How Madrassa Operated In The Golden Age of Islam

Ismail Kamdar

Channel: Ismail Kamdar

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So now we come to the most fascinating aspect of the Islamic education system, and that is the development of the madrasa system. And this is really where we see the golden age of Islam starting it was with the development of the madrasa system that Muslims were able to set up an education system that allowed everybody to be the absolute best. So what is the majority of system, the madrasa the word madrasa means place of study, right? In Arabic, any word starting with a mean with a fat hammer, generally indicates a place. So Maschine is a place of such data. And madrasa is a place of learning or place of study. And so when the Muslims eventually develop their own system of

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education, the quality, the madrasa, the place of study, and

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the big difference between the madrasa we are studying and the madrasa that we know of today is that the madrasa of the Golden Age was a place where anybody could study anything, from science to religion, it covered all subjects. And, you know, it's very different from what we see today. What we see today is actually the result of the secularization of the Muslim world, when they were colonized by the British, where madrasa was separated from school. So they had the British school system implemented in the mornings, and madrasa was left for the afternoon and became entirely about religious studies. So that's that's the after effects of colonization, not the original system

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developed by Muslims, right? realities, the early Muslims did not regard Islamic studies as separate from academic studies. It was all one it was all important. All that mattered was beneficial knowledge. So how did the system develop? What do you develop into well, over time, the madrasa system grew into various departments depending on age level, and level of expertise. So the lowest level that we know what is called the mucked up, right, right. Today, the in many countries, the madrasa for young children is called mucked up.

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The motto initially meant a place where people could get the basic education, generally young children, sometimes you may be adults or converts. But in general, it was for young children, where they would learn the basics of of Islamic law, Islamic believes mathematics, language, reading, writing, all of this was taught in the markup to prepare them for further education. So in this sense, it's very similar to the elementary school system that we have today.

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With the only difference being that it incorporated both worldly and religious knowledge equally higher than the Mata was the madrasa right so once you finish mocked up you will go to madrasa which is the Institute of higher learning. And how this should work is that a student in Makkah would show interest or skill in a specific area. And so the teachers would push them into that area to study that area specifically. And so when they go to madrasa they will be given subjects and teachers and mentors according to the area that they so skill in and they will be pushed to develop their skill until they become experts in that area. And that would lead eventually to them as adults going to

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the Jamia. Now the word Jamia it's quite interesting it originally meant Juma Masjid. But now it means university because initially the place of learning was the masjid. Right and Juma Masjid was the place of higher education. So the Arabic word for university actually evolved from the Arabic word for Juma Masjid to the Jamia is essentially the university. The earliest concept we have of university level education for adults is the concept of the Jamia like the as her the Jamia cluster in Egypt, which was built 1100 years ago and still operates as a university right until today. This is perhaps the earliest and longest running universities are one of the earliest and longest running

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universities in the world. So, an adult who wanted to master a field wanted to become the best of the best in his field would go to the Jamia to study under the professors and to essentially become one himself. So you can see it was a very comprehensive education system made up of different levels. And it was in many ways similar in in many ways different from the education system that we have today. So what happened as with every other field, there was the decline and the decline of the Muslim world in terms of education led to the secularization of our education. Right. So the decline of Islamic education coincide with the renascence in the West and the growth of Western education.

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system. So for the bulk of our history, Westerners would travel to the Muslim world in order to study. So if they wanted to become doctors or philosophers, or scientists, they would travel to undergo show Baghdad to these Muslim lands, and study in our universities and gained this knowledge. And then they will teach this knowledge back to their lands and try to educate their people. But eventually, as time went by, and the Muslim world began to fall apart, being fell into the hands of the Christians, and the Muslims began fighting each other, and the Muslim became very stuck stagnant to every area of life. At the same time that this was happening, the Renaissance happened in Europe,

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and they began to develop their own education systems. And they began to become the world leaders in technology in science. And there was a complete shift in the power dynamics of the world, they became the leaders and the Muslim world fell behind. Eventually, this led to the colonial era where the Western powers were

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capturing, you can see many of the Muslim lands like Egypt and India, and enforcing this system of education upon the Muslims. And so when, for example, India, which was a Muslim country until the British colonized it, when it was colonized, the British implemented a

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European school system, and the Muslim reformers to find a different way to keep the Islamic studies going. So they came up with the idea of the afternoon madrasa where they go to school in the mornings, and you know, they'd get the Islamic education in the afternoon. And so, religious education became separate from secular education. But this was not the case. For the bulk of our history. This is a very recent development in history, and you see are the effects of secularization and colonization.

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Unfortunately, as the Muslim world fell further and further behind, and the Western world became more and more powerful, eventually, the secular school system became the dominant even in the Muslim world, even in basically every Muslim country. And the original Islamic system, got it faded out, and was replaced with the idea of a secular school system on weekdays, and a madrasa, a mockup system on weekends or afternoons dedicated solely for Islamic Studies. And now, one of the main dangers or problems that came out of this is that we now have Muslims in the world today, where there's a big rift between the religious and the secular Muslims, and heated debates over what's

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more important. So we have the example, Muslim doctors and accountants and lawyers, some of whom regard Islamic studies as low as as not important as something that only those who can't become doctor study. So they look down upon the religious scholars. And on the other hand, we have the

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Muslims who study Islam, and who become Madonna's and shakes but who look down upon really non religious study. And some of them even they say things like school is haram or universities Haram. And so we have this big rift in the oma because of the decline that happened in the oma in this area. So what can we learn from this?

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Well, the first thing we can learn from this is that the Muslim world did have the most effective school system, right, which is actually far more effective than the system we have today. I, personally am a critic of the current school system, I don't send my children to school, I educated myself at home, and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out is a system that can be implemented today, that will be more effective than what we have. Because I believe that the secular school system that we have today is not efficient, it's it's creates more problems than then good, and it's not really beneficial. And what the Muslim world had before was much better.

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Unfortunately, you know, trying to revive that today is not going to work, the government shouldn't go along with it society, along with it. Everybody wants to do what the rest are doing. So this is why I think we need to come up with a new system, right? completely new system that brings the best of both together. And then perhaps people might be more open to the idea of something new, rather than being open to the idea of going back to something from the past. Because people don't like things from the past being revived, you know, they always want to be moving forward. So if we can find a way to make the madrasa system new again, that we can perhaps bring balance back to the

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education system.

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Because unfortunately, we live in a time where some religious Muslims are ignorant of the world and many worldly experts are ignorant of the religion. And we want to go back to how it was, as you saw in the science and the culture, sections of this course, that Muslims they add to our history. We balanced you know, the people would be happy to have the Quran and scientists

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They will be scholars of philosophers or mathematicians. We need to go back to that level where a Muslim could specialize in both religious and secular knowledge or universal quality, secular knowledge. They would specialize in both religious knowledge and every other type of beneficial knowledge. And in that way, we could be world leaders again, but to do this, we really need to revive or invent a better education system, because the one that we are working in right now actually works against us.