MUMBAI: For long stereotyped as being out of tune with modernity, many madrassas have taken to teaching its students online during the pandemic-induced lockdown. And among those who are learning include hafizs or those memorizing the entire Quran.
Madrassa Jamia Tajwidul Quran which shares space with Noor Meher School, both run under Noor Meher Charitable Trust at Malad West, introduced online teaching soon after the madrassa reopened after Ramzan vacation in June. “All our students left for home due to the Ramzan vacation and couldn’t return due to the lockdown and closure of educational institutions. We decided the students should not suffer and asked the teachers to guide students online,” said the madrassa-school founder Syed Ali who is fondly called Ali Bhai. Keeping it’s past records, this year too 10 hafizs from this madrassa-school cleared SSC exams and will soon join mainstream educational institutions. Here the students become hafiz and study modern subjects too to be able to sit for the SSC exam.
The students of hafiz course recite the portion given as homework on WhatsApp video and the teachers listen, correcting if they mispronounce a word or forget something during recitations. “We have given one hour for a class to each student. They are ready at their homes in Bihar, UP, Bengal or even in Mumbai when we video call them,” said Hafiz Aijaz, a teacher.
Since most of the madrsassa students come from very poor families, many find it difficult to afford smart phones or even find it difficult to recharge the SIM cards. Which is why over half-a-century-old Madrassa Darul Uloom Mohammadiya near the iconic Minara Masjid at Mohammed Ali Road has not restarted it’s online classes since the Bakrid vacation ended in the first week of this month.
“We carried the online classes in June and July. First week of August was vacation for Bakrid but the online classes have not resumed because some students complained of poor connectivity in rural areas and even not having the money to recharge the SIMs. We are trying to sort it out,” said Darul Uloon Mohammadiya’s general secretary Maulana Hafiz Athar Ali.
Markazul Maarif at Jogeshwari teaches English language to madrassa graduates. Its 69 students, scattered across the country, are currently learning their lessons online. Its director Maulana Burhanuddin Qasmi recalled a story of a student from Araria in Bihar which shows the zeal and enthusiasm of madrassa students to get empowered with the knowledge of English.
Qasmi said that this student who requests anonymity lives 18 km away from Araria town. Since there is weak or poor internet connectivity, the student travels to the town evey morning, sits near a room allotted by a mobile shop owner and learns English online. He goes back home in the evening only to come the next day. “We are amazed by his dedication to learn English.This will help change the perception of madrassas,” said Qasmi.

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