Maktab Reformation Program
The All Ceylon Jamiyatul Ulama provides religious guidance to the Muslims of Sri Lanka. One of the most important aspects for the Muslim community at this time is the Islamic education. ACJU has now started to conduct the Maktab Reformation Program in order to enhance the religious education for the Muslim children. The program has been accepted by many who have helped to make it better, by the grace of Allah.
The importance of Islamic education for children
Children are a great blessing of Allah. They are also a trust from Allah Ta’ala to the parents. The way of Thanking Allah for this great blessing is to raise them up as good Muslims. This is also a responsibility of the parents for which they will have to give account in the Court of Allah on the day of judgment. When the children are raised as good and upright believers, they become a source of happiness for the parents in this world and the next. If this is not done, these very same children might become a burden and a curse for the parents in this world as well as in the Hereafter. Many parents due to their ignorance in raising the children in accordance to Deen, fall into the latter category. They suffer tremendously because they failed to perform their duty as a good Muslim parent and could not do their upbringing upon the correct guidance, they chose the wrong way. May Allah make us the best of parents.
We cannot blame the children for their failures because they naturally look upon their parents and elders for inspiration. The following Hadithes of the Prophet (ﷺ) and many verses from the Holy Qur’an asserts the importance of fulfilling the duties entrusted to man in various capacities:
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ، أَنَّهُ كَانَ يَقُولُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم " مَا مِنْ مَوْلُودٍ إِلاَّ يُولَدُ عَلَى الْفِطْرَةِ فَأَبَوَاهُ يُهَوِّدَانِهِ وَيُنَصِّرَانِهِ وَيُمَجِّسَانِهِ
Abu Huraira (ؓ) narrated that the Prophet (ﷺ) said;” No one is born except in his true nature (Islam). It is his parents who make him a Jew, a Christian or a Majoosi (idolater)” (Muslim)
عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ " كُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ وَمَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ،
Abdullah Ibn Umar (ؓ) reported that the Prophet (ﷺ) said that “Surely, every one of you is a guardian and responsible for his charges." (Bukhari)
وعن أبى يعلى معقل بن يسار رضي الله عنه قال: سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم: يقول--------"ما من أمير يلى أمور المسلمين، ثم لا يجهد لهم وينصح لهم، إلا لم يدخل معهم الجنة"
Ma'qil bin Yasar (RAA) narrated, ‘I heard the Messenger of All (ﷺ) saying, "A ruler who, having control over the affairs of the Muslims, does not strive diligently for their betterment and does not serve them sincerely, will not enter Jann with them." (Muslim)
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُواْ قُوٓاْ أَنفُسَكُمۡ وَأَهۡلِيكُمۡ نَارً۬ا
O you who believe, save yourselves and your families from Hellfire – (Surah Tahreem/6)
Based on the Hadithes, society too has an irrefutable responsibility in this regard. The responsibility of producing good children from their community, so the future progeny is left in good, capable and pious hands.
Importance given to Maktab by our Scholars
Every person has the responsibility of learning the guidance of Islam to execute his given role in the society impeccably. People in every walk of life are very busy and burdened with heavy workloads nowadays. Therefore, only a handful finds the time to learn about religious teachings. According to research conducted by the Deeniyyat Maktab Project in Mumbai, less than 2 % of the Muslim population spend time to acquire religious perception. This reflects in Sri Lanka and in the major part of the Ummah as well. There are only about 8,000 Alims in Ceylon today in a population of 2 million Muslims. This is less than 1 % in proportion. However, there are over 2,500 Masjids and Qur’an Madrasas in the island. 98 % of our children obtain their religious education from these institutions. If our children through these Masajid are provided with a comprehensive knowledge of Deen, they would become guides, mentors and role models of the professional community by becoming God fearing and good practicing Muslims. We meet many persons in our day-today life who acknowledge with pride that it is the things they learned as kids in these Maktabs that guide them till today as elders. This is because our forefathers paid undivided attention to properly guide their children with Deen.
