malaysia that may take people with less qualifications. Cambridge is a large chain franchise that runs classes for all ages ( Another one is I don't know if they hire many foreigners though. Trying to get a job at a normal school as a teacher would probably require a degree. Private tuition or low end tuition centers are very common in Malaysia to help supplement the not so great education system. If you were here on some other type of visa, you may be able to find some income on your own in this capacity.

Tourist visa for US citizen is 3 months. You can leave and come back, but they are starting to get more strict on this as many people were living in Malaysia for years doing this. So they might give warnings or eventual bar you from entry.


I thought I was sure whenever I came into Malaysia the stamp or whatever in my passport always said one month (u.s.passport)


It should still be 3 months for US citizens. East Malaysia (Sabah and Sarawak) might be different as they have some of their own immigration requirements that are different. Though every time I went there after coming in through the main Pennisular Malaysia, they just let me continue traveling on the 3 month visa I got on entry. This page has a good list per length of stay and country:

Additional Question:

Assalamu Alaykum
I am from Albania.
I would like to know does Malaysia have the asylum application?
I mean for Albanian people.
Barek Allahu Feekum


Malaysia is notoriously anti-refugee and asylum. There may be a few exceptions where they take a certain number from high visibility war zones as a PR move. Otherwise, all such people are treated as illegal immigrants. They are not allowed to work, not allowed to go to school, and are always at risk of getting arrested. Refugee and related detention centers are in terrible conditions.

Follow up:

Assalamu Alaykum
Thanks brother for advice
But it be possible to find any job there
One Albanian brother went to Malaysia 2 years before and told me it has job but not to much payed
It is truth?
I have some skills and some professional qualifations like a wood maker as carpenter, aluminiu doors and windows, electrician, appliance repair.
I dont know maybe is not good idea to move in this situation in Malaysia with family, because I need to send to school my childrens.
Barek Allahu Feekum


Wa alaikum as salaam,

A lot of people that come over here find that the pay can be quite low. From what I have heard from others, and what I experienced, its difficult for the first few years here. Finding people that can or will hire foreigners is difficult, and most jobs have pretty low salary. Also, over the last few years, prices of everything are going up quite a lot.

Jobs in most of the areas that you mentioned would be taken by low wage labours that are either local or from nearby countries like Indonesia. I think it would be difficult to try to get a job doing that which would be able to get a work permit for you. I have heard that getting an electrician here is not very easy, so that area and appliance repair might have some possibilities. If you could start a business, that might help more in dealing with visas.

Since you have kids and need to worry about education, that's going to be another problem. Local public schools are pretty much restricted to local citizens. Even children of mixed citizen parents (one Malaysian, one foreign) are lower priority in getting in. So you would need to look at private schools or international schools. That can get pretty expensive. For Private school, you might be able to get something around 8k per kid per year, and international are more like 15k+ per year/kid. Not many people can afford these when salaries may be well below 5000/month. Homeschooling may be a good alternative.

Malaysia - Paths to permanent residency

There are several ways to get PR, mentioned on the immigration website ( ... try-permit).

1) Investors: Individual with minimum USD 2 million Fixed Deposit (FD) at any Bank in Malaysia an will only be allowed for withdrawal after five (5) years.

2) Experts: Individual with expertise, Talent and skill recognized as “World Class” by any International Organization.

3) Professionals: Working in any Government Agency or Private Company in Malaysia for a minimum period of three (3) years and certified by the Relevant Agency in Malaysia. Has outstanding professional skills and is recommended by the relevant government agency.

4) Spouse of citizens: Had been issued with Long Term Visit Pass and stay continuously in Malaysia for a period of five (5) years.

I have experience with #4. The 5 years of continuous stay in Malaysia doesn't mean you can't leave for occasional periods. It is more focused on having a continuous long time pass(es) that cover that entire 5 continuous years. Once you reach this 5 year minimum, you can apply for PR. This approval process can take a few additional years and has several interview processes. In my case, I believe it took 5 years after submitting the paperwork. One year of that was wasted waiting on the next department to continue the process, not knowing that the police investigators had failed to input our interview session into the computer. This required us to go repeat that interview process. So, word of advice, try to check on the status every few months, and if you deal with anyone outside of the immigration department, get separate contact details from them (including names of who you talked to).

