Author: Althea Chokwe
The Arabic language is misleadingly difficult for people who cannot read its flowery alphabet, throwing them into deep confusion. Among Muslims especially, the pressure to master classical Arabic, the Holy Quran’s language, intensifies until no progress is achieved. Yes, there are books and media resources, but the bustle of life is a major distraction for anyone. Even so, a few use the experience to provide others with a smooth path towards fluency. One notable person is Muhammad Al Andalusi, a Senegalese-Spanish entrepreneur based in Saudi Arabia and founder of the Andalus Institute.
The Andalus Institute promotes a 15-month program christened Arabic Like An Arab, assuring fluency in classical Arabic by utilizing the immersion effect and a vocabulary-first methodology. This draws from Al Andalusi’s background in acquiring five languages fluently: Catalan, Spanish, French, English, and Arabic. He credits his extensive experience with the nuances of vocabulary, grammar conventions, and formal versus informal speech to becoming a trustworthy source for anyone serious about these studies. And money talks: the Andalus Institute now earns $20K to $50K each month and continues to grow in esteem each day.
Al Andalusi cannot see himself doing anything else. An intense schedule and consistent sharpening of his skill and knowledge challenge the business owner to stay on top of every single responsibility. Getting enough sleep, fasting intermittently, and centering each workday around the five Islamic prayer times help Al Andalusi reduce stress, maximize productivity, and tie up any loose ends. Checking up on students and completing other administrative duties occupy his morning hours, while humid afternoons are more for creative planning and lesson design. Delegating monotonous assignments to a team frees up Al Andalusi’s hours and maintains an organized system at the school’s core.
The Andalus Institute’s name is a nod to Muhammad’s heritage, as “Andalusi” was the Arabic term for Spain and a nickname given to him by a language professor in Egypt. The school is a symbol of civilization, knowledge, and of Al Andalusi’s own grit. He had attempted other ventures previously, from an accommodation agency for visitors to Egypt to sewing clothes for a Western clientele. In the end, however, a lack of passion plagued Al Andalusi until he threw it all away for a language-centered product. Initially, the risks didn’t matter; Al Andalusi’s instincts assured him an online school would strike gold.
Entrepreneurship is a way of life Al Andalusi does not want to trade. The liberating ability to select one’s own hours and country to reside in is the key feature of such a life, while the absence of a stable monthly wage is often the be-all and end-all for any new employer. Now, none of this fazes Al Andalusi, and he takes full advantage of the situation. Three months after launching the institute, Al Andalusi moved his entire family to Mauritania, seeking a predominantly Muslim society to raise his children in. Currently based in Saudi Arabia, Al Andalusi plans to enroll in a university and raise the already high standard of his skill in Arabic. Andalus Institute students are shown a consistent branding method: full immersion. Tied to the school’s belief in fully immersing the learner into Arabic conversation after passing only a few modules, Al Andalusi is personally immersed in Middle Eastern culture. Additionally, both the desert and urban landscapes lend a convenient, aesthetic backdrop for Instagram Stories and Reels, all part of an effective social media campaign.
Instagram is where Al Andalusi has garnered close to 30 thousand followers, a stage for intense conversations surrounding the beauty and eloquence of the Arabian lexicon. But language is not the only topic of importance–religion, travel vlogging, and life advice make appearances, too. In addition, the visuals of Nouakchott and Mecca in Al Andalusi’s photos and videos add to the allure of a polyglot generating six figures from any location.
YouTube grants Al Andalusi the space to expand on his short Instagram productions. The channel now boasts 12.5 thousand subscribers, a number that seems to keep rising by the day. A prominent component of Al Andalusi’s YouTube videos is student reviews, a tactic to prove the viability of his 15-month program. Many graduates have taken the time to write glowing accounts of their progress. Here are a few:
“When I’m reading anything, I actually understand it a lot more than before alhamdulilah [sic]. It’s made reading the Quran a different experience already, and it’s only been a couple of months … I was so surprised at how many words from the Quran we’ve actually covered in the programme, this is my favourite thing about it all so far.”
“Alhamdulilah [sic] I have improved so much. Especially because of the weekly sessions … Ustadh [Al Andalusi] does a lot for us to be comfortable and speak without fearing.”
The institute has also garnered praise from qualified and respected scholars in the Arabic language field. Certified translators, imams, and lifelong learners all validate the Andalus Institute’s methodology and state that it truly is the most efficient a learner could use. With these words, window shoppers turn into loyal customers, continuing the domino effect of spreading the word. Al Andalusi makes sure to give people a reason to purchase his services with all the strategies previously discussed.
As for the future, Al Andalusi believes that anything is possible. Perhaps a Quran memorization course will be the next appendage to the school but reaching scores of worldwide Internet users are of priority at the moment. With the current health crisis, a record number of people are looking to acquire a new skill or credential. Muhammad Al Andalusi sees this as his moment right now, where opportunities are presenting themselves everywhere.
You can connect with the author on LinkedIn here.