بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
و صلاته و سلامه على سيد المرسلين و على أهله و صحبه و سلم
السلام عليكم و رحمة الله
The need for a systematically assembled vehicle effectual for the assimilation of ilm and the propagation of Islamic thought and idea is one that manifests itself in all areas, places, times, and circumstances. This need greatly erects itself in areas where the acclimatization of Muslims is still underway. Rather than witness the capitulation of so many around us to the foreign infiltration of non-Islamic thought, idea, and practice for us to contrive a strategy, a plan of attack to preserve and perpetuate the most cherished thing Allah has gifted us seems to be most fitting measure to take. As such carrying on with the legacy of scholarship that finds its roots at the feet of the Best of Creation, the Final Prophet of Allah Salla Allah alayhi wa sallam One should have to interject then saying ’What is the most proper manner in which to consummate and execute such an endeavor?’ Many great men of our most august history stood to this challenge and developed vehicles to service this very need. The accruement of their efforts is apparent in some of the greatest seats of Islamic learning that the pens and pages of history may now record. More so than simply the architectural splendor of some of these places is what is found in the profound effect that radiated from them. It is a statement latent with inaccuracy to say that every educational institute functions in complete harmony. As well it is a statement latent with stupidity to say that they should be abandoned on these grounds. Perfection can only be attributed to Allah. If our ears were to auscutate criticism of a person like Nizam al-Mulk or Abu Ishaq al-Shirazi in these times our brains and hearts would determine and acknowledge this to be outright ludicrous. I highly doubt that through out both of their careers their daily tasks including oversight of the Nizamiyyah ran according to flawless perfection. Allah loves those whom he tests and they show forbearance and patience through out these tests whilst not forgetting Him Azza wa Jall. He is with these kind of people. He answers their prayers and assists them in their tasks and endeavors. Students as well as those interested in the traditional system of Islamic education need to take steps back prior to criticizing scholars, institutes, etc on small minuet details and focus their attention on the bigger picture. That is a reminder first and foremost to myself who is a master of leaning things the hard way and then to all else.
The Dar al-Ulum the brother speaks of in his previous post is located in the country of South Africa, in the providence of the Western Cape approximately 40K outside of the city of Cape Town in the proximity of a small city named Strand near to the small town of Gordon's Bay. I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend a short amount of time studying at the institute that goes officially by the name Dar al-Ulum al-’Arabiyyat al-Islamiyyah. It is ran by the much respected Ml. Taha Kaaran, Damat Barakatuhu. It is smaller than the other ulums in the Johannesburg area consisting of only 100-175 students at a time. Approximately half of these students are attendees of the aalim classes and the other half attendees of the tahfidh program. The entire school at this point structurally is one building with accommodation for students on the top floor and then masjid, library, classes, office on the bottom level. The school sits on a farm. At one point they were farming rabbits, olives, peppers, and various other things. I recall them having some programs to train people for agricultural development in order that qualified people do social development ie dawah in the more rural areas of Southern Africa. The accommodation is very simple and at times overcrowded and this can lead to certain levels of discomfort. Water shortage is a problem as well as clean drinking water. It should be noted that the school is still in its developing stages. I never had the opportunity to witness its infancy however more senior students will recall no roof on the madrasah and walking kilometers for water kind of stories, May Allah reward them. From what I understand certain financial constraints that keep them from expanding the ulum and providing a more comfortable living situation for the students. Make dua for them that this happens.
The majority of the attendees are from the local surroundings however there is also a strong presence of Malaysian students. As well students of other African countries and a few western students. There was one brother from Brazil that was there for sometime as well.
The culinary department is ran by three local brothers affectionately referred to as ’the butas’, May Allah preserve them. They serve three meals a day 4 or 5 days out of the week. The food is simple coffee/tea with bread and jam in the morning and dal and bread after that, Fridays it is possible to get briani or chicken curry and rice. Shopping centers and restaurants are available outside of the madrasah too.
Classes run from 8AM until 4PM Mon thru Thur and then 8AM until 11:30AM Fri and Sat there is a mid-morning break and then a salah/lunch break mid-day. There are approximately ten subjects a day depending on year and class. It is quite traditional everyone sits on the floor with books small desks and the teacher for the subject comes and gives his dars then the next teacher comes. The teachers masha’Allah are very good and they provide a good environment for learning. May Allah be pleased with them. They have posted their syllabus on-line somewhere for those interested. The syllabus books are all in Arabic however classes are conducted in English. This is very good. Many other South African ulums are teaching in Urdu rather than English or Arabic.
I am just wanted to provide a few mentions about the Dar al-Ulum after I noticed mention make of it here. I think it is an excellent place for one to further their knowledge of the din and that much benefit can be had there.
و بالله التوفيق