asSalaam ‘alaykum wa Rahamtullah,
Seems like Houston, Texas is going to be a very very busy city this year insha’Allah. Just in the following few months I can already think of like a dozen events happening. (I can’t hold it in – Shaykh Salah asSawy is comming!). AREES Institute, directed by Shaykh Isam Rajab, has definitely become very active in organizing some very good islamic knowledge classes in Houston. They have a very academic method of teaching and it seems like it is much more hard work than say a course by the alMaghrib Institute. There are 6 or 8 classes a semester plus there is a 70 page research paper due every year, definitley not for the average Muslim. AREES is more for someone who has much more dedication and much more time they can devote for ‘ilm in my opinion, which is definitely a good thing. Also not to forget that the program started about a year ago and the first graduating class is insha’Allah in two more years (2009 I think?). The first two classes of the semester for open enrollment (even non-AREES students and enroll for these courses) are “Arabic Level I” for beginners and “Tafseer:Qur’anic Interpretation“, both taught by Professor/Shaykha Hanaa Gamal:
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There is another surprise from AREES Institute this semester alhamdulillah, which is the class on “Allah’s Most Beautiful Names and Loft Attributes” taught by Shaykh Waleed Basyouni. I can’t say too much about Sr. Hanaa Gamal because I have never taken any of her classes (mainly because she lectures mostly to a female audience). If you don’t know Shaykh Waleed, you are missing out, and if you havent taken a class with Shaykh Waleed, well you are missing out even more. I took this one awesome class with Shaykh Waleed called “The Rope that Binds Us! – Part 1” (Part 2 should be taught anytime soon insha’Allah), which just blew me away alhamdulillah. I used to attend his Sahih alBukhari halaqas about a semester or more ago which was just ‘off the chain’, mainly because it covered Kitaab alFitan from Sahih alBukhari but it was also the way he taught the subject, masha’Allah. I strongly encourage others to enroll for these, as for me I have school for now at those times, but if I can change my schedule I might be attending some of them. Allahu ‘Alam.