Jalsahs are annual functions or ceremonies organised by Daarul Ulooms, Maktabs (small elementary madrasahs) and by even the new-fangled so-called Islamic schools. Jalsahs, while permissible if conducted within the bounds of the Shariah, have degenerated and out-lived their utility even in regard to the Daarul Ulooms (i.e.Islamic Madaaris of higher learning). Although the degeneration of these functions have reached haraam levels of Kabeerah (major) sins in so far as 'Islamic' schools and some Maktabs are concerned,

the jalsahs of the Daarul Ulooms are still overtly conducted largely within Shar'i bounds. But, the rapid deterioration in the Islamic quality of these jalsahs does not portend well for the taqwa and roohaaniyat of the Students of higher Deeni Knowledge. The emphasis which Madrasah (i.e. Daarul Uloom) authorities

and students place on jalsahs clearly display the nafsaaniyat underlying these functions. These are ceremonies and functions to which Ustaadhs and Tullaab (Students) look forward with great fervour and relish. In fact, jalsahs have become integral parts of the quest for Islamic Knowledge. While in former days, true

students of Islam who later became great Ulama-e-Rabbaani, dreaded jalsahs, and to a greater degree was their dread for Dastaarbandi or the graduation ceremony when the turban is tied on the student's head to signify him 'qualifying' as an 'Aalim'. Today the situation is spiritually lamentable. Students look forward eagerly to be 'capped' in the Dastaarbandi ceremony. Why are they so eager to be 'capped'? Riyaa (Show) and Ujub (self-esteem) are their motivations.

The word 'qualifying' is on the lips of almost all 'final' year students. It is heard of them relating the term 'qualifying' to themselves. Even if they, themselves, do not mention it, they puff up with ujub when someone says that they will be 'qualifying' this year. Little do these inexperienced students understand that their true search for Ilm commences when they leave the portals of the Daarul Uloom. A Seeker of Ilm remains a Taalib (Student) his whole life if he has an understanding of the meaning of ILM-EWAHI (Knowledge emanating from Qur'aanic Revelation). The student is nowadays diverted into deceptive and spiritually destructive channels right from his student-days in the Madrasah. The Daarul Ulooms are no longer institutions which cater for the moral purification and spiritual elevation of Students. In approach and attitude they have adopted the methods and ideas of western secular schools and universities. The emphasis is on zaahiriyyat. The Baatini dimension - Islaah-e-Nafs - has been practically excised and in fact, is frowned on. Our Daarul Ulooms are rapidly sinking to the spiritually barren levels of degeneration which is so conspicuous in the Arab 'Islamic' universities, e.g. AlAzhar and Medina university.

The degree of affinity between our Daarul Ulooms and the liberal, anti-Sunnah institutions of Middle Eastern countries have reached the level where the supposedly Muqallid Hanafi Ulama of the Daarul Uloom have absolutely no qualms in inviting Ghair Muqallid sheikhs and Ulama of liberal institutions to 'chair' the

jalsahs of the Daarul Uloom. As long as an internationally known dignitary graces the jalsah, his conflicting ideology seems to be of no concern. Since the presence of the 'famous' sheikh adds colour to the jalsah, he must be invited and procured at all costs. Thousands – tens of thousands of rands are squandered to call

overseas personalities to grace these jalsahs. If the Ulama organisers of these jalsahs do some honest soul-searching (Muraaqabah), they will not fail to discern the subtle maladies of Hubb-e-Jah and Riyaa in their excessive concern for jalsahs and personalities to grace the jalsahs. In all this fanfare and excessive concern for annual jalsahs, the greatest losers are the Students - the Ulama of tomorrow. The Ulama of the Madaaris should take pity on their students. They should not ruin the Baatin of the Students by preoccupation with

Zaahiriyyat. A Daarul Uloom should not be an institution bereft of Roohaaniyat. On the contrary, it should diligently pursue the ways and methods of enhancing the moral and spiritual development of Students. For this achievement, Islaah-e-Nafs (Moral purification) is imperative. Minus, islaah, the Aalim is bereft of roohaaniyat. Without having achieved moral purification, the Student of Deen will NEVER gain the Noor of Ilm.

All activities which conflict with Islaah-e-Nafs should be banished. Among such activities are the present-day jalsahs which are ceremonies giving impetus to the nafsaan attributes of riyaa, ujub and kibr which are firmly entrenched in almost all Students - Ilaa ma-shaa'Allah. Daarul Ulooms will not be any poorer in any respect if they abandon these wasteful and spiritually ruinous functions.



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