Once the whole process is done, you can go to JPN to get a myPR card issued. This will take several months for it to be ready. This card is similar to the national ID card, but is different color and mentions your country of citizenship. In Malaysia, it is a crime to not have your national ID card or passport with you at all times, so having a wallet sized card is much nicer than having to carry a passport.

Malaysia - resource on all schools

School Advisor - MY

This website is a good collection of available schools with a brief overview of the details and costs of each. International schools and private (local) schools have different sections. The local private school section seems to be a bit lacking in its listings.

Malaysia - tertiary education

Some of the Islamic schools:

1) International Islamic University Malaysia.
2) Al Madinah International University

Schools in general with rankings: University and college rankings for Malaysian institutions

Comment on Madinah by Ibraheem

I have been researching Al Medina University in Shah Alam and it looks very promising. I am trying to find anyone that can call them and ask a few questions for me. They have a wide range of courses available, including a whole Islamic Sciences bachelors, masters, and phd course, broken down into sections. Science of Quran, Dawah, Usool, and Hadith Sciences. The courses are all in Arabic as far as I can tell (trying to clear that up), but they offer what looks like a one year Introduction to Arabic course that seems like it is to get you ready to study full time in Arabic. Something I am very interested in. The course fees look to be fairly reasonable. Not cheap, but reasonable. I believe the University was started as an all on line distance learning type of school, with "learning centers" in Malaysia, Indonesia, Kuwait, and a few other places. They now have full on campus in classroom courses available, including the ones I mentioned above, all to be held in their Shah Alam location. It appears that they are located on one floor of an office building, but are expanding and building more of a normal campus, yet to confirm that.

Malaysia - International islamic schools

This list is a small selection of some of the schools that I know of. There may be many others, as well as local curriculum private schools that are options. Local public schools may be difficult to foreigners and mixed couples (citizen married to foreigner) to get their kids into as they have lowest priority.

1) -

2) Seven Skies ( Located in Kota Damansara. This school is relatively new, and is just starting its second year. It has a strong focus on arabic language and Quran. It is a project of Mercy Mission, and they aim to build franchise schools in many other countries following the same model. UK + Islamic curriculum. (I have sent kids here, so PM for more detail)

3) IISKD ( Located in Kota Damansara. Related to At Tamimi.

4) Idrissi ( Located in Shah Alam. Idrissi is another new school, just starting its second year. At the moment it only handles primary grades, but they are looking at opening a secondary school. They are partnered with Genius Aulad (preschool franchise). The school campus is very interesting. The school is built around Eco concepts and these are integrated into the lessons. Curriculum is a mix of countries. Mandarin is taught as an additional language in the school.

5) Greenview Islamic School (

6) Baseerah. This school has two branches. The older one is in Gombak. The newer branch is in Shah Alam (1 year old). When we were looking for a new school around a year ago, we had read that this school was pretty well liked. Since Gombak was too far, we visited the newer Shah Alam branch, which had been operating for roughly 6 months. The school was very bare and looked extremely uninviting and boring at that time (empty library, empty science lab, almost nothing on the walls, etc). The place was hard to find due to lack of signage and the building being shared with another school. The only person around at that time was the receptionist, who wasn't able to help much. The student make up at this school is mostly expat. Hopefully now that they have had more time, this branch has improved (Baseerah Shah Alam)

7) International modern standard arabic school. Located in Putrajaya. Arabic/english medium. Secondary school admissions are based on Yemeni certificates.

8) International Islamic School Malaysia. Located in Gombak.

9) Brainy Bunch International Islamic Montessori School. This school is a chain that has a chain of preschool's as well as primary school. I believe they have recently extended into secondary school. A few years ago, they were showing plans for building a small city near Cyberjaya: Raudha City, which would incorporate their school, housing, Islamic environment, medical center, etc. I don't know the current progress of that, but I thought they were aiming for 2017. At that time that I saw this advertisement, they didn't have secondary school yet. But according to their website, it looks like they have progressed to establish one.

Spectrum Islamic School

Location: Lorong Tun Ismail, Near PWTC. See Google Map

Spectrum School seeks to foster and sustain the development of balanced and positive Muslim children through the profound combination of Islamic, academic, cultural, psychological, social, health, and physical qualifications.

