Thursday, February 3, 2011

Life for Women

Bism Illah wa as salaamu alaykum.

I have had a couple of people ask me about social life and what women can do with their time here. There are various options.

If a woman wants to work, she can easily get employment as a teacher of English if she is a native speaker. If she doesn't have a degree, she may get a job in a private school or nursery school. If she has a degree, then she may have a wider choice of places to work. If she has a degree and a TEFL, CELTA, or similar certification, then she can apply to work at Taibah University. There are several companies that hire English teachers and then subcontract them out to different universities and institutions. If you sign a contract with one of those companies, it is possible when they are desperately trying to fill positions, that they will take you even if you don't have the ideal qualifications. There is a great difference in the salaries from perhaps SAR 2000 for a private school with no degree, to SAR 9,000 with benefits for a job at Taibah.

That said, if a woman wants to work without the headache and structure of a formal job, tutoring is very big business here. I cannot count how many times I have been asked to teach English privately. It is lucrative, you can work as much or as little as you like,  and you can set your own hours. If a visa and iqama (residence permit) aren't an issue, this is the route I would recommend. However, if you need a job to get your visa and iqama, then usually the low paying jobs won't provide them. It would be something you would have to ask about straight away, before anything else.

Of course, I already said that there are plenty of opportunities to learn Quran, Arabic, and about Islam mashaa'Allah. However, don't expect much else when it comes to learning or programs for women. There aren't many libraries, there aren't classes to develop interests or learn new sports, and you really have to get together with people of like mind if you want to do any kind of crafting circle or organised activities.

Socially, we cannot drive so our drivers, aka our husbands,  are the ones we have to "book" for any outings or events. As this is the way of life, the men are usually accommodating. One sister established a monthly talk on Fridays on health and nutrition. We had the idea of having a monthly activity for the children - similar to a scouts concept. Sisters get together at parks and each others' houses. We like to meet up at Masjid an Nabawi on Jumuah. School or tahfiz programs often give us another outlet for socialization as we make and meet friends there. Of course there are always the malls, where sisters could go and browse and then stop for coffee. We have Starbucks, Costa Coffee, etc. here and they have separate sections for sisters.

Just like anywhere, we are usually busy with our families and lives so we are always trying to find time for socialization. That is the plight of the woman...wherever she lives, LOL!


  1. Alhamdulilaah, it sounds so beautiful. In the West as you know it is so hard to really enjoy your deen and your family. I hold a MFA in Cinema and it is hard for me to teach in a Halaal. So Alhamdulilaah, I just tutor and do workshops. I pray that one day, my family and me can move to the Holy land or back home to Africa where we can work in a Halaal setting. InshaAllah. JZK for the experience

  2. My dear Umm Khadijah Binta,

    May Allah open the doors for you and your family to live your Islam and find sustenance through it - ameen. Wa iyaaki, sister.

  3. salam alaykum, i live in hail city Saudi arabia and its very isolating for woman. Theres nothing to do like learn arabic learn about islam ect, im finding it very hard to adapt in hail city as woman stay at home or theres parks and can get very boring. im a practicing muslim alhamduilah and find my iman is weaken with no islam to keep the heart alive. i feel very disappointed theres nothing for woman to do here islamicly ans sad for woman like me whos intention to marry and live in saudi was for islam not only loving a husband. what you have described about madinah looks alot better the hail for islam and i pray inshAllah allah swt will keep you high in iman and knowledge and get me there one day to inshAllah ameen

  4. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh sister Nuran.

    We met a family living in Hail; they were visiting Madinah. The salary for teachers in the university is much higher there, for good reason. It is much more remote and very conservative. I also talked to sisters who live in Taif and they said that there weren't Arabic programs for them either. One sister attended a class for Saudi women - like a literacy and basic schooling program. Qadr Allah, sister. Although there are plenty of classes to attend here and also in other big cities like Jeddah, Riyadh, and Dammam you can do so much from home. I'm SURE there are tahfeez programs that you can attend for your Quran memorization. As for the Arabic, use the Internet inshaa'Allah. The Understanding Quran Short course or Complete course is an excellent resource, mashaa'Allah. WIZIQ has Arabic classes that you can join free and learn everything from basics to advanced sarf. Read e-books, structure your day around a program of Arabic lessons, Quran memorization, reading, and listening to beneficial lecture to strengthen your understanding and emaan.

    Sister, I am running around to keep up with the schedule here. Many of us would welcome a chance to have no distractions and more time for studying. In fact, that was something I loved about Ramadan...that I just stayed in the house and focused on ibadah. Dunya is a huge distraction and detractor from our Islamic growth and development.

    Why let your Islam waver when Allah has opened the door for you to reflect, read, and develop your relationship with Him, His book, and His Messenger, salla Allahu alayhi wa sallam. Please sister, make the most of what Allah has sent you at this time. To look back in a year's time and see you've done nothing when you had all the time in world to accomplish a great deal, will be nothing but loss.

    Jazaaki Allahu khayran and ameen to your dua'. May Allah guide you and open up the paths to growth and knowledge for you. May He always give you what is best for your aakhirah - ameen.

  5. salamu alaikim . I am um lamar.
    I really love living in madinah,it's a beauty for soul , heart and for women to work.
    What i want to know is,when will the registration for the TEFL course start at taybah university? is a bachelor's degree required or is a high school diploma enough?
    Thank you

  6. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Um Lamar.

