The Maktab ( Islamic Learning / Madrasah ) System

by: Moulana Abdool Hamid Ishaq Damaat Barakatuhu

We are very lax in paying the Madrasah fees. We generally pay the school fees, give our children their pocket expenses, etc. The pocket expense is sometimes more than the fees. In fact if we are wealthy, we should pay on behalf of those kids that are unable to afford the Madrasah fees.

Alhamdulillah, in our neighbourhood many Makaatib have been established in the local indigenous areas. This is also a system of Allah. The seeds are being planted but we don’t know when the crops will grow. This is similar to those that plant trees from which paper is manufactured. The trees mature in forty years time. The person that is planting the tree will perhaps never live to see the tree mature fully. Therefore, generally these are projects undertaken by the governments. Similarly, a person that has reached the age of forty will not make such an investment the benefit and returns of which he will only reap at the age of eighty. If the governments don’t undertake such projects, we won’t have writing paper. This is a great bounty that we are enjoying. We scribble on a piece of paper not contemplating on how the paper reached us. We never contemplate of the manner in which a pen is manufactured.

Anyway, the fruit of the Makatib that have been established in the indigenous areas can be seen before us immediately. The real fruit will be witnessed after another thirty or forty years. There isn’t a speck of doubt that Islam is going to spread in the world. The so called advanced countries can fight Islam as much as they want they will not be able to stop that which Allah Ta’ala has decreed. There are clear signs of Islam spreading like wild fire in the world. We thought that Islam was the fastest growing religion in France but lately we have found out that it is the fastest growing religion in Italy. This is where the Vatican is located. They are really fearful of the spread of Islam.

These Makatib are blossoming throughout our country and the world at large. In our country there are those brothers who have taken the concern of other countries such as South America, Malawi, Mozambique, Vietnam, etc. The Makatibs are the foundations of our Deen.

Whilst lecturing at the Rand Afrikaans university, a professor acknowledged that as long the Makatib system is in place the Muslims will thrive as a Muslim community. If the Makatibs are removed the Muslims will be a professional community as they are businessmen by nature. There is plenty of work in the work of Dawat and Tabligh, but if it is not coupled with the Maktab system then there is a fear of great danger of the Salafis ruining all the effort that was made. This is the reason Maulana Sa’ad is stressing that the Maktab system should also be in place.

Education is one’s power and strength without which one can be moved in different directions. When the education of a person is in order, his Aqaaid will also be in order. With Islamic education we will have knowledge of the injunctions of the Quraan Sharif.

In the 90’s the Christain NGO’s were doing missionary work in Africa and they spent huge amounts of money in order to propagate their beliefs. In a particular place they had purchased a farm in order to accommodate their workers. These workers leave their residence even before dawn. They target under privileged and provide the learners with school books, food, blankets, etc. These missionary workers had a seminar to discuss their progress thus far. In their discussion they mentioned that they were unable to make inroads into the Muslim communities due to the Maktab system that they have in place.

When a child is born, Adhaan is given in the right ear and Iqaamah in the left. If we look at it logically, is there any benefit to this action? The child doesn’t understand anything even if he is an Arabian child whose mother tongue is Arabic. The teachings of Rasulullah Salallahu Alaihi Wasallam are by the command of Allah Ta’ala. The Quraan states,

وما ينطق عن الهوى ان هوالا وحى يوحىٰ

This means that the procedure of Azaan in the right ear and Takbeer in the left ear is in actual fact the command of Allah Ta’ala. The reason for this is that the first words that a child hears has a lifelong impression of it. The child that heard the Azaan and Takbeer will leave the world with Imaan Insha’Allah. He may go off the straight path but will eventually return to the straight path and eventually leave the world with Imaan.

Every woman that goes for delivery of a child is told to have a caesar. Those that have some understanding will tell that it is just a money making technique. In previous times, every woman had a normal birth. When Mozambique experienced floods a few years ago, the American and European newspaper had stated as headlines that a woman had delivered on the top of a tree. We are told to go to the maternity homes where music is being played softly. They claim that this is to soothe the nerves of the mother. The lady delivering the child is busy engaged in their conversations which are affecting the child. At the same time we suffer from an inferiority complex and therefore do not call out the Azaan immediately. Some even give Azaan after a week. When the kids grow up like the kids of today (with a rebellious nature) then who else is worthy of blame? We are taught in the Ahadith that a man should recite certain Duas when cohabiting with his wife, else Shaytaan also has a share.

