So called Islamic schools

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Q: Kindly favour me with your reply to the following queries: 

  1. Is it competent and permissible in terms of the Shariah fiqh regime for a disbeliever (kaafir) to be appointed to the position of principal or head of an Islamic institution? Having regard to various verses of the Quran, including but not limited to those in Surah Maaidah,I was always of the view that the Shariah proscribed such an appointment.
  2. Is it permissible in terms of Shariah for an Islamic institution to observe a period of silence at an assembly of its students as a mark of respect for a disbeliever who recently died?
  3. Is it permissible in Shariah to for an Islamic school to honour a disbeliever on the occasion of his birthday by singing of ‘happy birthday’ wishes and greetings at an assembly of the school population? 


A: Generally institutes are Islamic just in name. Nearly all Islamic institutes have kaafir teachers and the entire staff are comfortable with this. They have portraits of kaafirs and the entire staff are quite comfortable with this. On the so called open-days there is absolutely no respect for Islamic purdah, be it on the stage or ground. There is no respect and consideration for this. Then the act that Nabi (sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) had cursed – photography – is the order of the day; then where is this an Islamic institute. You rather call these types of institutes ‘private institutes’ and not Islamic. When some of the authorities of these institutes were confronted, their reply was that how else are we to acquire zakaat, lillah and other funds to run the institute if we do not use the name ‘Islamic’. Many a times when there is an excursion or an outing then music is played. Islamic banks also have women who appear in the front who are semi-naked; and all this then goes under the auspices and blessings of Islam.

In principle, they are not Islamic institutes. It is like any other ordinary private institute. Hence, this type of behaviour should not sound as something strange, like you would have this practice in a government or in any other school. So when this takes place here it should not be a thing of surprise.

And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.


Answered by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)