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Guidelines for Starting Islamic School in the US

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

Can you please give us few guidelines in starting an islamic school in US


Your query concerning the requirements for an Islamic School refers.

The First Requirement: CORRECT INTENTION.

The fundamental intention essential for establishing an Islamic School should be the protection of IMAAN thereby preserving the conviction that Allah is the Doer, Provider, Sustainer and Controller. The dependence of Muslims should be upon Allah alone, as the instruments or means employed are actually the Will of Allah.

Concurrently with this indispensable and all-important intention is the development of love for Rasulullah (sallalahu alayhi wasallam) and his Sunnats in the hearts of the learners.

Another intention that one could also make is the safeguarding of the Muslim youth from the evils and immoralities prevalent in many non-Muslim schools.

The Second Requirement : Educators who are Pious, Professionally Qualified, Experienced and Compassionate.

These qualities in the Islamic School teacher cannot be over-emphasised. The feature of Piety is most essential. Especially significant is the upholding of correct beliefs and love for practising upon the Sunnah as outlined by any of the 4 great Jurists, viz., Imaams Abu Hanifah, Maalik, Shafiee and Ahmad ibn Humbul (A.R.).

The negative influence of an Educator who wears his pants below his ankles or shaves or trims his beard beyond a fist length cannot be immensely underscored. Teaching is an art that has to be well-explored and researched to achieve optimum results. Unqualified teachers can cause untold damage and impairment. However, if such teachers are not available then the pious, lesser qualified personnel may be employed with the provision that a maximum of three such teachers become subordinate to one seasoned Tutor who monitors their progress and assists in their professional development.

The Third Requirement: Correct Syllabi

This pertains to both the ISLAMIAT as well as the temporal SCHOOL subjects — popularly referred to as `SECULAR’. (This is an incorrect expression as the dictionary refers to as “Godless Education”). However, each branch of education has to bring one closer to Allah. Even the School subjects have to achieve this objective.

The various themes in Science should not be associated to nature but rather focused to the Qudrat (Power) of Allah. For example, rain production undergoes the various processes of evaporation, cloud formation, cloud saturation and condensation. The learners have to be taught that each of these procedures is accomplished by Allah and not by mere chance or nature. That is why, when we disobey Allah by not paying our Zakaah, Allah withholds the rains and we, therefore, experience droughts.

Each topic within every Subject of the Syllabus has to be dealt with in a similar manner. Even literature has to be taught in a mode that promotes and fosters Allah consciousness. Our Muslim children feel nauseous at the mention of the word, “pig”. But what would be the accomplishment of a book in which the hero is a `Pig Farmer’? Undoubtedly, it gradually erodes the repugnant sensitivity ingrained within the Muslim child. In this manner, various un-Islamic values are made acceptable by means of literature and books, whilst the Islamic teachings frown upon them.

Therefore, the correct selection of books for the literature syllabus is crucial. However, if due to Departmental Regulations one does not have a choice, then it is essential that the Educator presents the lessons with an Islamic bias, flavour and perspective, clearly outlining the un-Islamic aspects and values.

The Islamiaat Syllabus must comprise each of the following:-

1. Qur`aan Recitation (The Arabic script)

2. Fiqh

3. Practicals: Wudhu


Ghusal }

Kafn } of the deceased


4. Sunnats: The day to day living style & Du`aas of our Nabi (sallalaahu alayhi wasallam)

In addition to these subjects, the commentary of selected verses of the Qur`aan and selected Ahaadith should be taught. Further, enlightenment of Islamic values, morals and development of love for Islam should be included. It is imperative that properly qualified Ulama teach the Islamiat subjects.

The Fourth Requirement: Segregation

As far as possible Islamic schools should not be Co-ed. However, if circumstances constrain one to establish a co-ed school, then it is essential that there is stringent segregation of the genders. There should be SEPARATE facilities, such as the following, for the males and females (both learners and Educators):

1. Entrances into the school;

2. Entrances into the class rooms;

3. Playing areas;

4. Tuck shops;

5. Partitions in class rooms that separate the boys from the girls;

6. No class to be left unattended, i.e., without an Educator;

7. During change of periods, all male learners to wait outside till the arrival of the next teacher who would lead them into the class.

8. Communications between male and female learners prohibited, even between biological siblings within the school premises;

9. Communications between male and female Educators to be conducted in the Principal’s office with the female in the ladies` cubicle.

10. In an emergency if a male Educator needs to communicate with any female Educator, or vice versa, then such discussion should be within the earshot of the learners;

11. Parents/teacher communication should be by appointment, taking place in the office with the females seated in the ladies’ cubicle, out of sight.

12. Female Educators teaching boys over the age of 12 should compulsorily wear a niqaab for the entire duration of that lesson. Likewise also, female learners that are approaching pubescence or are mature, must compulsorily don a niqaab whenever they are being instructed by a male Educator — irrespective of how old or pious he may be.

13. Also provide separate Staff Rooms for the male and female staff.

The Fifth Requirement: Uniforms

Although for the EDUCATORS there is no need to be prescriptive over the colour of their clothes, nevertheless (as role models) the following are not negotiable:-


(a) Sharee Beard – at least one fist length on all sides;

(b) Wearing of a Kurtha that extends beyond the knee;

(c) No garment to flow beyond the ankle;

(d) No coloured contact lens, earrings, bangles, plaits or pony tails.


(a) Cloaks with burkhas and niqaab;

(b) No coloured contact lens;

(d) No make-up save for mendhi on the hands only.


Similar to the elements above for Males and Females respectively. In addition, a colour for their uniforms can be specified.

The Sixth Requirement: Sports & Excursions

Children need to play. Sports often develops confidence and loyalty within learners. However, even in sporting activities there should be no intermingling. Also, too much of time must not be spent on sports and sporting activities to cause love and addiction for it. Learners could be taught some martial art, e.g., Karate, Judo and proper use and handling of firearms.

EXCURSIONS: Educational excursions can be undertaken provided the following points are borne in mind:-

1. Adolescent girls or those approaching maturity should only be included with their mahrams.

2. Female Educators must also be with their mahrams.

3. Excursions must be ventured only for educational objectives or for teaching some life skills, and not just for fun and pleasure.

The Seventh Requirement: Government Standards

Compliance with the various Government Legislations and Regulations is necessary as long as they are not contrary to the Shariah.

The Eight Requirement: Du`aas

It is essential to seek the help of Allah for the smooth running of the school, and also for Divine Guidance for maintaining very high academic standards.

The Ninth Requirement: Trustees

The Trustees should be compatibly like-minded with similar temperament and ability to work together amicably. Avoid appointing as Trustees people who are not regular with their Salaah and are free thinkers. Experience has shown that too many Trustees do not make for the smooth running of any organisation. At the helm of the organisation, both at the Principal’s level and also the position of Ameer or Chairman of the Trustees, should be a pious Alim with a high measure of Taqwa, tolerance and also well grounded in both the worldly as well as the Islamiaat sciences.

The Tenth Requirement: The Infrastructure

The building and the layout of the edifices, playfields, etc., should be planned and constructed in such a way so as to accommodate the segregation of the genders and also be conducive to impart quality education.

Every effort should be made to impart such education that will enable our learners to hold prime positions in the job market and yet be Muslims in their approach to life and also appearances.

In short, any Institution that claims to be ISLAMIC should never deviate from the norms and injunctions ordained within the Shariah.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti E M H Salejee

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This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.