THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKATIB
(Primary Deeni Institutes)
Selected Discourses by Shaikhul-Hadith Hazrat Maulana Yusuf Motala Sahib
All praise is due to Allah. We praise Him.
We seek His assistance and forgiveness. We believe in Him and place our
trust in Him. We seek refuge in Allah from the mischief of our souls and
our bad actions. He whom Allah guides no one can mislead, and he whom Allah
misleads, no one can guide. We bear testimony that there is no deity except
Almighty Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
Read (O Muhammad)! In the name of your Lord,
Respected brothers and friends! We have gathered here for the commencement of an auspicious and pious work, the building of Madrasah Islamia, Mount Pleasant, Batley. We pray to Almighty Allah that He sees this noble task to its completion. May Allah establish throughout England numerous such institutions, and may He preserve them till Qiyaamah. May Allah lavish their faiz (spiritual influence) throughout the four corners of the world. And may He give us the ability to participate in such work with our lives and wealth. Ameen
The Qur’anic verses I have recited are the opening verses of Surah Alaq. These are the first verses revealed by Allah to His beloved Prophet . In them Allah says, “Read! (O Muhammad) in the name of your Lord, who has created.” Further, to emphasise, He says, “Has created Insaan (the human being).” In the verses that follow Allah mentions the word ‘iqra’ (read) over and over again.
In the verses with which Allah commenced revelation, He mentions qir‘aat (recitation), taleem (learning), and ta‘allum (teaching). Thus emphasis is being placed upon establishing Maktabs and other institutions of ilm. He ends the first revelation with “Has taught man that which he knew not”, thereby stressing yet again the importance of knowledge.
This mention of qir‘aat and ilm in the opening verses of revelation is a lesson to Muslims that the preservation of deen (religion), iman (faith) and haq (truth) in the unique manner the Prophet , brought us, i.e., through the medium of wahi and sunnah, can only be possible with ilm. In places where the acquisition of knowledge was neglected, then even if Islam and Muslims remained, they were in a pitiful state. (May Allah forbid) Wherever there is knowledge, this faith of ours will remain in its original purity.
Hence, the verse, “Read! in the name of your Lord who has created”, is the very first lesson for us. Who is the teacher? Allah, Glorified and Great! Yes! Allah is teaching His beloved Prophet ; and He in turn is shouldering the responsibilities of an educator. To whom does he teach? Khadijah tul’ Kubra . When the Noble Prophet , returned from the cave of Hiraa and informed our mother of his fear, he also recited to her the verses revealed to him. We learn from this that a person should firstly be concerned about his own household. If one wishes his sons and daughters to remain faithful Muslims, he should make an effort to create in his wife an Islamic consciousness. If she is imbued with the spirit of Islam, the children who grow up under her care will blossom into upholders of the deen. Whoever is lazy and negligent in this matter will see the ill effects in his children.
As you may be aware the first lady to embrace Islam was Hazrat Khadijah, and amongst men, Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Ali radiallahu anhuma.Muhadditheen (commentators of Ahadith) have written that they accepted Islam at the same time these verses were recited to them; Waraqa bin Nawfal also embraced the new faith. When the Prophet , related to him the event that had transpired, and recited that which had been revealed to him, Waraqa testified to it and promised to assist the Prophet , in his mission.
First Maktab of Makkah Mukarramah
Conversion to Islam
Umar was shocked and diverted his attention immediately. He turned towards his sister’s house and knocked on the door. At the time the occupants were busy studying verses of the Holy Qur’an from their teacher Khabbab ibn Aratt . Upon hearing the voice of Umar, Hazrat Khabbab , hid himself. Sayyidina Umar, in his rage, launched himself upon his sister and brother-in-law (Saeed ibn Zayd ) until they began to bleed. In this condition the sister called out, “You can do what ever you like, we have already accepted the new faith.”
When Umar’s anger abated, and he saw the state his sister was in as a result of the attack, he asked to be shown the parches they were studying. Upon hearing this request Hazrat Khabbab , re-appeared and made Umar , perform ghusl (bath). Umar then read from the parches, on which were written some verses of Surah Taha. Thereafter, he went to the HoIy Prophet, and embraced Islam.
I was saying that this was the very first Maktab established in Makkah Mukarramah. It was in the house of Saeed ibn Zayd , the brother-in-law of Umar . The teachers here were Khabbab and another Sahabi (may Allah be pleased with all of them).
A second Maktab came to be established when the Muslims increased and the former premises became insufficient. It was set up at Dar-e-Arqam, which was near Mount Safa. Here, approximately forty Sahabah , would reside on a permanent basis. The Holy Prophet , would also stay here for many days. According to some traditions, once the Holy Prophet spent an entire month here. During the whole month he would teach the Holy Qur’an and other religious instructions.
