A Suggested Curriculum of Study for the Hanafi Student of Hadith

In our shaykh Mawlānā ʿAbd al-Ḥalīm al-Nuʿmānī’s invaluable foreword to Mullā ʿAlī al-Qārī’s Mirqāt al-Mafātīḥ – modestly entitled al-Biḍāʿat al-Muzjāt li man Yuṭāliʿu al-Mirqāt (Scanty Merchandise for the One who Studies the Mirqāt) – the erudite hadith scholar Imam ʿAbd al-Bārī ibn ʿAbd al-Wahhāb al-Anṣārī al-Laknawī is quoted from a passage of his prolegomena to his al-Taʿlīq al-Mukhtār ʿalā Kitāb al-Āthār. In the lengthy passage, al-Laknawī provides the following suggested curriculum of study for the “Ḥanafī muḥaddith”: Continue reading


Mawlana Tariq Rasheed al-Nadwi al-Firangi Mahalli on the Dars Niẓāmī and Madrasah Reform

There is much to ponder about in this interview and much to learn from. May Allah reward the Mawlana for his efforts and put blessing in his noble endeavors. I have written some comments on this interview that were published on the old attalib blog years ago. Meant to balance the critique offered by Mawlana Tariq Rasheed, my comments now appear on the defensive. If I was to comment on the article again in the present, perhaps my comments would differ significantly. In any case, the next post will include my commentary. I hope that both posts will benefit the interested reader and student of educational reform in the madrasah system.

39-year old Maulana Tariq Rasheed Firanghi Mahali is a ninth generation direct descendant of Mulla Nizamuddin Firanghi Mahali, who framed what is known after him as the dars-e nizami, the basic syllabus that continues to be followed by the vast majority of Islamic madrasas in South Asia even today. He is one of the few remaining members of the renowned Firanghi Mahali family of Lucknow who carry on with their family’s centuries’-old tradition of Islamic scholarship. A graduate of the Nadwat ul-Ulema madrasa in Lucknow, he is presently Director of the Islamic Society of Greater Orlando, Florida, in the United States. In this interview with Yoginder Sikand, he talks about his family’s scholarly tradition and its decline and reflects on the dars-e nizami and madrasa education in South Asia today. Continue reading

Article: The Western Intellectual and Cultural Challenge and the Responsibilities of the Ulema by Dr. Mahmud Ghazi

I had initially intended to keep this website free of articles that weren’t originally authored. However, seeing as to the rarity of certain articles and their difficulty to find even online, I thought it would be useful on occasion to post important pieces that are of interest to me and that have influenced my work in various fields.

The following article was written by the now deceased Dr. Mahmud Ahmad Ghazi (may Allah have mercy on him), whose books I have benefited from greatly over the years and whose writings on curricular reform in the madrasahs reflect many of my own thoughts as well as the thoughts of many ‘ulama whom I respect, such as Mawlānā Zāhid al-Rāshidī (may Allah preserve him and grant him long life). Continue reading

Notes: Hakim al-Ummat’s Comments on the Method of Teaching in Madrasahs

Hakīm al-Ummah Mawlānā Ashraf ʿAlī al-Thānawī is known to have proposed some very interesting modifications to the Dars Niẓāmī syllabus as well as a number of condensed versions of the course to meet the divergent needs of the general Muslim populace.

Amongst the proposals is his emphasis on exercises and practice questions of the rules and principles taught in the classical works. Thānawī (may Allah shower him with His mercy) argued that the pace of lessons had to be slowed down while more attention and greater emphasis should be accorded to the application of the rules of Arabic syntax (naḥw) and morphology (ṣarf). He noted that the memorization of grammar rules was wholly inadequate, especially in today’s times. It is more effective to occasionally skip lectures and devote the time to exercises and revision. Continue reading

How to Study Arabic Morphology (Ṣarf) Based on Mufti Taqi Usmani’s Recommendations

The following recommendations are from Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani’s short treatise on how to study the dars nizāmī. The advice, though aimed at students of the Mīzān al-Ṣarf or ʿIlm al-Ṣīghah, is largely applicable to any beginning student of Arabic morphology.

1) Its absolutely necessary to memorize the conjugation tables. In fact, the conjugations should be practiced to such an extent that they flow from the tongue without hesitation or pause. Continue reading

Madrasat al-Hasanayn: Further Details on the Curriculum

Year 4:

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. Continue reading

Madrasat al-Hasanayn: Educational Outlook, Curriculum, and Methodology of Instruction

To learn more about Madrasat al-Hasanayn’s method of teaching and its curriculum, here is a brief synopsis of the books/subjects covered each year and how they are taught. Keep in mind that this is how the curriculum looked when I was there around fifteen years ago. There have been significant changes in the curriculum since then. I was there during the testing phases and saw many aspects of the syllabus evolve over time. Continue reading

Some Notes from Reading Makdisi’s “The Rise of Colleges”

Here are some interesting points I noted down from reading Makdisi’s The Rise of Colleges:

1. Fiqh was studied over the course of four years. It was taught without any focus on dialectics (jadal), disputation (munazarah), or comparitive fiqh (ikhtilaf). Study of ikhtilaf, academic disputations, and dialectics was taught to students after the four year course and to those serious and capable of legal argumentation.

2. Striking a balance between emphasis on memorization and comprehension was key to a strong Islamic education. Continue reading

Mawlānā ʿUbayd Allāh Sindhī, the Islamic Revival, and the House of Wisdom

Below is a brief summary of the objectives and action plan behind Mawlānā ʿUbayd Allāh Sindhī’s political/intellectual revivalist movement, the Jamīʿat Khuddām al-Ḥikmah and its centers (Bayt al-Ḥikmahs) taken from my notes on a collection of his various discourses (khuṭabāt) and essays (maktūbāt).

Mawlānā ʿUbayd Allāh Sindhī strongly believed that any effective and holistic revival of the Muslim community had to be rooted in the principles and thought of the Ḥakīm al-Hind Shāh Walī Allāh as expressed through the political and social endeavors of his intellectual progeny, particularly Imām Muḥammad Qāsim Nānautwī and Shaykh al-Hind Maḥmūd Ḥasan of Deoband. It was essential, in his view, to the revival and advancement of the Muslim nation that the intelligentsia and Muslim activists alike acquainted themselves deeply with the history, vision, and mission of these leading figures. Continue reading