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Life in Jeddah FAQ Part 3

Q: What islamic/hifdh/arabic classes are available for sisters?
A: There are many hifdh schools for you to choose from. You may want to contact the Tahfeeth Headquarters for assistance with finding a school in your district.
Makkah is just a 45 minute drive away: ZamZam ‘Arabic Inst. Contact the admin for an update on class schedules/fees.

Shaykh Mohammad al Malki teaches ‘Arabic online via Pal Talk free of charge and gives ijaazah once the program is successfully completed.

A beautiful effort from Al Baseerah.org – If you have a strong desire to learn the Arabic Language and wish to study in Islaamic Universities (Makkah, Madinah, Riyadh) then, we will do our best to help you get  accepted In Shaa Allaah. This is a FREE service to serve Islaam and Muslims and is open to all Muslims throughout the world, may Allaah accept it from us.
  • FYI on Free ‘Arabic Classes in KSA.
    Update: Try applying for Ummul Quraa’s 2 year ‘Arabic program. Please see the link’s section for the University’s web site and contact info. Many residents of Jeddah are in attendance.
Q: Can a Woman open up her own Bank Account?
A: Info from Riyaadh Bank: If you wish to open an account with us, you can do so easily. We do not require the guarantee of a sponsor from you, nor do we demand that you maintain a minimum balance limit. As a special token of our esteem for you, we’ll make it possible for you to receive all of your bank mail through your account so you will be able to read and review it in complete privacy.
Bill Pay
Electric – You can pay at the Arab National Bank, Riyaadh Bank or Maktab Sadad.
  • You can pay online via ANB (free of charge). I’m not sure about Riyaadh Bank.
  • Maktab Sadad will charge you $10 SAR. You can settle several other bills at Maktab Sadad (see the ANB link above). MS is located at the cross-section of Quraysh and ‘Abdur Rahmaan as Sudairy St. (across the street from Tazaj Restaurant). Another one will open soon at the Tahlia Center on Tahlia St.
Don’t worry if your electric bill doesn’t come on a monthly basis, some residents receive their bill every 3 months.
The haaris of your building will inform you of the amount owed. He may come weekly or bi-weekly, it differs. The total amount required to fill up the tank is divided amongst the residents living in the building. If your neighbor is not one to pay his bills then, you and the rest of the residents pay the difference (unfair – yes, I know). The system is not set up so that each household pays their proper share. One week your bill may be $25 SAR, the next week $15 SAR.
  • FYI for the Newbie: Your spring water fees aren’t the same as your tap water fees. You can’t use your spring water coupons to pay your tap water bill.
Q: What do I need to do to get a maid?

A: Saudi Gazette Online News – Khan, an international legal expert, said: “Businessmen expatriates can submit their applications at the Maktab Al-Istaqdam with the relevant documents.”  The applicant’s salary must be above SR 6,000, as attested by the chamber of commerce. A ‘no-objection letter’ from the respective consulate must be submitted.


  1. Obtain the application form from the Maktab Al-Istaqdam and fill in the current professional status i.e. businessman. After the completion of the required documents by the Maktab Al-Istiqdam office, they will confirm the visa at the same time.
  2. Attach the sponsor’s certificate, recommendation of the expatriate’s conduct/professional status/salary/reason for needing a housemaid/copy of the iqama/valid passport copies attested by the respective chamber of commerce, and two photos.
  3. After obtaining permission from Maktab Al-Istaqdam, one has to pay SR 2,000 for the housemaid’s visa which takes a maximum of a week or two to obtain.
  4. After the visa is issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it is sent to the maid’s country along with the Power of Attorney or POA to any agent for getting his/her passport stamped.

  1. Full article…

FYI: Maids & Benefits

Q: Is it better to live in compounds or non-compounds? Where do the most practicing people reside?
A: Compounds generally are for non-Muslim expatriates. As far as I know, you can’t simply pick a compound, sign a lease and move in. Your employer will either provide housing for you (it may or may not be on a compound), or give you a stipend for housing. Keep in mind that some employers do not offer housing or stipends in their packages. Go over your contract carefully and don’t be afraid to ask your employer questions or request certain perks. This is a major move and you have a right to be informed and at ease.
You may not want to live on a compound. Muslims and non-Muslims alike on several expat forums have said, “If you’re looking to party and mingle, live on or visit a compound.”

*Not everyone living on a compound is irreligious.*

Jeddah has been labeled as “the least-religious” of all Saudi cities. In spite of it all, there are many practicing Muslims here, Alhamdulillaah, but everyone’s spread out. Those striving to obey Allaah and follow the guidance of His messenger (sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) are not confined to one or two districts. All I can do is advise you to make du’aa and ask for righteous neighbors.

Some families flock to Hayy as Safaa because of the classes of Shaykh Fu’aad al Amree and Shaykh Abu ‘Aasim ‘Abdullaah al Ghamidi and Daarul Haafithaat al Ishroon’s desire to stay connected to the scholars of Ahlus Sunnah. Others frequent Hayy al Jaami’ah due to the frequent visits of the scholars/students of knowledge and the annual summer dawraat.

Q: Which compounds have a masjid?
A: I don’t know, Allaahu Aa’lam.

