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Colgate University Editing Project[edit]

Hi fellow editors, our usernames our dcunningham, rdlibutti, and killernibbles. We are students at Colgate University in a class entitled Women and Religious Traditions:Islam. We are working on a project to edit the female education section of this page. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Dcunningham14 (talkcontribs) 16:09, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

Initial discussion[edit] 07:35, 24 March 2007 (UTC)The article on Pakistani religious seminaries is a good introduction to this interesting subject. It need not be merged with the article on madrasah. The spelling used in the Pakistani context represents the pronunciation of this Arabic word in Urdu. 07:36, 24 March 2007 (UTC)

Anybody with some knowledge of this subject want to take a crack at this? -- Zoe — Preceding undated comment added 12 April 2003

The last paragraph,
"Recently, some people have come to see madrassas in a negative light, amid accusations that many of them indoctrinate students with extremist views. Some have accused extremist madrassas and "Deobandi seminaries" of fostering the Taliban's reactionary policies during its rule in Afghanistan. In reality almost 65 percent of the Taliban officials and workers at a lower level had never attended any religious school. Most of the faculty members at Kabul University graduated in the United States of America or in European countries and gained years of experience abroad."
claiming that madrassas have been unfairly maligned as a means of indoctrinating innocents with fundamentalism, strikes me as opinionated and without any apparent basis. The now dead link which was supposed to corroborate it is just an editorial from someone who is clearly a proponent of Islam. Here's the editorial:
Here is a link which clarifies what the media is saying is the problem with SOME madrassas - they are Saudi-funded indoctrination tools.
Clearly, it's fine to say in the Wikipedia entry something like "Not all madrassas are bad.", but it currently draws kind of a biased picture. Particularly the last sentence is just a plainly defensive non sequitur. When Saudi-funded madrassas are labelled a threat, no one is thinking of Kabul University.
I'm going to echo Zoe's comment (no idea when it was made) and ask for someone better informed to make judgments here. -- drw, 2004.Oct.07 —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) on 7 October 2004

The current entry says: "In reality almost 65 percent of the Taliban officials and workers at a lower level had never attended any religious school." This may be a deceptive statistic. Might it be that almost 65 percent of the Taliban officials and "workers at a lower level" (whatever that refers to) never attended any school at all?

According to the CIA Factbook entry on Afghanistan, the literacy rate (age 15 and over can read and write) was, as of a 1999 estimate, 36% for the total population and 51% for males. I'd guess that most Taliban who attended schools, attended madrassas.

From the current Wikipedia entry on Taliban: "The most influential members, including Mullah Mohammed Omar, the leader of the movement, were simple village ulema—Islamic religious scholars, whose education was extremely limited and did not include exposure to most modern thought in the Islamic community. Taliban is the Pashtun word for religious students."


"Most post-invasion Taliban fighters are new recruits, drawn again from Pakistan's madrassahs (madrassah means "school" in Arabic). The types that are churning out Taliban fighters are more traditional Quranic schools."

Based on all of the above, I am going to remove the final two sentences of the last paragraph of the curent Madrassa entry. ("In reality almost 65 percent of the Taliban officials and workers at a lower level had never attended any religious school. Most of the faculty members at Kabul University graduated in the United States of America or in European countries and gained years of experience abroad.") The first sentence goes beyond biased to, in my opinion, deceptive. The second sentence is irrelevant. And both were taken from an opinion piece (the link for which I will rejuvenate and relabel to give people the opportunity to see an alternative point of view).

There is a place for some replacement sentences giving a rebuttal to the relevance of madrassas to terrorist recruitment, but I will leave that to someone who is sufficiently knowledgeable. -- drw, 2004.Oct.09

While there is controversy on an issue, I think this encyclopedia should note that there is controversy, perhaps cite references to pro and con auguments and pass on without trying to decide one way or the other - "Wikipedia is not a place to promote points of view" . Andy Macdonald 21:41, 12 September 2005 (UTC)

'It is commonly argued that wherever the governments failed to provide general education to its common citizens, private religious establishments succeeded to take the lead to fill this gap and administer the educational system of the country according to their own religio-philosophical understanding. In this context, a madrasah herewith is referred as an Islamic school for Muslims, just as a parochial school for Roman Catholic children or the yeshiva for orthodox Jews.

