The Three Stages

The eleven year duration of studies at Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah is divided into three stages known as marāhil (sing. marhala). Aljamea’s four degrees are conferred at different points throughout these three stages. Although the comprehensive curriculum spans eleven years, students who wish to specialise outside of Islamic studies are granted leave from the Academy generally at the culmination of the fourth or seventh year. Quranic studies, jurisprudence, history, literature, philosophy, modern languages and literature, as well as empirical and social sciences are taught at all the stages. The table below illustrates the three stages and describes the key elements of each stage.

Many students appear for local and international examinations concurrently with their studies at Aljamea. Despite the demands and requirements of the Academy, Aljamea encourages students to obtain secular academic credentials and often provides full grants for students to pursue further studies once they have graduated from the Academy. The Surat and Karachi branches of Aljamea were one of the first educational institutes in South Asia to offer the International Baccalaureate Organization’s (IBO) curriculum and exams with students having appeared for them as early as 1982.

StageNameDuration (Years)Key Elements and ObjectivesDegree Conferred upon Completion
 1 Thaqāfat ʿĀmmah (Culture Generale)  Years 1-4
  • Introduction to Fatimi jurisprudence, history and literature; namely the works of Syedna al-Qadi al-Nuʿman RA such as Sharh al-Akhbār and Daʿāʾim al-Islam.
  • Comprehensive study of Natural and Social Sciences with reference to the Quran Majīd and the history of scientific discovery in Islam.
  • Basic level proficiency in Arabic.
  • Intermediate level fluency in English.
  • Students are expected to commit the entire Quran Majīd to memory by the end of this stage. They are simultaneously provided instruction regarding the art of recitation as well as other Quranic arts and sciences.
Mubtaghi al-ʿIlm (Seeker of Knowledge)

Comparable to: Associate Degree in Islamic and Arabic Studies
ThanawiyaʿĀmma/Secondary School Certificate (SSC)/GCSE

 2a al-Jāmiʿīyya al-Ūlā (Collegiate I) 3 (Years 5-7)
  • Students expand on topics covered in stage 1. Other jurisprudential works of Syedna al-Qadi al-Nuʿman RA are introduced and studied in depth.
  • The philosophical and disputational works of the renown Persian philosopher and scholar Syedna Ahmed Hamiduddin al-Kirmani RA are introduced at this stage. Students engage in critical study of these primary Islamic texts.
  • Detailed study of Social Sciences, namely economics and sociology.
  • Application of knowledge through community service.
  • Proficiency in Arabic and English.
Al-Faqīh (The Jurist)

Comparable to: Licentiate/License in Islamic and Arabic studies
Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC)/GCE A Level

 2b al-Jāmiʿīyya al-Thāniya (Collegiate II) 2 (Years 8-9)
  • The Second level of the Collegiate Level involves specialization and focus. Students major in either Literature, History or Jurisprudence and begin the groundwork for their dissertation which is due in the tenth year. Preliminary topics related to their dissertation are researched in smaller term papers written both in Arabic and English.
  • Studies of Quranic exegesis and esoteric interpretation intensify at this stage with the introduction of the 800 majālis, or lectures, given by the Fatimi scholar, Syedna al-Muʾayyad al-Shirazi RA in the Fatimid court during the 10th century CE. These works cover various philosophical, theological and ethical issues and is a vivid example of Islamic disputational writing.
  • Students choose an elective language: French, German, Sanskrit or Persian. Basic reading skills are developed primarily for research purposes.
  • Students are given a wider range of responsibilities with regards to social services and are trained in the art and science of discourse and sermon delivery. Many students are sent to deliver the nine sermons during the annual ʿAshara Mubāraka which commemorates the martyrdom of the Prophet Mohammed’s SAW grandson, Imam Husain AS.
Al-Faqīh al-Mutqin (The Competent Jurist)

Comparable to: Bachelors in Arabic and Islamic Studies

 3 Al-Dirāsāt al-ʿUlyā wa al-Takhassus (Higher Studies and Specialization) 2 (Years 10-11)
  • At this final stage, students are encouraged to become independent researchers, scholars and teachers with higher order critical, creative thinking and theorising skills.
  • Students are now capable of applying Fatimi principles to a wide variety of contemporary issues thereby addressing present-day challenges.
  • Students submit their dissertation at the end of year ten. In year eleven, they defend the dissertation in the presence of faculty members and fellow students.
  • Having honed their specialities and written a dissertation in these subjects, students are prepped and assigned a role within the community or instructed to pursue a career in a related field, or further studies in another institution.
Al-Faqih al-Jayyid (The Distinguished Jurist)

Comparable to: Masters in Islamic and/or Arabic Studies

Each of the four degrees mentioned above has seven tabaqa (classes or ranks), with Rank One being the highest. The class of a student’s degree is determined by his/her examination results as well as the quality of various extended written works, specifically the dissertation submitted at Stage 4.