What is the Dowra?

The establishment of Dar al-Mustafa represents the latest chapter in this long and blessed tradition. It was established by the caller to Allah, Habib Umar bin Hafiz in 1414 (1994). It is built upon three foundations: seeking sacred knowledge (`Ilm), spiritual wayfaring (Suluk) and calling to Allah (Da`wah). Habib Umar subsequently established Dar al-Zahra in 1418 (1998) to impart this Prophetic methodology to women.

Dar al-Mustafa has run a Dowra or summer course every year since 1415 (1995). Since only a few people will be able to study long term in Dar al-Mustafa or Dar al-Zahra, the Dowra was set up to give more people the opportunity to receive a portion of the Prophetic methodology upon which the Dar was established. Students will have the opportunity to take knowledge from teachers who are the direct descendants of the Messenger of Allah and have the strongest chains of connection to him. They are ready to impart this knowledge to anyone ready to receive it and then take it back to illuminate their communities.

The programme takes place over forty days. This time period has special properties which are mentioned both in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. If someone is consistent in doing something for this period, it is likely to become a firm habit.

Goals

1) To increase in knowledge of Allah and certitude

2) To purify the lower self and attain noble character traits

3) To honour our covenant with Allah and to seek to benefit His slaves

A Spiritual Journey

The Dowra is a spiritual journey. We remind students that you may not find things as you expect them to be and that every student will be tested in different ways. We ask students to look beyond human and material limitations so that you are able to obtain true spiritual benefit, which will last for an eternity. Being flexible, open to new ideas and routines will immensely enhance your experience.

Not for Holiday Purposes

The Dowra is an extension of the regular academic program and is an opportunity for students of knowledge to grasp these core principles

* Seeking sacred knowledge (`ilm)
* Spiritual wayfaring (suluk)
* Calling to Allah (da`wah)

The course is not a camp, social gathering, nor an open discussion forum. Rather it is designed to present students with a serious opportunity to learn aspects of their religion that the Lawgiver out of His Wisdom has made incumbent upon them. It is also an opportunity to purify oneself and draw closer to Allah and His Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.

Important FAQs

Please read through the following before submitting enquiries / registering your interest.

How the Dowra is Conducted

Q: Is the Dowra intensive?

The Dowra is relatively intensive and most of the students’ time is occupied with classes or revisions trips, or meetings with the scholars. The climate is also very hot and difficult to bear, which makes the course all the more difficult. Students in the past, however, have all risen to the challenge and reaped the fruits of their efforts.

Q: How long is the Dowra?

The Dowra takes place over 40 days. This time period has special properties, which are mentioned both in the Qur’an and the Sunnah. In addition, if someone is consistent in doing something for this period, it is likely to become a firm habit; and we pray you can continue to implement what you habituate during your Dowra experience.

Q: Do I have to attend the whole Dowra or is it permissible to attend part of it?

Students wishing to receive the full spiritual benefit should remain for the full 40 day program. If you are unable to do so, then we recommend to attend the 2-weeks ziarah option. However, applicants intending to stay for the full duration of the Dowra will be given priority and if the quota is met, others will be turned down.

Q: How are the lessons conducted?

Dar al-Mustafa conducts its lessons as per the traditional method of learning, i.e. with a teacher in front guiding students through a turath book. Students sit on the floor, and learn with pen and paper.

Q: What books will be taught?

The books vary each year, and will only be announced by Dar al-Mustafa later on.

Q: Are there examinations?

Based on the 2016 and 2017 Dowra, both the Arabic and English Dowra participants sat for examinations at the end of the Dowra. However, please be reminded that examinations are not the objective of the Dowra.

Q: Would we get to meet our teachers ie. Habib ‘Umar, Habib Kadhim?

For the English Dowra participants, there may be Q&A sessions where you may get to see the habaaib (inshaAllah if it is your rezqi; past year male participants alhamdulillah had a session with Habib). However, proper etiquette must still be observed (sisters would still have to put on their niqab in the presence of the habaaib despite them being in the Dowra house)

Q: Would I able to travel to other places besides what has been placed in the itinerary?

