Developmental Strategies of Arabic in Madrassa Education in Assam: A Study

Dr. M. Nurul Amin Sheikh

This paper contains the development strategy of Arabic in Assam. The Madrassas of formal education have always failed to develop with the qualitative requirement of teaching of Arabic in the state of Assam. Both the Assam govternment aided madrassas and the Qaumi Madrassas do not have sufficient Arabic proficient teaching, learning methods to develop Arabic now being embarked upon. This study traces the attention to the qualitative collaboration and information of teachers-learners and also raises the suggestion to improve the systems pertaining to the teaching-learning methods in madrassa education system. This paper is critically analyzed through survey. This paper makes an attempt to analyze the problems, objectives and course content of the madrassas on the basis of current context.

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Unlike Assamese and English, Arabic belongs to the family of Semitic languages. Arabic is one of the most popular and rich languages and a large number of people speak Arabic around the globe. In fact, we care in learning of this language and we acquire a good skill of knowledge of it and became component to serve in our society.

Madrassa education emphasizes basically the translation and interpretation of the holy Qur’anic commentary and Hadith in addition to Islamic jurisprudence like Figh, Aqaid and Usul etc. except a little of Arabic literature i.e. Muallaqat and Maqamat have been introduced in F.M and intermediate classes which are classical pattern in senior madrassa. Thus, we can be seen spending and achieving the highest degree from these madrassa students who are approximately unable to write and speak Arabic and unknown to Arabic literature. After completing their degree from this kind of madrassa education, they always face difficult problems. Without any sort of teaching-learning process lack of Arabic is not undertaken as an important subject. As a result, negative impact lays down in the society for their deficiency of education particular in Arabic. Mainly they settle after completing their degree in the local masjid as an Imam or as a teacher in a Qaumi Madrassa to opt madrassa education for the students and for their livelihood and to expand the theological knowledge of the Qur’an and Hadith among the Muslim people, it is correct but the students and people will understand easily the holy Qur’an and Hadith because they do not emphasize and endeavour to develop the Arabic language.

Review of Literature
I have concerned regarding this problems and therefore I have surveyed in some districts of Assam namely Barpeta, Dhubri, Goalpara, Kamrup rural, Morigaon, Darang, and Nagaon, to know the current problems and situations of madrassa education in Assam through field survey. However, the sufficient data/ information have been collected through survey on the grounds of Govt. aided and Qaumi Madrassa education Assam.

The main sources of data collection on instrument in the survey through the field survey were detailed in the questionnaire conducted, and known from senior classes’ learners from different Madrassa of Assam. Through survey I acknowledge the conditions in which institutions Arabic is taught to the students that it does not make sense to look for trends across the board. In order to investigate the survey to ask also about provision for Arabic in madrassa, they represent the situation in their context concerning the place of Arabic in both Qaumi and government madrassas of Assam. The survey and the present data are available in book forms and articles.

1. To trace the teaching history of Arabic in Assam
2. To study the present status of teaching Arabic at the primary to higher level of Madrassa
across the state.
3. To analyze the depth of curriculum and syllabi in Madrassa.
4. To show the teaching method in classes by observing the classroom process in the Madrassa education.

Data and Methodology
Both the descriptive and survey methods have been used for the present study. Both primary and secondary data have been collected and analyzed in this study; the survey data I have collected through teachers and student perspectives, the Arabic language preferences from some Maddrassa were analyzed with few queries in mind. In the teacher questionnaire they were asked to know about the Arabic language which they taught in the institutions, which is important for students to learn. The students were also asked the need and importance which they used for communication in and outside the classroom. Moreover, these present data also have been analyzed for this study. The students, teachers and authorities of Madrassas were conducted and responded to involve many cases; I received more useful information and reliable sources. The questionnaire contained many question concerning data / information, facts and issues.

