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Setting Up Revolutionary Models in Education & Crafting a Legacy

Education is evolving at a rapid pace as we see globally. The very framework of conventional teaching in the classrooms has flipped. Now more than ever, it has become imperative to step up and embrace the new trends with a remarkable fusion of mainstream disciplines for the ultimate results. Hence, it has become imperative to design relevant curricula with a deep focus on skill enhancement for an effective entry into the future work-related dimensions. Here, at Hira Foundation we aim to do just that and provide advanced education which is relevant in the world today while it raises the achievement levels of our educators and students and enables them to stay ahead of the curve.

We also learn several valuable lessons from history in the progress of education. At the peak of Muslim ummah’s golden era, even the so-called common Muslims were enlightened by the Islamic and modern education whether they were doctors, engineers, scientists or other professionals. They were knowledgeable about the fard/wajibat as well as the halal/haram. They used to approach Fiqh scholars and Muftis in the quest for further injunctions. There was no difference in the education of the madrassas and the universities. Muftis and ulemas were groomed in the same system as the doctors and scientists. A brilliant example is the University of al-Qarawiyyin in Fez, Morocco which was founded in the second Hijri by two women. That was the center of learning of both Islamic and modern disciplines and a breeding ground for famous ulema, fiqh scholars, scientists, doctors, philosophers and writers. Not only the European princes but also other people used to travel long distances from all over the world to arrive there in pursuit of education. Since the location of Morocco was close to Spain or Andalus, many gained knowledge from there and emerged as distinguished ulema, fiqh scholars and philosophers.

We have even heard from our elders that in Darul Uloom Deoband, in addition to Darse Nizami course math, philosophy, calligraphy and astronomy were also taught. Moreover, skilled-based professions such as stitching, carpentry and ironworks were part of their electives so they could learn the essential skills of earning a livelihood. Their education and teaching would be solely for seeking the pleasure of Allah swt which would be imparted free of cost just like many of the honourable sahaba, citizens, jurists like Abu Hanifa Rahmatullah who used to engage in trade to earn a livelihood following the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

The same was the case of the University of Damascus and Egypt where the ulema and jurists used to acquire modern education which would, in turn, benefit their religious education. A living example is of my honourable father Mufti Taqi Usmani who is a polymath with Darse Nizami, specialization in judiciary, great scholar, expert economist, top lawyer, veteran in English disciplines, brilliant in Islamic Banking, multilingual with a command in English, Arabic and Urdu, Quranic commentator, excellent in merit, author, trade, leader and Imam of knowledge. People from all segments of society Arab/non-Arabs, east or west, Muslims or non-Muslims benefit from him. May he be blessed with the longevity of life and knowledge. Aameen

A firm conviction to establish a standardized and sound system of education to produce leaders and humanitarians who were beneficial to people in all walks of life resulted in the detailed framework and laying of such a holistic educational system was well explained in the historical address of Mufti Taqi Usmani in the Ada e Shukr ceremony organized by Hira Foundation in March 2016. This awe-inspiring speech was published in Al Balagh newspaper with its video making rounds on social media.

Since two centuries, the gap in the different educational systems madrassas, schools and universities has widened which has also become apparent in institutional functioning. Since the formation of Pakistan, efforts are being exerted to bridge the gap. However, due to several factors including religious insecurities, anti-religious sentiments, political instability and foreign power influence, this couldn’t be achieved. These factors resulted in disparity, alienation and extremism which damaged the nation. The atmosphere of unity couldn’t prevail and this still continues with the intensity increasing day by day. Under Pakistan’s founding principles, we preach to stay united on a country-wide platform. However, according to my humble view, the greatest hurdles in the nation’s unity and stability are the flaws and gaps of the educational system.

It is imperative that the knowledge imparted in the educational establishments should be pragmatic and skill-based. Along with English, science, business studies, computer studies, etc. quality religious subjects like the Holy Quran, sunnah teachings, principles, worship, dealings, economy and morals should also be taught in the curriculum. This basic education is essential for all Muslims.

A few months ago, I went on a tour of Britain’s Islamic schools on the advice of my honourable father Hazrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani. I conducted a survey of the Islamic schools and engaged in a detailed discourse with the administration. Read below the summary of my noteworthy findings:

