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Eaalim Institute- Muslim Sunday School

                                              Muslim Sunday School                                          

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A Sunday school is an educational institution, usually (but not always) Muslim in character.

Sunday school classes usually precede a Sunday Mosque prayer and are used to provide Islamic lessons to Muslims, especially children and teenagers, and often adults as well. Mosques in general have classrooms attached to the Mosques used for this purpose. Many Sunday school classes operate on a set curriculum, with some teaching attendees learn about Islam. Members often receive certificates and awards for participation, as well as attendance.

Muslim Sunday School 

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Due to the fact that Sunday school classes precede  noon  or afternoon prayer on the weekend., except on  Ramadan days in which  Muslims are asked to fast .

The location today chiefly refers to Quran classes for children and adults that occur prior to the start of a prayer in the mosque. In certain  Muslim traditions, in certain grades, for example the second grade or eighth grade, Sunday School classes may prepare youth to undergo a rite such as  ablution, and how to pray. The doctrine of Sunday recitation and Tajweed of Quran held by many Muslims encourages practices such as Sunday School attendance as it teaches Quran and Arabic as such many children and teenagers often return to the mosque in the late afternoon for youth groups before attending an evening prayer. United Kingdom

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In 18th-century England, education was largely reserved for a wealthy, male minority and was not compulsory. The wealthy educated their children privately at home, with hired governesses or tutors for younger children. The town-based middle class may have sent their sons to grammar schools, while daughters were left to learn what they could from their mothers or from their fathers’ libraries.[9] The children of factory workers and farm labourers received no formal education, and typically worked alongside their parents six days a week, sometimes for more than 13 hours a day.[10]

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           By 1785 over 250,000 children throughout England attended schools on Sundays.[4] In 1784 many new schools opened, including the interdenominational Stockport Sunday School, which financed and constructed a school for 5,000 scholars in 1805. In the late-19th century this was accepted[by whom?] as being the largest in the world. By 1831 it was reported that attendance at Sunday schools had grown to 1.2 million.[4] Robert Raikes’s schools were seen[by whom?][when?] as the precursors of the English state education system.[11]

           The first Sunday school in London opened at Surrey Chapel under Rowland Hill. By 1831 1,250,000 children in Great Britain, or about 25 percent of the eligible population, attended Sunday schools weekly. The schools provided basic lessons in literacy alongside religious instruction.[12]

In 1833, “for the unification and progress of the work of religious education among the young”, the Unitarians founded their Sunday School Association, as “junior partner” to the British and Foreign Unitarian Association, with which it eventually set up offices at Essex Hall in Central London.[13]

The work of Sunday schools in the industrial cities was increasingly supplemented by “ragged schools” (charitable provision for the industrial poor), and eventually by publicly funded education under the terms of the Elementary Education Act 1870. Sunday schools continued alongside such increasing educational provision, and new forms also developed such as the Socialist Sunday Schools movement, which began in the United Kingdom in 1886[14]


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The earliest recorded Sunday school programme in Ireland goes back to 1777 when Roman Catholic priest Daniel Delany – later (1787) Bishop Daniel Delany of Kildare and Leighlin – started a school in Tullow, County Carlow.[15] This was a very sophisticated system which involved timetables, lesson plans, streaming, and various teaching activities.[16] This system spread to other parishes in the diocese. By 1787 in Tullow alone there were 700 students, boys and girls, men and women, and 80 teachers. 

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The American Sunday school system was first begun by Samuel Slater in his textile mills in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, in the 1790s. Notable 20th-century leaders in the American Sunday School movement include: Clarence Herbert Benson, Henrietta Mears, founder of Gospel Light,[19] Dr. Gene A. Getz,[20] Howard Hendricks, Lois E. LeBar, Lawrence O. Richards and Elmer Towns.[citation needed]

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Philanthropist Lewis Miller was the inventor of the “Akron Plan” for Sunday schools, a building layout with a central assembly hall surrounded by small classrooms, conceived with Methodist minister John Heyl Vincent and architect Jacob Snyder.

