Upgrade Madrasa education system in India

Presently, there are four types of Islamic educational institutions prevailing all over India; Maktab, Madrasa, Jamia and Darul Qur’an. But in common all are called as madrasa.

Maktab: When a child grows he goes to Maktab where he is taught basic Islamic tenets with fundamentals of Math, Geography, Science, Social Science, Qur’an, Urdu, Hindi, English and regional language. It is, generally, of 5-year course. The child may pass easily the course up to 12 of his age. After that some students go either to school or to Madrasa. In states like UP, Bihar, Bengal the system is the same. But in some other states there is morning and evening maktabs where the school going boys and girls go and learn Qur’an, Urdu and basic tenet books. As I know in Kerala and Assam there is a good system where maktabs work outside of normal school hours. They function between 7 am and 9 am in the morning and between 6 pm and 8 pm in the evening. Mostly the maktabs are run by the Muslims of locality. They bear the expenses of management and salary that is paid to teachers. Usually, the teachers at maktabs are poorly paid since most of them are local and not highly educated. Maktabs offer education both boys and girls simultaneously.   

Madrasa: it means a building and boarding rooms where Muslim students having passed Maktab course are taught Aalimiat course. This course is generally of 8 years while some Madrasas have shortened one year. Every Madrasa does not have the 8-year course, but commonly, Madrasas have 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or 7-year course then they sent the students to complete graduation to big madrasas like Darul Uloom Deoband, Mazahir Uloom Saharanpur, Darul Uloom Nadvah Lucknow, Jamia Salafia Banaras, Alfalah Bilariaganj, Ashrafia Mubarakpur and others. Because the final year of this course that is called “Daura-e-Hadith” is taught in very few madrasas of the country. In the first year of madrasa the student is taught Persian language for having better knowledge of Urdu because Urdu is dominated by Persian words. Urdu is commonly the medium of madrasa education all over the country whether the madrasa is in Gujrat, Bengal, Assam or Kerala.   

Jamia: The term “Jamia” is basically a synonym word for university. Though there are many madrasas, which are named as Jamia, but in fact, only some Madrasas of the country deserve to be called as Jamia. A Madrasa that enjoys Daura-e-Hadith course along with specialization courses like Arabic literature course, Ifta course, Tafseer course, Islamic Studies course and Tajweed (Sab’a and Ashra) are basically Jamia. Many people do not care and name their maktabs and madrasas with Jamia that some times creates problem. In fact, only madrasas like Darul Uloom Deoband, Nadvatul Ulama etc. should be called Jamia.    

Darul Qur’an: There are some other madrasas made especially for Hifz and Tajweed (memorizing the Glorious Qur’an by heart and learning the art of reciting the Glorious Qur’an in ten different ways). These madrasas are called Darul Qur’an or Daruttahfiz etc. There is no fixed duration for Hifz (remembering the Glorious Qur’an by heart). It depends on the student. Nevertheless, the Tajweed course (learning the art of reciting the Glorious Qur’an in ten different ways) is of 3 years. There are some short-term courses in Tajweed in which the student learns the rules and regulations of pronouncing and articulating the Glorious Qur’an. 

Madrasas in India are, mostly, run by donations from Muslim community and even some receive foreign donations also. Madrasas operate from Shawwal {10th month of Islamic Hijra Calendar} to Ramazan {9th month of Hijra}. Thus are open for 10 months. They observe very less holidays; only on Friday in a week, on 26th January, 15 August and 10 leave on Idul Azha {Baqraid, Muslim Festival in which they perform animal sacrifice}. They observe big vacation from late of Shaban {8th Hijra month} to the half of Shawwal; nearly 40-45 days. It is not so that during the vacation days madrasas are closed at all, many madrasas have a good number of students who do not go home and students who come before time to seek enrolment in the respective madrasa. Therefore it will not be out of place to say that madrasas serve as orphanages also where poor and orphans get education besides every thing they need. Between this duration the teachers, some students, in many madrasas, and donation collectors set out to collect donations for next year. 

Madrasas, apart from free education, provide the students with free food, free lodge and other facilities like clothe, medicine, shoes and so on if they need. The students in madrasas are commonly from poor and middle class families. Still there are many students whose parents manage to pay for their food and lodge, but this amount is very low in comparison to modern institutions. The teachers are paid their salary from the donations the madrasas collect. The ratio of their salary ranges from 2500 to 4000. 

Generally, there are madrasas for boys only. Yet there are madrasas for girls also, but very few compared to boys’. Mostly madrasas have boarding rooms. The local students frequent while the students from distant places stay at madrasas. The classes start from morning 6-8 as per the season and last up to noon. After taking the lunch students and teachers take siesta for a while. Then go for Zuhr Salah, afternoon prayer. After the Salah the classes start up to Asr Salah, one and a half hour before the sunset. During this time they stroll and play. After sunset, they pray Maghrib Salah and then get busy in study and revise collectively or individually what they learn in the day until they are called for Isha prayer. They take dinned either after Maghrib or before Isha. Afters the prayer, some even go for study and some go to bed. Early in the morning they wake up for Fajr prayer.

The students as well as teachers in classes sit on mats on floor having desks before them. They do not use chair and table. Students open their books before teacher and one of them or all by turn read the text of the book. The teacher corrects the grammatical and pronunciation mistakes if any and then translates the text in to Urdu with detailed explanation. Some students make notes of what the teacher explain. In the meantime, if there is any doubt or question in to the student’s mind he puts it. The students are asked to read the text and understand as per they can and attend classes with good preparation. After that the students among themselves revise the lesson. 

Madrasas, in general, hold two examinations during a year. For the secondary classes they manage monthly tests. For the first year they give oral examination while for other classes they arrange writing examination. Usually the students write their papers in Urdu, but still there is a good number of such students who write their paper in Arabic. Writing papers in Arabic is encouraged in madrasas and students who write Arabic they are given 5 marks extra. Usually in madrasas’ examination papers there are 5 questions from different places of concerning book and the student has to answer out of the 5. One paper bears 50 marks, in some madrasas 20 and even in some 100.

Generally students complete their madrasa course in their teenage. From there they go in different fields. Some help their fathers or brothers in business and even some go for further modern studies. Some are appointed at madrasas for teaching managing and other purposes while some become Imam in mosques where they lead the congregation of prayer and deliver sermons. There are some places where there is Islamic Judicial system, some become Qazi there to settle issues related to Muslim Personal Law between two parties. Those who are interested in writing they join newspapers or magazines. Likewise, students who knew good Arabic and learn art of translation they join companies especially of Gulf as translator. The students who learn calligraphy, computer or handicrafts they have business of the same on part time basis. Some arrange small type of business while they teach or work at a madrasa.  The advantage of madrasa education is that those who are graduated from there though are less paid, but they never go wandering in the streets in search job and employment like those of modern institutions’ graduates. They are satisfied with what they learn in term of matter and spirituality. 

[extract from: Madrasa Education Its Strength & Weakness]



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