Pull the other one. Catholic and similar schools teach religion only as a subject. A madrassa is far closer to a seminary than a school. I am going to edit this after I get some discussion on it. Jim —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 26 August 2006

Again, the term Madrassa means school. It refers to any and all schools. SOME madrassas would be far closer to a seminary than another type of school. If necessary, point out which type of mardassa you are describing, but to state that A madrassa is far closer to a seminary than a school is incorrect.--Ff11 (talk) 15:49, 11 November 2008 (UTC) 07:19, 24 March 2007 (UTC)This is not a biased article. The author has given an introduction to religious seminaries in Pakistan. This is an important subject so the article should be retained. I feel that the spelling of madrasah used in this article reperesents the way they are pronounced in Pakistan where urdu and Punjabi both do not use the final arabic phoneme as represented in the Arabic spellings.==Page move== I believe that 'Madrassa' should be redirected to 'Madrasah' (as this would be a correct transcription from Arabic!) Does anybody object? David Haberlah 10:05, 7 September 2005 (UTC)

=> well, why not to 'madrasa'? there is no h-sound at the end, as most readers would expect from your suggested spelling (although both are acceptable transcriptions). but the present 'madrassa' is wrong. ARRE—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) on 2 October 2005

I suggested 'Madrasah with 'h' since the word ends with a Tamabutah and not an Alif/ Alif-ya. David Haberlah 04:33, 29 November 2005 (UTC)

=> I think you mean "taa' marbuTa." There's no "Tamabutah." Dumpendebat 05:53, 23 January 2007 (UTC)

One clear difference between the western and eastern traditions, as cited by Steven Pinker, is the concept of Acedemic freedom in the west. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:48, 20 August 2008 (UTC)


Madrasah (Arabic: مدرسة) is the Arabic word for school. Any school, not just religious schools, Google's language tools try copy & paste مدرسة then translate from Arabic to English it'll read school. The other way around school translates to المدرسة the extra two letters mean (the), s it translates to the school.--The Brain 15:36, 23 November 2006 (UTC)

This entire article needs to be deleted or revamped. Madrasah literally means school in English; it is NOT an English word, nor should it ever become one since it is a direct tranlation. Having an article for "madrasah" separate from "school" points out the negative connotations behind the word. If someone wants to write an article about Islamic Schools, it should be titled accordingly. This is simply propagating more negativity towards the Middle East. "Encyclopedic content must be verifiable" ... --Kbitterman (talk) 02:58, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

Weasel Words[edit]

Added the weasel words template to the Criticism section, which has phrases like "frequently deemed as" and "has been criticized", without citing sources for the criticism or judgment. I imagine the weasel-worded statements are accurate, but I wanted actual sources when reading the section. Althai 01:46, 28 February 2007 (UTC)

Hotbeds of Islamic terrorism[edit]

I know I'll be burned for saying this, but the little bit towards the end acknowledging the role schools play in creating and nurturing terrorism (and terrorists) is simply inadequate. It is quite disappointing to see that this website routinely sacrifices truth for the sake of "political correctness". And what I'm saying is not just "Western perception" of schools. The facts speak for themselves. Take David Matthew Hicks for example -- the guy goes to Pakistan to study Islam in a school and couple of months later he ends up actually "studying" AK-47s and bombs instead, in terrorist training camps in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir and Afghanistan! Or look at the cases of the countless other terrorists to have been apprehended and their history of "crossing over" into terrorism. Whether you like it or not, the FACT remains that schools, today, are nothing but just breeding grounds for Islamic fanaticism and recruitment centers for terrorists. I strongly suggest that Wikipedia stop its current practice of appeasing or being "politically correct" and concentrate on presenting truthful articles on various subjects, instead. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:18, 20 November 2007 (UTC)

In the above paragraph, I changed the words 'madrassa' used by the author, to 'school' for a direct translation. Re-reading his propaganda it seems to now hold absolutely no weight. How laughable. :D

The idiot is still making edits, that's what bothers me. There are 1 billion Muslims in the world (and countless madrassas), all humans the equal of everyone else. Unfotunately there are far too many cretins like Lewis (talk) 11:34, 3 February 2008 (UTC)
You're still willfully missing the point. A couple of years ago I walked past a church and its adjacent madrasah in Damascus, and heard chanting coming from inside. It was a novena. They were saying the rosary (in Arabic of course), which the nuns had apparently taught to the children there in their Roman Catholic madrasah. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:17, 19 July 2008 (UTC)
If someone is trying to drag politics into academic scholarship, like what is doing, then I would consider that to be a form of 'political correctness' in itself. Jagged 85 (talk) 01:09, 21 September 2008 (UTC)