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John Heyl Vincent collaborating with Baptist layman B. F. Jacobs, who devised a system to encourage Sunday school work, and a committee was established to provide the International Uniform Lesson Curriculum, also known as the “Uniform Lesson Plan”. By the 1800s 80% of all new members were introduced to the church through Sunday school.[21]

In 1874, interested in improving the training of Sunday school teachers for the Uniform Lesson Plan, Miller and Vincent worked together again to found what is now the Chautauqua Institution on the shores of Chautauqua Lake, New York.



Saddleback Church Children’s Building in Lake Forest, California.

In Evangelical churches, during worship service, children and young people receive an adapted education, in Sunday school, in a separate room.

Historically, Sunday schools were held in the afternoons in various communities, and were often staffed by workers from varying denominations. Beginning in the United States in the early 1930s, and Canada in the 1940s, the transition was made to Sunday mornings. Sunday school often takes the form of a one-hour or longer Bible study which can occur before, during, or after a church service. While many Sunday schools are focused on providing instruction for children (especially those sessions occurring during service times), adult Sunday-school classes are also popular and widespread (see RCIA). In some traditions, the term “Sunday school” is too strongly associated with children, and alternate terms such as “Adult Electives” or “religious education” are used instead of “Adult Sunday school”. Some churches only operate Sunday school for children concurrently with the adult worship service. In this case, there is typically no adult Sunday school.[citation needed]


In Great Britain an agency was formed called the Religious Tract Society which helped provide literature for the Sunday School. In the United States the American Sunday School Union was formed (headquartered in Philadelphia) for the publication of literature. This group helped pioneer what became known as the International Sunday School Lessons. The Sunday School Times was another periodical they published for the use of Sunday schools.[24]

LifeWay Christian Resources, Herald and Banner Press, David C Cook, and Group Publishing are among the widely available published resources currently used in Sunday schools across the country.[25]

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Sunday school teachers are usually Al- Azhar qualified people who are selected for their role in the service of moderate Islam by a designated coordinator, board, or a committee. Normally, the selection is based on a perception of character and ability to teach the Holy Quran rather than formal training in education. Some Sunday school teachers, however, do have a background in education as a result of their occupations. Some mosques require Sunday school teachers and Sheikhs to attend courses to ensure that they have a sufficient understanding of the faith and of the teaching process to educate others. Other mosques allow volunteers to teach without training; a profession of faith and a desire to teach is all that is required in such cases.

         The Muslim Sunday School is scheduled to work on Sundays. It lasts for about twelve hours, rendering a variety of activities. The highly  qualified Azhar teachers  give lessons and lectures on teaching Quran sciences, such as Tajweed; how to read and recite the Quran in the most perfect way. They also teach Tafseer; how to understand and comprehend the meaning of the verses of the Holy Quran. Also the students attending these schools listen to the legends and masters of the Quran readers and reciters, mainly the Egyptian highly esteemed ones. To have a better and clearer understanding of the Holy Quran, the students have Arabic lessons in which they learn how to read, write, listen to  and speak the language of the Holy Quran.

           For a deeper understanding, students learn Hadith, which means prophet Mohammad’s oral, practical and approved tradition. They learn an almost daily account of the things the prophet did, said,approved of or even denied and refused during his lifetime. This is called Sunna. In addition, they study a detailed account of the prophet’s life story and biography. This strengthens the ties of a Muslim junior with the Muslim roots and fundamentals.

         Students at the Muslim Sunday Schools studyny  Islamic Studies which include various branches. They have a good and deep knowledge of many islamic issues along with the above. They learn about the pillars of Islam. They learn about the pillars of Faith, Iman. They know about the history of some prominent men and women companions, Sahaba and Sahabiat. They learn about the Islamic legislature and Fiqh. Most importantly, they learn about the right etiquette a Muslim should follow to keep the trace of the prophet.

