Lessons from leading Darul Ulooms that had humble beginnings

Madrassa is not the name of a building, it is a place where a teacher is teaching and students are learning. When opening a Madrassa start with the little you can afford. Begin teaching in whatever small space you have and when Allah wills, He will allow the building to be made. At times we spend years chasing a building and postponing classes in the process. Thereafter, years are spent in chasing money whilst classes are still postponed. In pursuit of a building, the initial goal to teach slowly becomes the secondary objective. Thus, at times money is then frivolously spent on the appearance of the Madrassa whilst the needs of the actual students and teachers are overlooked. In focusing on buildings, appearances and structures, the real work is unfairly undermined.

Darul Uloom Deoband is one of the most senior Islamic institutes in the world, where the Aalim/Aalimah course was first introduced. This leading Madrassa began simply under a pomegranate tree, with one teacher and one student seeking knowledge. Madrassa In’aamiyyah, Camperdown, began as two rented rooms situated at the back of a building. As time elapsed, a plot of land became available. The Madrassa bought it and hosted their first Jalsa in a tent on that land. There was no building at the time. Over the years, they secured the funds and slowly but surely, a building was made. Boarding facilities were then provided, followed by further facilities as the Madrassa flourished. We visited recently and they are still extending their Madrassa.

When Hazrat Ml. Abdul Hamid حفظه الله moved to Azaadville, he started classes in a double storey house. Over time a plot of land was acquired, they began building and one storey was built. Eventually, a second storey was built, then a third and now Darul Uloom Azaadville is so high, they have a lift for the elderly teachers. Madrasah Dawatul Haq in Umzinto has a similar story of humble beginnings, as do many others.

Thus, in any deeni work, take it one step at a time and Allah will slowly open the road for you. Do not become dependent on businessmen for money and do not chase behind them. Spread the word and then withdraw back to your lessons, as teaching is the primary goal. In this lies the pleasure of Allah and acceptance, the rest is secondary. May Allah grant us the tawfiq, Aameen.

— Hazrat Ml. Dawood Seedat حفظه اللّٰه

Above is an extract from Hazrat’s talk on 26/12/18 in Masjid-ut-Taqwa, Pietermaritzburg. To listen to the full talk, please click here.

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