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Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, Dawoodi Bohra Madrasa, Surat.

Course of Study and Curricula


https://jameasaifiyah.edu/academics/the-four-stages-at-a-glance/

Four Stages at a Glance


The eleven-year duration of studies at Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah is divided into three
stages known as marāhil (sing. Marhala). Aljamea’s four degrees are conferred at
different points throughout these three stages. Although the comprehensive
curriculum spans eleven years, students who wish to specialize outside of Islamic
studies are granted leave from the academy at the culmination of the fourth or
seventh year. Quranic studies, jurisprudence, history, literature, philosophy,
modern languages and literature as well as empirical and social sciences are taught
at all the stages, the table below illustrates the three stages and describes the key
elements of each stage.
Stage Name Duration Key Elements and Objectives
(Years)
1 Thaqāfat Years 1-  Introduction to Fatimi Mubtaghi al-
Āmmah 4 jurisprudence, history and ‘Ilm (Seeker
(General literature; namely thr works of
Culture) of Syedna al-Qadi al-Nu’man Knowledge)
such as Sharh al-Akhbār
and Da’ā’im al-Islam
 Comprehensive study of
natural and social sciences
with reference to the Quran
Majīd and the history of
scientific discovery in Islam.
 Basic level proficiency in
Arabic.
 Intermediate level fluency in
English
 Students are expected to
commit the entire Quran
Majīd to memory by the end
of this stage. They are
simultaneously provided
instruction regarding the art
of recitation as well as other
Quranic arts and sciences.
2a al- 3 (years  Students expand on topics Al-Faqīh (The
Jāmi’īyya 5-7) covered in stage 1. Other Jurist)
al-Ūlā jurisprudential works of
(Collegiate Syedna al_Qadi al-Nu’man
I) are introduced and studied
in depth.
 The philosophical and
disputational works of the
renowned Persian
philosopher and scholar
Syedna Ahmed Hamiduddin
al-Kirmani are introduced at
this stage. Students engage
in critical study of these
primary Islamic texts.
 Detailed study of social
sciences, namely, economics
and sociology.
 Application of knowledge
through community service.
 Proficiency in Arabic and
English.
2b al-Jāmi 2 (Years  The Second Level of the Al-Faqīh al-
īyya al- 8-9) Collegiate Level involves Mutqin
Thāniya specialization and focus. (The
(Collegiate Students major in either Competent
II) literature, history or Jurist)
jurisprudence and begin the
groundwork for their
dissertation which is due in
their tenth year. Preliminary
topics related to their
dissertation are researched
in smaller term papers
written both in Arabic and
English.
 Studies of Quranic exegesis
and esoteric interpretation
intensify at this stage with
the introduction of the 800
majālis, or lectures, given by
the Fatimi scholar Syedna
al-Mu’ayyad al-Shirazi in
the Fatimid court during the
10th century CE. These
works cover various
philosophical, theological
and ethical issues and is a
vivid example of Islamic
disputational writing.
 Students choose an elective
language: French, German,
Sanskrit or Persian. Basic
reading skills are developed
primarily for research
purposes.
 Students are given a wider
range of responsibilities with
regards to social services
and are trained in the art
and science of discourse and
sermon delivery. Many
students are sent to deliver
the nine sermons during the
annual ‘Ashara Mubāraka
which commemorates the
martyrdom of the Prophet
Mohammed’s grandson,
Imam Husain.
3 Al-Dirāsāt 2 (Years  At this final stage, students
al-Ulyā wa 10-11) are encouraged to become
al- researchers, scholars and
Takhassus teachers with higher order
critical, creative thinking
and theorizing skills.
 Students are now capable of
applying Fatimi principles to
a wide variety of
contemporary issues
thereby addressing present-
day challenges.
 Students submit their
dissertation at the end of
year ten. In year eleven, they
defend their dissertation in
the presence of faculty
members and fellow-
students.
 Having honed their
specialities and written a
dissertation in their
subjects, students are
prepped and assigned a role
within the community or
instructed to pursue a
career in a related field, or
further studies in another
institution.