If the mother is a smoker or the mother is a HIV patient the disease is transmitted into the child. Approximately ten to fifteen years ago we used to visit Durban quite often. There was an 8 year old boy that had completed Hifz and would recite Qiraat without any fear. I asked the father, “How did he acquire this?” He said, “When the mother had conceived she would recite fifteen Paras a day’. There is a family that resides in Muzaffar Nagar which is in India close to Deoband that are Sayyids. All the members of the family are Huffaz. The last child born in that family was able to recite the entire thirtieth Para when he started speaking. The mother of this child would recite all the time. When the mind is clear, free from cell phones, games, nursery rhymes, etc. then whatever is taught to the child immediately registers. The six year old child commenced with Hifz and the mother used to teach him the Sabaq. Whilst teaching the six year old the four year old child would be playing. Before the six year old memorized his Sabaq the four year old would have memorized the Sabaq. This is because of his mind being so pure and clean.

In that seminar another point that was mentioned, the Roman Catholics said that if a newly born child is handed over to them until the age of five, then such a child will always remain a Roman Catholic. There is a famous Arabic saying, “Whatever is inscribed in childhood remains in one like something that has been inscribed on a rock.” In other words it will never be removed. We feel that a child should be left to play in the first few years, so the child is left to do as he pleases. This is the type of foundation that we have placed in the child. Of course, there shouldn’t be any type of formal teaching but a Muslim home should be a Madrasah. There cannot possibly be a better teacher than the mother. What interest will the helper have in the child? Her interest is her wages at the end of the month. The love that a mother gives to a child cannot be given by anyone else. We have got nursery rhymes, music, etc. playing in the home and then we complain of the children. We have got no right to complain. We chop our legs with a chopper and then we complain. Our rise and fall is within us. It is extremely important that we teach the Quraan Sharif to our children at home.

Lately we have heard that the moment a girl has learnt to recite the Quraan Sharif (naazara) then her Islamic education is considered as complete. This was the trend in the past that only Quraan Sharif was taught to the girls and then they were required to remain at home. Nowadays, the girls are taught Quraan, Hadith, Fiqh, history, Aqaaid, etc. When a child completes Naazara then this is ingrained within the child. Allah Ta’ala has not prescribed anything that is in vain.

فعل الحكيم لا يخلوا عن الحكمة

An action of The Wise is not void of wisdom

The Mizaaj (temperament) of being a Muslim is created by the Quraan Sharif. The Quraan builds the heart and mind of a person. The source where these things are taught unadulterated are the Makatib. The same things may be taught in an Islamic school but it is adulterated. The Maktab is the place where Quraan Sharif and other Islamic subject should be taught under such an Alim that has sacrificed seven years to study and has Deen in his life as well. There may be an Alim at the Islamic school but the environment is mixed up. We may refer to the Muslim schools as ‘Islamic school’ but secular teachers and secular subjects enjoy preference over Islamic subjects. The mindset created is that Islamic education is under secular education then the child also grows up with that mentality that Islam is secondary and Dunya is primary.

Everyone should devote himself to the teaching of the Quraan Sharif. We should take a personal interest in the Makaatib that are established in our towns. Many people don’t like to assume the position of becoming a Mutawalli. However, if a person is interested in the future of a community then he should get involved in the Maktab system. We should ensure and see that we have a proper Maktab system with the best teachers and ensure that everything is functioning very smoothly. We should also remember that in Islam education is not only restricted to formal education but the actual thing is practice. Whatever knowledge we acquire should be practiced upon.

Knowledge plays the position of the Imaam and Amal is like the Muqtadi (follower of the Imaam in Salaah). If we only have an Imaam without any Muqtadis then we cannot have Jamaat Salaah. In the Makatib the teachers only impart knowledge, they show no concern whether the child is performing Salaah or not, or whether the child is dressed correctly or not. This indicates that the Ustaad is failing in his duty. The responsibility of the Ustaad is that he should see that the child has Islamic Ethos and character as well.