"Misuse of the word"[edit]

This section seems to be denying the very strong religious flavor of madrasah teaching. That flavor is presented in detail in the rest of the article. Certainly it can be said that the word just means "school." Certainly not all madrasahs teach radical Islam. But even more certainly, there is a very heavy connotation of religious education in the word, and most madrasahs have Islamic teaching as the foundation of their curriculum. This section, for some reason, seems to paper that over. Lou Sander (talk) 15:13, 15 October 2008 (UTC) Incorrect. Madrassa is the term for school. ALL schools, religious (a minority) or not (the vast majority), in many countries.--Ff11 (talk) 15:53, 11 November 2008 (UTC)

What about the rest of the world?[edit]

The article has information about contemporary madrasahs in India and Pakistan, but nowhere else. Are there any in Africa? The Middle East? The Americas? Lou Sander (talk) 14:42, 16 November 2008 (UTC)

Yes, there are SCHOOLS in the places you mentioned, same way there are "ecoles" in France, and "Escuelas" in Spain and Mexico. (talk) 03:11, 5 February 2009 (UTC)


The image appears to have been digitally altered. The "grass" at the bottom looks cloned, and parts of the dirt path seems to been drawn with a Photoshop brush. I have no reason WHY someone would want to edit it, but there you go. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:35, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

Yes, it really does look very strange. Also, it should be explicitly noted, that the image Storks_samarkand.jpg‎ is an early color photograph. It can create confusion, since color photographs from around 1912 are out of the ordinary and a generic viewer could suspect inconsistency. White rotten rabbit (talk) 20:30, 6 January 2010 (UTC)

Inns of Court[edit]

It is most unlikely that the Inns of Court in London have any basis in Islamic madrassahs. For the simple reason that Islam was unknown in England essentially until the C19, and in the spirit of the times Islam would have been treated with extreme hostility. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:45, 30 March 2009 (UTC)

While your overarching point ("it is most unlikely that the Inns of Court in London have any basis in Islamic madrassahs") *might* be correct, some of the assumptions on which that view rests are certainly wrong ("Islam was unknown in England essentially until the C19" and "Islam would have been treated with extreme hostility"). Such interests were evident of course from the late-sixteenth century on--through diplomatic connections with the Ottoman Empire, as well as serious philological study in Holland especially, and through Dutch-trained scholars in England (at Oxford)--and grew in sophistication and intensity in the seventeenth century. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:25, 31 August 2010 (UTC)


Can soemone please reword the following excerpt from the article:

Dimitri Gutas and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy consider the period between the 11th and 14th centuries to be the "Golden Age" of Arabic and Islamic philosophy, initiated by Al-Ghazali's successful integration of logic into the Madrasah curriculum and the subsequent rise of Avicennism.[5]

Two thirds of the scholars, scientists, intellectuals and philosophers from the Golden Age were Iranian Muslims who also spoke Farsi and some of them even only wrote in Farsi, Ghazali himself wasn't even Arab. If someone can reword it because it seems to imply that everything was Arab and Islamic. This has nothing to do with nationalism but I find that this is a recurring theme in the academic world, everything is credited to Arab/Arabic/Islamic and the Iranians are not credited. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:52, 4 November 2009 (UTC)

Strange sentence removed[edit]

The article said: This is mainly to enable the creation of fictitious associations between any one who was a student in any of the Arabic speaking countries and being a fanatic of some sort.[citation needed]
This seems unlikely to me. Nobody goes around making words with specific objectives, and if someone does, he cannot expect anyone else to follow his usage of the word. The idea that words in the common language can be injected for a clear and specific reason is improbable to me. (talk) 09:07, 16 January 2010 (UTC)

Madrasas = university?[edit]

I remove the following claim

If a university is defined as an institution of higher education and research which issues academic degrees at all levels (bachelor, master and doctorate),[1] then the first "universities" were the Jami'ah founded in the 9th century.

on two grounds. First, Makdisi, although he speaks at length of the Islamic roots of scholasticism, does not make such a comparison, so this is WP:synthesis. He does not mention a "master" comparable to the modern degree and nowhere does he speak of a "bachelor".