Rabi, the following tables indicate subject-specific curricula, for which respective
departments/faculties offer courses.
Faculty of Philosophy (Hikma)
Philosophy is considered one of the most important subjects at Aljamea. The fifty-
two epistles of Ikhwān al-Safā composed by Imam Ahmad al-Taqi form the basis of
Fatimi philosophy and are extensively studied throughout the last three stages.
Imam Ahmed classified into four broad fields of knowledge: physical, logical,
empirical and spiritual. This sequence leads students through progressive stages of
comprehension beginning with the tangible and subsequently reaching the
metaphysical.
The philosophical works of Syedna Hamiduddin al-Kirmani and Syedna Taher
Saifuddin also form an integral part of the course. In addition to these philosophical
compositions, students study the writings of other prominent thinkers and
philosophers.
Stage Topics
2 Volume I of the epistles of Ikhwān al-Safā which include treatises
on mathematics, geometry, music and astronomy
3  Volumes II and II of the epistles which focus on logic and
an introduction to the philosophy of empirical sciences.
 Philosophical works of Syedna Hamiduddin al-Kirmani.
 Introduction to classical philosophy
4  Volume IV of the epistles which focus on the spiritual
sciences, philosophy of theology and the philosophy of
Islamic jurisprudence.
 Introduction to modern and post-modern philosophy
 General overview of the Islamic philosophical and kalām
tradition
 Select philosophical treatises of Syedna Hamiduddin al-
Kirmani.

Faculty of Literature (Adab)


Among the Fatimi literary texts studied at Aljamea are the works of writers such as
al-Syed al-AmirTamim, Syedna al-Muyyad al-Shirazi, Syedna Ali bin al-Maula
Mohammed al Walīd, Syedna Taher Saifuddin and Syedna Mohammed
Burhanuddin. An in-depth study of the corpus of Lisāan al-Da’wa literature and
literary works of key authors such as Ayedi Abde’ali Imamuddin, Syedi Sadiq ali
Saheb and Syedi Luqmanjee Saheb are an integral part of the curriculum.
Notable poets of Arabic literature such as al-Mutanabbi ibn Hāni al-Andalusi, Sharif
Radi and Ahmed Shawqī together with prominent poets of the English language
comprise parts of the course.
The study of literature comprises the following:
 Principles of literature
 History of literature
 Literary techniques
 Introductory applied linguistics
 Literary analysis
 Literary genres
 Development of composition skills
 Refinement of oratory skills and techniques
 Urdu literature
In addition to these areas of study, each year is assigned specific core topics:
Year Core Topics
1 and 2 Quranic literature
3 Study of key literary figures
4 Shakespeare and his contemporaries
Victorian literature and culture
Critical perspectives
5 Pre-Islamic Arabic literature
6 Modern Arabic literature
Islamic Arabic literature
7 Comparative study of Urdu, Arabic and Lisān al-Da’wa literature
8 and 9 Study of the Moqāmāt genre (assemblies)
Classical literature
Romanticism
10 and 11 Contemporary writing
Modernism
Post-colonial writing
Arabic lexicology

Faculty of Languages
Since Arabic, Lisān al-Da’wa and English are the mediums of instruction, they are
extensively studied. At stage three, according to research interests, students are
required to study an additional language of their choosing.
Arabic
At the first stage, Arabic is taught through the introduction of various classical
Arabic texts. Beginners engage with these texts which gradually enhance their
communicative proficiency. Lisān al-Da’wa with its Arabic lexicon and script,
facilitates this swift acquisition of Arabic. In the subsequent years, until the end of
stage two, this acquisition is complimented with studies in Arabic grammar through
traditional texts such as al-Darīrī and Hidiya al-Nahw. At the final two stages,
advanced oral and written proficiency in Arabic is obtained through a combination
of targeted practice and study of Arabic linguistics.
Memorisation of the Quran greatly benefits in mastering Arabic. There is also
considerable emphasis on poetic and prose composition as a means of language
enhancement and as an avenue of creative interaction with the subject of literature.
A designated department oversees the drafting, assessment and dissemination of
student and faculty literary enterprise.
English
English in Aljamea has an important role and is taught through an eclectic approach.
At stages one and two the curriculum focuses on the four primary skills of language
acquisition and prepares students for secondary and higher secondary certificate
examinations. At stages three and four, advanced English language proficiency is
developed through the study of a variety of thematic texts as well as through
engagement with scholarly publications in the fields of Islamic studies in the English
language. Contemporary scholarship of Islam and religion is widely carried out in
the English language and to access and contribute to this corpus of knowledge,
English language skills are a must for students of Aljamea.
Elective Languages
Due to the expanding horizons of research and the need for multilingualism in
quality graduate study, students are required to choose between French, German,
Persian or Sanskrit as an additional language over the final four years.

