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Madersa Movements:

Serving Education with a difference

There has been unprecedented growth of Maddersa’s in

a hilly hamlet Bhalessa (Doda). There is rising tide in
madersa education, as is being witnessed today. The
Madersa’s increased in number.
Interestingly, the number rose to 10. Besides nurturing
the Islamic clerics from these Madersa’s including Hafiz
and Ulema, these institutions seemed increasingly
imparting modern education also at the pattern of other
government schools under the ambit of the state
Innovative madrasa’s like the Jamia Gunyat ul Uloom are
increasingly visible today, Jamia Gunyat ul Uloom
Bhatyas established in the year 1983 and was named
after Hazrat Abdul Gani Sadiqui. The madersa is
managed by Gunyat Ul Uloom Trust Bhalessa is the
largest Institution imparting Madersa and academic
education to the students of hilly terrain of Bhalessa.
It currently has more than a thousand students on its
rolls. Patterned on the Dar ul Uloom Deoband model, it
is one of the few madrasas in the state of Jammu and
Kashmir that provide Islamic education till the Alim Fazil
or specialization level.
Besides Jamia, there are several other maddersa’s like
Maddersa Asrar Ul Uloom at Neeli Bhalessa named after
Shah Asrar ud Din Bagdadi (RA). Other Madersas are:-
Maddersa Anwar-e-Madina Gandoh, Maddersa Aweesya
Ameenya Dhraveri, Gulshan-e-Madina at Dhadkai
hamlet, Akhyar ul Uloom at Kahara, Gayas Ul Uloom at
Gingota hamlet, Inam ul Uloom at Donadi, Ume-Sadiqa
at Kilhotran, and Zia-ul Uloom at Thathri.
A view of newly constructed Blocks of Madersa Asrar ul
Uloom in Bhalessa

All these institutions follow the curriculum prescribed by

the Jammu and Kashmir State Board for Education,
These maddersa’s are either affiliated to the state
education department or are the sister concerns of the
Jamia Gunyat Ul Uloom Bhatyas. In Jamia there are as
many as 250 students memorizing Quran popularly
called Hifz.
They stay for a night in the hostels managed from the
donated money by the management of the institute.
The students, neatly dressed in spotless kurta-pajamas
and topis, sit in a circle on a large quilt accompanied by
a qualified Hafiz or a Maulana- The teacher who teaches
the students in maddersa. The Maulana translate verses
of Quran or teaches as to how to pronounce the verses
in a particular language. Jamia is situated in a
mountainous slope where Haji Sahib’s residence is
located. Haji sahib who is also regarded as a Mohatmim
of Jamia.

There is a frequent visit by one and all even by the local

state politicians like Union Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad to
express their sympathy to Maddersa on an occasions
like of annual celebrations or a meeting with revered
Sufi Haji Sahib.

On being prompted by management committee, the

Maddersa organize an annual day celebrations with the
initiative of the local masses and students of nearly
maddersa’s. The students stand up and deliver an
impassioned speech in Arabic and recite Naat Khuwani
in Urdu.
I had a frequent visit to this Institution especially in
connection with the Annual day celebrations. On that
very day I sit among the students to listen the details of
the programme presented by the students on that day.
The management focused on the importance of
academic education and on how Islam positively
encourages it.

Apart from Islamic education in the institution, the

academic education is an indispensable part of the
Jamia curriculum; The Jamia is till 10th grade and is
affiliated to J&K State Board of School Education. The
result is also very excellent as the institute gets 10-12
distinctions every year in the matriculation examination
controlled by J&K Board of school education in this
improvised area of Bhalessa.

The welcome addresses over on the annual day of

maddersa, I sit with the students and discuss their
studies. One of them wants to know how to secure
admission in the English department of the university of
Jammu. Another wants to know how he can I prepare for
Kashmir Administrative services exam after completing
my graduation in Islamic studies or Arabic. A third asks
me, in impeccable English, 'Why are Muslims, especially
the ulema of Deoband, thought of as terrorists by many,
while they had actually played a leading role in India's
anti-colonial struggle?'
The students and their teachers insist that the Deobandi
elders are not against modern education as is commonly
imagined. Mufti Ishrat Mattu who was graduated from
Jamia argues with me, 'Islam says that all beneficial
knowledge can be acquired and so our ulema have never
opposed what is good in the modern educational
system. What they were opposed to, however, was
Western culture. We can and, indeed, should acquire
knowledge of all the beneficial modern disciplines,
provided this is done according to our culture and that it
helps us become better Muslims.
A view of students of Madersa Asrar ul uloom in Morning

Maulana Shoket Ali Qasmi President of Madersa Asrar

Uloom Neeli Bhalessa tells me about the 60 such
students. Who are enrolled in the hifz course in Asrar ul
uloom to memorise the Quran.
However, Asrar Ul Uloom was sat up in 1980, It has 210
other students enrolled for academic courses upto 8th
class and is recognized by the state government. The
Maddersa is functioning on public donation as is clear
from the very recent block constructed from the public
donated money.

In contrast to most other institutions that specialize in

hifz, the students here must also study English, Urdu,
Mathematics and Science.
Maulana Shoket Ali Qasmi also refers to his plans to
arrange for his students to simultaneously enroll for the
tenth grade examinations, so that after they finish their
course they can join various different departments in
regular colleges and universities. 'Our ulema must keep
themselves abreast of modern knowledge and
contemporary developments', he stresses. 'That is
essential for them to provide proper leadership to the

I ask the Mufti Abid Hussain who joined after, about the
Kashmir dispute, but he brushes aside my question
politely. 'We have nothing to do with politics', he says.
He stresses, however, that allegations about madrasas
in Jammu and Kashmir being allegedly involved in
promoting 'terrorism' are false. 'We are completely
transparent, an open book, and have nothing to hide.
Mufti added that anyone can come and visit us and sit in
our classrooms', he replies. 'Not a single madrasa in
Jammu and Kashmir has been identified by intelligence
sources as engaged in that sort of activity'. He added
further that the vision of Madersa is different from the
Politics of land” He explained me a curriculum of Asrar
ul uloom. He added that in madersa we offer to the
aspirants the teachings like, Nazra Quran, Tajweed e
Farsi, Ilm-e-Nahw, Sarf- e- tafseer, Hadees-e-Mantiq,
Falsafa-e-Bayan, balagat and fiqah.
He told me as we sit in a circle on a tiny play ground at
Maddersa flanked by other Mufti’s. They stressed me in
response to my question regarding the Hindu -Muslim
relation in this hamlet. They stressed, “We talk about
inter-community relations”.
Moreover, he adds, 'we must learn about each other's
religions and sentiments not to condemn and denounce
others, but to understand them'.
Lastly, the call (Azaan) for the Friday prayer comes
floating in. As we get up to offer the prayer in nearby
Jamia Masjid at Changa, the Maulana hands me a bunch
of booklets that the Madrasa has published, including
Taaruf of Maddersa.