The important variable is the role played by Arabic in particular institutions since these may affect whether the Arabic is to be found widely in use outside and inside the Madrassa or not that teachers and students may hold of the language.

For this study hypotheses have been tested to know how the present problems about the provision for Arabic is not developed in order to investigated in which Arabic was started at Madrassa in many contexts which might have carried into formal introduction of Arabic at still generation. Responses were given to know the situation in their context concerning the place of Arabic in both govt. aided and Qaumi Madrassa education system. Arabic is assigned to more standard and to improve their course curriculum, to solve the teaching-learning problems and methods, and teaching strategies have been imposed through hypothesis.

6.0. Result and Discussion
6.1. Arabic Studies in Assam
The people of India particularly of Assam were not familiar with Arabic initially through the advent of Islam where it could be familiar. Arabic studies in Assam mainly had been introduced since the 20th century, first in Madrassa educational institutions and then in schools colleges and universities. In Assam in ancient period Arabic only was taught in Masjids and the Maktabs. During the British rule many M.E. Schools and High Schools were established in which institutions Arabic was placed in their course curriculum and the first college of Assam like Cotton College where Arabic was introduced for the first time.

The informal Madrassa education emerged in Assam with the help of Shah Ziauddin who said to establish Madrassa initiations. The first Madrassa was established in Badarpur. Dar ul-Ulum Bagbari was one of the early formal Madrassas established in Karimganj district. Dar ul-Ulum Baskandi was another early Madrassa which was established in 1897. The Govt. Madrassas, Pre-Senior, Senior and Title Madrassas were affiliated and categorized under state Madrassa education board as they played significant role. These Madrassas specially are wide spread and more accessible in the rural areas of Assam. In an impoverished state like Assam more than 30% Muslim of population lives below poverty line.

6.2. The Madrassa Education System
In Assam there are only two types of Madrassas: one is Government Aided Madrassa and another is Non-government Madarssa (Qaumi). The Government Madarassas in Assam are of four categories (i) Pre-Senior Madarassa (ii) Senior Madarassa (iii) Title Madarassa and (iv) Arabic College. A Pre-Senior Madarassa has classes starting from V- VII, which is also included in Senior Madarassa. Secondly, the Senior Madarassa has 10 classes starting from V (Pre-Senior) to F.M (Fadil ul-Marif), a graduate degree of Senior Madarassa. Thirdly, the title Madarassa which includes both the graduate and post graduate classes and fourthly, the Arabic College starts from classes V- M.M. (Mumtaz ul-Muhaddithin) a post graduation degree. Both the Arabic College and title Madrassa’s curriculum and categorization are almost same.

The second type of Non-government Madarassa (Qaumi or Khariji) is much rich and higher than the Government aided Madarassa of Assam. The Qaumi Madarassas are of three types: (i) Almiya and Fazilat Madarassa, (ii) Banat and (3) Hafizia Madarassa. In Qaumi Madarassa syllabus consists of the Qur’an (Tafsir ) Hadith and lslamic Jurisprudence with the language of Urdu and Arabic. The Madarasat ul-Banat is equivalent to Quami Madarassa where only women are taught. The Hafizia Madarassa is only for memorizing the holy Qur’an.

In the Quami Madrassa which is for the degree of Aliya and Fazil Madrassa, the Islamic theologies such as Qur’anic commentary, Hadith and Jurisprudence are taught with the help of the Urdu language. The Qaumi Madrassa of Assam follows the curriculum of Dar ul-Ulum Deobond with some modification because these Madrassa do not have the specialization like Deobond. Meanwhile in these Madrassas students are taught all the Islamic theological books which are in Arabic medium but taught in the Urdu language which is made compulsory for the students and with the help of local language like Bengali or Assamese. The Qur’an was revealed in Arabic and the book of Islamic Jurisprudence was also written in Arabic where teaching-learning process is totally based on the local languages in the Madrassa educational scenario. They only read out the book in Arabic but their expression and meaning are always converted into Urdu and local languages without any understanding in Arabic discourses.

