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What is the difference between a university style islamic education versus a traditional one?

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

I am interested in seeking good Islamic education but I’m not sure where to look. There are so many options. My question is: What is the difference between a university style islamic education eg Al-Madinah or Al-Azhar versus a traditional darul Uloom?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

May Allah reward you for your noble intention to study the sacred sciences of Islam (‘ilm).

Allah has blessed this Ummah with blessed institutions and righteous ‘ulama in many places and countries.

There is good (khayr) in all our institutions that strive to revive the sunnah of Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) and teach the aqidah (creed) of the Ahl al-Sunnah Wal Jama’ah.

A traditional dar al-uloom is distinguished by the following:

1.) Focus on a deep understanding of Islamic Law through the rulings of the mujtahid Imams. This is because their era was closer to the time of Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) then that of the hadith scholars. For this reason we give preference to the view of the mujtahid Imams over our own opinion and that of others in learning, teaching and research.

2.) An emphasis on implementing the sunnah through practical application of hadith in daily life. This way, the foundation of a dar al-uloom education is not confined to an abstract study of books, rather it aims to revive the way of Rasulullah (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) in all aspects of one’s life.

3.) Inculcating the quality of taqwa in each student. This goes hand in hand with implementing the sunnah. Just as the student is expected to convey the sunnah in his external actions, dress and behavior, he is also expected to have fear of Allah in every action, talk, or ruling he gives. This consciousness is expected to be instilled in him in his student days so he never forgets that he will be responsible before Allah for what he communicates to the masses regarding Islam.

4. There are a number of traditional dar al-ulooms in Canada, USA, UK, & South Africa. Here are a few you can contact for further information:

Dar al-Uloom (Canada): www.ducanada.org

Dar al-Uloom Madania (USA): www.madania.org

Dar al-Uloom Nu’maniyyah (South Africa, Mufti Ebrahim Desai Saheb teaches here): www.darululoomnumaniyyah.net

Dar al-Uloom Azadville (South Africa): www.dua.org.za

Dar al-Uloom Zakariya (South Africa): www.duz.co.za

Dar al-Uloom Bury (UK)

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Sohail ibn Arif,
Student Darul Iftaa
Chicago, USA

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

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

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