1. al-Balaghat al-Wadihah/Jawahir al-Balaghah: The first was the primary text that was used this year. Jawahir was only used as a supplement, as it contains certain discussions not in al-Wadihah. A lot more than Balaghah and Adab could have been covered this year. In any case, our teacher gave so much emphasis to Balaghah for this year that students got a good taste of Arabic literature, Qur’anic rhetoric and commentary, and the science of Balaghah itself. al-Balaghah al-Wadihah was studied exhaustively. Every practice exercise was covered in class and with the teacher.
After the book was completed, there were two months left in the year. These were used for application of our knowledge of Balaghah to verses of the Qur’an. The teacher randomly wrote ayat on the board and students were given five to ten minutes to write as much as they could about the use of rhetorical devices in that ayah. After ten minutes, students were asked to read what they wrote. This exercise began as a group project and then eventually concluded with each student writing up his own conclusions. By the end of the year, students were able to write at least one page of linguistic commentary on any given verse in less than ten minutes.
2. al-Mukhtarat: Both volumes of this book were covered in this year. The class was essentially an advanced version of the al-Manthurat class. The teacher in charge of the book, however, was very heavy on being able to summarize the lessons orally and being able to pick up the particular style of writing found in each article of the book. He would require students to be able to imitate the style and write essays to match them. He also demanded that students write and memorize poetry. Although the teacher would not rely on any particular book in selecting the poetry he wanted students to memorize and analyze, he used Diwan al-Shafi’i, Diwan Hassan ibn Thabit, and Jawahir al-Adab heavily. The year began with a deep study of the history of Arab literature and in understanding ‘Allamah Nadwi’s important introduction to al-Mukhtarat.
3. Taysir al-Mantiq: This was taught very briefly and for only two months. The purpose of the class was simply to understand the definitions and memorize the meanings. That was the limit of the study of Mantiq.
An in-depth study of fiqh starts in the fifth year. All concentration is on both fiqh studies and related subjects, such as usul al-fiqh, qawa’id al-fiqh, ifta’, etc…
1. Fath Bab al-‘Inayah (Sharh al-Nuqayah): It is assumed that students have covered at least the ‘ibadat before this year. We had studied al-Fiqh al-Muyassar and read through Nur al-Idah in the third year. The class is taught with a good amount of attention placed on comparative fiqh and understanding evidences. Students are required to prepare lessons before coming to class and are randomly picked to deliver the day’s lecture. After reading through the text and covering an important legal issue, the student is expected to explain the ikhtilaf on the issue in an organized and concise manner. Hereunder is the outline the student is expected to follow in delivering his lecture:
I. Tawdih al-Mas’alah
II. Bayan al-Ikhtilaf
III. Dala’il al-A’immah
IV. Wujuh al-Tarjih
V. Khulasat al-Bahth
The student is required to read through numerous books before coming to class. Every student must study I’la al-Sunan, Bada’i’ al-Sana’i’, and Fath al-Qadir but is encouraged to study other books as well and expose themselves to the numerous books written in Hanafi fiqh. Students would therefore regularly read al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, Radd al-Muhtar, al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah, Nasb al-Rayah, Muntaqa al-Anhur, etc… to complement their basic mutala’ah. For a couple chapters of fiqh, the teacher had us read through Bada’i’ al-Sana’i’ in class as the textbook. This was to familiarize the students with the book and acquaint them with the usuli style of the book.
One day a week was devoted to understanding furu’i issues. Students would read books of fatawa in both Arabic and Urdu and prepare a list of istifta’s and their replies. The following day (Thursday), the teacher would ask a student to read out a question to the class and would randomly pick a student to answer the question from his knowledge of the chapter and understanding of the principles (qawa’id) that the teacher had instructed him to remember at the beginning of the chapter. Students had to respond without referencing to a book and if they responded incorrectly, the instructor would seek to identify the reason for his flawed reasoning. Through this method, many students quickly began to understand the practical application of the usul and qawa’id of fiqh and were able to correct their approach to law by rectifying their understanding of principles.
The teacher spoke very little throughout the class. Before each lesson, the teacher simply pointed out the main points that needed to be remembered in the class and the qawa’id that applied to each chapter. After that, the burden of explanation of the chapter’s contents rested on the students’ shoulders.
