Saturday, 1 October 2005

Modern Hafizs: English medium schools in Hyderabad now teach holy quran by heart

October 1, 2005
By Syed Akbar
Hyderabad, Sept 30: Want your ward to become a "Hafiz" and recite all the 30 books of the Holy Quran by heart? You need no longer send your son or daughter to a conventional Arabic madarasa for a "Hafiz" course. Just admit him or her in an English medium school recognised by the State government.
For the first time in the country, a group of well-established English medium schools in the city has introduced "Hafiz" course in their academic curriculum to train students in the recitation of the Holy Quran by heart vis-à-vis taught regular education. The course is so designed that a student who joins one of these schools in the first standard will become a full-fledged "Hafiz" by the time he or she appears for the secondary school certificate examination.
The concept of secular-cum-religious education through English medium is fast catching up in Hyderabad and surrounding districts. Already half a dozen schools have introduced the concept with some more planning to join the bandwagon from next academic year. Besides teaching the art of learning the Holy Quran by heart, these schools also offer subjects in Islamic jurisprudence. Unlike in madarasas, education in these schools does not come free. Parents will have to pay regular tuition fee.
About 3000 students, including a large number of girls, are in various stages of completion of the Hafiz course with some already learning by heart 24 of the 30 books of the Islamic scripture. The management ensure that a student learns 12 "paras" (books) of the Holy Quran by the time he appears for the VII class common board examination. The remaining 18 books are taught in classes VIII, IX and X.
"Our students leave the school with two certificates. One, X class certificate from the Board of Secondary Education and two, from Jamia Nizamia deemed university. The idea is to make students well-versed in both duniya (world) and deen (religion)," says Ahmad Habeeb of Minhajul Quran English Medium High School.
All the 600 students in the school have enrolled themselves for the Hafiz course. The school follows the government curriculum for seven periods and takes up the Quran in additional two periods. It has seven Hafiz teachers including two women Hafiz trainers.
Says Moulana Abdul Kareem, "many well-to-do parents do not like to admit their children in traditional madarasas as they teach only religious education". Those coming out of these madarasas find it difficult to make a living. These English schools are serving the twin purpose of providing worldly education along with Islamic teachings, he adds.
The Madina Islamic Schools at Santoshnagar, Charminar and Mehdipatnam areas of the city have enrolled more than 1600 students for the Hafiz course. "Our students have passed with distinction in class VII and X. We are teach Arabic and our SSC students fluently converse in Arabic. The medium of instruction is English and all students must speak in English during school hours," points out Aqlaq Sharfi of Sunni Dawat-e-Islami, which manages the group of Madina Islamic Schools.
Though the concept was first evolved way back in 1997, it has picked up only in the recent times. The young hafizs coming out of these schools have the choice of seeking admissions in reputed Islamic institutions around the world, since the certificates are recognised by Jamia Nizamia, an internationally renowned deemed university of higher Islamic learning. They can also pursue intermediate and later professional courses, if they wish.

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