Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Popular Questions Answered

BismIllah wa as salaamu alaykum.

These are some common questions that are asked regarding living here in Madinah. I'm posting them, along with our answers, to provide other readers with a clearer idea.

Is there any US, British international school in Madinah. No

What is the quality of education for chidren in Madinah. Poor

Are there co education shools in Madinah? No

What would be the fees per child per month for education in the best school in Madinah? School fees are paid by the year or semester (two semesters per year), not by the month. The best school is about 13,000 riyal per year.

What would be the costof living per month in Medinah for a family of 4. breaking up into:
This is a difficult question, as it depends on your lifestyle, but generally:

Cost per month of Groceries and food items.  1800 riyal

Cost per month for utilities like Gas, water, electricity, Telephone, internet, Cable connection.  Gas cylinders are 16-18 riyal each (last about one month), water is free if you live in an apartment (flat) if not 150 every 3 months, 50-200 for electricity, everyone uses a mobile phone (it's up to you how much you spend but the rate is perhaps 35 halala per minute (check the STC website for rates), 25 - 35 per text message.), 2200 per year for internet.

Cost per month for hiring a driver for the car.
500-700 per month if they own the car, and pick you up when needed... 2000 or more if they are a driver who lives in your house and drives your car.

Cost per month for recreation, like going out for sight seeing, dining ones a week in a decent restaurant: anywhere from 200 - 700 riyal.

Cost per month for general maintenance like house hold dishes, soaps, washing and cleaning item )assuming a large 3 bedroom type accomodation) 50 - 100 riyal.

Cost per month for rent for a 3 bedroom, Villa in a decent location close to Nabi (SAW) Masjid, or any other nearby residential area. 35,000 - 50,000 riyal per year.

What is the rate of taxes on salary earned in Saudi Arabia? There are no taxes on income in Saudi Arabia.

What is cost of medical facility in Madinah, visiting fee for a general physician, a specialist like eye or heart specialist? Are there good quality doctors and medical centre and hospitals in Madinah? A general visit is between 50-200 riyal. I am not happy with the general quality of the doctors or the hospitals here.

If there are no good schools what does the expatriates community do for the education of their kids, do they compromise heavily on education?
Many of us home-school. Some of us send their children to Saudi schools and home-school. Others compromise their children's education.

How is the social life on weekends there? Madinah doesn't have much of social atmosphere, it is a place of learning.There are many different nationalities. Please be advised, the Saudis are very prejudice. It is really a matter of making friends and then getting together for your own social life.

How much does a brand new car cost- Lets say Honda Civic, and Toyota prado. I'm not sure of the price of a brand new car, but you finance one for about 800 riyal per month.

What is the cost of litre of petrol there? 100 halala per litre for the best petrol.   It cost 17 riyal fill a small car (Honda Civic or Toyota Prado).

As i read in your blogs that spending more time in Masjid Nabvi is quite hard due to the visitors, then if some one just wants to move there to spend more time at Holy Prophet(PBUH) roza and in the Holy Mosque ideally praying 5 times there, how do u see that mean how practical it is.
It can be done, with some effort and giving yourself enough time to find a place to park and be there early enough to get inside to pray. During the Hajj period and for two months thereafter, it is quiet and residents can enjoy the Haram effortlessly. Afterwards, it needs timing coordination, and for jumu'ah prayers, you need to be there at least two hours before the prayer to get a place inside. Although many of us think and hope to pray there 5 times a day, with work and school schedules, that isn't realistic or feasible for anyone we know.

With regards to the schools, I will do a separate post compiling our various responses on that subject, inshaa'Allah.

I pray it benefits.


  1. salaams -

    jazakallah for this precious information, may Allah bless you and your family.

    Can you explain what do you mean by Saudis are prejudiced? Can you give examples (in general)...

  2. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh Anonymous. I have written a separate post about it, as it is rather a big subject. Inshaa'Allah, it will clarify our statement for you and others.

  3. Assalaamu alaiki wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh, ukhtee Mai. Jazaakillahu khairan for your lovely blog-posts!

    I hope you don't mind entertaining a question for me. My son is on his way to Madinah (as I type, walhamdulillah). Could you tell me where I might be able to send him to find basic (and inexpensive) groceries so that he can do some of his own cooking. The closer to the jami3a, the better. Last year he lived off of the daily dose of chicken and rice from the cafeteria, which was terrible for his health. And buying prepared food that at least contains some vegetables is often out of budget.

    Baarak Allahu feeki. I do appreciate your time and any assistance Allah permits you to offer, my dear. I hope all is well with you and your family. *smiles*. Btw, is there perhaps some way I could contact you more privately?

    Your sister,
    Umm Hassan

  4. Umm Hassan,

    Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmat Allah wa Barakatuh. There aren't any supermarkets near the Jamia. However, your son could go to the fruit and vegetable market weekly by car. There they have fresh fruits, veggies, fish, meat, and poultry.