• Islam is an integrated part of every single Muslim’s life practice.
• The profound combination of several world-class qualifications is required to develop the balanced and positive Muslim.
• We leave no stone unturned, and do our best, so as to earn Allah's reward for the goodness and perfection.
• As all students can learn, there is no one-fits-all learning style for all children.
• Individual differences are taken for granted, however, the role of effective education is to bring the most and best out of every student.
• Parents, teachers, trainers, administrators and school community members are partners; the school community is an integrated environment for timely collaboration.
• Our school mission and vision are clearly demonstrated in the design and development of each program and initiative

This place seems interesting as a boarding, gender segregation and tahfeez school, The Sunnah School. It looks like they start around ages 10-12 and for several years focus on tahfeez and islamic studies. Academics come in at the later years for iGCSE study.

Malaysia - overview

Malaysia is a south east asian country located slightly above the equator. It is split into two parts, the peninsula (between Thailand and Singapore), and it has 2 of its states as part of the island of Borneo (shared with Indonesia and Brunei). Despite being a roughly 2.5 hour flight between the two, they share the same time zone. Malaysia has been an independent country since 1957, when it gained independence from the British. So many of the government systems are based on that system, although there is a strong Islamic influence in the constitution and government institutions. There are 13 states, and most of these have its own sultan. Countrywide, the sultan's take turns being a king of the country. This role has lost a lot of its power over the last few decades, however they are still considered heads of states and in charge of Islamic affairs for their states. Ethnically, it is roughly 60% Malay or indigenous (mostly muslim), 22% chinese (mix eastern religions and christianity), 7% indian (mostly hindu). The primary language is Bahasa Melayu. English is still widely used and taught in schools. Various dialects of chinese and tamil are also common.

For climate, it is tropical and very consistent throughout the year. Average temperature in the upper 80's to lower 90's (F) during the day time, with high humidity. Different parts of the country have different rainy seasons. Usually its between Oct - Mar.

For development, Malaysia is fairly modern in most aspects and has good infrastructure. The design of areas doesn't seem very well planned out however.

One advantage of Malaysia is the prayer times are quite consistent throughout the year. Typically they are between these times for west Malaysia:

Fajr 5:42 - 5:55
Sunrise around 7am
zuhr 1:08 - 1:25
asr 4:14 - 4:46
magrib 7:08 - 732

Working/setting up business in Kuwait

by Ibraheem

Assalamu alaikum,

I made hijrah to Kuwait around eight months ago. I was living in s.e. asia before that. I have been working as an English teacher for the last few years. If you have a bachelors degree (better if it is in the education field, but not 100% necessary) it is quite easy to find employment here as an English teacher. If you are a native speaker, have a degree, and even just a little experience, there are a host of jobs available. Salaries for someone that meet this criteria generally start at around 800-900kwd a month (around 2500-3000usd) and generally include a furnished apartment at a decent western standard. If no housing is included, the salary might be a little bit higher. It is fairly normal for the school to arrange picking you up and taking you home as well. For any of these type of jobs, it would probably be in a private school that follows a u.s. or u.k. curriculum. These type of schools schedule basically follow a 7am-3pm routine, Sunday-Thursday, with Thursday being a little bit shorter day. Summer holiday is around two months and it is paid. These can be really really great setups.

I do not have a university degree, just TESOL and experience. I have been able to find a job ALhamdullilah, at a language institute/vocational type school, but I work six days a week and my salary is much much lower than those listed above. Much, haha. It is also extremely extremely difficult to get a full work visa for myself with my situation. I am an American, so it is possible for me to leave every three months, go over to Dubai for a day or two, and come right back and renew my visa. But it is not an ideal situation.

I forgot to mention about setting up a business. I have an American friend who has done so. You must have a Kuwaiti partner who is basically 51% owner, even if it is just on paper. It costs around 600kwd to get a business license and you must also have a permanent address/office. You can find a tiny closet like office that is basically set up for this purpose for like 200kwd a month. One benefit of doing this is that your "business" can get straight away your own I think up to 3 Iqama visas. The Iqama is the name of the work visa.

Kuwait rental prices

by Ibraheem

Rental prices in Kuwait have gone up incredibly I have been told in the last few years. Like double or triple to what they were even five years ago.

A normal, more western style two bedroom apartment goes for around 350kwd a month here. But that is in a basic building, no fitness club or swimming pool.

Muslim life in Kuwait

by Ibraheem

All food and restaurants in Kuwait in shaa Allah are Halal. There are more American chain restaurants here than in California! McDonalds, Burger King, Hardees, Subway, Chilis, Fridays, Applebees, Cheesecake Factory, Johnny Rockets etc. etc. (not by coincidence, obesity is a major problem here, highest cases of diabetes in the world maybe, also because of high rice consumption) Masjids are everywhere, literally. Any mall or shopping center or even supermarket will have a prayer room. Adzan can be heard anywhere. But unlike Saudi, shops don't close or anything like that for prayer time.

