Up at 3:30am and had to be in class at 3:50am, yes many of us sobbed at this time of the morning whilst waiting for the water to warm up for wudhu. Others rushed through it with out even thinking, some were there so long it was a total routine.
I grab my desk and sit in my place and open to my ‘Sabaq’ trying to brush it up before 4:10am when Moulana will walk in and we have to give Sabaq. I manage to brush up my page and close my eyes and read it off by heart, just then I hear the click of the old steel class room door and Molanas shoes on going into the wooden shoe racks, I huge shiver goes down my spine and many other students alike.
We begin lining up for Sabaq, Yaseen and Aadil were always the first to give Sabaq. They usually gave the most Sabaq, upto 3 or 4 pages of flawless recitation. I usually was the the 4th in line. Always hoping that the sound of the key opening the little cupboard were the stick was kept is never heard untill I’m done with Sabaq, because once it comes out it doesn’t go back in untill 7am.
Our classes continue till fajr salaah after fajr, Moulana would give us some naseehah ( advice) mainly pertaining to living your life as an upright muslim, fighting your nafs and desires till your very last breath etc, I always looked forward to this time as it was beneficial and interesting. By this time we done with Sabaq and Sabaq dhor and start learning dhor for later classes, Molana usually would go home after fajr unless he wished to teach ‘mishkaat’ book taught in the 5th year aalim course, classes would run till 7am. I eagerly awaited this time as my stomach used to start growling out of hunger, as Molana Naeem tabs the desk, signaling that class has terminated I rushed to put my desk in its place and Quran in the shelf.
It was mandatory to perform ‘salaah ul ishraaq’ as a person would get the reward of one accepted hajj and umrah, so I would proceed to the area in the masjid were the morning warm sun shorn bright and offer my salaah, on completion rush to my room, make us my bed and just then I hear Aaqil screaming ” Jogee it’s your turn to sweep” oh no!!!! I almost forgot. It was also mandatory that we make up our rooms and each room mate gets a chance to sweep. I do all my chores and run as fast as my little legs could carry me to stand in line for breakfast.
It was mostly oats porridge and sometime maltibela, I loved the creamy oats and a old Madrasa trick was to add chocolate Nesquik to it tasted awesome you should try it some day!!
I ate my porridge and have my cup of tea clean my bowl, and show it to ML Naeem, this was compulsory that after every meal we needed to show it to sheriff, oops I mean Molana Naeem.
Ml Naeem was the eldest student and most beloved student of our principal, jokingly we all addressed him as sheriff, he had to make sure things are done right and reported back to main Molana.
I hurry back to my room, take a quick glimpse of the time “thank god still 15 minutes before 8am classes can commence” I grab my toothbrush and towel and hurry to the showers on the other side of the building, complete all of that and back in class in time for ‘Sherrif’ to take roll call.
Classes commence, we are paired up for dhor and the Aalim boys start with their classes, on completion of dhor we start with reading our next days Sabaq, this classes would last upto 11am.
There after we would break to learn some ‘beshti zewar’ which means heavenly ornaments, authored by the great Sheikh Hakeemul Ummah Ashraf Ali Thanwi RA, till 12….
Then my favorite time came, time to hit the sack and snooze, we’d sleep untill 2 at 2:15pm was Zohar jamaat.
Our whole time table drawn up by our beloved ustaad was in place to make us responsible young men, it was said to us time and again, ” you are not here to become hafiz, that is by the way, you are here to become a responsible young man” yes many titled our institute a ” military madrasah” but it produced such up right scholars that they shine bright in whichever corner of the world they reside.
Coming back, after Zohar it was lunch time, I little difficult time for me, as I was a fussy foodie, but nontheless i managed throughout my madrasah career. Classes commenced strait after lunch till salaatul asr.
After salaatul Asr was a happy time the home made biscuits came out ‘chevro’ my mom gave me came out some had sweets and chocolates as we gathered on the field for some gym time, and later a good game of football which was void of any panelties, throw ins, free kicks, off sides and even corners. Our ustaad even structured our play format, the reason for all the basic laws of football taken out, I shall explain later.
Let’s not forget at this point sheriff was not asleep but rather quite attentive to see no swearing or fighting or display of anger takes place.
After a good game I hit the shower an return to classes 15 min before maghrib , and yes you guessed right, Sherrif is there already, initially I thought he was perhaps a Jinn who can move so fast.
Molana would come in and stroll up an down reciting Quran loud till prior to azaan, I was always lucky to be appointed by Molana to give the azaan, which he always praised me about.
On completion of salaah we used to have 1 and a half hours of classes in this time hifz boys had to learn Sabaq and Ml Naeem was like I hawk on us during this time.
Thereafter supper was served, supper menus were mostly cool unless ‘Apa’ was having a bad day.
Back to masjid to prepare for esha and once esha was over another half n hour of classes to learn Sabaq dhor….
That was basically our unchanged daily routine for 6 weeks non stop, and break for a week holiday and another 6 weeks and break for a weekend this was the pattern. Weekend we were not allowed to leave madrasa premises, parents had to come visit us there from 2 pm to 4 pm.
At this point you must be wondering ” YOU DAMN RIGHT THAT WAS MILITARY MADRASAH”
I’d breakdown every aspect for you as to why we had to do what we done….
We had to make our beds and sweep the room thus making every student responsible from a young age so that he does it at home and help out in his own house one day.
The gym class was mandatory for reasons of jihad or like our ustaad used to say ” if someone touches your wife will you just stand and look? ” and a fit healthy body helps the mind grasp faster.
The soccer we played was void of all the laws for the simple reason our ustaad said was that we do not imitate the west in anything we do many ahaadith in this regard about, you will be with whom you follow etc
The waking up at 3am main reason was every student will get a chance of reading tahajjud and after 3 years of hifz and 6 years aalim course, 9 years of tahajjud it’s a very well established habit in your life.
Ramadaan was spent at madrasa after Ramadan was holidays, out beloved ustaad said that by spending Ramadan in a deeni environment, ibadah becomes easy and at the same time all the baaligh student would get a chance to perform taraweeh, madrasah consiste of 25 students and 8 taraweeh venues and each venue completed the entire Quran twice in Ramadan this would be impossible had we been at home.
Islaah and self reformation was the basis and foundation of the institution. My ustaad was the khadim of the great Moulana Maseeullah khan Saheb RA and was later made a khaleefa of the late HAZRAT HAKEEM AKHTAR SAHEB RA. An ardent follower of the sunnah in every detail.
Who every spend even a day at the institution learnt something he’d never forget, every student was made to feel like our Ustaads own son.
Hazrat would embrace us every now and then and at every turn we were given advices worthy to be written in gold.
All the students that studied at مدرسه مفتاح العلوم and under the tutorship of Hazrat Moulana Mufti Goolam Hasan Saib Saheb may u stand proud as every one of you know that for whatever you are today it was through Hazrats tawajjuh and special attention and Allahs mercy.
May Allah take the madrasah from strength to strength and bless Molana and his family and all the helpers in the institution Ameen
MADRASAH MIFTAHUL ULOOM IS BASED IN DE DEUR SOUTH AFRICA