In Govt. Madrassa education there are three final examinations held: (i) Intermediate (ii) F.M and (iii) M.M which is held on the subjects like Tafsir ul-Qur’an Hadith and Islamic Jurisprudence (Usul Fiqh and Aqaid) in addition to history of the Mughalia Hukumat, Assamese, English, Hindi Social Studies and General Science.

6.3 Curriculum of Madrassa Education
The course curriculum of these Madrassas (Govt.) is too long not having the systemic way. The multi types of language are taught in them, like Urdu Arabic, Hindi, Assamese/ Bengali as compulsory along with the Islamic subjects. After Pre-Senior Madrassa section /level, students are promoted to Senior Madrassa level having minimum of seven years study period to complete Fazil ul-Marif (F.M) which is the final examination of Senior Madrassa. Hence, there is a problem: the F.M degree is usually compared to graduation course, however Gauhati university and Assam university, Silchar does not consider F.M as equivalent to college degree course (T.D.C). But the Dibrugarh University accepts F.M as a graduate course and one can get admitted into the M.A classes directly. In these two universities F.M. degree is treated as matriculation only, as students must spend two years more in higher secondary level. The introduction of second languages like English, Hindi and the teaching of Urdu and Arabic is considered as minor languages. These are categorized as-(i) Mother tongue or regional language (ii) A composite course of Assamese/Bengali (iii) A composite course in English (iv) A composite course of Hindi and (v) A composite course in Urdu and Arabic languages.

6.4 Teaching Method
The teaching methodology of Arabic in the Madrassa education is typical method followed by our teachers particularly in Madrassa. The Madrassa education is not conscious of the appropriateness of the method of teaching-learning of Arabic. In Madrassa, Arabic literary course is not offered as a main subject and Arabic not introducing as a functional in the curriculum so the communicative skill drops out among the Madrassa education scenario.

In Govt. aided Madrassa institutions Islamic theological subjects like Qur’an and Hadith are taught in different languages like Bengali, Assamese and Urdu and general subject like Assamese is taught in Assamese, English subject in the same way is taught either in Bengali or Assamese medium. Their explanation and translation of theological subjects explain in various multi type languages system but they never try to translate and explain anything from others to Arabic and Arabic to Arabic. As a result, students are always reaching away from the proper medium of Arabic.

6.5 The Five Languages Formula in Madrass
In Madrassa, five languages are taught as first, second and third languages including Arabic and Urdu language planning for Madrassa particularly in govt. aided Madrassa. These five language formula emerged as a policy to strategy for perspectives by Madassa educational advisory board. The Assam State Madrassa Education Board (ASMEB) on education in Assam initiated the languages since the beginning and this continued to be a major concern in the curriculum until the present days. These numbers of languages are taught at various levels of classes.

Mother tongue is different from the other regional languages. Hindi is compulsory in lower classes all over non-speaking areas of Madrassas. English is taught as compulsory subject as recommended by the board, it is taught up to intermediate class. Arabic is not taught as medium of instruction or as a compulsory subject as recommended by the board all at the classes (pre-Senior to M.M). Arabic could be introduced from earlier classes to higher stage and to each individual stage to decide. Actually, Arabic is used as media of instruction at different stages of Madrassa teaching as particular language and using specific languages as composite course.

6.6 Suggestions
Both the Qaumi and Senior Madrassa should emphasize Arabic to understanding the Holy Qur’an and Hadith through learning of modern communicative Arabic. Arabic should be made compulsory as a medium of instruction in these institutions. The introduction of the Arabic language and literature both in the Qaumi and Senior Madrassa should have as compulsory subject then the students will change and they will make considerable contributions to Arabic language and literature. The Madreass education will be interested and included textbook in the Madrassa curriculum. Both the Madrassa need to change and develop a new curriculum in respect of new educational system which will help the students in the growth and development of their personality and communication skill in Arabic. Functional Arabic should be established to translate from Arabic to Urdu / English and Urdu / English to Arabic language.