Just like in the usa where many claim to be christian but never go to church, you can find the same thing here. People that are born Muslim, and go to masjid sometimes, but they really aren't into it. Large numbers of the youth are being completely brainwashed and of course aspire to be hip americans or brits. Kim Kardahsian is known as "Kim" here, LOL!!!

In terms of deen that is followed here, in all masjids, the sunnah is followed by the Imam. The actual population of Kuwait is something like 1,000,000 Kuwaits, 750,000 Egyptians, and 1,000,000 or more south asians, Indians and Bangladeshis primarily. The south asians generally do their style of wiping the face holding hands up dua after salat thing, but there is no Imam led practice of this Alhamdullilah.

Unfortunately things like the Prophet peace be upon him, his birthday is a national holiday here. You won't find people partying in the streets about it though Alhamdullilah. Christmas is not a national holiday here, but you will find christmas trees and other crap in many of the shopping centers.

Western speakers like Yusuha Evans, John Fontain, etc, come through here frequently enough that you can attend some lectures. There are around three or four highly respected Shayks of the Salafiyah that live in Kuwait and they commonly give lectures and daroos, but they are all in Arabic naturally. I was told that a cousin or direct family relative of the esteemed Shaykh Al Albanee lives here and gives khutbah. If I had to guess, around 10% of the male population here follows the Salafiyah, at least in appearance, long beards, not wearing thobes (called dishdasha here) that drag on the ground. The norm for older Kuwaits is generally mustache or clean shaven and for the youth goatees, clean shaven, or five o clock shadow. Interestingly I have had my students tell me when we talk about people behaving nicely and with respect is that the people with long beards (sometimes kindly referred to as "mullahs") and who seem to really follow the Sunnah are the kindest and most respectful you will meet in society here. Of course we cannot generalize about everyone, there are people with beards who smoke and behave like rude people, but this has been my observation and in talking with others.

So to follow the deen here is quite easy, the society is set up for it, but just realize that society doesn't always follow it. Arabs here can be an interesting bunch. If you meet them personally, they can be great friends and always wonderful and gracious hosts. But in public, to ones they don't know, they can be incredibly rude. I have seen quite racist attitudes when dealing with Indian servants as well. And yes here, every single Kuwaiti household has at least one servant/maid/nanny and usually one driver/handyman/do it all/ type guy as well. Even middle to lower income Kuwaiti families will have this as the monthly pay for these positions is pretty low. And yet, it is high enough that south asians and also Filipinos flock here for these jobs. Of course not all are treated poorly, and I will not fall into the western media trap where they say Arabs are raping their maids and treating them like slaves, no, this is not anywhere near to the truth. But, they are treated like second class citizens.

We are around a 14 hour drive away from Makkah, but foreigners cant drive across the border. Maybe if you are on a bus tour it's okay. You can drive across if you have a work visa for Saudi though. Airline flights to Saudi, Dubai, etc. are cheap from here.

Many people enjoy Kuwait because it is more liberal than Saudi, I wish it was otherwise, but Allhamdullilah.

Kuwait work visa

by Ibraheem

Ok, it can be tricky, but I pretty much know the ins and outs of it now, and actually, compared to some countries it is probably not to bad.

This is the process for an American. I know a little bit about other countries as well, and it is basically the same process.

Ideally you find a job before hand. The job sends you a work contract and temporary work visa which is good for two months on arrival, basically giving you time to finish up things here after you arrive. Before you come here you MUST do these things.

1. Get a FBI background check. The U.S. embassies around the world are basically a joke in my experience. They do little compared to other countries embassies. So anyways, you must get a full FBI background check by sending them your fingerprints.

2.You must contact the Kuwait embassy in Washington D.C. or perhaps the consulate in Los Angeles could also answer questions, and find out where you must go that they recognize and approve to get a basic medical check.

3. Send both of those when they are completed to the Kuwait embassy in Washington D.C. They will sign them and stamp them with official looking Kuwait government stamps. You also send them your work contract and temporary visa.

