Ash-Shaikh H. Abdul Nazar

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H. Abdul Nazar

مرحبا بكم
في الموقع الرسمي
لفضيلة الشيخ
عبد الناصر بن حنيفة

من يرد الله به خيرا يفقهه في الدين




This contemplation begins with the recent statement made by Hon. Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister of Education in Parliament about the madrasahs in our mother Lanka. It was really heartening to note his statement that as Minister of Education he will oversee the functioning of the madrasahs. In this background I would like to place some significant facts seeking remedies under his good guidance for a grave issue madrasahs are confronted with.


Madrasahs which lexically mean schools and technically mean institutions that provide Muslim students with Islamic theological studies, were founded in our gorgeous Island in the latter part of 1800. The first madrasah was established in 1870 in Galle. That is Makkiyyah Arabic College.

The sole purpose of establishing madrasahs was and is to produce Mawlawis who can teach Muslims their religious beliefs, guide them according to the teachings of Islam, lead their prayers in mosques and conduct the Islamic faith-related rituals.

Madrasahs which have a history of 150 years in our mother Lanka grew in number to datein response to the need of the Muslim society and at present there are about 300 madrasahs in the Island.

The Islamic theological studies are taught following a designed curriculum which include 21 subjects and all these subjects are imparted in Arabic as the original sources of Islamic faith are in Arabic. This fact was the rationale behind the general reference to madrasahs as Arabic colleges. In addition to the Islamic theological studies, students are prepared to sit the G.C.E.(O/L) and G.C.E.(A/L) exams. Memorizing the Holy Qur’an in full is an academic programme carried out at madrasahs along with the Islamic theological studies and there are a few madrasahs dedicated to the memorization of the Holy Qur’an.

At the outset madrasahs were directly under the Ministry of Educationin the successive governments with due state registration and recognition as private educational institutions that serve a special purpose of producing Mawlawis. This was the practice till 1978. Afterwards, the government that came to power in 1978 changed this system and brought madrasahs under the Department of Muslim Religious and Cultural Affairs (DMRCA) which was introduced by the same government for the first time. Since then madrasahs were registered with the DMRCA.

Each madrasah is managed by a board of trustees and run with the fees collected from the pupils and voluntary donations received from them and other Muslim brethren as well. Some madrasahs have endowments. In short every madrasah is standalone.

Status of Madrasahs

The madrasahs, in my view, fall within the category of ‘Others’ discussed in the Chapter Five ‘Education System’ in the Sessional Paper No. V - 1992 of the National Education Commission appointed in terms of the provisions of the National Education Commission Act No. 19 of 1991. There are references to the madrasahs in this Sessional Paper. It is a cherished memory that Prof. G.L. Peiris was a member of this Commission.

Issue Facing Madrasahs

The madrasahs as mentioned hereinbefore come directly under the DMRCA. I am sorry to say that the DMRCA is not equipped to handle educational institutions. It is seemingly equipped to handle the Haj affairs, mosque affairs, etc. Madrasahs, being the educational institutions, badly need proper guidelines and advanced standards in terms of management, infrastructure, finance, endowments, administration, education, staff, students and the like. Such standards can only be introduced and implemented by the academia specially authorized by the Ministry of Education.What I say here is not at all meant to offend or insult the DMRCA.


Having given the above details, I humbly appeal to the Hon. Minister of Education to be kind enough to do the following: 01. Bring the madrasahs under the Ministry of Education with proper regulations. 02. Bring in standards through the Ministry of Education to standardize the madrasahs. 03. Once the standards are issued officially, give 2 – 3 years time for the madrasahs to reform themselves as per the standards.


Regulating and standardizing the madrasahs are of course indispensable.This is a long-felt need. I think that the right time has come now and I am sure that under the able leadership of Prof. Peirisas Minister of Education madrasahs will be duly regulated and standardized. Once it is done, it is his name and the name of his Government that will go down in the annals of our mother Lanka.

Hon. Minister’s favourable consideration and swift action in this regard will receive the highest appreciation of all.

I am an ardent follower of speeches, writings and educational thinking of Prof. Peirisfor well over two decades. I hope that his academic wealth gained through learning and experience throughout his life would be beneficial to mankind.

Let me conclude by wishing Hon. Peiris good health and success in his personal and public life.

H. Abdul Nazar



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