It would depend on Dar al-Mustafa and Dar az-Zahra as we are all coming to Tareem under them. However, based on past year Dowra, some visitations outside of Tareem were organized. Again, this would depend on your rezq.

Also, please note that the Dowra is more studies-focused. If your intention is to just visit Tareem and do ziarahs to blessed places like the masajids and maqamat, we recommend that you visit Tareem for ziarah, and not the Dowra program.

All information are subject to changes.

Language of the Dowra

Q: Is the Dowra held only in Arabic language?

Yes, the main Dowra is held in the Arabic language. Participants intending to register for the Arabic Dowra will need to have a good grasp of the Arabic language.

Q: Are there options for an English or Malay Dowra for the Arabic illiterate?

The availability of the English and Malay Dowra are subject to further confirmation. In 2016 and 2017, both the English and Malay dowra were available; this might or might not be the case for 2018.

Q: Are the studies for both the English and Arabic Dowra the same?

To the best of our understanding and taking reference from the 2016 and 2017 Dowra, the curriculum and studies for both English and Arabic Dowra are the same to a certain extent – the same books are used for some of the dars (classes).

Q: Can I switch to the English Dowra after I have applied for the Arabic Dowra?

It is recommended to confirm your choice of language before applying as the cost differs and any last minute changes would cause avoidable hassle to all parties involved.

All information are subject to changes.

Application Requirements

Q: What is the age requirement to take part in the Dowra?

All applicants must be over the age of 18 years and wish to attend of their own free will, i.e. not coerced by parents, guardians or any other parties.

Q: I am over 40. Is the Dowra suitable for me?

Based on past experiences, some students (especially older ones), have found the Dowra accommodation and living conditions as well as the intensity of the course to be quite challenging. For example, students sleep on thin mattresses on the floor, share rooms with up to ten or twelve other students, share bathrooms and sit only on the ground. The food is also limited in variety compared to what you will be accustomed to.

However, it is precisely the simplicity that helps us taste what the past ulama had gone through in seeking knowledge.

Q: I have a history of depression or other illnesses (mental / physical / spiritual), can I still come?

Yes, you may inshaAllah. However,

1) You must declare the kind of illness that you have and the kind of care that might be required, so that we may best assist inshaAllah.

2) You must bring with you a family member or a close friend who will be responsible for you and your well-being throughout the entire journey and dowra program.

If a person were to not declare his illness and a situation arises where he is unable to care for himself, does not have a family or guadian to care for him, a family member from Singapore must travel to Tareem to bring him home and give him the care that he needs. Please be reminded that Tareem is not a place to seek cures for illnesses of the mind, body, or from the other world. Tareem is a place where one strives to seek spiritual closeness to Allah swt, inshaAllah.

Q: Must I join the entire schedule as per Dar al-Mustafa’s tartib?

Yes, it is compulsory. This includes the classes, any programs Dar al-Mustafa has planned, and joining the congregation in all prayers and recitation of the awrad (du’as and azkar). The dowra is intensive, as we have mentioned numerous times. Do not expect to have much free time, do not expect much rest, do not expect to be able to do your own thing and not join in Dar al-Mustafa’s tartib; everything has been planned so that we benefit the most to change ourselves spiritually. If you prefer a relaxed environment where you can come and go and do as your wish, we highly recommend that you do not register for the Dowra.

Important Notes:

  • Every participant should treat one another as family, and help one another instead of making things difficult for one another
  • Coordinating an entire group is already tough, what more in a foreign land. We thus seek everyone’s cooperation to adhere to the rules and instructions given by Dar al-Mustafa, the main coordinator of DowraSG, as well as the appointed team-heads
  • You are responsible for yourselves, and no one will be accountable for your actions
  • Please remember that the DowraSG team consists of volunteers who are there to help to the extent that they are able to. Please treat them as your fellow brothers and sisters who would also like to experience the dowra as you, instead of commanding them to do this and that, or making things difficult for them by refusing to cooperate 🙂 Jazakumullah khayr!

All information are subject to changes.

Travel Arrangements

Q: Are we taking a direct flight to Yemen?

No. Flights to Yemen regularly get cancelled or postponed, and do not operate daily. Additionally, flights are only confirmed the day before departure. For logistical and safety purposes we will travel to Tareem by land from Salalah, Oman.

