There are several options for studying Quran and/or Arabic in Cairo. Al-Azhar University offers virtually free classes, with programs targeted to foreigners. However, it can be a major hassle going through the proper channels to register. There are also the Arabic language centers (Arabic centers are a whole ‘nother post), many of whom have carved out a VERY lucrative business catering to muslims and non-muslims who want to learn Arabic. Many centers will also have on hand, or will locate a Quran teacher for you. That route is pretty easy, although it can add up. Another option might be a private teacher who comes to your home. The cost of this can vary widely.
I’ve found that the teachers who are accostomed to working with non-Egyptians, generally charge more. The rate for both Quran and Arabic seems to be between 15LE-25LE ($2.60-$4.30), depending on the teacher and their experience. Some teachers can charge up to 30 LE ($5.20). Cost doesn’t matter as much if you plan to be here a short time, but in the long term, you’ll want the most economical solution which allows you to learn. Meaning don’t settle for a cheap teacher who can not teach.
There are various ways to find teachers, one is through the language centers. Some, but not all, will send teachers to your home. Another option is to ask other foreigners. Usually there are a few teachers well-known among different groups of foreigners. The option I prefer best is to ask Egyptians. This may not work for Arabic, after all, it’s not likely Egyptians will be studying Arabic at home. There are however, Egyptians who study Quran at home, and if you know any they may be able to refer you to some. I prefer this option because you usually can find a lower rate.
It’s generally much easier to find male teachers than females. Especially qualified ones. My son’s Quran teacher is a hafidh of Quran (meaning he has memorized the Quran in it’s entirety), has ijaza in Qira’at (he’s been certified to be proficient in proper recitation of Quran), and is a student at Al-Azhar. We pay him 25LE for a two hr lesson, 4-5 days a week. A female teacher WITHOUT ijaza, might cost you 30-40LE for the same amount of time. My daughter’s last teacher wanted 20LE an hour.
Teachers and imams make VERY little money. Many times not more than $50 a month, so teaching on the side can be a way for them to supplement their income. That means you may find a very qualified teacher for little money. One thing to remember is that most people teach on the side. They have a ‘main’ job or study. So when something else comes up, you may end up missing lessons.
In my experience, most teachers prefer to be paid monthly. Some request the money in advance. If you do pay in advance, try and be sure the person is trustworthy. Another option is to offer to pay weekly, or at the end of the month.
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