By Amal S.
Until this summer I had never tried taking online Qur’an (Tajweed/memorization) classes before, and to be honest I was sceptical of them. I thought one or more of the following would be the case:
(1) The teacher would hardly be able to express themselves in English and so I could not benefit from what they were trying to convey
(2) The teacher would be unqualified to teach Tajweed.
(3) The phone line/connection would be fuzzy and unclear
I was proven wrong when I came across an online Arabic & Qur’an Institute called Studio Arabiya. While I still maintain that having a teacher in person is invaluable, many Muslims in the West may not have a qualified tajweed/Arabic teacher available in their locality, or may have a tight schedule, or cannot find a private one-to-one teacher, etc. From personal experience, I have come to hugely appreciate the online alternative which I came across. Studio Arabiya offers a range of courses from very beginners to advanced students. You can take classes in Arabic, Recitation (Tajweed)/Memorization, Children’s Classes, and Advanced Classical Texts, and Advanced Islamic Texts.
I am not enrolled to take Arabic or Islamic Studies with them so I cannot comment on those, although if they are anything like the classes taught by my Qur’an teacher then I expect them to be fantastic. For the purpose of this review, I will focus on the Qur’an classes I take with them.
Classes are One-to-one: I really appreciate the fact that all the classes are private with qualified teachers. I think this is very helpful in learning Qur’an as the teacher can give all his/her attention to teaching you, correcting your mistakes, and improving you bi’ithnillah. Also, you will receive a teacher the same gender as yourself which is of course great.
My Teacher: I do not want to make this post just going on about my teacher but really, I look forward to seeing her twice a week (may Allah preserve her and increase her in goodness).
- She is in Egypt and has an ijazah (certified to teach tajweed with a chain going back to the Prophet, Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) and she has memorized the entire Qur’an.
- The teacher is well-skilled, thorough, patient, and professional, and she was able to detect minor mistakes I was making which a teacher I previously had didn’t pick up on.
- She is very friendly, polite, and warm – she opens and closes the class with salaams, asks how I am doing and how my day was, and closes the session by wishing me the best, etc. It seems like she cares about each one of her students individually.
- She imparts beautiful reminders about Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala, and once in a while will comment on the tafsir of an ayah. She also shares small tidbits of advice a for example reminding me to cherish and enjoy the special time I spend with the Qur’an; or that we do not memorize Qur’an just to memorize it, but for it to touch our hearts and to live with it; or, to be patient in learning as even Qur’an teachers were not born knowing Tajweed!
- My teacher seems genuinely invested and concerned about her students. She pushes her students to reach their potential while recognizing the other responsibilities/commitments they shoulder. For example, sometimes she will check if what she has assigned is too much to memorize, but at the same time she set targets to push you to your potential and to set high aspirations.
Where the class happens: My classes take place over Skype for the moment; I have sometimes experienced internet connection issues, but they have for the most part been brief and quickly resolved. Alhamdulillah it is not a regular problem we face. However, good news I have heard from the Institute is that they are moving all classes to another platform so as to avoid dropped calls, improve screen sharing, and more insha’Allah!
Price: The prices are listed in US dollars on their website (so you may need to pull up a currency covnverter). They have different packages of how many hours of class you want per week (1hr, 2.5, 5, or 10) etc. and will schedule the class days/times in conjunction with your schedule.
When looking at the prices, it is important to remember the calibre of the teacher you are receiving in return and to also remember we are spending and investing to seek knowledge. It is also wise to consider whenever contemplating about spending money for something in the deen about how readily we would spend that amount for something in dunya (e.g. university tuition fees, a dress, cell phone, etc.).
Nonetheless, if you are serious about learning and cannot afford it, they do offer financial aid and family discounts! Alhamdulillah
Customer Service: My correspondence with them has been excellent. They promptly answer your queries or scheduling changes, and are polite and accessible (by e-mail, phone, or even Skype!).
Finally, they offer a 1-week free trial, so there’s really no harm in just trying it out for yourself!
If you have any questions, I would be happy to try my best to answer them or you can contact the Institute directly here.