FAQs & Fatwas Islamic Studies

Question: Entering al-Azhar and Studying Arabic

The Question:

Asalamu Alaykum,

Firstly, brother I think you are doing a brilliant job running this website and I pray to Allah you continue doing this. I have couple of questions: 1) I have applied to Al -Azhar via Regents Park Mosque (located in Central London), unfortunately I have not received a reply nor a notification that they are considering my application. I was wondering, when does the academic year start, I was guessing September.

2) If I don’t get accepted in al-Azhar, I intend to study at an institute for a year in Cairo and then progress to Al-Azaher from there. Which institution would you recommend.

Jazakumullahu Khayran

The Answer
Wa alaykum al-Salam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh:

Asalamu alaykum,

I would not rely on long term application processes. The enrollment process is this month so I would encourage you, if you have a background in Arabic, Islamic studies and Qu’ran, to apply [if you are fluent in Arabic]. If not, then I would strongly recommend you take one year to study the basics in your homeland, if possible, improve your knowledge and then come to study, maybe for another year, in a center. If you take the exams now, you will be placed in a difficult position and find it hard to get into the university. Furthermore, the goal is scholarship and not a mere degree. A degree’s just a piece of paper. The best way to apply is to do so in person. Please see the article on this site (How does one enter al-Azhar).

May Allah facilitate things for you

About the author

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb

Suhaib Webb is a contemporary American-Muslim educator, activist, and lecturer. His work bridges classical and contemporary Islamic thought, addressing issues of cultural, social and political relevance to Muslims in the West. After converting to Islam in 1992, Webb left his career in the music industry to pursue his passion in education. He earned a Bachelor’s in Education from the University of Central Oklahoma and received intensive private training in the Islamic Sciences under a renowned Muslim Scholar of Senegalese descent. Webb was hired as the Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, where he gave khutbas (sermons), taught religious classes, and provided counselling to families and young people; he also served as an Imam and resident scholar in communities across the U.S.

From 2004-2010, Suhaib Webb studied at the world’s preeminent Islamic institution of learning, Al-Azhar University, in the College of Shari`ah. During this time, after several years of studying the Arabic Language and the Islamic legal tradition, he also served as the head of the English Translation Department at Dar al-Ifta al-Misriyyah.

Outside of his studies at Al-Azhar, Suhaib Webb completed the memorization of the Quran in the city of Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He has been granted numerous traditional teaching licenses (ijazat), adhering to centuries-old Islamic scholarly practice of ensuring the highest standards of scholarship. Webb was named one of the 500 Most Influential Muslims in the World by the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in 2010.


  • Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh,

    This seems a more appropriate section to reiterate my previous question:

    Akhee Suhaib,

    Is there an age limit to enter al-Azhar?

    Baaraka Allahu feek,

    Aboo Imraan al-Mekseekee

  • Assalamau alaykum Imam Suhaib

    i heard from some brothers who just came back from egypt that the govt. removed the study of the four madhabs from azhar’s curriculum. is this true?

  • There is no age limit to enter Al-Azhar. There are several Western students at Al-Azhar in their mid to late 30s. We have seen non-Westerners that are older.

    I’m single? How much does it cost to live there? Does Azhar teach Arabic?

    A single person can study at Al-Azhar and live in Egypt for around $800 a month. It would be more if the student needs to take Arabic lessons at one of the private institutes.

    Al-Azhar does have a program for teaching Arabic, but it is not very good. You would be better off taking Arabic for a year in a private institute in Cairo, and then apply.

    What about the 4 madhahib? I heard they are not taught?

    This is only true for the high school. They are still studied in the college of Shari3ah and in the college of Islamic Studies. Most students who go through the Al-Azhar grade school system (Egyptians) do not go to one of those colleges, and very few people in Egypt actually follow a madhab strictly, so this is why they changed the curriculum in the high school.

  • […] 214-544 … NASAR N ABOO MD. Dallas Hair 2009. 119 Reasons Why We Love Dallas. 34 Great Dallas …Question: Entering al-Azhar and Studying Arabic Suhaib Webb …Aboo 'Imraan al-Mekseekee. August 6, 2008 at 7:09 pm | Permalink … Baaraka Allahu feek, Aboo […]

  • Asalamualekum
    JazakAllah Khair for helping all the brothers. may Allah reward you.
    I am currently studying online with one of the teachers from cairo and plan to move cairo next year to prepare for alazhar.

    I want to know

    I have heard that the private schools are very expensive. like LE15,000 a year. Are there any good islamic schools for children, which cost less then that (english medium schools or atleast science and maths in english)

    What are the yearly fees of these schools

    Also what is the rent for a 2 bed in Nasr city disctirt 7 or 8

    Approximately if you move to cairo what is the cost of living for a family (two children)

    JazakAllah Khaira

    Abu EESA

    • Wsalaam,

      1. Not sure about schooling. Good schools are really expensive.
      2. Rent for 2-3 bedroom apt- between $450- 650 a month
      3. Cost of living – hard to estimate, completely depends on lifestyle, tuition, etc.

  • Peace upon you ,
    Thanks brother for your blog,
    Please, I would like to ask a question.
    I have a good friend that is ( chinese ) and he wants to be muslim and comes here to study arabic and islam at the azhar. can you please provide me with fees and information?
    thanks alot for your help, Allah bless you and saves Islam.

