Requirements of being a Maktab Teacher

Question: What does a maktab Apa need to know in order for her to qualify to teach children in a maktab?

Answer: A maktab Apa does not need to be a qualified Aalimah. However, she will require to at least have the basic Deeni knowledge which is as follows:

  1. How to recite the Qur-aan Shareef fluently with Tajweed.
  2. Hifz of all the Surahs from Surah Duha to Surah Naas as well as Surah Yaaseen and Surah Mulk.
  3. Memorise the dua kitaab
  4. Have good knowledge of Fiqh, Aqaaid and History
  5. She must know how to make wudhu, ghusal and Salaah correctly
  6. Basically she must know the entire maktab syllabus

Together with the above she must also have knowledge of the following;

  1. How to teach Qur-aan, Surahs and duas
  2. How to teach Practical wudhu and Salaah
  3. How to teach Fiqh, Aqaaid and History
  4. How to manage a classroom
  5. How to manage little children
  6. How to manage admin records like a register, planner, etc.

For this she should attend a teacher training program or spend at least two-three months in the classroom with a qualified experienced Apa. She should also have the qualities of taqwa, ikhlaas and honesty. Her piety and righteousness is what will rub off on the children and make them practice Deen Insha Allah. And Allah knows best

Ta’limi Board (KZN)

Eating Duas

Q:  In the Ta’limi Board (KZN) dua kitaab, it is written that the dua before eating is

بِسۡمِ اللّٰهِ وَعَلٰي بَرَكَةِ اللّٰهِ

And after eating is

اَلۡحَمۡدُ لِلّٰهِ الَّذِيۡ اَطۡعَمَنَا وَسَقَانَا وَجَعَلَنَا مِنَ الۡمُسۡلِمِيۡنَ

 i.e. with the “a’la” and the “min” as highlighted above. We have been told by some Ulama that this dua is incorrect and the dua is supposed to be read as

بِسۡمِ اللّٰهِ وَ بَرَكَةِ اللّٰهِ

And after eating is

اَلۡحَمۡدُ لِلّٰهِ الَّذِيۡ اَطۡعَمَنَا وَسَقَانَا وَجَعَلَنَا مُسۡلِمِيۡنَ

i.e. without the “a’la” and the “min”. For a number years, we have been reading these duas in this particular manner. Recently it has been brought to our attention that this dua is incorrect. Please explain, May Allah reward you.

A: We have been inundated with this question in the past and have given it much thought. Recently, when Shaikh Awwaamah (daamat barakaatuhu) visited our shores, we asked one of his students to pose the following question to him and advise us in this regard.

Question posed to Shaikh Awwamah (db): More than a century ago, Muslims from India migrated to South Africa. There were not much Ulama present at that time and people had come over with whatever books they learnt from their elders and Mashaaikh. Books like Behishti Zewar (page 589) and Munaajat-e-Maqbool (page 67,68) of Hadhrat Moulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi (rahmatullahi alayh) and Ta’leemul Islam of Hadhrat Mufti Kifaayatullah Saahib (rahmatullahi alayh) (page 251, 252) were in vogue at that time and people learnt the basic tenets of Islam from the books of these great luminaries. These books contained the necessary masnoon duas which we all read upto this day. (reference can be made to the original books). Reference for these duas were made to Al-Hisnul Haseen of Allamah Muhammad Jazari (rahmatullahi alayh) (Page 310, 312). Hence Ulama as well as Non Ulama would recite all these duas in this particular manner.  Now that there are many Ulama studying the Sihaah Sittah etc. they have come across the narration in Nasai Shareef that the dua is read without the “ala” and the “min”. This has since become an issue as to which is the correct way of reciting the dua. Please advise us as to which method is correct.

Answer of Shaikh Muhammad Awwamah (db):

  1. It will be correct to read the dua in both the manners mentioned above.
  2. If someone reads it with the “ala” or without the “ala” both ways will be correct.
  3. Since the reference is given to Allamah Jazari (RA) who is a great and renowned Muhaddith, it is sufficient to attribute the narration to him.
  4. Furthermore reading the dua with the “ala” or “minal” does not change the meaning in any way neither does it affect our aqeedah and belief in any way.
  5. Shaikh further mentioned that in Al-Hisnul Haseen the reference that is given is Nasai Shareef whereas if you open Nasai Shareef you will not find the dua mentioned there like it is in Hisne-e-Haseen. Shaikh says that there are 8 editions of Nasai Shareef. Here in South Africa we have seen only one edition. He says that he has seen three editions. It is possible that in one of the other editions this dua is mentioned in this manner which is where Allamah Jazari (RA) may have taken it from.