The mindset of society is such that if a one year is dressed in a Burqah then the pious members of the family also object to such a code of dressing. Many even comment by saying, “You are making her look like an old lady, dressing her in Burqah.” On the other hand if the child is dressed like a Hindu, Christian, Jewish woman then nobody will object, in fact then she is referred to as smart and cute. If a little boy is dressed in Kurta on Eid’s day, then the maximum that he will be allowed to remain in such clothing is an hour and then the casual clothing is put on again. We dress our children in such clothing that contain pictures of animate objects. They are given shoes that play musical tunes. By doing so, we are actually prohibiting the angels from entering.

If our homes are free of pictures, music, tv, video, newspapers, magazines, etc. this indicates that our homes are open to the angels. If we cannot do without our newspapers and magazines, then at least keep them in the garage. Having these things in our houses stop the angels from entering.

In Germiston there was a revert lady in the throes of death on one Sunday morning. A particular person who was actively involved in assisting the community was also present, but the soul wasn’t leaving the body. He was wondering as to what was the reason for this. Later he found a puppy under her bed. The moment the puppy was removed her soul departed. It is due to such things that the angels of mercy do not enter the house.

One person told a Maulana that he won’t die. The Maulana asked the reason. He said, “I keep a dog with me so the angel of death wouldn’t approach me.” He said, “The angel of mercy won’t approach you, but the angel of Adhaab will approach you.” How many people have their wives displayed on their phones screen! In a foreign country, the main Imaam of the Masjid had the picture of a young woman most probably his wife on the key holder. Where is the sense of our shame and modesty?    Anyway, the Ustaads should ensure that our kids are dressed in Islamic attire as this is his responsibility as well.

There are those people that have time allocated for Taleem in their business places. In fact some have got madrasahs that are operating at their businesses. Every Muslim home should be a Maktab. The Maktab is a Taleemi Markaz as well. We should all try and engage in the teaching of the Quraan.

A very good friend of mine who is an Alim has great passion for the Quran Sharif. He goes to the offices and businesses of people and teaches them Quraan accommodating those that have forgotten how to recite Quraan Sharif. The people are under the impression that Maulana has come for some work with the employer yet he is busy teaching them Quraan Sharif. He gets people reciting Quraan quite easily as he has an art is teaching. We should therefore make our businesses a Madrasah as well.

We should ensure that every Muslim child receives Islamic education and knows how to recite Quraan. No child in our community should be left out or deprived of Islamic education. Every adult should know how to recite Quraan Sharif. Once or twice a week, there should be an adult class 15 min before Esha Salaah. Those that aren’t fluent in recitation can easily brush up on their recitation.

This will draw the mercy of Allah and the problems in our towns and families will be easily solved. We always try and solve our problems in our way. The only way of solving our problems is by drawing the Rahmat of Allah Ta’ala. We can only draw the mercy of Allah with Aamaal, and these Aamaal take place in the Madrasah, Khanqah, etc. We on the contrary have the television switched on in the house, a video playing, etc. These things obstruct the mercy of Allah Ta’ala.

A person that knows how to recite Surah Fateha should teach Surah Fateha or a few Surahs. A person that accepts Islam should learn that much by which he can perform his Salaah even if it means repeating the Surah initially. If the maid at home had accepted Islam then we should teach her, we shouldn’t just push over the responsibility to Imaam Saheb or Maulana.  If we can’t impart knowledge of Deen, then at least sponsor a Hafiz so that you may have a Hafiz to your credit on the day of Qiyaamah. What great rewards have been kept for a person that makes his son a Hafiz-ul-Quraan, and if one is unable to do so then at least sponsor a student. Currently there is a demand that South Africans run Makatib in other countries. There are brothers that are running institutes in Mozambique, Malawi, etc. and other countries. Get a few businessmen involved and incorporate an Alim as well in these projects. Once these projects have taken on then regular visits should take place to ensure the smooth functioning of these institutes. South Africans have a share in many parts of the world. We should therefore try and work locally or abroad or do both if it is within our means. Whatever work is currently taking place whether Darul Ulooms, Madrasahs, Maktabs, etc. we shouldn’t interfere with them. Some people have a problem as they say that the Tabligh Jamaat doesn’t go to non-Muslims. If they aren’t going then you should go to the non-Muslims. Leave the Tablighis to do their work.

Some people told Mufti Mahmood R.A. that people are going for Haj and Umrah yearly and neglecting the poor. Hadrat Mufti Saheb said, “In that case you should see to the needs of the poor people.” We shouldn’t interfere with others or remove people from their work. All works are absolutely necessary and should carry on. We should fill the vacuums, if any.

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