2. al-Wajiz fi Usul al-Fiqh/Tashil Usul al-Fiqh: When I was there, we studied Mawlana Anwar al-Badakhshani’s Tashil Usul al-Fiqh, which is basically a summary of Dr. Wahbah al-Zuhayli’s Usul al-Fiqh al-Islami from a Hanafi perspective. Later, we came across Dr. Zuhayli’s own summary, entitled al-Wajiz, which we then went on to study after Tashil. There is not much more content in it, however, and I prefer Mawlana Badakhshani’s summary because of its being more brief and from a purely Hanafi perspective. Like in fiqh class, students were expected to read other books outside of class. Therefore, some students read through al-Manar’s commentaries, Bukhari’s Kashf al-Asrar, Fawatih al-Rahmut, etc… Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get a hold of Jassas’s Fusul or Sarakhsi’s Usul until the end of the fifth year when we had nearly completed usul al-fiqh study.
3. Sharh ‘Uqud Rasm al-Mufti: This class took class once a week only and concentrated on not only the contents of the book but also a brief study of the history of the Hanafi madhhab.
1. al-Hidayah: For mu’amalat, we used the last two volumes of al-Hidayah. Students were required to read through commentaries such as Fath al-Qadir, al-Kifayah, al-‘Inayah, etc… although the concentration this year was less on comparative fiqh and more on simply understanding the book. Otherwise, the methodology of teaching for this class was the same as the previous year’s.
2. Nur al-Anwar: There was no consensus at the beginning of the year about which book should have been taught at this level. This was going to be the final year of usul al-fiqh studies but I don’t believe any solid methodology of teaching this class was decided during the year or even afterward.
3. al-Siraji: It took about three months to finish this book. It was taught with heavy usage of practice examples. A white board was also used to better illustrate the concepts. Outside reading material was only used to find practice examples.
4. Nukhbat al-Fikar: We basically had to read through the text. The teacher did all the extra reading. Students were not expected to spend much time outside of class in preparing. Eventually, students began to use Tahhan’s Taysir Mustalah al-Hadith for memorizing definitions. Later, the teacher decided to use Tahhan’s text formally in class and then later had the students read through Nukhbah.
This is basically where the hadith classes began. The course was not well-developed when I was there and I left in the middle of this year of study. Dawra Hadith was supposed to extend to two years, so years 7 and 8. Sunan Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, the two Muwattas, and Tadrib al-Rawi were the books that were being taught when I was there. I imagine there must have been significant changes to the two-year hadith program after I left.
Both Sunan Abi Dawud and Tirmidhi were supposed to be completed in this year and both were read cover to cover.
In this year, the Sahihayn, Sunans Ibn Majah and Nasa’i, Shama’il Tirmidhi, and Sharh Ma’ani al-Athar were taught. I am not sure as to how much of each book was taught, but I do know that Bukhari was meant to completed cover to cover.
Although the year that graduated with me combined years 8 and 9 due to extraneous circumstances, Mawlana Tariq Jameel Sahib had intended that the final year of study be devoted to a Dawrah Tafsir (or Dawrah Qur’an). In this year, all concentration was to be on understanding the Qur’an, its commentary, and its related sciences.
I do not know much about how this was taught since I was not there. I can only write what I know about what was supposed to be taught.
1. Tafsir al-Qur’an: No specific tafsir was decided to be taught this year when I was there, but I heard that eventually Sabuni’s Mukhtasar Ibn Kathir was chosen and that was to be the textbook, although students, like in other classes, were expected to read other commentaries before coming to class. I can not say much about this class besides that. I believe there were two separate classes of tafsir at one point in order to ensure that the entire Qur’an could be covered in one year.
2. al-Fawz al-Kabir: I don’t know what book was eventually decided for ‘ulum al-Qur’an, but before I left I had heard that they were planning on doing al-Fawz al-Kabir. I can’t imagine they sufficed with it, however. Besides these two subjects, I don’t know what was or could have been added.
Note: al-‘Aqidah al-Tahawiyyah and Taysir al-Mantiq were also taught but moved around from year to year. When I was there, we covered ‘aqidah in third year, although I heard later it was transferred to fourth year. Mantiq was taught briefly once a week in fifth year when I was there, but I hear it got pushed earlier when I left.