    Yes, it is a blessing and a privilege to live here. The TEFL course never got approved at Taibah, so nothing is happening about it. Qadr Allah, if anything changes I will post about it inshaa'Allah.

    Barak Allahu feeki.

  7. Assalamu Alaikum, my husband is currently in Madinah studying at the university. I'm trying to find a school which i can apply for the work visa. Would you be able to give me any contact details of any schools that i could possibly apply for?

    Jazaki Allah Kheir,

  8. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Farah.

    Please forgive me for taking so long to respond. In fact, I cannot find the list of contacts for schools here, which you could apply for. In addition, you would need to have a bachelors degree to stand much chance of being brought in to teach on a work visa. Anything is possible, but that is the basic requirement here. The names of schools you could apply to are Tarbiyah Al Islamiya school for Girls, Manaret School, Al Aqeeq International School, and Al Fusha Girls School - Ms. Noha tel: 0567866371/0506388835, owner Mr. Youeif Saiyed tel: 0505343797.

    Here is a link to a some phone numbers of schools in Saudi Arabia. You will have to scroll through it to find the listings for Madina, but inshaa'Allah it will give you some contacts.

    If I manage to find where that list of schools was circulated, I will post it here inshaa'Allah. In the meantime, I hope this helps.

    Wa iyaaki ukhti.

  9. That's ok ukhti, no need to apologize =) Jazaki Allah Kheir for taking the time to reply. I will get my husband to look into those schools InshaAllah. Ok InshaAllah, a list of schools will be much appreciated =)

  10. As-salamu alaykum wa rahmatullah

    I'm glad i found your blog sister May, helpful information.
    I'm currently in another gulf country and i would love to move to Madeenah, i have a Bachelor (not in english though) and a diploma in TESOL. I read that you can be hired to a university with just that, to my surprise i must say, because i thought that a master was needed.
    I don't know if you wouldnt mind me getting in touch with you privately, since my case is a bit special (nothing scary, alhamdullillah)i'd like to ask few questions privately.

    Jazakillahu khayran
    Was-salamu alayki

    Um muhammad

  11. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Um Muhammad.

    Wa iyaaki. I'm glad that you've found some benefit here. is my e-mail.

    For Taibah University they do require a Masters now because they are trying to get accreditation. If you go through SBC -Saudi British Center, then they can sometimes place you at Taibah without the MA.

    I look forward to hearing from you by e-mail. Barak Allahu feeki wa fee hayaatiki.

    Wa alaykum as salaam.

  12. Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatulahi wa barakatuh,

    I was really happy when i found out about this blog.

    I am currently in Houston, TX. I have a bachelors degree from University of Houston in Education of Health. I was just wondering if I can get any job positions at Taibah University with this degree or do I need anything else?

    I really appreciate any help you can give me.

    Please contact me at

    Um Ibrahim

  13. Iam really happy to find such a blog.thank you
    Um Ahmad.


    Need your help desperately
    now I am a canadian citizen
    hava masters in design from Pakistan
    please send me contacts / emails
    of hiring agencies in Medina
    i would like to sign a contract asap
    yes i am TESL certified
    you can send me an email too
    any college university for girls
    where i can apply directly ?


    Ghazala B

  15. lovely -nice to know-ladies in medina

  16. As-salaam alaikum, I would like to move to Medina and have my sons go to Medina University. What are options for girls in education there?
    I also have a blog We are currently working on updating our post.
    I do not have a degree in education yet, but working on my master now. Hope to be certified in another year or so. Also what do you recommend a good job for my husband. HE does security but does not have any other skill.He wants to get training but I don't want him to waste his time getting something that will not benefit him. Please recommend any good job offers for men there. Jezak-Allah for your lovely posts.
    Also I have planned to work on web and graphic design, and need access to computer. Is internet use possible there?

    1. Wa alaikum as salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. Are you familiar with the process of applying to and being accepted to the University of Madinah? It is nothing like the procedure in Western countries. Research the process, and you'll see if you still want to try.

      With regards to female education, do you mean secondary or university education? If it's university education, the choices are limited, and Saudis have preference.

      Expats are only allowed to work certain jobs. What country are you from? Your husband will need a university degree to be employed here if you are from a Western nation. Also, you can't sponsor your husband to come to Saudi, so it's important that he be the one hired to work here(he can sponsor you, but you can't sponsor him).

      Lastly, there is internet access here, as I run my blog from Madinah. Barak Allahu feeki.

  17. Asslamualakum wa rahmatulaahe wa barakatuh ;today i found your
    cooperation in the field of life for women in MADINA; I,m masters in Pol Science & B.Sc,B.Ed with teaching experience of about 15 years .I can teach English;Science & pol sciences.I wish to serve MADINA & children of MADINA ;Can u help me & accomplish my wish as i need a family visa to settle there.

    Naila Riaz Pakistan

  18. Assalamualikum sisret, i m filipino, rewerted to Islam 6 years ago. i wanna stay in madina-munawwara. i has "Degree of bachelor of science in commerce - business administration (BSC-BA)". at prasant i m staying in INDIA. Hpoe u will help me for settle there. Saadiya Shaikh

  19. is there any job i can do with parda (hijab)?

  20. it was typing mistake not spelling.

    1. please reply on my mail,


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