Some Questions About Traditional Madrasahs

Contemporary Fatawa, Education, Fiqh

Q. I. I would like to learn about the traditional system of Muslims as it began, and as it exists today, in our subcontinent as well as other areas of the world.

What levels of education are denoted by words like maktab, madrassa, jamiah, dar-ul-uloom etc.?

What language (s) is / are used as medium of instruction.

What syllabi are being used? Is there a standard syllabus or a standard set of subjects used all over the Muslim world.

Are students exposed to subjects like history, geography, mathematics, literature, economics, etc. at any stage?

What degrees are conferred on students who complete various levels of education?

What is the significance and meaning of the following words: Farigh ul-tehseel, aalim, mufti, maulana, maulvi, Sheikh ul-hadith. (Irfan Ali Hyder, Karachi).

(i) The word ‘Maktab’ is generally used for a small institute of religious education in which the children learn the recitation of the Holy Qur’an (which is called the nazirah education, or they memorize the text of the Holy Qur’an by heart. At the same time, some elementary Islamic principles are also taught in such institutes.

October 9, 2010

Linguistic and Cultural Formalism Part 4

Beliefs & Practices, Education

Confusion of Languages

The differences in the languages spoken by human beings are but natural and, in fact, a blessing. The Qur’an calls these variations a Divine favour and a sign of the ‘Lord’s craftsmanship:

And of His signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the differences of your languages and colours. Lo! herein indeed are portents for men of knowledge (Al-Rum:22).

June 15, 2010

Linguistic and Cultural Formalism Part 3

Beliefs & Practices, Education

Lack of Religious Sense

To me the greatest causes of this mishap was the lack of correct religious sense. It is not enough that one should have a heart-felt love of Islam: one should also have a developed sense of looking at things from an Islamic view-point. A man should have not only emotionally attachment to Islam but he should also hate all unislamic philosophies, thoughts and ideals. As a matter of fact, The Qur’an expresses in numerous places its hatred for the devil and the standard-bearers of falsehood and ignorance before giving a call to pin one’s Faith in God. It says:

June 14, 2010

Linguistic and Cultural Formalism Part 2

Beliefs & Practices, Education

Linguistic and Cultural Differences

Man has had numerous languages and cultures, rites and customs since the day he made his debut on this planet. These variations in language and modes of living have helped will to evolve new patterns of culture and enrich and beautify his life; and, indeed, as the Qur’an reminds us, these are all Divine blessings conferred on mankind by the grace of the Lord:

O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. (Al-Hujarat:13). And, again.

June 13, 2010

Linguistic and Cultural Formalism Part 1

Beliefs & Practices, Education

God has bestowed numerous bounties upon man and one of these is his capacity to learn from his past experience. If he strikes his on a path, foot, he tries to find out the cause of it; removes the stumbling block from his way or deflects his steps to avoid it. But if he finds his way impassable or littered with similar obstacles ,he takes to another even and straight path. Whenever he commits a mistake or fails in his venture, he tries to analyse and understand the cause of his failure. He tries to avoid the mistake once committed so that he does not take the wrong track again and so come to grief for the second time. Man’s capacity to analyse cause and effect, to understand the relationship between antecedent and result is undoubtedly a Divine blessing bestowed upon him alone.

June 12, 2010


Akhlaq & Spirituality, Beliefs & Practices, Children, Education, Quran & Tafseer

Hadhrat Fudhail Bin Iyaadh (rahmatullah alayh) said: “It does not behove the Haafiz to involve himself in sport and amusement with those who indulge in such futility. He should not  join in the company of people who are involved in carelessness.”

Futility, sport and amusement are anathema for Ilm-e-Wahi (the Knowledge which stems from Divine Revelation). Indulgence in sport and futility in entirety effaces the Noor of Ilm, and severely contaminates the Noor of Imaan. Minus this Noor, the molvi remains a jaahil. Such jahl camouflaged with textual or book knowledge is compound zulmat (intense spiritual darkness) which will become a great humiliating calamity in the Aakhirah.

June 3, 2010


Children, Education, Women & Family

(The following is the text of a speech that was delivered by Shaykh Muhammed Saleem Dhorat in Urdu.)

As the Holy Month of Ramadhaan comes to an end, the minds of all those who have some connection with a Madrasah either as students or tutors, will automatically turn towards their respective institutes. Parents and children will become mentally prepared for the forthcoming terms of education and will be concerned about the possible requirements, whereas the tutors will focus on making their own preparations for the coming year. Furthermore, the staff and principals of these institutions will be engaged in their own consultations and meetings to
plan for the commencement of the new term.

August 17, 2008