Founders and e-board members of MADRASA RSO

MADRASA RSO Provides Islamic Education for Everyone

April 15, 2024 Written by Meghan O'Mara | Photo by Meghan O'Mara

As president of the UD Muslim Student Association (MSA), senior chemical engineering major Kamal Muhanna attended a Riwaq Institute event at Drexel University hosted by their own MSA that inspired him to establish a new RSO back on campus.

“This event particularly resonated with me due to its simplicity, engagement level and student-focused audience,” Muhanna said. “Motivated by this experience, I facilitated the hosting of two Riwaq events through UD MSA, which were very well received, to say the least. The creation of MADRASA stemmed from the increasing demand for such educational events, a domain I felt was beyond MSA’s broad scope, which aimed to serve as a communal and friendly space.”

MADRASA, which translates to “school” in Arabic and stands for Muslim Association for Development in Religious Academia and Scholastic Achievement, started forming last spring and was officially recognized as an RSO in October 2023. The mission of MADRASA is to provide education in Islamic sciences and help their members gain access to resources needed to generate literary and creative content.

“MSA focuses on arranging engaging activities for Muslims to socialize, including game nights, trivia nights, sports days and Iftars, whereas MADRASA’s sole focus is on bringing Islamic education to the academic forefront,” said Muhanna. “MADRASA is purely educational—with some recess. There are many students that attend both RSO events and are extremely grateful that they have access to two active RSOs presenting them with a variety of different activities for them and their friend groups, covering everything from fun to philosophy, which can also be fun to some.”

First-year finance major and board member Azan Khan serves as the communications coordinator for MADRASA and said the two RSOs offer a holistic experience.

“While MSA is a warm and welcoming home for Muslim students, MADRASA is the school where they come to learn,” said Khan.

In its short tenure, MADRASA has already hosted six diverse guest lectures with more slated through the end of the semester. The group’s partnership with the Riwaq Institute, a nonprofit organization that facilitates contemporary scholarship and discussions around Islamic philosophy, was crucial to MADRASA’s mission. 

“The Riwaq volunteers have been incredibly supportive, contributing significantly to our educational initiatives,” said Muhanna. “Their collaboration has greatly enhanced the quality and depth of the educational experiences we offer at MADRASA, ensuring that our members have access to authentic and intellectually stimulating material.”

Lectures provide a platform for in-depth discussions and debates on Islamic sciences, history, jurisprudence and spirituality. Because MADRASA lectures focus on academic enrichment rather than religious motivation, it is open to all students regardless of background. 

“MADRASA attracts individuals interested specifically in Islamic education, including non-Muslims seeking an academic perspective on Islam,” said Muhanna. “Our focus is on education and dialogue, aiming to offer a comprehensive view of Islamic academic disciplines in a welcoming and inclusive environment. It’s for anyone keen on exploring these subjects.”

Muhanna noted his appreciation for his fellow founders and hopes the new group will continue to grow and thrive at the University in the years to come.

“The founding members of MADRASA have worked tirelessly to establish this organization from the ground up,” said Muhanna. “Their commitment has been instrumental in creating a platform that not only fosters academic exploration of Islamic sciences, but also promotes a deeper understanding and appreciation within our University community.”

The last two events of the semester feature notable guest speakers and take place on Thursday, April 18 and Thursday, May 2. The April 18 lecture on liberalism and postmodernism will be led by Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research Director of Content Strategy and Assistant Director of Research Dr. Tesneem Alkiek. MADRASA holds bi-weekly meetings every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in Memorial Hall 127. If you’re interested in joining or want to learn more about upcoming events, connect with @udmadrasa on Instagram.

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