    You can contact me at

  5. Assalamualaikum, dear..
    As i read through your blogs, i was wondering what do u mean by saying the quality of education in madinah is poor. That scares me, because my son, 15 y.o is very eager to live and study there. I am still searching around for the schools that he can apply. He wants to study Alquran, he has been memorizing up to 18 juzu' here in local school in Malaysia. But he really wanted to finish his study in Madinah. Which school do u think that can fit his desire and for his better future? Pls advise. Thank you, sister. Your info will be very helpful to me.

  6. Assalamualaikum, dear Mai
    by reading through the article, i was wondering what do u know about Al Manarat school and if there is an international section in the school for girls grade 2 or 3?

  7. assalam u aliekom wa rahmatullah i wa barakatuhu,

    jazakAllah khair for all this info.

    so there are no O Level schools in Madinah?
    what about manarat or aqeeq intl.?

  8. @ Anonymous: There are no "O" or "A" levels in Madinah. Those that wish to take British standardize tests, need to go to Jeddah. However they need to study on their own, as these subjects are not taught to the required standard. Also, Al Manarat and Aqeeq are not true international schools. Basically, they teach some classes in English, and have international students. They may have the name, but it's just a facade.

  9. Assalam alykum

    So you mean to say there are no schools in Madina?

    Jazakallahu Khair

  10. @ Mohammad: Wa alaikum as salaam wa rahmatullahi wa baraktuh.

    Of course there are schools in Madinah, but there are no international schools here.

    There are two categories for private schools in Saudi Arabia...private schools that follow the Saudi curriculum and teach English, and private schools that use the curriculum of their choice e.g., National curriculum of the UK or the Common core standards of the US. Neither of the last two are in Madinah.

    Madinah only offers public education, and private education where they use the Saudi curriculum with English added.

    I hope this clears up any misunderstanding.

  11. salamou 3alaikoum,

    We are actually living in Riyadh and have an opportunity to move to Madinah.
    But we are worry about our children schooling.

    They are actually on Saudi Private system school (Ahliyah)...but I hear from friends that school in Madinah is a disaster in term of level of education.

    I would like to have you feedback and advice...

    Baraka allahu feekoum.

    1. Wa alaykum ussalaam wa RahmatUllahi wa Barakatuh.

      What you have heard is true to our understanding and experience. There are Ahliyah schools here, but to maintain a standard of education you can feel comfortable with, you would need to supplement their schooling with homeschooling or private tutors, and Allah knows best. Madinah does not have the organization or standards that Riyadh or even Jeddah offer, Qadr Allah.

      May Allah guide you and your family to what is best and most pleasing to Him - ameen.

  12. This blog has been soooo Helpful May Allah reward you greatly for doing this and being honest! Making so much dua for you from here in the US.

    My family is in the same situation, have the opportunity to move to any where in Saudi, but my father in law has set his own condition that he wants us to be in Madinah close to him. I am very passionate about my kids education, and so far i have heard nothing but bad...BAD things about the 'private' school's' in Madinah. Are there any other options, or any other private/international schools on the out skirts of Madinah?

    May Allah continue to put barakah in your time so you may continue to help others through your blog.


    1. Umm Asiyah,

      As salaamu alaikum. If you are as passionate about your children's education as we are, you will not be happy with any of the schools here.

      As we were living in Pennsylvania before moving to Madinah, we have always used homeschooling programs from PA, except when we first got here...we wanted the children to learn Arabic.

      We don't like to recommend any school here, as we are very picky, and the issues we have with a school may be acceptable with you or others.

      If this isn't a clear enough answer, just ask for clarification, and we will try again.

      May Allah make your affairs easy and blessed.

  13. Salamou 3alaikoum,
    Coming soon to Madinah bee fadlee allah 3azza wajal, I'm looking for a villa for rent.
    I'm searching with min 4 bedroom, and enough place around the villa for my children to should be very good...

    is it possible in Madinah? do you have some number, website or other..?

    baraka allahu feekoum

    1. Wa alaikum as salaam. Villas are very difficult to find in Madinah. For example, we have they only one in our neighborhood. When looking for a place in Madinah, contact a local agent. You can find them on every main street in every neighborhood. We don't know of any websites, just agents and word of mouth.

      Barak Allahu feekum.

  14. Assalamou'alaikoum wa rahmatouh Lah ! I am going to madinah inshAllah on september. I have one son 5 years old pleaseeeeeeeeee help me to find the best school for him. Bests schools in madinah for children please thank you barakAllahu fikoum

    1. Oum Naim,

      Wa alaikum as salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. Children don't start school here until they are 7. Your son would be in a nursery school-like program.

      I know this may not be the answer you want to hear, but I will answer your question with the same answer we gave Umm Asiyah.