Q: We are looking for something fairly upscale with amenities (i.e. pool, balconies, security, etc.) and a “lock and leave” situation. The only accommodation that keeps coming up is the new Jawahrah (sp?) which is, of course, cost prohibitive! I am looking for a 3 br, 2ba anything.  Do you have information on any such places or can you direct me to a website, etc.?
  • FYI for New Residents of Jeddah – Look for Al Osboiya’s circular every Fri. You’ll find listings and deals on everything from laptops to shrimp dinners :)
  • Buy ~ Sell ~ Freebies: New E-Group Offers Saudi Arabia
  • Classifieds: Haraj Net

A Day in the Life of…

Q: How is the standard of living in Jeddah?
Personally, I think it depends on your financial status.
Q: How do you wash your hands/take a shower when the water is off?
A: Stored water. Place some in a bowl or have someone run a bit of it over your hands while you wash them.
Taking a shower is out of the question. You can bathe if you store large amounts water. If your residence doesn’t have a tub (as some older apt. buildings only have showers and toilets), you can always take a sponge bath.
Outings? – There so much to do in Jeddah. Take a look at the Family Oriented Fun thread. I have tons of other fun things to blog about (like the Royal Maktabah for kids and Pet Oasis)…keep an eye out.
Q: How easy is it for sisters to get around, out and about?
A: Fairly easy. There are parks, stores and malls all over. You really don’t have to leave your district to shop, have fun or run errands. Put on a comfy pair of shoes and explore your new surroundings. You may find a nice sized neighborhood mini-market, boutiques, bakeries, restaurants, herb shops, malls, banks, or an ice-cream parlor. Although sidewalks are almost non-existent here, many women walk freely all around town.
Raising a bilingual child: Tips from “Toddlers Today” Although alternating languages works well for some families, experts recommend that each adult stick to a designated language to avoid confusing a child who is trying to become bilingual. Using this technique, the adult designated to speak English will only speak English to the child and the adult speaking the second language will only speak that language. The child doesn’t mix up the languages because he channels one language to the first adult and another language to the other adult. Parents that don’t speak a second language might want to enroll their child in a credible foreign language playgroup.
  • To boost language retention, find a playful, fun way to instruct your child.
  • Age-appropriate audio tapes – Play the tapes a few times each day. Turn them off before the child becomes bored or he’ll “tune out” and forget what he’s heard.
  • CD-ROMs – Look for items that present vocabulary in a fun, creative way. Make sure your child is interested in a similar type of programming in their native language.
  • Books – Find books with bright pictures and engaging text. Choose subjects that your child already likes.
  • It’s best to start language training early. Kids possess their greatest ability to absorb and retain languages until the ages of 12 to 13 when their brain begins losing plasticity. Also, kids are less self-conscious than adults and not as afraid of getting things wrong or not saying them right. This results in greater verbalization and helps kids become fluent in a language sooner than adults.
  • Some children resist learning another language. Your child will be more interested if you integrate a second language in play rather than in an adult to child conversation or talks on learning another language. Find something that interests your child. Simple persistence works.
Give your child the gift of another language while they’re still small and it’s easier for them to learn. A second language lets them create special friendships, understand different cultures and seize opportunities resulting in lifelong benefits.

Forgive me if you posted a comment and did not receive a reply. I’m working on it.


8 thoughts on “Life in Jeddah FAQ Part 3

  1. Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah. This is very beneficial, Baarakallahu feeki! I cannot find FAQ #2. Also, can you tell me about how/where to get medicine (like insulin,thyroid med, etc)for those with chronic illnesses? I have heard it is as simple as going to the pharmacy (without a doctor’s visit)? Baarakallahu feeki


  2. Wa ‘alaikumus salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Wa feeki baarakallaah.

    FAQ #2 is 2 years old. Some things have changed since then. In Shaa Allaah FAQ #4 with more water and general tips will go up by the weekend.

    Medications: Yes, unfortunately it’s like that here.

    Pardon the font in this FAQ. I’ll try to fix it later on bi idhnillaah.

  3. Assalamu alaikum. Baarakallahu feeki for the response! That is good to hear about the medications (I thought) since medical care is so expensive in the West…Also, that they are even able to do it like that shows the exalted morals and character of the Muslims.

  4. Wa ‘alaikis salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Wa feeki baarakallaah. I said “unfortunately” because I find it disheartening that some pharmacists are more helpful and organized than some doctors.

    I don’t know if you can walk in and get any and every drug w/o a prescription, but yes, for the most part you simply ask for what you need. This situation has it’s pros and cons.

  5. Aslam-o-alikum

    I am from pakistan. InshAllah in a month or two i ll be moving to jeddah. My husband is currently in jeddah. I have just went through this website and found it to be very helpful. There are few things i want to know before coming to jeddah if u can help i ll be very thankful.
    I have a daughter, she is 2 years old. I want information on good preschools where i can get her enroll.
    Any good ladies club,book club or anyother social gathering place which i can join to help with starting phase and to make new friends
    I design clothes and i want to start homebase clothing business once in jeddah. I need information about what kind of clothes women in jeddah prefer. Is there market for pakistani clothes (shalwar kameez) there? before coming there what can i do to start?

    ur reply will b highly appreciated thanku

  6. Wa alaikumus salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Here’s my old “mommy blog.” There’s a little bit of info on pre-schools and various activities for children. GLOSS.

    I will E-mail you info on parenting meeetings, social gatherings and all. The sisters also have a private forum….perhaps you could join to keep up to date on everything. They hold chat-n-chews, host fun/educational trips, etc.

    Pakistani clothing… a lot of sisters look for this type of attire during the ‘Eidayn. Outside of this, I don’t know – Wallaahu Aa’lam. Once you link up ask, In Shaa Allaah. Several of them are Pakistani. Contact me anytime.

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