‘And that those on whom knowledge has been bestowed may learn that the (Quran) is the Truth from thy Lord, and that they may believe therein, and their hearts may be made humbly (open) to it: for verily Allah is the Guide of those who believe, to the Straight Way’

(Quran chapter 22: verse 54)

Madrasah is an Arabic word which means ‘school’. However, in this handbook a madrasah means an Islamic religious school.

Today in the UK, the traditional madrasah classes are normally held during weekday evenings or on the weekends. In many madrasahs there is no formal curriculum, or just a basic one and children of different age groups are often taught together. Teachers often just have a simple qualification, for example they have graduated from a madrasah, or they are the Imam (religious leader) of the mosque. The students in this type of madrasah are also likely to be students who go to mainstream state schools.

The philosophy and mission of the madrassah

You need to have a mission, objective and philosophy for the madrasah. This will help to bind the teaching staff, management and pupils of the madrasah together. The madrasah has never been isolated from any form of learning. So it should co-exist with other madrasahs, secular educational institutions, academics and child learning/teaching experts.

Madrasah time

Remember that children already spend a full day at school – especially if you plan to run classes after school during week days. Leaving a gap before the madrasah starts will help children recharge their batteries and freshen up. When deciding how long the madrasah class will last remember that it is important to keep students’ attention as well as to cover certain material during a set time.

Subjects offered

The following subjects could be offered, depending on the type and abilities of teachers at the madrasah. It is important to use written-down and tested guideline and syllabuses when delivering these subjects.

  • Quran: The teaching of the Arabic alphabet, particularly with the correct pronunciation, is important. Depending on the pupils’ level of ability the science of pronunciation (tajweed), memorisations (Hifz), and understanding the meaning of the Quran (tafseer) should be taught.
  • Fiqh: Understanding the Islamic rulings on Salah (prayer), Hajj, marriage, relationships, citizenship and so on, within the context of society, is important.
  • Aqeedah – understanding the beliefs and articles of faith
  • Arabic language – this could help students to better understand the Quran and other classic Islamic texts
  • Seerah – learning about the life of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)
  • General – learning about Islamic history, biographies of Prophets and their companions, comparative religion, how Islam co-existed with other faiths, manners and etiquettes (adab), being good citizens, community welfare, and personal development skills.