It must not be because of an academic discussion, people lose their confidence in our elders and feel that our elders have taught us the dua incorrectly.

This may also cause much confusion amongst Ulama, Non-Ulama, parents, children, etc. whereas this is not something that is against the Shariat that needs to be urgently corrected and changed.

In essence it is correct to read this dua in both the manners. And Allah Ta’ala knows best.

How to Work with Weak Learners

Q: Assalamu alaykum warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh. In the grade O class there is a student that finds recognising zabr, zer and pesh very difficult. Can Moulana please advise what should be done with him? In the grade 2 class there is a student that cannot learn anything at all. It takes him very very long to learn and he keeps on forgetting whatever he learns. Can Moulana also advise what should be done with him? Jazakallah khair ahsanal jazaa

A: Muhtaram. Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu. I make dua that you be well.

Many a times in a maktab you have students of this nature who cannot learn and comprehend for some reason. We should try our best to still teach them even though they may be extremely weak. Their presence in the madrasah is better than being out in some other evil environment.

These weak children in our makaatib are actually a source of great blessing for us. The Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) says, “Innama tunsaruna wa turzaquna bidufaaikum” Allah Ta’ala’s help and sustenance descends on account of these weak children. Many a times, it is these weak children who later on in life become such stars of Islam that they will make our names shine in this world and the next.

The following are some ways we can adopt that may be beneficial for us to reach the child:

  1. Take out time every day and make special dua for him by taking his name.
  2. Visit his home and request his parents to assist in teaching him at home. If his parents are not in a position to teach him then asks some neighbour or anyone else in the community to help him.
  3. Give out some sadaqah every now and again, even if its a small amount, on his behalf requesting Allah Ta’ala to remove any blockages that may be hindering his progress.
  4. Try to allocate some special time out of maktab time to give him special attention.
  5. Show him lots of love and attention from your heart. This will help to make him to open up to you.
  6. After giving him his sabak in class, pair him up with a bright pupil who may help him learn his sabak.
  7. Always use encouraging words to lift his self-esteem. Never ever discourage him.

It is mentioned that Hadhrat Imaam Shafiee (RA) once sat with a student and explained one masalah to him 78 times until eventually he understood it. In this day and age, this is our challenge, to be able to work with such children.

May Allah Ta’ala make your task easy for you and crown your efforts with success. Aameen.


It was noticed in the last examination (2023) that pupils are struggling with fluency in Qur-aan Shareef.
Below are some tips from experienced teachers that will Insha Allah help us improve the fluency of Qur-aan reading in our maktabs.


  • When the pupils come to class, make them sit in a group and recite the lesson 5-10 times before testing them.
  • Thereafter test each child in the class. The other pupils must follow in their respective Qur-aans.
  • After testing the pupils, if you find that a child is still not fluent in the lesson, group him up with another bright pupil and make him recite the same lesson another 5 times. Remember that your take back is extremely important. The child must know the lesson properly before going forward.

NOTE: All pupils in the grade must be on one sabak. Pupils must not be on different sabaks.


  1. Read out the entire lesson to the class word for word. This must be done at least three times.
  2. Make the learners read out the sabak after you.
  3. Thereafter make one pupil recite the NEW sabak out aloud correcting all the mistakes. (Have a new pupil to recite each day.) Correct any mistakes immediately. Do not allow even one mistake to pass you.
  4. Thereafter, make the children sit in their groups and read out the new lesson 5-10 times.

NOTE: Teachers must not use the cell phone in the class especially when listening or teaching the sabak. If we are paying attention to our phones we will not be able to pay attention to the child’s reading.