4. Once you have them returned to you, you may proceed to Kuwait.

5. You arrive on the temporary visa and may begin working for whoever is hiring you. You have two months time to get things finished up to get your civil I.D. card/Iqama visa. That includes going for more fingerprints here, and another medical check. Your school or company that hired you does some of the running around for you getting some paperwork done. They all employ someone that is called the "Mandoob" who does this stuff.

So this is the basic process for someone who can arrange a job beforehand. I will make another post dealing with people who just show up here and or don't have the full university requirements.

Driving in Kuwait

by Ibraheem

Before living in Kuwait I lived in Cambodia for a few years, so it was a good primer for driving in a country where driving laws are basically not enforced in any way. You will really learn the meaning of the word "sabar", patience here. People basically drive like madmen. I have heard Saudi is worse! It is kind of like some grand social experiment. Let's take Kuwaitis, Indians, and Egyptians, all put them on the same roads with zero traffic law enforcement, and lets just sit back and see what happens. I have seen more lack of basic respect for other road users here than I have seen in a lifetime in the USA. From reckless endangerment to cutting people off, to just being in so much a darn rush they will not let you enter into the flow of traffic. I have gotten "accostomed" to it I guess you can say. Lots of Bismillahs, Astagfirullahs etc. The key is being aggressive but still civil. I can highly recommend driving a SUV type vehicle here (any SUV here is just known as a "Jeep" lol). A SUV can allow you to go anywhere, big traffic jam and your stuck and want to go the other way? Just jump the divider and turn around. No parking spot? Just park on the sidewalk or wherever you can get in. It is the way of the land here. You can also go out exploring in the desert when you have free time.

To get a license here, you must have a civil I.D. first which you get after completing your paperwork for your work visa. Now here is the interesting thing. As a tourist, on a tourist visa, you can legally drive on an international license and maybe some USA state licenses. But, as soon as you get your civil I.D. you MUST get a Kuwaiti license. They are cracking down on this (not through traffic stops but by random road block/checks) and you can get kicked out of the country for being here permanently and driving without a local license.

There are some complications now if you are on a visa and your job title is something like "manager". I have been told you cannot get a license, a teacher is fine, and house servants/drivers get them easily, but I personally know someone who is an older Brit, ex policeman whose job title is manager and he has tried three times to get a license with no success.

I am not sure about insurance yet, but I have been told it is cheap. I think a car stays registered for two years? And then has to get checked? You must pay yearly, but the actual check is every few years and they can be ridicuously stupid and nitpicky. For example, your rear bumper, the paint is chipped off, nope, they will not renew your registration until you get it painted, but hey, the horn and seatbelts don't work, no problem!

Seatbelts, no one wears them here, literally maybe 5% of the population.

Having said all this, it is a must to have your own transportation here. Taxis add up and can be a hassle. The bus system seems to work, but there are no set schedules, they just come, and a foreigner riding on the bus would be incredibly odd and looked down on. For example, a Kuwaiti will never, ever, in a million years ride the bus.

Obtaining citizenship in Gambia

As a disclaimer, I haven't been to Gambia and don't know much about it. I recently heard it may be easy to get citizenship there. From searching on the net, I found this reference below. Essentially, live there for 5 years and you can apply.

(1) Subject to the provisions of subsection (4) of this section a citizen of any country to which section 6 of the Constitution applies or of the Republic of Ireland or a protected person, being a person of as full age and capacity, on making application therefor to the Minister in the prescribed manner, may be registered as a citizen of The Gambia if he satisfies the Minister-

(a) that he is of good character;
(b) that he would be a suitable citizen of The Gambia;
(c) that he has a sufficient knowledge of a language in current use in The Gambia; and
(d) that he is ordinarily resident in The Gambia and has been so resident throughout the period of five years, or such shorter period as the Minister may in the especial circumstances of any particular case accept, immediately preceding his application.

(2) Subject to the provisions of subsection (4), any person of full age and capacity born. outside The Gambia whose father was at the time of that person's birth a citizen of The Gambia by virtue of the provisions of subsection (3) of section 1 or section 4 of the Constitution may, on making application therefor to the Minister in the prescribed manner, be registered as a citizen of The Gambia.

(3) Subject to the provisions of subsection (4), any woman who is or has been married to a citizen of The Gambia may, on making application therefor to the Minister in the prescribed manner, be registered as a citizen of The Gambia whether or not she is of full age and capacity.

(4) A person shall not be registered as a citizen of The Gambia under this section unless and until he has taken an oath of allegiance in the forma specified in the First Schedule to this Act.