    • Wsalaam,

      Studying Arabic at al Azhar is not the best option. They do offer a remedial Arabic program, but the quality and pace are not the best. It would be better if could learn Arabic prior to enrolling.

  • Salam,i will like to thank you for your efforts towards enlighten us on how,when and why on al azhar university.I can speak Arabic averagely,i can write and read but am not fluent.I have 3 juz’i memorized.Am preparing very well for al azhar,am coming for better for worse to study.The quetion i want to ask is”is al azhar still free?Do i need to apply from my country or shuld i come to al azhar in person?Thank u.Ramat inb Ziyada.Nigeria

    • Wsalaam,

      Azhar is still free. All you have to do is pay for an application to enroll (~$40), around $10 a year for paperwork, and buy your books.

  • Salam aleikum,

    Ramadhan Karim!
    As I have read above, you have mentioned that Arabic courses aren’t effective in Al-Azhar .What would be the other alternative?(Country,University).Currently I am studying Economics at International Islamic University of Malaysia, but wanted to improve my Arabic language skills at fluent level during my holidays.And is it a possible thing to learn Arabic in 1.5 month with some background in it?

    Jazakallahu khayron.

  • * Important Clarification *

    Imam Suhaib – you say, “Furthermore, the goal is scholarship and not a mere degree.”

    Could you further elaborate on that?

  • Asslam-o-Alikum,

    I am currently residing in Pakistan. I am Alhamdoulliah a Hafiz-e-Quran and recently completed the “Dars-e-Nizami” from Wafaqual-Madaris-Al-Arabia Pakistan and “Iftaah-fil-fiqh” from Jamia Anwar-ul-Quran Karachi. I have also authored a book by the name of “Lives of 100 Slave Jurisprudent’s”. I will like to come to Al-Azhar and do my PhD in Ilm-Hadees. If me the you kindly help me with the admission process and explain to me the procedure to gain admission at the prestigious Institute. I looking forward to you reply.

  • I am a Romanian girl and I want to study Quran in Al Azhar Insha Allah how much does it cost now to study in 2011 and for strangers because I think is more expensive.Shokran

  • Al-Azhar University is now offering an educational program that grants a B.A. in Islamic and Arabic Sciences via e-learning program. This program is offered in cooperation with “The World Association for al-Azhar Graduates” (WAAG). The course material will be available online and students will be able to communicate with their instructors via virtual online classes and electronic discussions. Please, visit our website http://www.azharegypt.net
    Terms of registration in e-learning program for the Faculty of Islamic Sciences for International Students
    1. The student applying for the e-learning program must hold either of the following certificates:
    • Azhari secondary certificate or its equivalent.
    • Azhari missionary secondary certificate or its equivalent.
    • The Egyptian general secondary certificate or its equivalent. In this case, the student must pass an equivalence exam to the Azhari secondary certificate.
    2. To be a Muslim with good conduct
    3. The student will not be considered registered in the program unless the registration is completed. The University has the right to accept or refuse the applicant without giving any reasons.
    4. Hold a certificate in Arabic language.

  • Hi All,

    For Learning Arabic in real arabic accent, you have to study arabic among arab students or teachers & speak with them in Arabic, Learning from book can help you but not to that extend.

    Also as mentioned by brother Mohammad Taha, Azhhar have recently opened its doors for Bachelour Degree Distance Learning (islamic sutdies)in Arabic Languangte. Pls log in to the site (azharegypt.net) for more info.

    Today, I’ve seen in the site that very soon, an Open Learning Sudies will be launched for Islamic Studies in English & in Arabic & this will really be helpful non Arabic speaking borothers.

    Pls remember me in your dua.

  • As for the fees for (bachelour in Islamic Studies) distance learning in Arabic, its a below:

    Registration fees for the first time in the faculty: 50$; Tuition fees per level: 75$; Registration fees per subject: 80$; (The minimum registration is five subjects per level & maximum 17 subjects)

    Each year has 2 levels.
    The course is 4 years divide to 8 level.

    Payments can be made in 4 installments a year.

    The First Level Subjects as below:

    Qur’an, Hadith, Tafsir, Exegesis, Verses of provisions, Hadith studies, The history of Islamic Legislation, An introduction to Islamic theology (‘Ilm al-Kalām), Faith- theology, Hanbali school of Fiqh, Hanafi school of Fiqh, Maliki school of Fiqh, Shafi’I School of Fiqh, Arabic grammar, Arabic rhetoric

  • if anyone need help regarding studying Arabic or azhar in egypt, please let me know am a foregin student studying at azhar university,accommodation or admission i can help both genders male or female

    • As salamu alaikum Wa rahamatullahi Wa barakatuhu

      My name is sajid kasmani age 33

      I want to learn arabic In egypt pls tell me what is the best way
      I m from india mumbai

  • Asc brothers and sisters in Islam I’ll really need ur help I have 7 kids we’re from Canada, have 2 teenagers boys and would like to move in egypte so they can finish and memorize the Coran so Wich school Should I begin with… I’m so confused and also wich area should we rent house????? Give me some advice pleaseeeeeee thank u. Asc.

  • Aslamo Alaiqum akhi. I’m from Pakistan and wants to studie in Al Azhar university. I wanna know that can a women studie in Azhar without mehrem? And what are their security scenario for students? Kindly help me. JAZAKILLAHU KHAIRA

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