      If you are as passionate about your children's education as we are, you will not be happy with any of the schools here.

      As we were living in Pennsylvania before moving to Madinah, we have always used homeschooling programs from PA, except when we first got here...we wanted the children to learn Arabic.

      We don't like to recommend any school here, as we are very picky, and the issues we have with a school may be acceptable with you or others.

      If this isn't a clear enough answer, just ask for clarification, and we will try again.

      May Allah make your affairs easy and blessed.

  15. Salam.
    What solution did you find for the schooling of your children.

    I have 2 pre-schoolers and we will be moving to madinah soon inshaAllah.

    Please advice.

  16. Asalaamu alayum , barik allahu fik

    I have a few questions

    1. What is the best school which you mentioned which costs 13,000 per year

    2. You mentioned about prejudice and racism what is the experience of brothers and sisters who send their children to local schools with regards to this issue and how hard is it to get them into a government school?

    3. Do you know of anyone who send their children to the tahfeedh schools?

    4. A saudi brother mentioned to me that sometimes the education is better at government schools is this the case in madinah?

    Jazakallahu khair

    1. wa alaykum us salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa barakatuh brother.

      Our apologies, we have been bogged down lately. We will answer all your questions tomorrow inshaa Allah.

  17. salaam

    Also what is the rate in madinah for private english tutoring? and is the school starting age for children different there? I was told it is 6 in the rest of Saudi.


    1. Wa alaikum as salaam The age for school is standardized in Saudi Arabia. The age is 6.

    2. Jazkallahu khair. Inshallah we may be coming to madinah in January. Preferably We'd like a villa near to the Islamic University what sort of price would one expect to pay?

    3. and also is it still a requirement for a sister to have a masters to teach a Taibah University

    4. Wa iyyaak brother. Firstly, there aren't any villas around the Islamic University, so you would have to look elsewhere. Villas are mostly available in Iskaan and in the Sultana area, but they are not easily available and cost from $35,000 riyal per year upwards.An area close the Jami'ah is Faisaliyyah, but there are only apartments for rent there. Expect to pay around 30,000 riyal per year for that area.

      As for the MA degree for sisters, yes it is still a stringent requirement. In fact, if they receive applications from people who don't already have their masters degree in hand, they are thrown away.

      May Allah grant you every success in this life and the aakhirah.

  18. Assalam o alekum can you please tell are there any O Level School in Madinah

    1. Wa alaikum as salaam. There are no A or O level schools in Madinah. In fact, there are no international schools. The schools that clam to be international schools are not. There curriculum is the Saudi curriculum along with English, and or some subjects in English.

  19. Asalaamu'alaykum Sr.

    Im a qualified science teacher and was wondering whether it would be feasible in me finding a decent job there? especially considering the poor education system you mentioned.

    Is it highly ambitious of me opening a school there/private tuition? (bearing in mind I don't have much experience, however I am associated with many who do)

    1. Wa alaikum as salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. When I answer this question, I speak from experience, as I teach at Taibah University. It is not feasible to find a decent teaching job other than teaching at the university level. Opening a private school is not feasible either. The people don't have enough money to pay the necessary tuition to cover all of the expenses associated with Western style education. Last year the average tuition was 7000 riyals per year. That's equal to $1867 or 1,167 UK pounds. This year the tuition was increased by about 2500 riyals. I already did a needs analysis and other research, as I thought about opening a school. I've come to the conclusion that it is not logical to start a school here, as the expat community here is not in the necessary financial situation.

    2. Asslam ole kum,

      Brother I have one question for you. If some one has higher education (PhD and teaching qualification, 10 years of experience) from UK then how much he will be roughly paid, if he works as a Assistant Professor at Taibah University?

    3. Wa alaikum as salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh. Different departments have different pay scales. The English Language Center now pays anywhere between 12,000 and 20,000 riyals per month. That equals 1,930 to 3,217 pounds or $3200 to $5333 per month. Plus PhD holders get 25,000 riyals for their housing allowance.This is the only example I can provide, as I work in the English Language Center.

  20. Assalaamu Alaikum
    We are planning to move to Madinah - Inshaa Allah. I heard there will be new schools opening in KEC. Do you have any idea?

    1. Wa alaykum as salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

      I have no idea of any such plans, although I'm sure it is possible. I'll check to see if anyone we know has heard anything about that. In the meantime, please keep up with the Arab News and the Saudi Gazette. They usually post news on such plans and developments.

      Barak Allahu feek.

  21. jazaka ALLAH khair...

  22. what about the govt schools in madinah? if someone go as a teacher in schools What would be the difficulty for him/her?

    1. As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullah. I don't know about the government schools as I teach in the university.


When commenting, fitnah is to be avoided at all costs, as the angels abandon those who argue and dispute."Who believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak good or remain silent." Barak Allahu feekum!

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