1. Married Students
If you are a married student who wishes to come here and study at Madrassah, my sincere advice is to think beforehand. There are many aspects to look at before you make your decision. It is even harsher for the newlyweds. When I came here I was a newlywed and for me to leave my wife home alone for most part of the day was pretty hard. There are many reasons why it is so hard. Foreign students like us, have our own way of living which is a bit different then what this environment offers.
Sometime seclusion of the house gets to you. If you don’t have a car then it is even harder since you have to request someone to take you to the neighboring city for a mere couple of hours of outing. This is not to say that people are not helpful, rather one loses its appeal once one realizes the burden one puts on others.
Though the food and groceries are available in Camperdown, under a limited budget you can only expand your varieties so much. I remember in Canada a stroll after supper was a delicacy which I have long forgotten that since it is not advisable to roam outside after sunset. There are also other factors which make sure that if you come here with a family, then the mujahada (struggle) will not be only on your part but also your wife.
Many couples wish to move to Camperdown seeking Islamic studies for themselves as well as their wives. This is also impossible at this Madrassah. If one is looking for such a system then perhaps one should look at Madaris in Johannesburg.
2. Single students
If you are a single student, then my first advice is to correct your intention. Do not get forced into coming here, since that will only make it harder for you to accept it. If your parents are adamant on sending you here then correct your aim and accept it willfully.
The reason I say so is because, if your heart is not in it then the probability is the next time you visit home, you won’t come back. The life of a single student is easy, if he wishes to make use of it. You have to follow a pattern at the Madrassah and if you make yourself used to it then you will not only enjoy the life but also learn a lot from it.
They have a saying at the Madrassah, “It’s (Madrassah) a laundry, dirty clothes come in to get clean. Sometimes the clean ones get dirty too“. This is quite true. Not all students in the Madrassah are angels and Sufis, so expect those kind of students as well (i.e. not so righteous). If you are keeping a specific pattern in your life then look at the Madrassah timings if they suit you. It brings great frustration to have to leave a routine that works for you, and having to forcefully take up another routine. Remember, you have decided to come here; consequences cannot be blamed at the Madrassah. I cannot emphasize this point enough. I have seen instances in my time here which sadden me. Parents spend so much money to have their children come here to study deen, but due to conflict in thoughts or lifestyle, you see these students complaining and blaming Madrasah all the time.
This is an Educational Institute; it has its rules and guidelines. The administration is the one that sets these rules and they are not subjective to the logic of students. Many times students discuss with me as to why the administration has set such and such rule, which according to them is totally absurd. My answer is always the same; do you question the university as to why they set out the courses in a particular manner, or why you have to abide by the civil code at public universities? If not, then why is Madrasah any different? It is their institute, and they have set their guidelines. A saying comes in mind, “Madrassah mein dakhil ho, dakheel na ho”. i.e. Take admission in the Madrassah, don’t become an Administrator.
Camperdown environment can be very studious or very jovial depending on how you make it to be. I have seen students engrossed in their studies in Library at 11 PM, while I have also seen those who are inattentive in their regular classes. This is the case for any place.