By Umme Abdullah
Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.â€
– Carl Jung
In the light of Islam, 21st century might be considered as the Platinum Era; and it is nothing but the blind faith in Allah that has resulted Islam to rank as the Worldâ€™s Largest Religion! And by no means is it also the fastest growing religion in the West. Here, only question to all the fellow readers is; what is driving the western world to accept Islam? Is anyone gripping a gun under their heads? Or are the â€œExtremistsâ€ studying under the roof of Madrasahâ€™s forcing these people to accept Islam?
Islam is not just a religion; itâ€™s a complete way of life! When an individual unfolds into the bounty of Islam, he enforces its fundamentals to instill within. Albert Einstein once said it is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education. And, in order to fulfill this quest; Madrasahâ€™s are well known for its formal education and services towards Deen ul Islam. Creating the gateway to Madrasahâ€™s; I have the following for youâ€¦â€¦â€¦
Letâ€™s ponder, what exactly is a Madrasah? And have we witnessed one? Madrasah is derived from the root word d-r-s, which literally means â€œa place where learning/ teaching is doneâ€. In Arabic language, the word Madrasah simply means the same as school does in English language, whether that is private, public or parochial school as well as for any primary or secondary school whether Muslim, non-Muslim or secular. Unlike the understanding of the word school in British English, the word Madrasah is like the term school in American English, in that it can refer to a university-level or post-graduate school as well.
In Muslim states it is an instruction of higher education. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, â€œMadrasah functioned until the 20th century as a theological seminary and law school, with a curriculum centered on the Qurâ€™an. In addition to Islamic theology and law, Arabic grammar and literature, mathematics, logic, and, in some cases, natural sciences were studied in Madrasahs. Tuition was free, and food, lodging, and medical care were provided as well. Instruction usually took place in a courtyard and consisted primarily of memorizing textbooks and the instructorâ€™s lectures. The lecturer issued certificates to his students that constituted permission to repeat his words.â€
Such being the layout of schools in the Islamic states; Madrasah Islamiah is one of the prominent authentic institutions, concentrating on Hifz course as the main stream of study in the United States. In the state of Texas, located in the southeast region of Houston; this unit servers as a moral structure that enhances the well-being of the Muslim community; locally and worldwide.
Hazrat Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal, founder of this sole Madrasah, initiated his journey to the state of Texas; in the city of Houston through an invitation by Sheikh Mehboob and Farkooh Malik of respected board members of the Islamic Society of Greater Houston in 1981 .Where he gave devout sermons and lectures to fortify Iman (faith) within the Muslim local community. Later in the years he spent a decade, serving Qurâ€™an via home teaching; travelling 150 miles by car from one zone to another. His sincere dedication, services and spirit to raise a Madrasah that has structure in place for the transmission of knowledge of Deen, and that has institutional credibility in the community; where teaching would be carried out with commitment laid the foundation of Madrasah Islamiah in the month of Ramadan in 1989.
The city of Houston being blessed with one of the most prominent Ulema from Pakistan, a religious scholar and one of the most eminent religious figures, Hazrat Hafiz Muhammad Iqbal had authoritatively erected the initial building blocks of Madrasah Islamiah in 1991. In 1993, the construction of the Madrasah was completed. Since then, Madrasah Islamiah has produced 70 Huffaz & a Hafiza; which serve the local community especially during Ramadan leading Tarawih and Qaiyamm ul lail prayers. Tarawih are extra prayers offered by Sunni Muslims at night in the Islamic month of Ramadan. Qaiyam ul Lail are late night prayers on the last ten days of Ramadan. Services rendered by this institution for the welfare of the community are summarized as below:
Salat is the Arabic term for formal prayer of Islam. Salat being one of the obligatory rites of the religion, to be preformed five times a day by a Muslim; the Madrasah has the facility to offer these prayers in congregation at their prescribed times. Salat Al-Jumuâ€™ah weekly congregational prayer; that is compulsory upon men is also offered in Madrasah Islamiah premises. Due to low capacity (800 people in one sitting) and huge participation of crowds; the Jumuâ€™ah prayer is set twice, right one after the other. Madrasah Islamiah also puts forward Salat Al-Janaza; the funeral prayer held by Muslims, prayer performed in congregation to seek pardon for the deceased and all dead Muslims.