Seminar and work shop should be organized on the new trends and educational environment among the students and teachers and integral development of value education system is to be established. The hidden potentialities among the learners and teachers should be removed always to keep in with interaction and consulting with the Arabic language. The teachers should co-operate with the students and genre of the Arabic language and literature. To linguistics phenomena to students are to understanding the literature to be introduced among them. To develop Arabic in Madrassa education, the Arabic grammar, rhetoric and prosody, etc. should be included in the Madrassa curriculum. They must follow the modern teaching methodology, exclude the classical pattern and modern Arabic is to be included. The book will have to be available, teacher should be well concerned on their own subject, they must have positive efficiency and to change their attitude and motivation to learn Arabic well.

6.7 Policy Implications
Appointments of Madrassa teachers are given without any additional degree like B.Ed., D.Ed. and without the pass certificate of any other needful course and competitive examination that is why quality education from Madrassa are not produced which is comparably weaker than that of the colleges and universities students. To develop Arabic it must be mandatory. If the medium is an effective one, our teaching methods will radically change from these institution and dynamic language. Being a teacher and to be an inspirational teacher, training should be mandatory to acquire sufficient teaching capabilities.

The quality teachers should be available because the Arabic language proficiency among teachers is poor. Arabic environment can also be created in Madrassa education, teacher who himself is to posses the required proficiency can create such environment. The Assam State Madrassa Education Board is to make a strong plea for curricular aims for inclusive education to equitable sustainable development. At least, the Arabic language course should be given that the learners promote concept of language education in diversity.

The contents of syllabus should be improved in the private Madrassa and govt. Madrassas and include the Arabic language which needs urgent reconsideration. The vocational course is to be introduced with an emphasis to introduce modern subjects like computer science, vocational courses mathematics and English in their syllabus and training for Madrassa teachers is to be made compulsory which will impart modern concepts and knowledge.

6.8 The Government’s Initiatives
From the beginning of 20th century Assam Government stated to establish and affiliate some Madrassas across Assam. Madrassas have to import both the general and religious education. During this period the Govt. Madrassas have been developed partially in Assam with the help of Assam Government. These Madrassas have been provincialized since its opening. Many Madrassas are also to be provincialized yet.

The Assam government has to plan to develop Madrassa education. Total 401 Madrassas have been provincialized by the state government and 305 Madrassas have been recognized by the board, which have got financial assistance from the government. The state govt. has to give emphasis on computer education and training for teachers and students of Madrassas. Modernization of Madrassa education should undertaken by the government. Financial scheme is to be provided time to time along with other facilities.

7.0 Conclusion
Arabic in Madrassa education has its place in the holistic and broader plan of language where it has supplementary role only. Language policy in Madrassa in Assam has been adopted to the changing demand of people over the period and to the present. Arabic is to be compulsory as second language as an instrument for progress. Public’s demands are not being met meaningfully to change the systems. Proficient teachers need to fulfill the demands.

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4. Chakraborty, Archana. History of Education in Assam. Delhi, 1989.pp. 3-5.

5. Das, Dr. Lakshahira. Education in Assam. 1978. Pp 4-5.

6. Mohanty, S. B. Educational Technology. New Delhi, Kalyani publishers, 1986. P. 19, 25-6.

7. Mohamed, Prof. K. M. (Chairman, Editorial Board.). Development of Arabic Studies in the
North- East: Problems and Prospects. Published by Deptt. Of Arabic, Assam University,
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8. Tazimi, Md. Yahya. Sufi Movement in Eastern India. 1992, pp.83-85.

9. Data and information through field Survey.

The writer is the Asstt. Professor, Dr. M. Nurul Amin Sheikh, Deptt. of Arabic, Nandalal Halakura College, Dhubri, Assam