Ribaat is an online academic program that offers courses in Islamic Sciences, Arabic language, and the Holy Quran to women around the world. The program is designed to provide Muslim women with a solid foundation in the Islamic Sciences, partly as a response to the lack of available programs that cater to women in particular and which provide a comprehensive curriculum covering the full range of Islamic Sciences.
The language of instruction is English, and students range from 17-70 years of age. The academic year is composed of three terms. The Fall Term spans from mid-September to December 24th, and the Spring Term from the last week in January through mid-May. Summer Arabic courses are also offered in July and August. The program is designed to be flexible to fit the needs and schedule of each individual student.Courses are each about 15 weeks long, and meet for a 1.5 hour live session once a week. The online session includes audio and video of the instructor, a chatbox for live discussion, questions and answers, and share pods to share sound files, images, slides, videos, and any other online content the instructor wishes to use as teaching materials. If the subject matter requires it, audio and video can also be enabled for students.
The Ribaat Islamic Sciences Program is comprised of four levels, with each level offering one or more courses in the following disciplines: Sīra, Tazkiyah, ʿAqīdah, Hadith, History, Geography, Tafsīr, Uṣūl, and Civilization. Some courses are covered in one term, while others are divided into two or more parts. Specialty courses are also offered each term, including a diverse range of topics in Islamic and Social Sciences such as educational methodology, creative writing, public speaking, the 99 Names of Allah, Islam in America, and others, with new courses added every year.
The Ribaat Quran Program enables students to become proficient in recitation of the Holy Quran, with complete understanding and application of the rules of tajwīd. The program takes students from the beginner level to fluency in recitation, and from there onto a journey of memorization of chosen chapters. The end goal is to produce students who are able to read and teach the Holy Quran with proficiency and expertise.
Quran courses each consist of two components:
- Theory is taught once a week in a group online session, to study the Holy Quran, meanings of selected chapters, points of articulation, and rules of recitation (tajwīd).
- Students are also paired with a tajwīd teacher, who they meet for additional sessions and work one-on-one with to recite and apply the rules of tajwīd. If a local teacher is not available, they will conduct these one-on-one sessions online, using Skype, Facetime, or other online apps.
The Ribaat Arabic Program provides a comprehensive curriculum for non-Arabic speakers designed to give students the tools and ability to comprehend and communicate in the Arabic language. The objectives of the program are:
- To develop students’ reading, writing, speaking and listening skills in the Arabic language.
- To develop students’ understanding of both vocabulary and grammar to enable them to both utilize and understand these language components.
- To enable them to access meaning from a variety of texts, in particular Islamic liturgical texts, in order to give them confidence and independence in their faith.
The Arabic Program is comprised of six levels; four levels are offered to date, and a new level is added each year.
The first course, “Introduction to Arabic” caters to students who have little or no previous knowledge of Arabic. This introductory course covers the letters and sounds of the Arabic alphabet as well as beginner vocabulary and grammar. After that, the Arabic Program is split into 6 levels, after which students should be able to read, write, and converse in Arabic.
Beginning in Level 1, the Arabic Program is split into two tracks: Grammar and Conversation (faṣīḥ Arabic). Students may pursue both tracks simultaneously, or complete one component per year, as their schedule permits. Each level contains 4 courses: Conversation A and B and Grammar A and B. Levels A are taught in the Fall of each year, while Levels B are taught in the Spring. It is advisable to move up in the levels at the same pace, as the Grammar and Conversation components are designed to support each other.