Reflections for a Master’s Student at MEDIU

Advice by Abu Ibrahim, a master’s student at MEDIU. The original comment can be found here.

Having completed my first term at MEDIU on the master’s program I thought I would share some information for the benefit of prospective master’s students. The information provided on the university website unfortunately does not give a clear picture as to what the student should expect.

Firstly, the student has to choose either full-time or part-time mode of study. The full-time option involves enrollment on 4 or 5 units, whilst the part-time option means registering on 2 or 3 units. Each unit comprises a 5,000 word research paper, two short assignments (typically one or two pages in length) and the mid-term and final exams. In theory it is possible to complete the program within two years; however the constraining factor for most students will be the research paper which takes considerable time and effort to research and write. There are also four live lectures the student must attend to be eligible to enter the exams. The lectures essentially involve the instructor summarizing /reading verbatim one or more lessons and do not really have much impact on exam performance and attendance is more just an administrative requirement.

The master’s program differs from the bachelors program in a number of respects; there are no power-point style summaries of the course texts meaning that the onus is on the student to produce his own concise summary for revision purposes (with the exception of Manhjul Bahth). Each text consists of about 500 pages, so high level study skills are needed to sort the wheat from the chaff. Also another key difference is that both the mid-term and final exam includes written questions, alongside the usual multiple choice questions, which account for around 40% of the score. To score at the highest levels in the examinations a very detailed study of the text is needed (as some of the questions are looking for obscure detail), but for those wishing to gain the qualification with a good result, a solid, general understanding of each and every chapter (from my experience at least) should suffice.

My advice to prospective master’s students is to start the research papers as early in the term as possible, once the selected title(s) have been posted, to avoid unnecessary stress later on down the line. It is also advisable to use the period before term begins to start reading and summarizing the course texts; the texts are freely available on the university’s website. I believe that with a strategic approach it is possible to complete the masters in a short period of time with a good result inshallah.

The MAPT (MEDIU Arabic Placement Test)

Bismillah.

I wrote a post about MEDIU a few years ago describing my experiences as a student there. One of the things that I didn’t experience was the MAPT (MEDIU Arabic Placement Test) since I had a diploma in Arabic that allowed me to bypass the test.

A few people who have taken the MAPT commented on the original post regarding the test. I’m singling out some of those comments in this post, hopefully it will help any potential students who might have to take the MAPT.

Aquib

assalaamu alaikum,

i have seen some questions asked about mapt. At some point i also wanted to know but did not get any information. Inshallah for general benefit i would like to state few things

This test will test you on grammar, listening comprehension, reading comprehension and vocabulary

If you are not prepared for the test, then these are the things that inshallah can help you attain sufficient knowledge needed to pass the test

1) Read “Aajroomiyah” in arabic and be comfortable with the text. In case you have read any matn advanced than this then inshallah you are good

2) try to listen and understand these aajroomiyah lectures as much as possible.

3) I benefitted a lot from this short booklet

http://www.iqra.org/ProductDesc.aspx?code=7297&type=0&eq=&key=it&desc=LearnHowtoSpeakArabic(PocketSize)

same book on amazon http://www.amazon.com/Learn-How-To-Speak-Arabic/dp/9953682100

Inshallah if you can gage ur knowledge based on this then inshallah you should not hesitate taking the test to complete the bachelors requirement (score of 70). I believe the duration of test was if i remember correctly was 2:30. I finished it in 2 hrs

I am in US, my test was conducted by a very nice polite person via skype. She conversed with me in English

and all thanks belong to Allah-SWT

Um Ayesa

I have sat the MAPT two months ago. It is a multiple choice online exam and can easily be achieved within the 2.5 hours allocated. It does not test speaking, nor was there any interaction on Skype as previously mentioned by Brother AAquib (in my case anyway). I would say that if someone has reached the level of Aajrumiyah in Nahw then it should be pretty straightforward, although there are some questions on Sarf and Balagah which threw me a bit! Also all round experience in reading texts is important and just knowledge of Arabic grammar will not get you through it. In summary you have to know Arabic to pass it however the level required is not beyond the reach of the serious student. MEDIU is a great product and all serious students of knowledge should try to take benefit from it as there are few resources like it on the internet. My advice is to start learning Arabic early and then when you’re ready go for the MAPT.

Recommendation on What to do During Laylatul Qadr

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Bismillah.

0) Isha and Fajr prayer in congregation (jama’ah). 

I put this as number 0 because if nothing else, this is the one thing a person HAS to do: pray Isha and Fajr in congregation.

The Prophet said, “The one who performs Isha’ prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salat for half of the night. And one who performs the Fajr prayer in congregation, is as if he has performed Salat the whole night.” [Reported by Muslim]

This is the baseline. Everything else after doing this is a bonus insha Allah.

1) Lots of dua.
Aisha [RA], when asking the Prophet about Laylatul Qadar, said, “What dua should I make if I were to find Laylatul Qadr?”. Her question tells us that in her mind, her task was clear: make lots of dua. So she particularly asked for which dua to make to get the maximum benefit out of this night.
Recommendation: get a book like the Fortress of the Muslim or ibn Taymiyyah’s Good Words then try to read as many (or all) of these duas. It is so spiritually uplifting.
2) Night prayers.
Try attending night prayers (qiyamul layl) somewhere. If you can do it yourself, that’s great as well. You can read from the Quran while praying (either by yourself or behind an Imam). You can even read from an app on a mobile device. Just put the device in airplane mode :)
3) Charity.
If a person can catch Laylatul Qadr and give charity on that night, that would have more goodness than a 1000 months of charity. Imagine that!
A pro tip: give $20 in charity every night, this way you’re sure to have given charity on Laylatul Qadr.
4) Qur’an.
Read as much Qur’an as possible. Try to memorize a few ayaat to gain a tangible benefit (perhaps first 10 or last 10 of Surah Kahf). If you don’t understand what you’re reading, then mix in some tafsir. But don’t spend the entire night listening to tafsir, keep a fair balance insha Allah.
The key is to mix to all these deeds. Start off the night with Isha in congregation and some charity. Proceed to read some Qur’an. Once warmed up, try to memorize a few ayaat. Then take a break with listening to a tafsir. Make dua afterwards and start night prayers. End the night with lots of dua, a nice healthy suhoor (or sehri) and Fajr in congregation.
May Allah make us extract the maximum benefit during this night, ameen.
WAllahu alam.