بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The original ‘Ālimiyyah degrees have slowly become so watered down over the years that even those who haven’t been through such programmes feel prepared to offer them now. It went from 8 years full-time, to seven years by summarizing the six books of hadith into one year instead of two, then to 6 years by dropping the six books altogether or incorporating them over the six years, then to 5 years by incorporating the Arabic into the curriculum instead of it being part of a preparatory curriculum, then to 5 years part-time, then to 4 years to match the conventional degrees, then to 4 years part-time to accommodate people’s busy schedules, and now to 6 weekends a year for three years.
To call such programmes “ ‘Ālimiyyah Degrees ” is obnoxious, extremely misleading, and perhaps even sinful when considering the outcomes.
The ‘Ālimiyyah degrees that follow the Dars-E-Niẓāmī curriculum properly or a comparable curriculum, and not just claim that they do, produce very promising results if all needed factors are in place. There is no such thing as a 5-year, a 4-year, or a 3-year, part-time, over-the-weekend, quick fix, equivalent to the heavyweight 7 or 8-year ‘Ālimiyyah programme. Just as there is no summertime equivalent to the 7-8 year extended term of study in global centres of Islamic knowledge, such as Riyadh, Cairo, Madīnah, Makkah, Amman, Istanbul or…
Likewise, there is no online equivalent to sit before the heirs of the Messenger ﷺ. Sometimes I think to myself that perhaps the Messenger ﷺ said, “Whoever treads a path to seek knowledge, Allah will make a path to Paradise easy for him,” because he knew that people will slowly but surely stop *treading the path of knowledge* and instead sit by computer screens thinking that this is sufficient.
If you want true knowledge, don’t buy into the marketing gimmicks. Benefit from the opportunities you have around you if your situation doesn’t permit you to commit your life to knowledge, but know full well that much of what I described above is just marketing gimmicks, and it is not the full deal, and in many cases not even half of the full deal.
— Shaykh Abdul Wahab Saleem (Hafidhahullah)