  1. Introduce a system of sabak, sabak dhor and dhor for Qur-aan reading. [as done in the hifz classes]
  2. After the sabak is complete, pupils must now read the last two days’ lessons. You do not have to test each child the entire lesson, rather, test them randomly focusing more on the weaker pupils.
  3. Once this is complete, the teacher must now test them their back lessons (dhor). There has to be a systematic revision program. Start the revision program from the beginning of the year’s work at an average of half to one page per day depending on the grade. This continues until we reach the present lesson. Once this is completed, we start from the beginning again. This system is similar to the system adopted by those teaching hifz of the Qur-aan – viz. sabaq, sabaq dhor, and dhor. (so you have your current lesson, the last three days lessons, and revision from the beginning).
  4. Teachers must insist on pupils to learn their new lesson at least 5 times, sabaq dhor at least 3 times, and dhor at least one time before coming to class. All this must be done at home – not just before madrasah starts or just before the Qur-aan period.
    Remember: There is only one way to improve fluency, and that is with repetition. And repetition is ensured when the above system is adopted. Note: The key is quality and not quantity. If a learner is taught the first five paras strictly and thoroughly, there is no reason why he/she cannot read the rest of the Qur-aan correctly on his/her own.


  1. Keep a good rapport with the parents of the children. Most of our work can get done if the parents of the children are cooperative.
  2. Use The Madrasah Diary. Each day’s sabaq, sabaq dhor, and dhor must be clearly written in each learner’s diary and parents must sign it daily only after the learner has learnt the work as instructed, as well as the number of times instructed. Parents must be advised on how to teach the children at home.

Q: Does the Ta’limi Board prefer us teaching the Yassarnal Qur-aan or the Towards reading the Quraan?

A: The Ta’limi Board (KZN) generally encourages the teaching of the Yassarnal Qur-aan. However it does not discourage anyone who is teaching the ‘Towards reading the Qur-aan’ or any other qaidah, provided the Mu’allim/ah has mastered the art of teaching it. If any mu’allim/ah is teaching it well and the children are coping with it, then there is no problem in teaching it. The main purpose of any qaidah/primer is to get a child into Qur-aan.

Q: Should the Qur-aan lessons be written on the board?

A: In grades one to four, Qaidah/Qur-aan lessons should be first written on the board. Pupils must first be taught from the board. Thereafter they should be made to read from the Qur-aan.

Q: Is it necessary for the teachers to write the lessons on the board for grades 5-7? 

A: Only one aayat or about five lines should be written on the board. Thereafter the rest of the sabak should be taught from the Qur-aan Shareef directly.

Q: Is it necessary to group the children for Qur-aan or is it okay to have them on individual lessons? 

A: It is extremely essential to group the children in each grade. In order to improve Qur-aan recitation, one will have to have all the children in one group.

QWhat if all the pupils cannot manage being in one group? At times some learners do not have the capability to all be in one group.

A: Ideal would be to have all the children in one group. However at times you may have a few or many weak learners in the class. In that case the class could be broken up into two groups. One with the fast learners and the other with the slow learners. However the goal must be to slowly wean off the slow learners and join them into the A group with the fast learners. 

Q: I have only one weak learner in my class. What should I do with him?

A: Such a child could be made to learn at his/her own pace. You do not have to keep him/her in the same group.

Q: I want to bring my grade 5 learners in a group but they are all in different sabaks. Some are in 5th para, some in 10th para, some in 20th para. What should I do in such a case? Can I bring them all to one level. 

A: There is no problem to bring learners ahead or putting them behind. However if you are going to put any learner behind, first inform the parents that you will be putting him/her back and the reason for doing so. Explain to them the need to read with tajweed and how this system will help their child. Many parents will understand after they are properly explained.

Q: At times parents complain that their child has the potential of moving ahead. They insist that we should push them forward rather than sticking to the sylaabus. What should we do in such a situation? 

A: It is best to ask someone senior person at your Madrasah to set up a parents meeting and discuss this issue with them. Explain to them that a structure for Madrasah ta’leem has been put in place and every child has to follow that structure even though they may have the potential to move much faster than the rest of the class. The situation is the same at school. If a child is in grade one and has the potential of doing grade three work, the parent will not go to the school and insist that the child must commence the next years work because he/she has the capability. They will have to follow the syllabus and the curriculum that the school has layed out. In the same manner at Madrasah a curriculum has been designed for each grade and learners will have to follow the designed curriculum.

