A group of 18 including 15 students sent to Saudi Arabia by ACT Muslims Australia Inc (ACTMA) recently returned home after successfully completing a three-week intensive study of the Arabic language at the Islamic University of Madinah.

Clockwise: Group travelling on the student bus that was provided by the Islamic University of Madinah, and brothers standing next to student bus.

As part of the trip, the group was also able to perform multiple Umrah and visitations to significant historically rich Islamic sites and while three of the group members that were under-twelve years did not qualify for the study program but were able to perform the Umrah.

Clockwise: Members getting ready to leave the hotel in Makkah for Umrah and Brothers Anwar and Khalid talking to sisters outside the grand Mosque after performing their Umrah.

According to CEO of ACTMA, Yusuf Mansuri, “The key goal for the Islamic study trip to Madinah was to foster a sense of identity, heightened spiritual awareness, and to ignite the fire that fuels the thirst for knowledge, curiosity and wisdom. It was a trip of a lifetime – learning in the city of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) at the premier Islamic institution, being close to the scholars and building lasting relationships.”

Clockwise: Amadu Barrie and wife, Sister Mariam getting ready to leave the hotel in Makkah for Umrah, ACTMA CEO Yusuf Mansuri and Ali Talib holding a copy of the Holy Qur’an inside masjid Nabawe.

He further added, “Alhamdulillah, the students achieved all of them and their experience was beyond their expectations. The university reciprocated very well; the course was fantastic, the group felt very welcome with great customer service, the skills of the lecturers were great, and they took their time to teach to understand, the interaction was quite pleasant and fruitful, and the course flow was great”.

Clockwise: Canberra resident Abu Bilal bumped into his Canberra family inside Masjid Nabawe, and Ali Talib getting tested by one of the Sheikhs running Qur’an halaqas (circles) in Masjid Nabawe.

Mr Mansuri concluded by saying, “The MoU between the Islamic university of Madinah and ACTMA has been strengthened by this visit and the expectation is to have a long-lasting relationship with bi/annual study trips to the Islamic University of Madinah.”

Clockwise: A pond along the road to Khaybar following heavy rains in the Madinah region, and a Khaybar sign in Khaybar.

The group was led by ACTMA Youth Portfolio Director, Amadu Barrie. Mr Barrie echoed his CEO’s remarks and added that he will work with his team to implement the positive feedback received from the group on improving some areas of the program for example the selection of flights and accommodation.

“Overall, I am very pleased with the outcome of the program and the opportunity assigned to me by ACTMA to serve our youth in this capacity. Alhamdulillah, I was able to bring my family of five along; wife and children including my 10-year-old son, Ali who was able to perform 3 umrahs for himself, his late grandmother and dad’s elder brother. Like everyone on the group my wife and two teenage daughters also had an amazing experience together with their friends in the best environment imaginable on planet earth.”

Clockwise: Amadu and son, Ali inside the Rwadah of Masjid Nabawe, and Amal and Ali standing on the rocks of Marwah after completing their Saee (walk) between Safa and Marwah. Saee is one of the integral rites of Hajj and Umrah.

ACTMA volunteer and sisters’ team leader Marwa Taha said she was impressed with the positive behaviour displayed by the girls and that the program and the Umrah performed helped nourished her soul and educated herself.

Sisters Fanta and Marwah inside Masjid Nabawe, and Dr Ahmad Wurie Umar Bah and the group inside masjid Qiblatain.

Student Alhaji Mohamed Kamara said the program gives a good guide on how to improve in learning Arabic communication and suggested that “students should at least know the Arabic alphabets prior to undertaking the university course.”

Group meeting at the hotel foyer, and sisters Mariam and Hajjah Khadijah from Riyadh.

A certificate award ceremony was held at the office of the CEO of the university student program Dr Badr Alharbi on the final day of class on 12 January 2023 in which all students were issued with a certificate of attendance while others also received certificates of course completion.

Clockwise: Sisters reading Qur’an inside Masjid Nabawe and group photo in front of the Arafah hill during a tour of Arafah.

ACTMA, through its Youth Portfolio leader Amadu Barrie also used the occasion to issue on behalf of the organisation certificates of appreciation to the university’s course coordinators, lecturers, and student bus driver assigned to the group by the university. The university warmly appreciated the gesture.

The recognised female students’ lecturers were Bayan Al-Juhani, Lama Al-Otaybi, Nadia Khaled Salem Alharbi and Fatima Obaid Abdullah Alharbi.

The male staff recipients include Dr Bader Alharbi, Dr Salman A AlJabri, Dr Muhammad AlHarithi, Sheikh Rayan Humaidi and bus driver Hani Hamood Alharbi.

Clockwise: Sister Marwah Taha (she did the greatest number of Umrah amongst the group) and young sisters on the grounds of Masjid Nabawe.

ACTMA certificates of appreciation were also issued to the group’s local guides and those who contributed in other forms to making the trip a remarkably successful one.

The two local guides were Mr Chernor Sadu Jalloh and Dr Ahmad Wurie Umar Bah both students at the Islamic University of Madinah with Dr  Bah also lecturing the subject of Aqeedah (Creed) at the university.

Speaking on behalf of the local guides, Jalloh said “It was our pleasure for being with the ACTMA group to give our support in achieving their objective and on behalf of my brother Dr Ahmad Bah I would like to thank the organisers of this program that allows youths to play their role in Islam”.

He concluded by saying “God willing, we will always be here to support you whenever you need us”.

Clockwise: During a visit to Badr, and standing in front of one of the doors of Masjid Nabawe.

Clockwise: Amal Kamara (youngest student) receiving his certificate of completion from course director, Dr Badr Alharbi, and with the university student bus driver inside the hotel lobby.

Amongst the places visited by the group during the trip include the Al-Ghamamah, Bilal, Quba, Qiblatain and Khandaq mosques and the King Fahd Complex for the Printing of the Holy Qur’an in Madinah, Badr, Khaybar, Arafat and Cave Thaur.

Clockwise: Sisters inside the King Fahad Qur’an printing complex, and with Sheikh Adnan As-Shareef, imam in Badr and a descendant of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).

The group left Australia on 19 December 2022 and returned on 19 January this year.

Clockwise: Imam Adam Konda and brothers Zaid Ahmad and Alieu Barrie helped drop-off some of the group members at the Jolimont Bus interchange in Canberra, and on the flight from Singapore to Jeddah.

ACTMA is a non-profit organisation created to help the Muslim youth, sisters, elderly and the deceased of the ACT and regions.