For many women with the desire to seek ilm, there are no local options. Others who may have a local Shaykh or Shaykha may still prefer to study from home, due to personal preference. Here are some online aalimah courses.
Al-Salam Institute: Islamic scholarship program (Sh Akram Nadwi)
Yes, the esteemed Shaykh who brought us eight volumes of women Islamic scholars has an Alimiyyah program for men and women. This is a proper six year course of study. The successful student will be fluent in Arabic by the end. The final two years are spent in person in London. It is possible to leave the program after finishing all the online content, so do not feel discouraged if travelling to and living in the UK is not possible for you.
Zaynab Academy Online: English and Urdu Alimah programs (Alimah Sobia Ahmed)
Alimah Sobia Ahmed is a qualified Alimah who is known for travelling and speaking to women around the world. Her online aalimah courses are supervised by Shaykh Mufti Kamaluddin Ahmed. The English program is three years in length, and the Urdu program is six years.
While you will be learning Arabic grammar and verbs under this program, the tafseer is in English or Urdu only. This makes it a bit limiting because tafseer is best explained in Arabic. But it is still a solid program for any woman wishing to increase her knowledge.
Jami’ah Online: Certificate in Islamic Studies and Arabic (Maulana Zakee Vawda)
Jami’ah Online offers a nice 4-5 year course for those who want to master Arabic while learning about Islam. You will have a solid and well rounded education after achieving your certificate. If you’ve ever wanted to attend a South African Darul Uloom but were unable, this is the next best thing. Note: You will need to liaise with your local masjid or madrasa for testing, as exams are only permitted in person.
(Note: I am currently taking these classes in person with Maulana’s wife, and the curriculum is extremely rewarding. I advise the serious Aalimah to get her certificate here and then transfer under Shaykh Nadwi, if possible, for the remaining 2 years.)
Maryam Institute: Alimah Program (Alimah Sobia Hasan)
With Maryam Institute, you can translition slowly from not knowing any Arabic to fluency. This is a 5 year course which will leave one a very advanced student of knowledge. The Alimah here and the Alimah from Zaynab Academy both learned under Shaykh Zulfiqar Ahmad, so the programs should be relatively similar, with this one focusing more on Arabic and Alimah S. Ahmed’s courses focusing more on Urdu and English.
Darul Uloom Online: Aalim/ah program
Darul Uloom Online has a 5 year Aalim/ah program, which seems very well put together. In order to become a full Aalim/ah, one needs to complete a sixth year with a scholar in person, inshaa Allah.
Note regarding these online aalimah courses
If you know of any online aalimah courses I’ve missed, please let me know.