Importance of guiding children correctly
Unfortunately, many parents become instrumental in misguiding their children and thus destroying them and their future, by readily providing whatever the kids demand and by giving them lots of pocket money, cell phones, tablets, internet etc. Parents believe that these are indication of their love and affection towards their children. In reality, parents gradually destroy the kids by giving into every one of their whims (good or bad) without check or counter argument -Allamah Ibnul Qayyoom Al Jawsi (Tuhfatul Mawlood)
Choose one of the two for your children;
Either they becoming apostates, or make as much sacrifices as possible for their Tarbiyah (Islamic upbringing and Nurturing) -Allamah Mansoor Nu’mani (Takbire Muzalzal)
I deeply thought about the possible reasons for the downfall of Muslims and ways to rejuvenate them while I was imprisoned in Malta prison. I saw the forsaking of the Holy Qur’an and creating divisions among themselves, as the reasons for their downfall. Then I decided that the Holy Qur’an should be promoted among people and Maktabs should be established in every village for our children -Sheikul Hind (Rh) (Wahdate Ummah)
I do not have faith in any of my good deeds. However, I am humbly hopeful that Allah will forgive me with His benevolence for establishing Maktabs in every village of India for the children - Haji Imdadullah Muhajir Al Makki (R) (Shamayime Imdadiya)
Take care of the Maktabs for your children. If not, you will lose Islam like Spain lost Islam -Allamah Iqbal
Initiation of Maktab
The places from where children acquired religious knowledge were called by various names in the early periods, such as Kuttaab, Kataateeb, Maktab, Majlisul Adab etc. In Sri Lanka such places are commonly known as Al Qur’an Madrasah. This method has existed since the time of Rasulullah (ﷺ) and the Khulafa Ar-Rashideen and became organized in the time of Umar (ؓ). Sahabahs such as Urwah ibn Zubair (ؓ) and Amir ibn Abdullah had been deans of such institutions respectively in Taif and Madinah. Teaching institutions for children existed in regions such as Girvan even before 60 AH. It is recorded that there were over 3000 students in such a school conducted by a well-known Tabiyeen, Lah’haak Ibn Muzahim during 100 AH.
Historic records of Maktabs
Ibn Hawqal (Rah) one of the famous Muslim historians lived before 367 AH has written that there were no less than 3,000 Islamic religious schools in an island called Sakaliyya one of the biggest isles of the Western archipelago.
Another reputed historian Ibn Zubair (Rah) who lived before 614 AH has recorded that there were 245 Maktabs in Damascus alone while the famous historian and traveler, Ibn Batutah (Rah) who lived before 779 AH said that every pillar of the Masjid of Damascus had been a class for teaching religious knowledge.
Allamah Ibn Khaldoon (Rah) said: Teaching Qur’an to the children is the main feature of the Muslims. Therefore, they used to establish Maktabs in their places of living as it helped build Iman, Aqeedah and knowledge of Hadith into the hearts of children.
Present situation of Maktabs
The present situation of the Maktabs, which once had been organized by Khalifah Umar Bin Khattab (ؓ) and eventually handed down to us by our forefathers with great zeal, is indeed in a regrettable condition today. Maktabs, where subjects and sciences such as Qur’an, Hadith, Aqaa’id, Masaa’il, Tarbiyah, Arabic language were imparted once, today stands in disarray without a proper syllabus or a correct methodology of teaching. Indeed, this is a sign of the downfall of the Muslim Ummah.
A weakness in the following areas can be said to have caused this setback:
- Lack of a consolidated syllabus
- Absence of a collective teaching method
- Incompetent or untrained teachers
- Lack of a proper administrative and regulative body
Why ACJU intervened in Maktab
Upon considering this lamentable situation, the ACJU proceeded to compile a consolidated syllabus for the Maktabs. This syllabus has been organized with the object of making our children God fearing and true believers. They should also become good citizens who appreciate the nobility of Qur’an and Hadith, as well as to inspire them to follow the basic teachings of Islam with zeal and compassion. By compiling this syllabus, the ACJU also hopes to fulfil the responsibility of the Muslim community of imparting the compulsory Islamic knowledge to the children. Careful attention has been given to including every important matter that Muslim children need to learn into this refined curriculum, without overburdening them.
Prior to compiling the syllabus, the ACJU proceeded to invite suggestions and views of scholars who were involved in the teaching process island wide. Additionally, the head of the ACJU as well as key personal of the ACJU Maktab department travelled to countries such as KSA, UK, Thailand, South Africa, India and Pakistan in order to personally observe the successful conduction of Maktabs in those countries and take benefit from their experience.
Exclusive features of the ACJU syllabus
According to this syllabus, students would learn to recite the Holy Qur’an with Tajweed, and memorize part of it. They would also learn Arabic, Hadith, Tarbiyah, Aqaa’id, Masaa’il, etc. with relative ease. This method enables students to absorb more education in less amount of time. Moreover, students could choose the time most suitable for class, as well as spend only one and half hour per day, 5 days a week. The syllabus is designed in such a way so as enabling the students to learn at least one new thing per day.
The Ustads too have been provided with a Teachers’ Guide to help them prepare for the impending classes. The most exclusive feature of this syllabus is its uniformity island wide. The subjects have been divided into days, weeks and months which enable the teachers as well as the parents to monitor the progress easily.
At the end of every lesson a questionnaire is provided to enable the students to view where they stand in their studies. Authenticity of contents have been strictly monitored in the syllabus and has been mentioned where necessary. Text books, without containing pictures of living beings, have been designed in a colorful and pleasant way to interest the children. A prayer time table is also included at the end of the text books in order to inspire the student to fulfill this important obligation.