Second, in another article he makes it plainly clear that madrasas and universities followed very different trajectories. He concludes:

Thus the university, as a form of social organization, was peculiar to medieval Europe. Later, it was exported to all parts of the world, including the Muslim East; and it has remained with us down to the present day. But back in the middle ages, outside of Europe, there was nothing anything quite like it anywhere.

Source: George Makdisi: "Madrasa and University in the Middle Ages", Studia Islamica, No. 32 (1970), pp. 255-264 (on 264) Gun Powder Ma (talk) 23:06, 20 March 2010 (UTC)

Controversy section & NPOV[edit]

As is, the article reads like a purist, mainstream Islamist's advertising for his or her faith. It's hardly a secret that militant terrorist networks use some religious schools to gain support, funding and recruits. To stick your head in the sand and ignore this fact in the article is to do the reader a disservice and only serves to alienate reasonable, informed readers who come here expecting mostly neutral, broadly encompassing information on subjects - but are forced to conclude that mainstream muslims would rather just ignore the issue and hope it goes away on its own. As the "Controversy" section I just added will no doubt be deleted by someone angry that their faith is even remotely and indirectly connected to bad things, here is what I added, with much more available to anyone who bothers to google the words "madrassah" + "terrorism":

Militant jihadists have used fund-raising for religious schools as a ruse to finance terrorist activities. For example, "officials with Lashkar-e-Taiba's charity wing, Jamaat-ud-Dawa, travelled to Saudi Arabia seeking donations for new schools at vastly inflated costs – then siphoned off the excess money to fund militant operations." Pär Larsson (talk) 00:33, 30 May 2011 (UTC)
It is no secret that the ultra-Islamistic Taliban were recruited in the 1980s by the Pakistani intelligence service from Pakistani madrasahs, but this should be mostly addressed at Madrassas in Pakistan and, anyway, I'd advise only to use the most erudite and WP:NPOV references for such a topic. In general, a mosque school is simply a place for the study of the Quran and ancillary subjects, their recent misuse by militant fundamentalist is a perversion but not at all the norm. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 00:48, 5 June 2011 (UTC)
Seems like the people editing this page would like to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that terror and hate has nothing to do with what this page is about, as indicated in the tendency to assign importance to the most literal and "pure" translation of the word, to the complete and utter and above all, deliberate, ignoring of what the word "madrasah" has come to mean outside of the closed world of Muslim thought. Kind of like Christians holding on to the idea that "Crusade" has no connotation of rape, murder and pillage, but really just means "struggle" and "working hard for a goal" - with no connection whatsoever with the massacres of innocent townspeople who happen to be standing in the way of European fanaticists and power-hungry Jerusalem-seekers. Pär Larsson (talk) 12:20, 1 September 2012 (UTC)