Faculty of Jurisprudence (Fiqh)


Islamic jurisprudence is of paramount importance to the students of Aljamea since
the application of concepts studied in fiqh texts is often required when students are
given various pastoral and leadership roles during the holy Islamic months of
Ramadan and Moharram. At the higher stages the discourse on jurisprudence is
critically assessed through historical, sociological and anthropological perspectives.
The texts of Syedna al-Qadi al-Nu’man are extensively studied since they form the
basis of Fatimi jurisprudence. These, along with other texts are studied taking into
consideration the following frameworks:
 The Quran and its interpretations
 The pivotal role of the imam in Fatimi jurisprudence
 Sources and validity of Islamic and Fatimi directives
 Fundamental difference amongst schools of Islamic jurisprudence
 Significance of jurisprudence for the social, economic and moral development
of society.
In addition to these frameworks, each year has specific core topics:
Year Core Topics
1, 2, and 3 Fundamental tenets of jurisprudence
4 Sociological jurisprudence
5 Criminal jurisprudence
6 Marital jurisprudence
The Hanafī School
7 Economic jurisprudence
Islamic socio-economics
The Mālikī School
8 and 9 Theological jurisprudence
The Shāfiī School
The Jaferī School
10 and 11 Political jurisprudence
The Hanbalī School
Oriental and occidental perspectives

Faculty of History (Akhbār)


The works of Fatimi authors such as Syedna al-Qadi al-Nu’man and Syedna Idris
Imamuddin form the foundation of historical studies at Aljamea.
These works are supplemented with the works of other authors such as al-Maqrizi,
ibn Muyassir, Ibn Khalliqan and Ibn Khaldun. Along with classical texts, students
engage with the works of modern and contemporary historians especially in the field
of Fatimi and Islamic studies. Furthermore, students at various levels and to
different extents explore aspects of South Asian and general world history as well,
particularly students appearing for their IGCSE or equivalent board examinations.
A focussed and critical study of historiography is undertaken at the higher stages
where the development, theories, potentialities and limits of historical scholarship
are assessed. The following themes and content are covered during the course of
study with intensity increasing at higher stages.
Topics include:
 The Quran as a valuable historical text
 Defining principles of historical study
 Historiography of Islam
 Variations between the perspectives and interpretations of historians
 Study and classification of sources
 Contributions of Fatimi historians to Islamic history
 Heresiographies and their impact
In addition to these themes, each year has specific core topics:
Year Core Topic
1 and 2 Early Islam
Formation of the Islamic world
The Indus Valley civilization
The history of South Asia and East Africa
3 Classical Islamic history
Abbasids, Umayyads, Safavids, Ottomans and Mughals
Colonial South Asia and the independence movement
4 Du’āt Mutlaqūn in Yemen
Important Islamic historians
5 Du’āt Mutlaqūn in India
6 The Fatimi state in North Africa and Egypt
7 Important modern and contemporary historians
8 and 9 Modern and post-modern history
10 and Historical criticism
11 Orientalism and Occidentalism
Critique of historical methodologies
Philosophy of history

Faculty of Empirical and Social Sciences


Empirical and social sciences in Aljamea are studied from an Islamic perceptive
emphasising the parallels between the physical and the metaphysical worlds as
conveyed in Prophet Mohammed’s following hadith, “Allah has established His
religion in the image of His creation.” Therefore, in order to attain a thorough
understanding of Islam, one must comprehend the functions and structures of the
empirical world.
The curriculum is also geared to prepare students to appear for secondary and higher
secondary examinations. Resources are provided to students who wish to pursue
higher education in these disciplines at other institutions.
The following empirical and social sciences are included in Aljamea’s curriculum:
Year Empirical and Social Sciences
1-4 (stage 1) Biology
Chemistry
Physics
Citizenship education
Geography
Mathematics
5-7 (stage 2) Commerce
Economics
Sociology
8 Physical and human geography of the Muslim world
9 Philosophy of Islamic architecture
Introduction to the legal history of Dawat-e-Hadiyah
Study of major world religions
10 Applied Islamic architecture
Psychology
11 Linguistics
Political science