40 Something in Madressa

Have you considered attending Adult Madressa Classes? Munira Allie tells us about her personal experience of madressa growing up and why she has chosen to attend again as an adult.

I was five years old when my mum first sent me to madressa. I wanted to go because my neighbour who was a few years older was attending our local madressa. So I thought it would be fun. Every day at 15:30 I’d promptly walk with my neighbour to class beaming with pride as I was among the youngest. My happiness was short-lived. The first Khalifa I had was really sweet and kind but she left after only two months.

The second was what I described as a “monster” bearing in mind that I was only five. In retrospect, I realised she was just really strict with a low threshold for children who struggle to grasp Arabic. I learnt this is a real thing only recently so it wasn’t just me being “dyslexic”. But her brass ways prohibited me from learning or opening up. Suddenly madressa became a chore and I didn’t want to go. I had the same teacher for three years straight. So for three years I was always in trouble because I could not read my sabaq (lesson) properly. Madressa was my nemesis and I was finding it laborious.

Finally, I got a new Khalifa and she taught me as if I was a first-time student. I still however despised going to madressa because I felt inadequate against my peers who were ahead of me in Quran. I read like I was in Grade 1 and they were in Grade 2. It was 90mins every day that I wished would just pass by quickly.

When I got to Grade 6 a few of my friends were at a different madressa in the area. I managed to convince my mom to make the switch. However by the time I finished Grade 8 I was struggling to keep up with school work and madressa work. There weren’t classes in my area on weekends and well the internet wasn’t around (not in my house). And so I dropped out.

Fast forward nine years later I got married. My late husband was a hifz student with the late Sheikh Fuad Isaacs. Some Sunday morning Sheikh would pop over to our place as these two were friends. He’d always have a lesson to teach without actually preaching it if you know what I mean. In those little lessons, I realised that there is still so much that I didn’t know.

I realised that if my husband could complete his hifz at such at “late-stage” in his life then I could go back to madressa. Unfortunately, life happens and things don’t always pan out as you plan. My kids were born, I became a widow and all my priorities shifted until almost three years ago when I met Ustadh Nezaam Luddy. He started teaching my children one on one classes at home. Because of our home set up it meant that whilst he sat down in the dining area to teach my boys, I was in the kitchen but my ears were always in the dining room. In those sessions, I refreshed my own knowledge and learnt many many new aspects of Islam, things I had no idea about.

Last year when Covid-19 broke out the Ustadh took his classes online. Soon he introduced adult classes and asked if I’d join. It’s literally an hour on a Wednesday night where he presents topics in a contemporary and easy to understand manner.

Islam says seek knowledge from the cradle to the grave. Attending these classes have broadened my understanding of Islam and how to apply it. It’s forced me in ways to become more Deen conscious. I feel empowered in a way that I can’t explain and whilst my kids attend classes a session before me, I can now confidently answer some of their questions if and when they arise without referring to the standard answer of “because Allah said so”. Growing up, that’s how my mom would respond. But we are raising a much more inquisitive generation with burning questions and so we should be armed with the right answers.

These adult classes are convenient because they’re online. There are others institutions that offer face to face or there are places where you can attend short courses. We don’t all know it all as even my Ustadh would say that there are things he needs to ask his Sheik. I welcome this journey of discovery and understanding. It’s also been an eye-opener in terms of separating tradition from religion.

I asked the Ustadh to ask the rest of the class about their experiences and feelings about adult madressa classes and we are all in consensus:

  • we’re learning about things never taught to us before
  • we’re refreshing our knowledge about the basics but even those topics are delved deep into
  • for those of us with kids, it’s helped us to be more aware and implement the fundamentals of Islam especially in how we raise them
  • has only impacted us positively

So if you are like me, wanting to increase or refresh your knowledge then join an adult madressa class. There is no shame in saying I didn’t know that or I was never taught that. We make time for everything else in life and simply making salaah five times a day, reading Quraan, fasting and doing the basics is just not enough. I am by no means perfect and I live a far from perfect life but that was one of the very reasons I started attending classes.

If you’re interested in attending online or face to face madressa then here are some details:

Madrassah Tul Tatwir: Ustadh Nezaam Luddy 0826586522
IQS Online: ML Yusuf Kathrada onlinemadressaclasses@gmail.com
New Leaf Madressa: http://newleaf.co.za/
Madina Institute: https://madinainstitute.ac.za/part-time/
Madrassah Anwaarul Islam: https://madrasahanwaarulislam.com/madaaris/
Madrassah Ihyaa US Sunnah: http://www.onlinemadrasah.co.za/index.php

By Munira Allie
Project Manager by day, everything else all of the time. A wannabe baker and passionate chef who loves an adrenalin rush cos it makes me feel most alive. I love fast cars and daydream about superbikes. I have a predilection for all things nature and love capturing the Almighty’s majestic beauty even more. If I had a statement to describe my life it would be “she turned her can’t into can and her dreams into plans”.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  • Assalaam
    i have read your inspiring read and would like to know whether these classes (madressa) will be done online or face to face. Im residing in Cape Town