The section Madrasah#Madrasah_and_university seems to be devoted to arguments on whether the madrasahs were universities are not. While we should have a brief discussion on the debate, this section should be used for describing in detail what the so-called madrasahs/Islamic "universities" were like. While briefly comparing to European universities is ok, this article is not about European universities, and any discussion of them here should be kept to a minimum. Talking too much about European universities in this article is a violation of WP:UNDUE.VR talk 06:29, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Thanks for providing the citation to Darleen Pryds' essay in Courtenay et al. She opens by explicitly challenging Rashdall's traditional understanding of the university based on its outgrowth from guilds, noting that southern European universities such as Naples have a different origin. It's an important -- if controversial -- position that needs to be incorporated into Wikipedia's discussions of medieval education. --SteveMcCluskey (talk) 22:02, 29 January 2012 (UTC)
Agree that it is an important discussion. But perhaps it should be moved to University. I opposed a discussion of the madrasa-university of Fez at University of Bologna, and thus I oppose giving too much space to European universities in this article.VR talk 15:03, 30 January 2012 (UTC)
I am a bit confused. On the one side you forcefully argue on multiple talk pages that madrasahs were universities, trying to change many article to this effect, but on the other side you want the only place where this question is actually discussed in some detail to be curtailed. Pretty condradictory. If madrasahs are claimed to be universities by the odd author, then the right place for this discussion is naturally the madrasah article, just as if some people claim Michael Jordan to be a woman, the right article is obviously "Michael Jordan", not "woman". Gun Powder Ma (talk) 02:03, 2 February 2012 (UTC)
I am not opposed to such a discussion, as long as it does not involve UNDUE weight being given to European universities. It is the height of POV, to first claim that only European universities, not madrasahs, were universities, and then to flood the article on Madrasa with information on European universities.
(In response to your analogy: trans-sexuals can certainly be discussed at women, so as to clarify whether they constitute women or not).VR talk 05:13, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
We can also create a separate article devoted to the issue "Madrasahs and Universities". There is a precedent for having articles comparing two different but related topics. We could also create an article on "Medieval institutions of higher learning" where we can discuss madrasahs, European universities and Chinese institutions and then compare and contrast them. Also see my proposal here.VR talk 05:58, 5 February 2012 (UTC)
I'm going ahead and moving some of the material to Medieval Muslim universities. If anyone has other thoughts, do let me know.VR talk 04:06, 7 February 2012 (UTC)
We are letting you already know, you just continue to ignore it. I restore the version which was long stable, adding your additions. Gun Powder Ma (talk) 15:16, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Are you using "we" to refer to yourself or multiple individuals? There were two main problems with that version, and I've specified them in the discussion below. Appreciate if you could address those concerns.VR talk 17:01, 8 February 2012 (UTC)
Also please see this. I'll happily discuss my edits with anyone. And if after such discussion, the consensus is against my edits, I'll accept that. But don't revert my edits if your only objection is that there is "no consensus", when in fact the discussion hasn't event happened.VR talk 17:17, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Academic consensus[edit]

Saying things like "The most commonly accepted view is that the Islamic mosque school was an institution distinct from the medieval university" needs to be backed up with a source that actually recognizes the dispute between scholars but concludes that there is consensus. This is what is required in WP:RS/AC. Otherwise, we state the scholars and their opinions without bias.VR talk 02:30, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

What a source does not say[edit]

It is original research for users to say "this source does not say A, thus A is likely not true." WP:NOR forbids us "to advance a position not directly and explicitly supported by the source". If any disagree, we can take this to Wikipedia talk:No original research for further clarification.VR talk 02:39, 8 February 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. Editors desiring to contest the closing decision should consider a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: move. Cúchullain t/c 17:34, 3 October 2012 (UTC)

MadrasahMadrasa – per WP:COMMONNAME in English language, I also know the topology of this word in Arabic language, but GoogleBooks Ngram Viewer comparison (Madrasahs-Madrasas-Madrassas), GoogleBooks Ngram Viewer comparison (Madrasah-Madrasa-Madrassa) Takabeg (talk) 09:18, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

  • Also note that the article was previously at "Madrassa" until it was moved without discussion back in '06. —  AjaxSmack  00:58, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
  • Support per singular and plural ngrams, and per the middle position of this Anglo spelling among Arabic/Urdu/Farsi/etc. In ictu oculi (talk) 05:35, 21 September 2012 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page or in a move review. No further edits should be made to this section.

Bouncing around on the floor?[edit]

Why do kids in a madrasa bounce around back and forth on the floor? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 07:32, 6 December 2014 (UTC)

madrasa (school)[edit]

i speak arabic and the word madrasa is also used to refer to regular schools — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:31, 27 August 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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Assessment comment[edit]

The comment(s) below were originally left at Talk:Madrasa/Comments, and are posted here for posterity. Following several discussions in past years, these subpages are now deprecated. The comments may be irrelevant or outdated; if so, please feel free to remove this section.

How can the Arabic word "School" be criticized like this? This is just silly and it is propaganda to the utmost extreme I have ever witnessed regarding anything of this magnitude. Rupert Murdoch and Co. fool the west once again with the simple substitution of a foreign word into English, followed by repetitive propaganda, to establish fear about an unknown entity into the average media controlled citizen's mind. Yet what is even more silly, is this form of propaganda and illogical B.S. is somehow entertained on a scholarly encyclopedia? If you want to criticize school, then criticize SCHOOL: Ridiculous.

Last edited at 17:35, 3 October 2012 (UTC).

Substituted at 22:47, 29 April 2016 (UTC)

  1. ^ Makdisi, George (April–June 1989), "Scholasticism and Humanism in Classical Islam and the Christian West", Journal of the American Oriental Society, 109 (2): 175–182 [175–77], doi:10.2307/604423