By The founder of Jamiah,
Muhaddith ul-asr Maulana SayyidMuhammad Yousuf Banori "Praise be to Allah, Who is Sufficient and Blessings and peace be upon Sayyiduna Muhammad Al-Mustafa (Sallal-laahu alayhi wa sallam) and on his family and companions as much as is enough and satisfactory, and on him who follows his guidance, so succeeding with good fortune." I have spent my whole life under the shade of religious institutions either as a student, acquiring knowledge or as a teacher, imparting knowledge.
My youth was exclusively devoted towards acquiring knowledge from noble scholars –at times in mosques and at times in religious schools or organizations. Throughout this period, it was a busy schedule of learning and studying. Thereafter, I passed through different stages of teaching and lecturing subjects on diverse fields of religious education and also held different positions. I was, therefore, able to achieve spiritual acumen and experience to some degree. During all this period, I used to ponder over the system of education of these institutions and finally I reached to a conclusion that if I was to establish a madrasah or a religious institution, I would do so along these lines:
Review and revise the existing syllabi and the system of education with a view to produce scholars who can serve Islam befittingly in this modern age.
Keep the moral and religious conduct of a student under observation on the same pattern as we observe their performance during their classes and throughout the educational system.
Reform thoughts and idiosyncrasies of students. Make them realize the fact that religious education is not a means to obtain employment – official or unofficial, whether as a teacher or an orator, as a writer or publisher. Their sole objective should be to achieve perfection and excellence in their studies to serve the religion correctly and dedicate their lives for the service of Islam and to lay themselves down totally to uphold the truth so that they may inherit a portion from the legacy of the knowledge of Rasoolullaah (Sallal-laahu alayhi wa sallam) and his life. Wealth, fame, status or respect should not be their concern. They should be above all such material benefits and should prove worthy of rewards as promised in the Ahaadeeth. The rewards include a high rank in the hereafter, attaining the status of the favoured ones of Allah, causing angels, fish and other creation to pray for them, and so forth.
The students should be encouraged to achieve proficiency and skills in writing and oratory according to the needs of the present age with no other intention but to serve only Islam so that it leaves a mark of esteem and reverence in the hearts of the audience for the religious scholars.
Prepare them to speak Arabic with fluency and write it precisely and in this regard, they should be guided in the selection of books, which are helpful for them to study. They should be taught to practice a correct accent to overcome their dialect shortcomings.
Students must be encouraged to develop a special interest in the study of history with particular emphasis on Islamic history. In this regard, they must have access to good books. Some good books are Al-Ma′arif(‘Acquirements’), by Ibn Qutaibah, “Uyunush Shamail was-Siyar(‘Springs Of Good Habits&Ways’) by ibn Sayyid -un-Naas, Talqeeh Fuhum-il-athar by Ibn Jawzi, Muqaddamah Tareekh ibn Khaldun(‘Preface On ‘the Book Of History’ by Ibn Khaldun’) and Al-I′laan’bit- Taubeekh (‘To Rebuke Openly’) by Sakhaawi and other books of similar types.
The curriculum should include a suitable book on history for every class and as well as an examination of this subject irrespective of the fact whether it is taught in the class or recommended for their individual study.
Instead of logic and philosophy, studies of Qur′an, Hadeeth, principles of Hadeeth, jurisprudence (Fiqh) and principles of Fiqh should be given topmost priority.
Once the regular courses are taught, specialization courses should be introduced for subjects like Hadeeth, Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh), Propagation (Dawah wal Irshad) and so forth so that interested students are able to choose a subject according to their caliber. Less fortunately under the present circumstances, it is not possible for a student to go for all these subjects simultaneously because of low spirits and capabilities. Further, branches of knowledge have multiplied. It is, therefore, beyond the reach of students to specialize in every subject.
Needless to say, teachers of piety and virtuous qualities, who are sincere and devout, need to be selected to achieve the above objectives. Besides being highly qualified, they must be painstaking and inspired to pass on to their students full benefits of their knowledge. They should be motivated to do so only to please Allaah.
Only those people can accomplish such ambitious works who are themselves sublime and great in character. They should be abounded with a perfect belief and sincerity. They should not only be experts in their respective field of knowledge but have also benefited from a prolonged company of pious mentors in whose colors they are dyed. Steadfastness and constant hard work should have become their second nature. Fear of poverty, frustration and fatigue should be unfamiliar to them. They should be ready to sacrifice their time and lives for the truth as and when needed. Their ambition should be to teach, train and prepare their students of the present generation in such a way that they are inspired to disperse world-wide as torch-bearers of guidance. By the grace of Allah, they should satiate the thirsty and cure the sick ones.
These are the peculiarities to which I lay no claim. I kept pondering along these lines for years. Towards the end of month of Zul-Hijjah in 1369 Hijri after performing Hajj, whilst at Makkah, my wife saw such a dream which I took to be a good omen that I would be granted ability to do this work that I had been envisioning all along.
Thus, before beginning the task, I thought it appropriate to beseech Allaah through supplication and approved "Istikharah". For this purpose, I decided to perform Hajj once again to get the blessings and inspiration for initiating this work. Alhamdulillaah, he inspired me to beseech Him overwhelmingly and tearfully at every sacred place during this Hajj. Thereafter, I presented myself in the Haram-Nabawi. I stayed in Madinah for more than a month where I continued to implore Him and weep bitterly to bestow His help on me. At last, Allaah Taala fortified my heart with determination and strength for this great work ahead.
When I returned home after Hajj, I found the situation apparently difficult. Besides lack of funds, there was no clear-cut line of action from where to proceed ahead. Although, I felt perplexed but I did not loose heart and continued to ponder on the ways and means to achieve this goal. At last, I started my work on a deserted piece of land where there was no place to provide a shade to protect from sunlight or rains. There was no place to relax or rest. It was just a piece of land, where it was not even possible to discharge urgent needs.
I had already advertised in the newspapers, announcing admissions to the Takmeel courses (Advanced and Intensive programs) for those who had qualified the Dars-e-Nizami. The course offered specialization in the Noble Qur′an, Sunnah, Islamic Jurisprudence, and Arabic literature. Ten scholars responded to my call and so I commenced my work with them. I do not wish to go into the details of the hardships that we faced and how Allah gave us strength to be patient and steadfast in our endeavor.
Although, our beginning was a simple and modest one but Allaah Ta’ala helped us grow in a very short time. Year by year, we continued to progress in both the fields; the field of education and construction.
One point worth mentioning here is that while this educational institution has all the characteristics of a University, I initially named it "Al-Madrasa-tul-Arabiyyah" – a name that carries the symbol of humility because I wished to stay far off from fame and publicity. Had it been possible to work without a name, I would have done so. Later on, I learnt that there was another academy with the same name in Karachi, which the Government of Kuwait had set up under its patronage. Because of this, there had always been a problem in receiving mails. I, therefore, added the word "Al-Islamiyyah" to the existing name and the new name was "Al-Madrasa tul-Arabiyyah-tul-Islamiyyah".
I wished that this name should remain because of its simplicity, modesty and resemblance with the names of madrasahs of earlier times, which the Islamic history often speaks about. I also wanted to avoid new titles and terminologies, which are mostly from foreign languages of the West. For more than twenty years this name continued to be our identity but, owing to some factors, national and international, there was no option but to change the old name to "Jamia-tul-Uloom-il-Islaamiyyah". A brief introduction of the Jamiah is being presented in the next pages by the Department of Education.