  1. 1. The state bears all the expenses for all government run schools. Education till A-Level is completely free. These institutions are not private but their administration is given in the hands of such capable individuals who are disciplined even though all expenses are borne by the government.
  2. 2. Islamic schools are also part of the British system. The student ratio is equally divided among the white non-Muslims and Muslim citizens of that country. The additional religious education is also imparted by Muslim teachers.
  3. 3. Both Muslim and non – Muslims teach in these schools who are appointed on merit. All British citizens need to give examinations of A-Level Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE).
  4. 4. The secular schools also teach the same Cambridge curriculum with the exclusion of religious education. So, there’s not much difference between the two.
  5. 5. The administration of these schools is also the product of the Cambridge system. Hence, they are running the schools efficiently, the standard is high and Cambridge results better than secular schools. Hence, the British government awarded special certificates and gifts to the students on their exemplary performance. In addition, the administration was given awards, titles, gifts and souvenirs. The Muslim administration also requested that the secular schools whose performance was below the standards to be placed under Muslim administration to improve their educational levels. Hence, now these personnel are supervising more than twenty Islamic and secular schools. Due to this, the image of Muslims has improved in the sight of both the government and the non-Muslim residents there.  
  6. 6. Students are acquiring excellent modern education in parallel with the Islamic one due to these Islamic schools. It’s a firm conviction that once these students complete their education from universities they will be quite productive and bearers of high positions which will undoubtedly be very advantageous for Islam and Muslims in the future insha’Allah.
  7. 7. The Islamic schools have also started O & A Levels along with the Darse Nizami programme. So, in the mornings these offer Darse Nizami and in the afternoons the Cambridge curriculum. It is mandatory for all British citizens to complete education till A Level and the fee is borne by the British government which also provides qualified faculty and guides them morally as well.
  8. 8. Britain’s Islamic schools are successful due to a high educational standard, an Islamic environment and inclusion of Islamic education in their curriculum. But due to some reasons, these schools were unable to include certain Islamic literature which comprised basic education of Quran & Sunnah, pillars of Islam, Islamic worship, dealings, finance and morals. Alhamdulillah, these are all included in Hira Foundation’s syllabi from Preschool till A Level. In addition, Arabic is also part of the curriculum so the child is able to exercise critical analysis in that discipline. 
  9. 9. In Britain’s Islamic schools Montessori and elementary levels are not being offered so the child is compelled to complete the early years education from a secular English school but alhamdulillah at Hira Foundation, mainstream curriculum is being taught from Preschool till A Level. 
  10. 10. Till now only a limited number of Islamic schools offer education till A-Level, the majority are up to O Level only. Hence, the students are compelled to complete their A Level from another English school.
  11. 11. From this perspective, Hira Foundation has an honourable status. It offers education from Preschool till A level, Islamic and Arabic disciplines, Hifz & Nazra with separate campuses for boys and girls, state of the art infrastructure and highly qualified faculty. Another point to be kept in mind is that if there’s anything in the Cambridge curriculum against the shariah, it is dealt with expertly and related in a righteous plus proper perspective.
  12. 12. A great advantage is that no extra time is taken to complete all the different levels of Hifz. Students do Hifz during the regular school timing of 8:00am – 2:00pm, unlike other Islamic schools. They become Hafiz-e-Quran in time and without any loss in their academics. 
  13. 13. Hira Foundation is in step with the latest trends in education. It has introduced next level courses in IT and soft skill development for both staff as well as students. Students have been introduced to Google Classrooms and Zoom for online classes in which they engage in interactive learning and simulation-based experiences. Robotics has also been integrated into the curriculum and regular classes are held to teach the students this STEM-based field. 
  14. 14. In-house training programs are held as a regular feature for staff and teachers for their professional development and performance enhancement. These include English language and computer proficiency courses. Online courses in professional growth are also made available from reputed international universities which they pursue in fully resourced computer labs with high-speed internet connectivity. 
  15. 15. Awareness about eco-friendly activities has also been created among students. For this purpose, Gardening as a subject has been introduced across grade levels with special visits to plantations and flower shows to provide the students with real-life experiences. Not only this, go green activities have been made part of the lessons from grass root level through various subjects and topics. So, students are given plenty of opportunities to see the whole process in action and they contribute at their own levels. 
  16. 16. Food & Nutrition classes are also being offered with the state-of-the art food lab constructed with the equipment and environment to provide the proper facility to the students. The curriculum is aligned with Cambridge for global recognition.

Recently, Hira Foundation won the British Council’s prestigious International School Award 2019-22. It competed nation-wide and performed superbly to meet the international benchmarks to emerge a winner. This shows that activity-based and student-centered learning form the basis for delivering quality education to the students every step of the way.

Hira Institute of Emerging Sciences, HIES, (a division of Hira Foundation) established for imparting higher education to religious students and those who haven’t received O & A Levels education. Its classes are in the afternoon so that Dars -e-Nizami’s students complete these courses in their free time during their school years. It offers the following courses:

  1. 1. PGD for shariah scholars and management
  2. 2. PGD of Islamic banking & finance (affiliation Centre of Islamic Economics)
  3. 3. Computer courses (affiliation CISCO)
  4. 4. English Language courses
  5. 5. Entrepreneurship program (affiliation IBA)
  6. 6. Management & Soft Skills courses (affiliation Skill Development Council & PIMS)
  7. 7. Digital Marketing & Graphic designing courses (accredited organizations)

HIES is also signing MoUs with both national and international universities to offer undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate programs. These multidisciplinary faculties will open the gateway to higher education for all the Pakistani and in particular Darul Uloom students.

Now, through Green Edtech – a gateway to virtual education has been unlocked. It is a monumental step in digital learning and has opened borderless paradigms which provides access to education from anywhere at any time. Such an online initiative and innovation is noteworthy – a leap into the future by opening up the classrooms to the world and beyond.

Hira Foundation has shattered the stereotypical perceptions related to Islamic education and evolved as an epitome of excellence in the education sector. It strives to attain a world-class status from school to the university level with its latest pedagogies delivered holistically at all levels.

This exemplary educational establishment has displayed a unique blend of Islamic and modern education with international quality standards for others to emulate in the different madrassas, schools and universities.

The sole aim of this magnanimous noble endeavor is to seek the pleasure of Allah swt and serve humanity so that students enhance their skills after completing their Darse Nizami or A-Level. In short, they become invaluable assets excelling in every sector globally. With this we have set up unprecedented models in education and built an evolving legacy to be carried forward to the next generation.

May Allah SWT accept, add prosperity and protect these endeavours from bad omen and ill fate. Aameen

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