Monday, June 28, 2010

The Long Road to Madinah

Bism Allah wa as salaamu alaykum.

Where does one begin? The thrill of being offered a position at teaching in Madinah al Munawarrah? The long seeming wait until summer when the departure should take place?

Well, DH was offered a teaching position in March 2009 after being interviewed at the TESOL convention in Denver, Colorado. Money well spent and greatly rewarded, al hamdu l'Illah! We started planning what we would do leading up to our expected departure in August.

However, as time proceeded, nothing came through about visas or anything and we took it into our own hands to get our medicals finished by the end of June/early July. By August, we started getting correspondence asking a for information to prepare visas, but Ramadan hindered the process greatly.
After finally getting our visa letter and rushing down to the Saudi Embassy in Washington DC, we were shocked to be told that we were not allowed to go as a family, only my husband could travel. Fortunately, we thought about all the correspondence and DH called his employer to check. “No!” they said, “you are all supposed to come together.” This began a battle between one woman in the Saudi Embassy and all the applicants for family visas to Saudi universities.

The time for the University to open came and went. The time for classes to start came and went. The time for the children's school to start came and went. But, subhaan Allah! The commencement of classes was postponed because there were so many teachers facing problems and not yet in the Kingdom. The children's school was delayed two weeks, so they wouldn't miss as much as originally thought. The house was taking longer to get sorted out than we thought it would. All these things were blessings and signs of Allah's Perfect Plan.

It took four weeks, couriered letters to the Ambassador, Consul, and Cultural Affairs Mission and a great deal of patience and stress to finally get an edict that all families are allowed to travel with the employee and the backlog of rejected visa applications be dealt with. After over a month planning to leave within 5 days of receiving our visas, we received the call. Our visas were ready on Wednesday, October 14th and we made the bookings on Thursday October 15th for the tickets being paid for by the employer. Friday October 16th we made the booking for the two youngest girls and Fed-Ex delivered our passports and papers all stamped by the Saudi Embassy. We spent the next 48 hours in a state of sleepless frenzy, finalizing bags, clearing out the house, putting all the things to be stored together, and organizing final arrangements with friends. By Allah's Mercy, we made it to Dulles Airport on Sunday October 18th to catch our flight. We were finally going to Saudi Arabia.


  1. Asslamualikum sister,

    Me and my husband both dont have a degree but my husband is a professional hgv driver is there any jobs of the nature that will allow him and me and my children make hijarah to saudi? or is there any jobs as we both born and bred in the uk where we can teach english after maybe doing a course without doing a degree.

    Jazakallah for your help


  2. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh sister Aishah.

    As for Hgv drivers, men from the sub-continent are brought in to do this job and are paid less than 2,000 riyal a month, which is around 330 pounds. You cannot live here on that amount of money. In addition, you will not be able to get a visa to work in that capacity. Westerners are only given visas to do certain jobs. The jobs that we consider to be professional jobs in the west (such as auto mechanics, truck drivers, a/c or electronic repair, etc.) are considered unskilled labor here.

    The government requirement to teach English is that the individual has a bachelors degree and some other type of certification, such as CELTA, DELTA, or TEFL. Although some people were or are able to get jobs without a degree, it is because they were in the Kingdom already and there was an extreme emergency so subcontracting companies overlooked this requirement. However, the government institutions will not.

    However, Egypt, Yemem, Syria and generally countries outside of the Gulf countries will accept you for work without a degree. A good English teaching certification and being a native speaker can be enough in those countries.

    Wa iyaaki ukhty wa barak Allahu feekum.



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