A third Maktab was set up in the Sha‘be (glen) of Abu Talib where the Holy Prophet , and his family were exiled for three and a half years. During this period, the Prophet would teach the Holy Qur’an to his family and to those who secretly came to visit him.
From the traditions of Makkah Mukarramah it is clear that these three locations were the main Maktabs in the early days of Islam. There may have been more.
Similarly, when the Noble Prophet , came to Madina, efforts to set up Maktabs were made from the outset. The sole purpose being that the teachings of the Holy Qur’an should also be made known to the people of Madina Munawwarah. In fact this happened before the Prophet’s migration to the holy city. He despatched Mus’ab bin Umair and Abdullah ibn Umme Maktoom . The latter was also a maternal cousin of the Prophet , due to his marriage with Hazrat Khadijah .
The Holy Prophet , had great affection and love for Abdullah ibn Umme Maktoom , and he too was fida (ready to be sacrificed) for the Prophet’s sake. Although he was blind, he held a very lofty status in the sight of the Holy Prophet. Whenever the the Holy Prophet , had to be absent himself from Madina, he would appoint one person to oversee the affairs of the city, and lead Muslims in prayers in the Prophet’s Mosque. Abdullah ibn Umme Maktoom , was chosen for this purpose on a number of occasions.
The Holy Prophet , selected these two companions and sent them to Madina with As’ad bin Zurarah . As’ad bin Zurarah , was the first person from the Ansar (helpers) to embrace Islam at the hands of the Prophet. He undertook the responsibility of taking Musaib bin Umair and Abdullah ibn Umme Makttom radiallahu anhuma, to Madina Munawwarah for the purpose of teaching the Holy Qur’an.
The second Maktab of Madina was established by Rafe’ ibn Malik for the people of his tribe. This Maktab was located outside a large house. Here he started to teach the Holy Qur’an. This is the very place where later a Mosque named Masjid-e-Banu Zuraiq was erected. This place is located directly opposite Masjid Gamamah. Surah Yusuf was the first Surah to be taught at this Maktab.
A third place was Masjid Quba. Here the freed slave of Abu Huzaifah namely, Salim radiallahu anhuma was Imam as well as teacher of the Holy Qur’an. Some companions also memorised the Qur’an under him. This was the biggest Maktab in Madina, the reason being that it was directly on route from Makkah. Whoever from the Muslims did Hijrah (migrated) would reside here. This place was also known as Baitul Uzzab (house of the lonely ones) for the reason that the Sahabah , who made Hijrah arrived here alone for the sake of helping the Prophet , and left their wives and children in Makkah in the hands of Allah. At this place there was accommodation and food for all those people who would arrive. The responsibility of their taleem and the taleem of the local Ansar was upon Salim .
From these three Maktabs, the best place of residence was at the house of Sayyidina As’ad bin Zurarah . The Sahabah narrate that his house was located in a very open surrounding. >From the very initial stage As’ad bin Zurarah , had selected this place because people could free themselves from all types of worries and anxieties, just as our Darul Uloom, Bury and Jamea tul Imam Muhammad Zakaria, Bradford are also located at similar sites. The site of As’ad bin Zurarah , was a vast open field called Naqeeul Khazamaat the reason for this name was that a special type of grass named Kuzaihma, which is still well known, would grow there. At this Maktab Musaib bin Umair and Ibn Umme Maktoom, radiallahu anhuma, would teach the Holy Qur’an.
The first Jummah Salaah was also established at this site by As’ad bin Zurarah , on the instructions of the Holy Prophet, before his arrival to Madina Munawwarah. This place (Naqeeul Khazamaat) is also known as Harre-bani-Bayada.
Apart form these Makatib, during the Hijrah from Makkah to Madina, the Prophet continued this work of establishing Maktabs. The Prophet during his journey arrived at a place called Gumaim, there Buraidah Aslami came to meet him (he had not yet embraced Islam) and invited him to his home. The Prophet accepted the invitation and proceeded to his house and invited him to Islam. On that journey of Gumaim eighty households embraced Islam. Now just imagine eighty households and in each household there would have been at least five to ten people; such a large number of people embraced Islam at once. The Prophet commenced his taleem by teaching them the opening verses of Surah Maryam. Then, he appointed Buraidah Aslami as their teacher and proceeded on his journey. Buraidah fulfilled this responsibility of taleem in such a manner that he did not even have the opportunity to visit the Prophet in Madina. When the Prophet , finished from the important battles of Badr and Uhad, he arrived at Gumaim, and completed the teaching of Surah Maryam.
Respected brothers and friends our manner of taleem is exactly the same as it was in the early days of Islam. The Sahabah would learn the Holy Qur’an directly from the Holy Prophet both Nazrah (reciting by looking inside the Qur’an) and Hifz (memorization of the Qur’an). This manner of teaching the Holy Qur’an is so significant and important, that the Holy Prophet himself initiated it. In other words the foundation of our whole deen is based upon this taleem. This is why the Prophet formally established these Maktabs and sent senior Sahabah to teach at these places.