Q: How will the journey to Tareem be like?

Tentatively, inshaAllah the journey will be as follows:

  • Flight from Singapore to Muscat, Oman: Approximately 10 hours
  • Transit in Muscat: Approximately 2-5 hours
  • Flight from Muscat to Salalah: Approximately 2 hours
  • 1 or 2 nights stay in Salalah to rest and ziarah
  • Land journey by bus from Salalah, Oman to Tareem, Yemen: Approximately 15 to 20 hours, might be more as we are crossing borders and clearance time varies

Please expect the journey by bus to be challenging. Roads are winding, may not be smooth, and while we try our best to get the best available buses, participants should be ready for events like the air-con malfunctioning. There will be 1 or 2 rest-stops for prayers, food, and toilet, but please do not expect a first world R and R (rest and retreat). There will be no toilets in the bus, and the toilets at the pitstops can be unpleasant.

Q: How about the journey back to Singapore?

It will be the same as above.

Q: I am a current student of Al-Azhar residing in Egypt, and would love to participate in the 2018 Dowra, how can I apply for it?

Drop us a contact and we will try to facilitate inshaAllah.

All information are subject to changes.

Accommodation & Food

Q: How is the accommodation?

Students should be aware that the Dowra is not intended as a holiday retreat, and therefore accommodation will be modest. However, every effort is made to ensure students are made comfortable during their stay.

Students will be accommodated in shared rooms with laundry facilities and all bedding provided. It is not envisaged that students need to bring any additional bedding. However, that will be left to the discretion of the individual student.

All rooms will be air-conditioned, though do not expect the air-condition to be like Singapore’s. Please expect to bring your own battery-powered hand fans as the weather can get very hot in the summer. Electrical supply also regularly gets cut off, and while there is a back-up generator, please do not expect electricity to be available at all times.

Please also do not expect the toilets – especially in the journey to and from Tareem – to be pleasant. Toilets in your accomodation in Tareem will be basic. Water supply too may be cut off for periods of time.

Q: Can you provide separate accommodation for families and married couples?

Dar al-Mustafa will do their best to accommodate families and married couples during the Dowra, although resources are limited.

Q: Can I get a refund if I request for separate accomodation initially, but later decide to switch to Dar al-Mustafa’s standard accomodation?

For those getting an apartment, payment is for the number of days agreed. If you change your mind, there will be a cancellation fee and refunds will be partial and subject to home-owner’s descretion.

Q: How is the food in Tareem?

In terms of foods, students are served three meals a day by the school. Foods are served in a large tray and will be shared by minimum seven persons, and often consists of rice and one dish (usually chicken).

Q: Are there shops for students to buy personal essentials in Tareem?

There are mini-marts selling a from personal essentials to snacks and many more in both Dar al- Mustafa and Dar az-Zahra’ schools.

All information are subject to changes.

Costs & Connectivity

Q: How much does the entire trip cost?

The cost for Arabic and English Dowra varies. Further details on the cost will be discussed during the first briefing for interested registrants. However, expect to spend between SGD 2500 – SGD 3000 (all inclusive, excluding personal shopping).

Q: How will I contact my family / my family contact me?

The men are allowed to use their mobile phones throughout the program, but women are asked to submit their phones to Dar az-Zahra and will be allowed to use them weekly on Thursday for a couple of hours.

In case of emergency, the DowraSG team will provide each participant with a number which will be contactable at all times biidhnillah, to be given to your parents or guardians. In 2016 and 2017, we also created a Whatsapp group where participants can add their parent or guardian in, and the main coordinator will update the movement of the group at important points throughout the journey.

Q: Is there Internet?

Internet is available, but the connections can be sporadic and slow at times. The best way to keep in touch is through text messages and calls from your phone. Local sim cards will be provided to students (ie they can be bought). It is best to come psychologically prepared to lay back, experience a different kind of life and strengthen your spiritual connections. In cases of necessity, we will facilitate your having access to the internet the best we can.

Q: Do we need vaccination?

It is encouraged, while not compulsory.

All information are subject to changes.

Ready to register your interest or have more enquiries?