What Is A Madrasah?

The term madrasah has been used to refer to an educational institution or a religious school or college of Islamic education.

The term madrasah has been used to refer to an educational institution or religious schools for Islamic education. However, Madrasah or Madrasa is an Arabic term that is used to refer to any educational institution whether religious or secular. In India, for instance, not all students who are in madrasas are Muslims, and modern curriculum also exists.

The Meaning Of Madrasah

The term madrasah is derived from the triconsonantal Semitic root which means to ‘study’ or to ‘learn,’ it also means a place where to study and learn. 'Madrasah is also used as a loanword and bears the same innocuous meaning in many languages that have Arabic influences such as Indonesian, Turkish, Hindi, Malay, Urdu, Kurdish, Bengali, Azeri, Bosnian, and Persian. The term madrasah in the Arabic language simply bears the same meaning as the word school does in English regardless of the types of school, whether it is parochial, public, or private. The same applies to secondary and primary schools whether secular, non-Muslim or Muslim.However, the English language defines madrasah specifically as Islamic institutions. Conventionally, an Islamic school mostly offers two study courses the ālim and hifz. Alim course is considered a prerequisite for the purpose of ensuring candidates become accepted scholars in the Islamic community, while hifz which is a course that teaches on memorizing the Quran. A candidate who commits to memorize the Quran is known as Hafiz. The standard curriculum includes other courses in Arabic such as Muslim history, the recorded deeds, and sayings of Prophet Muhammad known as hadiths, tafsir which is the interpretation of the Quran, and Islamic laws known as Sharī'ah law. Other Islamic schools teach additional advanced courses in English, Arabic literature, other foreign languages world history, and science depending on the educational demands. Persons of all ages can attend the madrasah classes.

History Of Madrasah

The first madrasah educational institution was situated at Hazrat Said bin Arkham's estate close to a hill known as Safa; Hazrat Muhammad who was the teacher and his followers were some of his students. Following Hijrah or migration, the madrasah of 'Suffa' was established on the east side of Al-Masjid an-Nabawi mosque in Madina. Hazrat Muhammad appointed Ubada ibn as-Samit as a teacher among his students. Apart from teachings of the Quran other studies among the madrasah curriculum included athletics and martial arts, the art of war, horse riding, calligraphy, and handwriting. Jāmi'at al-Qarawīyīn which was established in 859 is considered to be world's oldest university by some scholars; it is located in Morocco specifically in the city of Fas. The university was founded by Fātimah al-Fihrī who was the daughter of Muhammad al- Fihrī, a wealthy merchant. Later on, al-Azhar was established in Cairo, Egypt in the year 959.

Islamic Education

Islamic education is a term used to refer to education in the light of Islam which is deeply rooted in the teachings of the Quran the holy book of Muslims. However, Muslim education and Islamic education are not the same. The main reason is that Islamic education features philosophical integration founded on Tawhid meaning monotheism or oneness.

Misuse Of The Term Madrasah

After 9/11 Western commentators perceive Madaras as places that teach radical revivalism with the intention of spreading radical extremism and anti-Americanism. Madrasah is also frequently associated with the Wahhabi attitudes toward non-Muslims in the Western press. The word madrasa in Arabic just refers to "school", the term does not imply any radical, religious or political affiliations whatsoever.

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