Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Zil-Hijjah / Muharram 1423 H
March 2003
Volume 16-03 No : 195
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Community Initiative


Madrasa Reforms-An Interesting Experiment
AHI Health Centre to be opened
Tehrik-e-Falah Karnataka


Madrasa Reforms-An Interesting Experiment

The Kerala-based Samastha Kerala Sunni Vidyavasa Board represents an interesting example of how madrasas can work together to pursue common goals such as improving and standardising their curriculum

By Yoginder Sikand

Madrasas serve an important range of functions in the lives of many Muslims, preserving, promoting and transmitting knowledge of the Islamic scripturalist tradition. For many Muslims from poor families, madrasas often provide the only available avenue for education for their children. There are over 30,000 madrasas, big and small, in India today, although exact figures are not available.

A major problem with the madrasa system today is that all madrasas are almost completely autonomous in their affairs. In the absence of an overall coordinating body or a federation of madrasas, each madrasa is free to set its own syllabus and adopt its own teaching methods. While this undoubtedly gives the madrasas a certain degree of flexibility, it also means that attempts to reform the system as a whole face considerable difficulty.

The Kerala-based Samastha Kerala Sunni Vidyavasa Board (The All-Kerala Sunni Educational Board) or SKSVB represents an interesting example of how madrasas can work together to pursue common goals, such as improving and standardising their curriculum and methods of teaching, while at the same time ensuring that the autonomy of each madrasa is respected. Several hundred madrasas, as well as modern schools, in Kerala are now affiliated to this board, and several others, while not affiliated, use the textbooks that it has published in Malayalam and Arabic. Although it started off, as its name suggests, in Kerala, it has in recent years spread its activities to various other parts of the country.

The Islamic Educational Board of India (IEBI), based at Zakir Bagh, in Delhi, is a branch of the SKSVB. Set up in 1999, it is now playing an important role in the reform of the madrasa system. It serves as a coordinating body linking a number of madrasas, maktabs and Muslim schools, and publishing textbooks in Urdu and Arabic for educational institutions that are affiliated to it. Any madrasa or school can join the IEBI, although so far most of these belong to the Ahl-i Sunnat or so-called ‘Barelwi’ maslak.

The system that the IEBI has developed allows for affiliated institutions to remain completely independent in their functioning and management, while at the same time ensuring a uniformity of textbooks and teaching methods and a common system of examinations. In order to affiliate to the IEBI, a madrasa or school pays a nominal sum of Rs.250. The IEBI then supplies the madrasa or school with the textbooks that it has published, all at a very reasonable price. The IEBI arranges for periodic training camps for the teachers of affiliated institutions. It has also published an Urdu book on appropriate methods of teaching meant specially for these teachers, because the vast majority of teachers of Islamic Studies in madrasas and schools are untrained. In addition, senior IEBI staff regularly visit the institutions affiliated with it on inspection tours. Every six months, the IEBI sends out its examination papers to these institutions. The Board awards certificates to successful candidates as well as awards for the best teachers. In this way, by providing for uniform syllabi, examinations and degrees for the madrasas and schools linked to it, the Board is attempting to set certain basic common standards for them.

While the SKSVB deals with madrasas and schools affiliated to it in Kerala, the IEBI serves as a coordinating body for affiliated educational institutions in the rest of the country. This is because of the difference in the medium of instruction and school of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) in Kerala and in other states. While most Muslims in Kerala follow the Shafi’i school, the vast majority of the Muslims in the rest of India are Hanafis. Further, Arabic and Malayalam are the medium of instruction in the madrasas in Kerala, while it is Urdu and Arabic in madrasas in other parts of India.

In a short span of three years since it was established, the IEBI has been able to link with a sizeable number of madrasas through its affiliation programme. It now has offices at Jaipur, Aligarh, Colkata, Hazaribagh, Karimganj, Mumbai, Patna and Bhadrak, in addition to Delhi, where it has its head office, and Calicut, where its registered office is located. A number of madrasas in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka are now members of the Board. Some Indian Muslim schools in Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain use the Board’s syllabus in their Islamic Studies courses.

The Board has prepared a detailed syllabus for Islamic Studies from the first till the fifth grade. For this, it has published a complete set of textbooks, in simple Urdu and Arabic, and Malayalam in the case of Kerala. The subjects included in the syllabus are: Urdu/Malayalam, basic Arabic, basic fiqh (Hanafi/Shafi’i), hifz, tilawat and diniyat. These texts can be used both by maktabs as well as regular primary schools.

For higher Islamic Studies, the Board has prepared a separate syllabus in the Arabic language, which can be used from the sixth to the tenth grade in regular schools. For this, the Board has published a separate set of texts, covering a range of subjects, including Qur’anic commentary, Hadith, fiqh, Islamic history and Arabic grammar and syntax.

For more information on the Board, contact:
Samastha Kerala Sunni Vidyavasa Board, Markaz Complex, Calicut-4, Kerala.
Phone : 0495-722457/723435.

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AHI Health Centre to be opened

Chennai : The Anjuman Himiaythul Islam (AHI) Health Centre will be inaugurated here on March 4. The Centre will primarily take care of the 500 inmates of the Anjuman’s orphanage situated off Mount Road in Teynampet. The newly set up Centre has 20-bed facility for isolation wards and is equpped with a modern clinical laboratory.

The Anjuman which has run an orphanage for over a century has seen a new lease of life during the last few years with professionally trained personnel and technically qualified staff manning all its departments. Marked improvement has been seen in the education, training, moral and psychological upbringing of the kids of both sexes.

The AHI Health Centre is being inaugurated by Dr. Pratap C. Reddy, chairman of the Apollo Hopsitals. Mr. Justice V. S. Sirpurkar of Madras High court will preside, The Anjuman runs a Matriculation High School for Girls, Himayath Industrial Training Institute, AHI Academy for Women in its vast premises at B. N. Reddy Road. Its old mosque too has been renovated.

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Tehrik-e-Falah Karnataka

With its headquarters in Bangalore, Tehrik-e-Falah will endeavour to develop friendly relations with non-Muslims and persuade Muslims to have good relations with non-Muslims around them. It is also involved in eradicating misunderstanding about Islam. It also aims at working as a peace keeping force and developing communal harmony among different communities. The Governing body has a Chief Adviser-Dr. N.H. Abu Sayeed, President-Yusuf Ali Khan Dilear, two Vice Presidents-Syed Javed Akhtar Peerzade and K. Abdul Waheed.

For further details please contact Azeezuddin Azeez Belgami, General seceratary Tehrik-e-Falah
Phone : 3641182 or Mobile: 9845291581
Email : azeezbelgaumi@hotmail.com

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