In the Name of Allaah, the All-Merciful, may His Salaah and Salaam be upon His final Messenger Muhammad, to proceed…
The following frequently asked questions are answered in this article:
- I’m over 25 years old. Is it possible for me to be accepted?
- How can they put an age limit on seeking Islaamic knowledge!?
- I have a family and I would want them to live with me during my studies. Is that possible?
- What is the difference between Umm Al-Quraa University and the Islamic University of Al-Madeenah?
- I heard that Umm Al-Qura University does not allow non-Saudi students into any of the colleges. Is that true?
- What is the best way to submit an application?
- Is it a must to include pictures in my application?
- Can women study at Umm Al-Qura University?
- As a female student, can I bring my uncle or grandfather to live with me in Makkah to fulfill the condition of having a male relative with me?
- Can you please give me special consideration for acceptance?
QUESTION #1: I’m over 25 years old. Is it possible for me to be accepted?
ANSWER: The university has changed the age limit to 23, and they apply this as a real condition. Meaning: Applicants over 23 are simply not eligible for acceptance.
QUESTION #2: How can they put an age limit on seeking Islaamic knowledge!?
ANSWER: They are not putting an age limit on seeking knowledge! They are simply making decisions about who gets a full scholarship at their university. The scholarship includes 100% paid tuition, free housing, free air travel, a monthly stipend, and other benefits. The financial value of a scholarship can be anywhere from about $20,000 (for a two-year stay) to up to $100,000 or more (for those who continue their studies).
Statistically, older students do not stay – they have family members to look after, businesses, positions in communities, health problems, and it is difficult to return to the classroom atmosphere after being away from it for so many years. Our brothers in the administration have a budget to look after and they are responsible for their decisions. You yourself would probably set an age limit if you worked in the same position, and Allaah knows best. By no means are they saying those over 23 are not fit to study Islaam, rather they are simply making decisions about who receives their scholarships.
QUESTION #3: I have a family and I would want them to live with me during my studies. Is that possible?
ANSWER: Yes, it is possible, but very difficult. The following affairs will help:
- Seeking Allaah’s Assistance
- Being patient
- Leaving your family behind at first
- Making important contacts once you get here
- Having marketable skills before you come
It is a tremendously difficult thing to bring any family member to stay with you. The more children you have, and the older they are, the more difficult it gets. Many students have discontinued their studies because of the hardships they faced in bringing their families. However, many succeeded as well, and we thank Allaah for that.
QUESTION #4: What is the difference between Umm Al-Quraa University and the Islamic University of Al-Madeenah?
ANSWER: Umm Al-Quraa is a general university where students major in Dentistry, History, Sciences, Mathematics, and Islaamic Sciences as well. However, it was not designed just for Islaamic Studies as is the case with Al-Madeenah, hence the name, the Islaamic University. The vast majority of Umm Al-Quraa’s students are Saudis, and it was not designed to bring in the number of students from outside the Kingdom like Al-Madeenah. The ‘Arabic Language Institute of Umm Al-Quraa University was an addition for non-Saudis, following the example of the Islaamic University. The programs are completely different. Many students feel that, even though Al-Madeenah is a better place to study Islam overall, the language program in Makkah may be stronger.
QUESTION #5: I heard that Umm Al-Qura University does not allow non-Saudi students into any of the colleges. Is that true?
ANSWER: This is not true. It is true that there are very few students from the West studying in the colleges now. The seats for non-Saudis are very limited indeed, so only the students with the best grades from the Arabic Language Institute get in. The university has laid down a condition that must be met by students who wish to study in the colleges. They must have an overall mumtaaz or jayyid jiddan (80% or higher) average for the length of their studies at the Arabic Institute.
UPDATE: There are many more Western students now enrolled in the colleges now, al-hamdulillaah. Please ask Allaah to guide them, grant them success in their studies, and keep them firm.
QUESTION #6: What is the best way to submit an application?
ANSWER: Make copies of your completed application, and use all known ways – Visit the university and submit it personally, give a copy to a current student or faculty member who agrees to submit it for you, send one by mail, and try submitting one at the Saudi Embassy of your country.
QUESTION #7: I don’t believe that pictures are permissible. Is it a must to include pictures in my application?
ANSWER: Although I am with you in this belief, if you want to study in Umm Al-Quraa, they require that you submit pictures with your application. They will not review an application with any missing conditions, like pictures. If you get here, sadly, you will be asked to submit many more pictures for various reasons. So it is just the beginning of the battle.
QUESTION #8: Can women study at Umm Al-Qura University?
ANSWER: Umm Al-Qura University has a huge women’s campus where students can comfortably relax their hijaab and attend their classes with no men anywhere around. The programs are all the same, in fact they recieve the same monthly stipend. This provides a great oppurtunity for young couples who have no children to study together at Umm Al-Quraa. Our sisters in the West really need good role models, so if you are able to assist your wife, sister, or daughter in studying at Umm Al-Quraa, it would be a great benefit to the Muslims of the West, in shaa’ Allaah. Female applicants must provide proof of a male family member’s residence in Makkah or apply along with their spouses or brothers (applications must be submitted together).
QUESTION #9: As a female student, can I bring my uncle or grandfather to live with me in Makkah to fulfill the condition of having a male relative with me?
ANSWER: No. Female applicants can only be considered if they prove that they already have a male relative legally residing in Makkah at the time of the application, or if they apply along with their brothers or husbands.
QUESTION #10: Can you please give me special consideration for acceptance because of…?
ANSWER: This is the most common request we get. This website provides information about studying at Umm al-Qura University and elsewhere. Requests directed to the administrations of the schools must be sent to the respective schools, not to Bakkah.net. May Allaah give you success.
Written by: Moosaa Richardson