KARACHI – Saudi Arabia’s Rabita Alam-e-Islami has conferred its highest award on Pakistan’s largest madrassah board Wifaq-ul-Madaris Al Arabia Pakistan for producing over 60,000 Huffaz (memorizers of noble Qur’an) in a year.
“This is a great honor for Pakistan that it has produced the largest number of Huffaz in a year in all over the world,” Qari Hanif Jalinghari, the secretary general of Wifaq-ul-Madaris, told OnIslam.net.
“The entire Pakistani nation deserves this pride,” he added.
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Wifaq-ul-Madaris Al Arabia is the oldest and largest madrassah board in Pakistan, which controls over 12,000 religious seminaries across the country. The madrassahs operating under the board produced 63,556 Huffaz in 2013, which is a national record as well.
The award was received by Qari Hanif at a ceremony held in Jeddah on Friday from Mashaal bin Abdullah Governor Makkah, and a son of Saudi King Shah Abdullah bin Abdel Aziz.
“Averagely, we used to produce 60,000 or less Huffaz in a year till 2012. But in 2013, we crossed this figure because of an overwhelming interest and participation of students in Hifz (memorization) classes,” Qari Hanif said.
Out of over 60,000 Huffaz, around 15,000 are girls, he added.
“Pakistan is nowadays in prominence because of terrorism, and other activities that are aimed at pushing the people away from religion. But the growing number of Huffaz portray the other side of Pakistani society and its people,” Qari Hanif observed.
“Despite all these nefarious activities, the interest of Pakistani people in religious education is growing day by day, and the increasing number of Huffaz is a testimony to the fact,” he maintained.
Paying rich tributes to the madrassah teachers for their relentless hard work and attention on their students, Qari Hanif said the award would further boost the dedication, and commitment of Pakistani madrassahs to spread the true teachings of noble Qur’an.
Teaching children the glorious Qur'an and the Islamic principles is the responsibility of their parents from an early age which is the best period for implanting Islamic ethics.
Memorizing the Holy Qur’an is one of the most important ways to preserve Allah’s message.
The others are to publish and distribute the book, or the text on the Internet and to recite the parts that one knows to other people.
Dubbing the conferment of Qur’an during the holy month of Ramadan as “good omen”, he opined that it would converge more Pakistani boys and girls towards memorization of Qur’an.
“Ramadan is the month in which the noble Qur’an was revealed to humanity,” he said.
“Now, it is our joint responsibility to spread the Qur’an’s message of peace, love, altruism, and sacrifice for others in the world.”
Till last one decade, a bulk of the madrassah students belonged to poor income bracket and rural areas. Even at madrassahs located in big cities, mostly students would belong to rural areas.
But during last one decade, the urban and rich class of Pakistan deeply got involved in religious education by sending their children to these madrassahs.
This new trend not only improved the physical and educational structure of old-styled madrassahs, but also prompted them to include subjects of modern age like computer, Science, Mathematics, Geography, and English language to lure more students.
The involvement of rich, and educated class into madrassah education also helped increase the salary structure and other facilities of madrassahs’ teaching staff.
Though, the situation is still not up to the mark vis-a-vis salary structure of teaching staff, however in big cities, at least the head of the teaching staff, commonly known as Mohtamim (administrator) is provided house, and other basic facilities.
The old tradition of getting food for madrassah students through house-to-house visit by madrassah staff and students themselves has vanished as well. Nowadays, almost all the madrassahs have their own kitchens, where hired staff prepare meals for students and teaching staff.
The general public’s interest in Arabic education has also registered an overwhelming increase with opening of hundreds of Arabic language centers in big cities and towns during last one decade.
This growing interest has propelled several elite schools to include Arabic language in the curriculum. At some of them, Arabic language has been inducted as mandatory.
“Credit for this all does not go to the students solely. Their parents share the credit equally as they are the one who prompt their children to go to Qur’an and Hifz classes. Insha Allah, they (students) will never fail them (parents),” Qari Hanif said.
There are over 20,000 madrassahs across this only nuclear Muslim state, of which nearly 12,000 are administered by Wifaq-ul-Madaris Pakistan, which represents the Dubendi school of thought.
The remaining 10,000 madrassahs are administered by Tanzeem-ul-Madaris Pakistan (Brelvi school of thought), Tanzeem-ul-Madaris (shiite), Wifaq-ul-Madaris Al-Salafia (Ahl-e-Hadit), and Rabita-tul-Madaris Pakistan (Jammat-e-Islami, which does not represent any particular sect).
An estimated 2.2 million students are enrolled with the five madrassah boards across Pakistan.
The western media often blames Pakistani madrassahs for providing reinforcement to Taliban fighters in war-hacked Afghanistan, a charge, the madrassahs’ administration deny.
Many Taliban leaders including Supreme Leader, Mullah Omer have studied in Pakistani madrassahs, which once were supported and projected by the US and the western world to fight the defunct USSR forces in Afghanistan in 1980s.
Many Pakistanis believe that madrassahs are the largest NGO in the country, which provide free of cost boarding, lodging and education to the poor students.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net - Read full article here
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