First Year

Arabic

  • The language is approached from angles of grammar and literature. In grammar the two fundamental disciplines of Naḥw (syntax) and Ṣarf (morphology and etymology) are studied. Naḥw is studied from a simplified reader, Arabic Grammar, in which the focus is placed on the most essential rules of grammar. Grammatical issues of greater complexity and therefore of less practical value, are eschewed.
  • Ṣarf is done through board exercises and memorization of declension tables. The study of syntax theory usually runs for the first few months only. For the rest of the year the knowledge gained from theoretical study is brought into application in the reading of graded texts such as that of Sayyid Abu l-Ḥasan al-Nadwī's, Qaṣạs al-Nabiyyīn. The objectives of the study of Arabic in this year are to impart to the student a working knowledge of both disciplines of grammar: Naḥw as well as Ṣarf to enable him to employ theoretical grammar towards a correct reading of a diacritically unmarked text to broaden his vocabulary.

Fiqh

  • In the first semester the four parts of the book, al-Mabādiʾ al-Fiqhiyyah, by Umar Abd al-Jabbār are read, followed by the Matn al-Ghāyah wa l-Taqrīb by Abū Shujāʿ al-Isfahānī in the second semester. In the first text, al-Mabādiʾ al-Fiqhiyyah, the aims are:
    • to familiarize the student with the language of Fiqh at a basic level.
    • to introduce the student to the key areas of Fiqh.
    • to acquaint the student with fundamental concepts in Fiqh.
    • to equip the student with a basic store of Fiqh knowledge.
  • In addition to these objectives, the teaching of Abū Shujāʿs compendium incorporates the further dimensions of facilitating a grammatically correct reading of a diacritically unmarked classical text with an introduction to basic proofs from the Qurʾān and Sunnah side by side with learning Fiqh.

Maʿānī al-Qurʾān (Translation of the meanings of the Qurʾān)

  • The process of familiarizing the student with the Qurʾān starts with the word-for-word translation of the shorter chapters of the 30th section (juz). The student's Qurʾānic vocabulary and his familiarity with the language of the Qurʾān are gradually expanded as he works his way through the systematic translation of the last 10 sections (ajzā) with explanatory comments added as required. The objectives of this component are:
    • to create familiarity with Qurʾānic Arabic.
    • introduce the student to the content of the Qurʾān.
    • to cultivate basic translation skills.
    • to lay the foundation upon which his further study of the Qurʾān will be built.

Ḥadīth

  • The ḥadīth text read in the first semester is Imām al-Nawawī's celebrated, Arbaʿūn (40 ḥadīth compilation), while in the second semester 500 ḥadīth from the same author's, Riyāḍ al-Ṣāliḥīn, are read. The former text comprises of 42 ḥadīth which generally express cardinal aspects of Islam, and the latter is a collection of essentially edifying ḥadīth. This module aims at:
    • introducing the student to ḥadīth of a specifically edifying nature.
    • to draw moral lessons out of ḥadīth.
    • to acquaint him with the language of ḥadīth.
    • to cultivate basic translation skills.

Tarbiyah (Islamic Spirituality)

  • This module focuses upon spiritual and moral rectitude. The book read here is Imām al-Ghazālī's, Bidāyat al-Hidāyah. In this book Imām al-Ghazālī addresses the seeker of knowledge and points him in the right direction in terms of his intention, attitude and conduct. This book is read in the second semester. The aims of the module are:
    • to foster spiritual and moral rectitude within the student.
    • to generate the correct approach to studies.
    • to provide the student with a fundamental code of conduct.

Tārīkh (Islamic History)

  • Khulāsat Nūr al-Yaqīn is Umar Abd al-Jabbār's reworked abridgment of Muḥammad al-Khudari's work, Nūr al-Yaqīn. Its three parts cover Islamic history up to the end of the Khilāfah Rāshidah (rightly guided caliphate) in a simplified and elucidated style, supplemented by questions and exercises. This module aims at:
    • acquainting the student with the broad outlines of Islamic history.
    • providing a narrative framework upon which further study of Islamic history will build.
    • reinforcing linguistic ability, both written and oral.

Tajwīd (Laws of Qurʾānic Recitation)

  • Tajwīd is taught theoretically as well as practically. In the first semester the basic rules of Tajwīd are taught from the instructor's own book, Murshid al-Qāri (available here), in English, followed by practical application in the recitation of the second half of the 30th juz. In the second semester the basics of Tajwīd are repeated in the study of a simple and well accepted versified text, viz. al-Jamzūri's, Tuḥfat al-Aṭfāl. This text is supplemented by the recitation of the first half of the 30th juz. This component's objectives are:
    • to produce a good understanding of the basic rules of Tajwīd.
    • to impart the ability to apply the rules of Tajwīd in practical recitation.
    • to acquaint the student with the narration of Ḥafs from ʿĀsim via the ṭarīq (i.e. by way) of the Shāṭibiyyah.

Admission Requirements

Applicants are expected to possess a basic proficiency in the recital of the Quran.

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Subject Matter