Reference source

Living and studying in Egypt

Some guidance found on facebook from brother Salah Sharief

I've been asked so many times about the cost of living and studying in Egypt that its probably worth summarising it in a status. If you've studied in Egypt longer than me than please feel free to add your thoughts in the comments:
(The following statements are based on living in Madinat Nasr/Nasr City in Cairo)

The short answer is that it varies, greatly. You can spend 1/10th of your friend, depending on where you live, what you eat, and how you study.

The main costs are: rent, study, and food.

You could spend anywhere between £30-£300 a month, depending on how you want to live. You can get a 2 bedroom apartment with AC for around £200 or less. And if you find a roommate, you split that in two.
If you don't mind not having AC, then you can get it for much cheaper. I know some guys who got a 2 bedroom apartment (no AC) for £120/month, and shared it between 4 people; 2 in each room. They paid £30 a month each. Difficult, but doable.
1 bed apartments are extremely rare, but you could get a 2 bed to yourself, AC in each room, good quality, for about £3-400 a month. By UK standards, very cheap. By Egyptian standards, living in luxury.

Private one to one study is £2 an hour. If you wanted to study in an institute (markaz) and in a class, then its much cheaper.
This is the bulk of the cost if you're doing private studies, many hours a day. It adds up, but its worth it.
(side note: IMO, private is exponentially better than institutes, but each to their own)

If you eat Egyptian food, then its so cheap that its not worth mentioning. You could easily live off £1 a day and have change. Kushary is 30p-50p a meal and fool & ta'miyya is 30-50p too)
If you wanted American fast food (Hardees, Burger King, McDonalds, etc.) then its the same cost as in the UK/US, i.e. £4-5 a meal.

If you want to be Egyptian and take the bus then its around 5p a journey. If you want to take an Uber or taxi every day, then it will be 50p-£1 depending on your journey.

As you can see the life is generally really cheap. But if you pay a lot for rent, have lots of private lessons, and eat takeaways a lot, then it adds up. But even then, its still cheap compared to the UK.

The take home message here is that if you wanted to stay for a while but didn't have much money, its still doable. I know some people who spent only £3k in the whole year, and they studied a lot.

PS: If you wish to stay for a few years and run out of money, then my personal advice is *not* to get a job while abroad. You went for study, so focus on studies. People who go there and work get distracted from their studies. It is much more effective to come back to the UK for 2-3 months, work full time (even if it is minimum wage) and save 2-3k and go back for the rest of the year. 3 months work and 9 months study is much better than 12 months doing both.

In a previous post I outlined the costs of studying Arabic in Egypt. I’ll copy the link at the bottom.
This post will mainly be about studies in Egypt and other miscellaneous topics such as visa.

Due to the plethora of teachers, you can study almost any book you want, at any level.

That said, most students who go are starting from either level 0 or level 1. As a result, there are a few books that are widespread and are most commonly taught.

Many students go for a year, and so most of the institutions devised a 12-month programme split into 12 levels. During those 12 months, they would usually teach the three (now four) books in the series Al-Arabiyya Bayna Yadayk (commonly referred to as Bayna Yadayk).
Bayna Yadayk is a series of books that focuses primarily on speaking. There is some grammar dotted around, but not enough to amount to much (in my opinion). Apparently in the new revised edition they’ve added some more grammar.
If you study privately, your teacher would probably recommend the same thing.

The crux of the matter is that the book you study depends on your ultimate goal. If you want to learn how to speak fluently, then Bayna Yadayk (or an equivalent) is a must. If you want to understand the Quran, then you should focus on grammar, but I still advise bayna yadayk or an equivalent. Many brothers end up knowing the grammatical forms of every word, yet can’t string a few sentences together. This isn’t right; Arabic is holistic, organic religion. Grammar is one single component of language; it is a means, not an end.

A good option is then to study Bayna yadayk (whenever I mention Bayna Yadayk, just read “or equivalent”) and a grammar book side by side. If you are doing BY at an institute, then i’d advise getting a private tutor to teach you grammar 1 hour a day in the evenings. If you are doing private, then split the lessons between BY and grammar.

