The Importance of Religious Seminaries

From the Pens of the Pious Predecessors

The Importance of Religious Seminaries

Mawlana Rashid Ali Attari Madani

It is true that the thought, effect and depth of our statements and writings are modest when compared to those of our pious predecessors. It is by virtue of such people that we have the treasure of countless pages dedicated to Quranic exegesis, Hadith commentary, fiqh rulings, Prophetic biography, Islamic and world history, piety and good character.

Given the writing ability, scholarship, sincerity and religiosity of our pious predecessors, a series of articles are being introduced into the Monthly Magazine Faizan-e-Madinah comprising of extracts from their writings.

In this article, you will read extracts from the treatise Madāris Islāmiyyah of the great thinker and exegete, Mufti Sayyid Na’īm al-Dīn al-Murādābādī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه.

Every nation’s progress revolves around education. When the human mind has great ideas, high aspirations and valuable information, one can carry out any task using his intellect and a plan. The knowledge of young Muslims is usually restricted to fictional literature and romance novels; the result is destructive.

Age of advancement

If the age of Muslim advancement is studied, one will see that our pious predecessors were preoccupied with educational advancement day and night. In their eyes, education was the thing most important and worthy of being valued. Countless educational institutes were established, scholars were given high salaries, and students were also given stipends. The appreciation for knowledge shown by Muslims acted as encouragement for the students to attain knowledge. Their nights were spent studying. They would set aside thoughts about family, relatives and their homeland for the duration of their studies. As a result, the world respected them. People stood before them respectfully to learn how to progress. Whatever they would set out to accomplish, they would succeed in doing so. Even today, the nation which is prosperous and experiencing favourable circumstances is engrossed in educational advancement, has established institutes in distance lands, and is working daily for their proliferation and improvement.


A person only attains whatever one’s efforts have been directed towards. For example, it is useless to expect to harvest wheat when one has sown barley. Likewise, a building is no doubt beneficial, and a building constructed to be a shopping centre can serve this purpose, but it cannot serve as a fortress. Similarly, the knowledge imparted for maintaining good health is of no avail in engineering. If you require engineers, you will need a separate educational institute for this purpose. A medical college will not fulfil this purpose, and an engineering institute will not produce solicitors and barristers, as they were not set up for this.

English institutes are not sufficient for us

Regardless of the quality and level of education English institutes provide and the languages they focus on, they cannot serve a purpose other than the ones for which they were established. They cannot be used to make Muslims i) practising, ii) preserve an Islamic lifestyle, iii) and inculcate Islamic values into them. Students that have studied from these institutes cannot epitomise embodying Islamic creed; Islamic love, brotherhood, unity; and the Islamic way of interaction and co-existence.

Effect of education

Education has an effect like magic. It would not be surprising if those who are made to yearn for western education from an early age and for whom western practices have become second nature to efface their religious identity. A great cause of the destruction of the Muslims is that due to becoming distant from religious sciences, they have been unable to preserve that which distinguishes them as Muslims. Additionally, they have done away with aspects of their nationality. All the advanced nations of the world preserve their nation’s traits, which is conducive to their continuity.

Dearth of Islamic seminaries

Because of our diminished interest for knowledge, there are very few Islamic seminaries. This has led to the perception that they are neither necessary nor beneficial. Consequently, even a small number of Islamic seminaries are considered sufficient, in fact, more than required. It is a principle that whatever a person is not inclined towards, even if it is scant, it appears to be a lot.[1]

Dear Islamic brothers, the picture painted by Mufti Naīm al-Dīn al-Murādābādī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه concerning the state of Islamic seminaries reflects the situation prior to the partitioning of India. The reality is that the circumstances remain the same today. It is a great blessing of Allah Almighty that the scholars of the Ahl al-Sunnah have established various Islamic seminaries through their efforts. اَلْـحَمْـدُ لـِلّٰـه Dawat-e-Islami is also blessed to have established Islamic seminaries across the globe. At the time of writing this article (December 2023), there are more than 14,000 Islamic seminaries under Dawat-e-Islami in which over half a million students, boys and girls, are acquiring religious knowledge. اَلْـحَمْـدُ لـِلّٰـه This work is advancing rapidly.

Dear readers, there is, however, a need to establish more religious institutes worldwide. So, support Dawat-e-Islami in this mission and address the concerns raised by Mufti Naīm al-Dīn al-Murādābādī رَحْمَةُ الـلّٰـهِ عَـلَيْه.

[1] Maqalat-e-Sadrul Afazil, p. 378




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