The gist of my talk up till now was an account of how the first Maktabs of Islam were established during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet . If you study and ponder over the history of Muslims who came after the Prophet , you will no doubt find numerous examples and incidents which will clearly testify that this method of taleem i.e. establishment of Maktabs, has remained the most vital and effective way of retaining and preserving our deen in its original pristine purity. This is also the reason why the children of those people who established Maktabs maintained their Islamic identity. A community which fails to do this, will retain its Islamic identity only with difficulty, if at all.
I hope by now you have understood why I feel you are worthy of congratulation; Almighty Allah has selected you to take up this august task of establishing the first purpose built Maktab in the whole of England. You were also extremely fortunate in having the honour of building the first purpose built mosque in England. Although there was a purpose built Mosque in Woking but, that was not under Muslim control at the time. The other Mosques in England at the time were all Ibadat Khanas (houses of worship). Again I wish to reiterate that this is a very noble step you are undertaking. Until today throughout the whole of England there were no such Maktabs. Any taleem of our children was taking place in Mosques or in rooms adjacent to Mosques and in selected homes. May Allah tala make the completion of this Maktab easy and fast. May He fulfil all its necessities from the ghaib (unseen).
Brothers and friends before I end my talk, I wish to draw your attention to one very important matter, which I feel is prevalent amongst us. Listen carefully!
We are seeing that nowadays many Mosques are being built, much work of deen is carried out and so forth. However, parents and guardians always seem to be worried about their children. In other words, every parent is extremely distressed and concerned regarding the future of his sons and daughters. Astonishingly, if this condition was only with those people who are not so religious and seperated from the Mosque it could be understandable. However, it is with regret that this condition of anxiety regarding one’s children is prevalent amongst even those who are working for deen and affiliated to the Mosques and Maktabs. Truly there should have been some difference between the two. Unfortunately, we see there is none, both are similar regarding their stance with regards to children. How strange!
Brothers and friends what is the reason for this? Have we ever pondered over why this misfortune afflicts us?
Only Almighty Allah knows the true reason behind these problems. However, sometimes due to some shortcoming on our part we find ourselves in such situations, and thus I would like to shed some light on the aforementioned dilemma.
Brothers and friends! Always remember, the sins that were committed at the beginning of man’s journey in this world, are such sins, which are and will remain the most severe. Furthermore, the consequences of committing such sins will be most appalling and terrible. You may not fully understand what I am trying to say.
Let me try and explain this in another way. Can
there be a greater worshipper than Shaitan - Iblees? Such a great worshipper
was he, that according to some traditions there was no place between the
heavens and the earth where he had not made sajdah (prostration).
Inspite of all this worship he was cursed by Allah for declining to perform
sajdah to Adam alaihis salam.
Shaitan thought himself to be greater than Adam alaihis salam and declined to prostrate.
Shaitan felt that Adam alaihis salam had just recently been created, so why should he be given such an exalted status over me and I be made to prostrate before him.
Shaitan had this feeling within himself long before the creation of Adam alaihis Salam, which finally resulted in his refusal
Most prominent Ulama are of the opinion that this was the reason for his downfall. Shaitan due to his worship for thousands of years had built in his heart the disease of thinking himself to be distinguished, laudable and the focus of excellencies whilst at the same time thinking others as inferior to him.
Brothers and friends, do you understand now, that this was the first sin committed; thinking one’s self to be superior and others as inferior. This is why the Holy Prophet said “Never say one phrase, “Halaqat Ummati” (Everyone is destroyed), i.e. everybody is on the wrong path! Everybody is very bad! Everybody is heading for Jahannam (Hell)! Everybody is doing evil! All Muslims are leaving deen! Everyone is astray!
For people who proclaim such words the Prophet has said, “Fahowa Ahlaquhum” (He himself is the most destroyed). The Prophet has cursed such a person and made Bud-Dua for him. Why is this? Because whosoever makes such a statement he is considering himself pious and superior to others. This evil trait of character is compelling him to utter such words and issue verdicts regarding others. What right does he have to do this? Who has authorised him?
Brothers and friends, do you see! Although, we are erecting Mosques and Maktabs, we do not see any improvement in our moral and spiritual conditions – who knows, such bitter statements, which we often utter, at times even without realising, could be the very reason for our misfortune and downfall.
I appeal to you brothers and friends, make a firm intention that from now on we will never concider someone’s action, word, possession or the person himself to be inferior to ourselves. What ever a person may be doing or saying we must never deem him inferior. Why should we anyway? We should do our oun work. If we keep busy with ourselves, Allah will put Barakah (blessings) into the work of deen we carry out in the Mosques and Maktabs and we will witness the fruits and khair (goodness) of our efforts. I pray again that Allah accept your intentions and may He fulfil your task easily and swiftly. Ameen
And our last call is that all
praise be to the Lord of the