As for grammar, Ajrumiyya is the most popular book. Personally, I think it is excellent. However…and pay attention here carefully…Ajrumiyya was originally written for ARAB children. Yes, it was originally written for children (que our unison hanging of the head in shame), but the main point is that it was written for Arab children, who understand how to speak Arabic, but do not understand grammatical terms. The reason why i mention this is because if you understand no Arabic, or at least do not understand basic grammatical terms, then the book is too advanced for you. In other words, how can you understand that something is mansoob via hathf of the noon if you don’t know what mansoob means and you don’t know what hathf means? In such a case, you should let your teacher teach you basic grammar terms alongside BY, until you are ready for AJ or equivalent.

As for Sarf and Balagha, well if you are at the stage of studying these sub-sciences, then you don’t really need this advice in the first place.
Top tip (and I wish I implemented this from the beginning, but alas): you will only make progress if you implement your grammar. As a theoretical science, it isn’t of much use to you. 1) Read a lot so the implementation of the grammar permeates. I became advanced at English by reading many academic books and subconsciously learning. 2) For every grammar rule you learn, use them in dozens of examples until you fully understand what is meant.

Is it still worth going for 1-2 months? Absolutely. I’ve gone a few times but the longest I’ve gone to date is 3 months. You can learn a lot. At the end of the day, it is about the student. I met some out-of-this-world awliyaa’ of Allah, and I also met some good-for-nothing useless wastes of space. Being in Egypt as opposed to the UK or US doesn’t make you any less of waste of space. The progress you make is not down to how long you go for, its down to you as a person and how much you study and how much time you waste.

The more you learn before you go, the more you learn when abroad. If you had a chance to go tomorrow, then go, even if you are on 0, but if you’ve set a date to go next summer, for example, then study as much as you can before you go. It is very easy to study level 0, 1 or 2 in the UK. Once you go there, you can utilise being immersed in an Arab society as you have already begun your studies.
PS: many people study hard there, and learn a lot, then fail to continue at all when back. Eventually they forget 70% of what they learnt. A big shame. If you continue on Skype when back (even if a couple hours a week), you’ll be surprised at how much you learn. I’ve actually learnt more Arabic grammar on Skype then in Egypt. Go figure.

Finally, most students are obsessed about finishing books (I was guilty of this too). It *honestly* doesn’t matter how long it takes you to finish a book, or what book you are even studying. It matters what you understand. You could literally take 10x longer to finish the same book as your friend, but after you finish, you understand more, because he did the same book 10x in the meantime, and still doesn’t quite get it because he rushed it. He can brag about finishing Qatr an-Nada while you are still on AJ, but he still can’t understand the Quran.

It is advised to get visas for tourism, not study. Go to the Egyptian Embassy in the UK and get a 90-day multiple entry visa for tourism. This allows you to come in and out for 90 days. If you wish to stay longer, you can extend it while you’re there. By then, you should know the Ins and outs of the situation.

As for Al-Azhar, then his post isn’t about that, but the degree is 4 years. There are different faculties (Sharia, Dawah, Deen, etc.) but before you start that they put you in the high school. If you do well on the entrance exam, you only have to do the final year of the high school before entering the uni. The attendance is mandatory for the high school but not for the uni itself.

US citizens living abroad

Starting this thread as a place to post important information specific to American citizens who are living abroad.

 Topics covered:
FBAR's - forced manual reporting of your bank accounts overseas. Failure to comply has very high penalties, and ignorance of this law is no excuse.
Taxes Problems for US citizens getting overseas bank accounts
Report of birth abroad

 FBAR = Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts This is a requirement of the treasury department (financial crimes divison) that needs to be filed once a year for anyone that had $10,000 USD in foreign bank accounts at any time during the year. This filing was required by the end of june, but it looks like the due date is being pushed forward to mid Apr in 2017. Filing can be done online. It requires bank account numbers, bank address, and highest bank account balance for the year (in USD) for each account that you have. For business people that may have signature access to non-personal accounts, this could apply to that as well. Penalties for failing to file are quite high and they say ignorance is no excuse. "Willful" violation is at least a 6 figure penalty. Online filing in the past has been problematic as they required some ancient version of adobe acrobat to fill out their pdf form. This last year it seems a bit better.
  IRS Details
Where to file


As an American citizen, you can be congratulated as being subject to the most oppressive tax system in the world. I won't get into much detail on this topic as I'm sure we're all aware that the tax laws of the US are so complicated that most IRS people don't even know half of them. Legal disclaimer, I'm not a tax professional and this is not tax preparation advice.

