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Sunday, March 25, 2007
Students of Knowledge playing Basketball!?
... Yea! They have cell phones too!!!

There has been a tournament running the past week or so invloving the student dorms facing off in serch of a champion. The showdown involves none other than the students of the respective buildings in a tournament set up by the Deenship of Student Affairs, run by the Department of Dorm Management.

I went to a match last Tuesday night after visiting the Book Fair. The two teams playing each other? The Western Married Students Dorm (a building built for Western married students who have their families here under the University's sponsorship) playing against Building Two (a singles dorm building on campus). I have a few friends on either team and wasn't sure who to cheer on. The Married Building had two Americans (natural talent of course!), two British players, a Canadian and a Frenchy. As for the Single Building, they had score of talent, from America, Britain, Australia and a few other countries I'm not too sure about.

The Single Building guys seemed pretty hyped before the game
Possible reasons:
  • Positive malnutrition (Lots of carbs from all the instant noodles, rice, potatoes...?)
  • All the pent up energy?
  • Maybe they wanted to show extra confidence to psyche the other team out?
  • They were faking it (!?)

The "Married Guys" on the other hand seemed a lot calmer, they weren't as hyped up and rowdy as the "Single Guys" before the game.
Possible reasons:
  • Maybe it's their diet?
  • Or the fact that they don't have as much interest in the game?
  • Or because most of their energy is used elsewhere than the basketball court?
  • Or maybe they had a strategy and didn't want to accidentally reveal it?
  • Or maybe that they were really focused on the upcoming battle?
The game started out in favor of the "Single Guys", they were scoring very often and their defense was pretty tight. A few of the "Single Guys" seemed to be jumping around like Daffy Duck (pented up energy?) while defending some of the "Married Guys". I think the referees showed a little preference for the Single Builing since they would rarely ever call the multiple travelling violations. They also turned many blind eyes to all the fouling and strange dribbling techniques (sometimes resembling double-dribble). On the other hand, the referees were quick to call "reaching fouls" on the "Married Guys" and even quicker to call an obscure three second violation where the offense is penalized for staying in the paint (free point box thingy) for more than three seconds, supposedly this rule is used by the NBA (who would've known). When I questioned the referee on any possible bias he was showing against the Married Building team, he denounced the thought with rather harsh language.

In the end the "Single Guys" one with more than double the score of the "Married Guys", but the "Married Guys" weren't knocked out the tournament yet. It seems they may have a match coming up this Monday against another singles dorm building. As for the "Single Guys" (Building Two), they'll be playing another singles dorm building, perhaps tonight, insha Allah.

I know one of the "Married Guys" has been checking out the blog the last few days, so perhaps he'd pleasure us with a comment below?
Also, I'd like to say that I took my mp3 recorder with me to record highlights of the game and to get a few comments from some of the players and spectators, but I doubt I will be publishing it online, unless I get a number of requests requesting otherwise (it's LONG and BORING).

Another little note, even though I called them the "Single Guys", they're really mostly "Married Guys" that live in the singles dorms since their families are back in their respective country. So they are single, but not single... ya dig? And while we are ont he topic of being yet not being, it seems that there might have been some violations of the rules from one or more of the "Single Guys", who don't actually live in Building Two, but rather, live outside the University campus in private buildings, or live in buildings other than Building Two... but I'm not pointing any fingers, so don't blame me!
posted by Abu Miftah at 12:46 AM | Permalink | 7 comments
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
It's that time of year again, the Ma'ridh al-Kitab (Book Fair) is in town.

Every year, the Islamic University of Madinah hosts a book fair on campus. The bookstores that participate are all from within the Kingdom. Unlike the Jeddah or Riyadh International Book Fairs, you don't get access to foreign book publishers except through distributors within the Kingdom. In the past, the Madinah University Book Fair used to be a place where you could find all kinds of gems. Old books that are normally out of print, the latest prints from contemporary scholars, and sometimes, if fortunate, you could find a book here or their that's considered a true rarity.

I've talked to the Book Fair Managerial Commitee to get a list of the participating Book Stores, but they keep telling me to come back "tomorrow". Insha Allah ,I'll get me a copy tonight and have it up by tomorrow.

If you've ever been here doing the Book Fair, you know what the climate amongst the students is like. Everybody sees books they wanna buy, but nobody has money. These are the days when you start eating one meal a day, and normally it's a packet of Instant Noodles... It's not easy being a broke student on a budget. If you play your cards right saving money during the year, this is a good opportunity to buy those larger volumunous reference books like the explanations to different Hadeeth Collections and the like.

I went there a few days ago, even though I promised myself not to go, because I didn't want to end up spending money I don't have, but I couldn't help it. There's quite a few nice book stores participating this year. The big guns are well settled in their little spots, with their electronic cash registers and up to date inventory lists. The old schoolers are also well settled in with their quick memory and extremely difficult bargain blocking kung-fu techniques. This is where personality and charisma really show their fruit for a student. If you can get the guy for five or six riyals lower than your friends paid for a book, you just earned some bragging rights for the day.

No matter what it is you're buying though, it helps to know which prints and edits of classical books are the best to pick up. It helps to have an elder student near by to ask him about the different prints and publishing houses. It was a lot easier a few years ago when we had a few of the older students still in school.

Nowadays I've been seeing more and more Book Sellers stocking multi-lingual selections. I even saw one guy with little paper markers marking the different languages he stocks books for. I'm not sure what the benefit of selling books in Malay, Turkish or Urdu are for students that read, write and speak Arabic, but I guess it must be more of benefit to the people these students go back to teach.

I'll be going there tonight insha Allah and hopefully will get that list of book houses up, until then, take care and enjoy.
posted by Abu Miftah at 7:27 PM | Permalink | 2 comments
Thursday, March 15, 2007
The list of new students that I posted was mainly only of Western Countries and other non-Muslim countries that are rare to apply. There are MANY students accepted from AFRICA and INDIA and the rest of the Islamic and un-Islamic nations in Asia, but the list is so long that it becomes immensely DIFFICULT to write down the names by hand, then type all the names in at home to then upload them.

As for those asking about the little number of accepted students, the university generally has a limit of accepting 1,000 students each year. They try their best to stay withn those bounds for many reasons. If a country has fewer applicants, fewer people will be accepted from there. Also, countries that have little or no applicants are given special treament so people can be of an older age to apply.

As far as I know, countries such as Portugal, Spain, Italy and The Bahamas have been specifically mentioned due to the lack of students applying from those countries. If you have a friend or acquaintance that lives in those countries, it would be a good idea to tell them to apply.

Insha Allah, from now on I will try to update the blog as much as I can, even if busy.
I apologize to all those who left comments and I didn't answer them... please forgive me.
posted by Abu Miftah at 8:07 PM | Permalink | 67 comments