Qur-aan teaching takes lots of effort and skill. Insha Allah if the teachers focus themselves correctly they will be able to improve the Qur-aan recitation. The greatest joy for a maktab teacher is to see his/her pupils reciting Qur-aan correctly. Comparatively other subjects are much easier to teach and can be rectified very easily. Improving Qur-aan recitation is a long arduous task which takes much tact, effort and dua. However the reward is indeed very great in the sight of Allah Ta’ala.

Q: What is Imaani Muzaakarah and how does it work?

A: Imaani Muzaakarah is a discussion on Imaan for the children in the Makaatib. Their tongues need to become moist with the talks of Allah Ta’ala. With the passing of time the reality of Imaan would insha-Allah enter, then permeate their hearts, resulting in success in the Aakhirah

The OBJECTIVE of the Imaani Muzaakarah is to in-still the reality and love of Allah Ta’ala in our hearts and the hearts of the children of the Ummah, to gain the Ma’rifat and Muhabbat of Allah Ta’ala, i.e. to know who Allah Ta’ala is.

How is it done?

Basically there are two parts to our Imaani Muzaakarah:

1. The Daily Reminder

Below are the main points of the “Imaani Muzaakarah” which the pupils need to repeat daily. A “Daily Reminder”.  A short slot, maybe the last five minutes of class time can be allocated for the Daily Reminder.

  • Alhamdulillah, I am a Muslim.
  • I will live and die as a Muslim, Insha Allah.
  • Only Muslims will go to Jannah (paradise).
  • Jannah is forever.
  • It has rivers of honey and milk.
  • We will have gardens, palaces and servants.
  • We will never get tired, hungry or angry.
  • Jannah is full of happiness and goodness.
  • We will get whatever we wish for in Jannah.
  • Allah Ta’ala has blessed me with Imaan
  • I believe in one Allah and in Nabi Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam as the last messenger of Allah Ta’ala.
  • Imaan is my ticket to Jannah.
  • I love Allah Ta’ala and Allah Ta’ala loves me.
  • Allah Ta’ala is full of mercy and forgiveness.
  • I obey Allah Ta’ala in the way shown to me by Nabi Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam.
  • Allah Ta’ala is Khaaliq, (The Creator) – Allah Ta’ala created everything, the sun, moon, stars and birds. The sky, earth, mountains and animals. Allah Ta’ala created you and me and everything we see.
  • Allah Ta’ala is Raaziq, (The Provider) – Allah Ta’ala gave us food to eat and water to drink. Allah Ta’ala gave us eyes, ears, nose and a mouth; tongue to talk and feet to walk. Allah Ta’ala gave us whatever we have.
  • Allah Ta’ala is Maalik, (The Owner) – Allah Ta’ala owns everything. Nothing belongs to us. Everything belongs to Allah Ta’ala. Our shoes, clothing, houses and cars all belong to Allah Ta’ala. Allah Ta’ala takes it away whenever he wants. Allah Ta’ala gives and forgives, we get and forget. We need to prepare to meet Allah Ta’ala. With Salaah, Qur-aan, Zikr and Dua, we will get closer and closer to Allah Ta’ala.
  • Why do I come to Madrasah? I come to the madrasah to learn about Allah Ta’ala and His messenger, Nabi Muhammad Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam. I come to learn and practice what Allah Ta’ala wants from me at every moment of my life.

2. Weekly Discussion

Together with the Daily Reminder, a supporting discussion needs to be presented to the pupils once a week. The theme of this discussion should be from the Qualities/Names of Allah Ta’aala. One Quality/Name should be discussed for one entire term (about 3 months). There after another Quality/name should be discussed for the next three months and so on. This discussion can be in the form of a short story, some activity, or just some food for thought, or even present questions to the class in order to get some feedback and response from the students to see what they are thinking. As we said, this discussion should take place once a week. Maybe for the other days just allude towards what was discussed for that week. But the above Imaani muzaakarah Daily Reminder  needs to be repeated daily.

To get much content to discuss for 2-3 months will be challenging for one person, so an easy way to do this is to give all the teachers some long term homework to do. They must research and look for ideas, stories, write ups, activities, explanations, etc and present it to a senior Aalim of the madrasah, who can go through it, put it together and make up the weekly discussions.

Remember, this is just and idea or a guideline. Let us know what you think and please share your ideas with us.