If you're an American working overseas and paying foreign tax, don't get comfortable thinking you don't have to file in the states. You do have to file just like everyone else. The difference can be in what income is taxable. If you have been outside of the US for 330 days out of the calendar year, you should be tax exempt up to around 97,000 USD. So for many, you may not have to pay any tax, but you will still need to deal with filing (including the problems of you not getting the right tax forms from your employer and overseas banks). Things like selling property, having overseas investments, etc may be a big mess and cause you double taxation. After being away long enough, you might be able to avoid state filings, but check with a tax advisor on that to be sure.

If you're not savy in the tax system, you may want to find a good professional. Finding one that knows expat rules may be difficult. There is one that advertises a lot (Greenback expat tax services). I haven't tried them yet, so I'm stuck paying anywhere from 400-700 per year to get a professional to do my taxes. Greenback has flat fees (which have dramatically increased in the last few years) and are specialized in expats. So if anyone has experience with them, please share.

Lately there has been some legislation to revoke passports of anyone owing the IRS $50,000 or more.

Some articles on the tax system for expats and how it sucks

Bank account issues:

In relation to FBAR's, there is the FACTA law. This law requires foreign banks to open up to the IRS. If they don't, they can be restricted in international banking and face other fees. This has caused some banks to just give up on US citizen customers and they refuse to take them due to all the extra regulatory hassle involved. Others may require you to fill up IRS forms with some basic information for them to store in order to help comply with it. Some banks may just be unaware and don't seem to care. In any case, if you look around on the IRS site, there is yet another form (8938 to send with your tax filing) to fill out regarding your overseas banks if the value of your accounts goes over 50,000. This is in addition to the already mentioned FBAR requirement for 10k and higher.

Report of birth abroad:

When you have a child, you will likely end up dealing with the US embassy at some point. If you want the child to be a US citizen, you can go to the embassy and apply for the birth cert, social security number and a 5-year child passport. If you don't want the child to be a US citizen, you may still get stuck applying for it anyways.

Some of the important things to note, or things you will need:
1) If only one parent is a US citizen, they will need to be able to prove they were living in the US (I think it must be for 5 years) somewhere between their birth and the birth of the child they are registering. So you will need to ensure you have some records to help prove this, such as: DD214 (for ex military), school report cards/transcripts, W-2's from employment, pay statements, passport stamps, etc.
2) Hospital records. You will need records of prenatal check ups, hospital admission/delivery receipts or records, and even post natal vaccination records and the like. The more you can provide, the better.
3) The embassy may massacre your kids names on the US documents. Muslim names are especially confusing to them (bin/binti). We did this process for 4 kids, and I think all 4 of them have unique naming standards and honestly nothing clearly shows what they put in as middle name and last name.

Check the local US embassy site for that country to see if there is any variation. There are more documents required, but the ones above are just some personal experience points were we had problems. If you have documents in languages other than English and the primary language of the country that you are applying in, you probably need official translations of those. Lately in our country, the embassy has an appointment system which seems to have almost 0 available appointments for report of birth. This can change from day to day as they bother to update their calendars or people cancel. So you may need to check the site once a day if you are trying to get an appointment. Same goes for passports, but there should be more available slots for those as they take less time.

As I mentioned before, you may be stuck applying for citizenship even if you don't want it. In our case, we stay in Malaysia with one US citizen parent, one Malaysian citizen parent. Malaysia doesn't allow dual citizenship, so we just wanted to stick to having that alone. Around 8 months of age with our first child, we decided to go visit the relatives back in the states. I emailed the embassy and gave them the details of my wife and our child, and asked what type of visa we needed to apply for. They told me the appropriate visit pass to apply for, and we had to pay in advance of the submission. When we showed up at the embassy, they approved my wife and rejected my son's application (not refunding the application fee of course). The reason given: he is a potential US citizen. So what? Potential should be "potential". In any case, we couldn't get the visa, and they made me apply for the report of birth and a US passport (a few more fees to pay). So we're stuck dealing with all the added expenses of the report of births, maintaining passports, and the eventual problem of dual citizenship or possible renunciation of citizenship (which I hear can cost over $400 and doesn't really have a clear process). I couldn't find any details about this whole "potential US citizen" thing being a problem for visit passes. This happened in 2004, so the event is a bit old. For all of our subsequence children, we just went through the same process for each and didn't bother checking to see if things had changed.

Advice from Khalil Green

Khalid Green is a student of knowledge who has studied under the mashaykh of Yemen and Saudi Arabia.