What is a Madrasa?

The word “Madrasa” has a Semitic origin which means “to study in a place”. In Arabic and in many languages ​​influenced by Arabic, madrasa ( madrasa, madrasa or medrese ) represents any private, public, secular and religious learning institution that includes a school and a university for Muslim or non-Muslim students. In Islamic countries, madrasas usually include a few courses, often two, such as hifz (memorizing the entire Koran) and ‘Alim (for those who want to become Muslim leaders). AN Alimteaches the interpretation of the Koran, the Islamic law, the teachings of the prophet Muhammad, logic and Muslim history. However, in Muslim minority countries, including the west, the madrassa refers to a system of religious education in which students study Islamic content in Arabic, including the Koran, the Hadith, Islamic history and Arabic literature. Most madrassas are usually, but not always, related to mosques.

Early History of Madrasas

One of the first evidence of madrasa education dates back to 859 AD in Morocco Jāmi’at al-Qarawīyīn (University of Al Quaraouiyine), one of the oldest universities. Other early mentions include Egypt around 959. During the medieval period (tenth century) in the Islamic world, a maktab was inferior to a madras and often taught in mosques alone, while the madrasa meant higher education. However, the integration of secular sciences, ethics, music and philosophical studies in the madrasa took place later during this period. Between the eleventh and fourteenth centuries, the madrasa curriculum grew and became more sophisticated, including Islamic philosophy and later disciplines such as mathematics, geography, astronomy and astrology. During the Ottoman Empire, the Madrid educational system integrated spiritual, intellectual, written and oral education. Use was broad to the point of converting a church into a madrasa to teach the then high level of hadith and medicine.

Importance of Madrasa According to Islam

Muslim scholars believe that the instruction of madrasa is anchored to the Koranic verse in which the prophet Muhammad says that ” God, give me the knowledge ” And in other verses in which he said ” whoever leaves home in search of knowledge walks with God , “And” seeks knowledge from cradle to grave “ . Moreover, the eternal Arab proverb ” the ink of scholars is more precious than the blood of martyrs, “It shows how important education was to the first Muslims. Believing that the prophet Muhammad taught and spread mercy, the madrassas teach the prophets hadiths that people are better human beings and serve for the betterment of humanity. From these texts, it is clear how and why madrasa’s education was and remains important for Islam.

Madrasa and humanitarian assistance

In a world where the Western education system is spreading rapidly, even Muslim-majority countries are adopting the system. While the elite and middle class of these nations continue to migrate to the curriculum of Western education, madrasas are left to act as a humanitarian system for poor students. Poor parents enroll children in madrassas who do not need much money to run and where they receive free education alongside meals and in some cases, a place to stay. Often, teachers also serve on a voluntary basis or for low salaries.

Improper use of the Madrasa Word

In recent history, the world has been aggressively westernized and the madrassas have found themselves in an awkward position in trying to maintain Islamic education. Because of this ideological conflict, some madrasas helped spread anti-Western sentiments and nurture radical movements such as the Muslim Brotherhood, Jamaat-Islami and Nahdatul Ulema whose graduates include Iranian Ayatollahs, Mujaheddin leaders and Taliban leaders. With the growing stigma and radicalization of Islam, the word madrasa was then used in negative contexts, especially in the non-Islamic world post 9 / 11. Those who do not understand the word and radical Muslims contribute to negative use. Radical Muslims have used some madrasas to actually intoxicate students with distorted information on jihad, therefore, students grow and propagate hatred against other religions and entities. This situation has been particularly true in many countries such as Somalia, Yemen and Kenya.

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