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           These schools prepare the young Muslims to adapt to living in their non-Muslim countries. They can easily have a good religious background which makes them stick to their faith, religion and be in a good harmony and in good terms with the societies where they live. It also helps them a clear, real and moderate image of the right religion of Islam.   In Great Britain an agency was formed called the Religious Tract Society which helped provide literature for the Sunday School. In the United States the American Sunday School Union was formed (headquartered in Philadelphia) for the publication of literature. This group helped pioneer what became known as the International Sunday School Lessons. The Sunday School Times was another periodical they published for the use of Sunday schools.[24]

LifeWay Christian Resources, Herald and Banner Press, David C Cook, and Group Publishing are among the widely available published resources currently used in Sunday schools across the country.[25]    

Sadiya Ahmed has been busy during Britain’s latest COVID-19 lockdown. She has produced a podcast, created a heritage photography competition, and is working on setting up a Muslim History module to run alongside the national curriculum.

It is all part of this former tutor’s aim to ensure British Muslim history takes its rightful place within mainstream British history.

“Muslims aren’t just on the margins of British society, but are part of British society,” she says.

She wants to place their stories alongside the already documented “mainstream” British history in archives, museums and academia.

“It gives our communities an authenticated representation and claim to British history, as ‘our history’, one we are evidently part of.”

It is a mission many historians say is long overdue.

There is “a popular [mis]perception that Muslims in Britain are an alien presence, people who have arrived here only recently. In other words, they lack roots, and because of that they lack ties and emotional bonds with this country”, explains historian Humayun Ansari.

“Rootedness”, Ansari says, is a “human need”.

“It is the sense of ‘rootedness’ that establishes emotional ties between people and place. Archival silences have a demoralising effect and are damaging to self-esteem.”

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Sunder Katwala, the director of British Future, an independent think-tank focused on equality, diversity and human rights, is optimistic. He believes a new generation of historians, and history that is more accessible through online sources and social media, is creating space for everyone’s history to be told.

“I think we are seeing a broadening of the stories that are being told and heard,” he says.

“British history is the story of how we, the British, came to be us. It can only fully do that job by becoming more inclusive.”

He mentions the recognition given to the 400,000 Muslims in the Indian armies that fought for Britain in the first world war, more than a century ago.

“This used to be a largely unknown and untold story,” says Katwala, “but there has been rapidly increasing public awareness of the Black and Asian contribution to the world wars, which had a much higher profile during the First World War centenary than it had before.”

Muslims have been fighting for the British army for more than a century, but until recently their story was largely untold [Photo courtesy of Everyday Muslim Heritage]

‘Our histories will be lost’

Ahmed set up the Everyday Muslim Heritage and Archive Initiative (EMHAI) in 2013 to document the history of British Muslims.

“Future generations need to understand that Muslims have historic roots in Britain that actually go back centuries,” she says.

The first Indian restaurant in London was established by a Muslim surgeon in 1810, and the first purpose-built mosque was opened in 1889.

“I feel each generation thinks that they’re ‘the first’ because our history is largely undocumented, but we aren’t aware of the all the accomplishments of the past … Without that knowledge, we’re kind of stuck in a perpetual cycle, which grounds our identity as migrants or immigrants, and not citizens, and therefore not seen as equal to someone who’s from a white British heritage.”

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Ahmed, aged 3, with her parents Mohammed Iqbal Mughal and Zahida Mughal [Photo courtesy of Everyday Muslim Heritage]Britain’s more than 3.3 million-strong Muslim community is heterogeneous. The largest part of the religious group originates from South Asia, but there are also Arab and African communities, Muslims from Southeast Asia, the Balkans and Turkey, as well as those who have converted or are the descendants of converts, all with histories waiting to be told.

EMHAI aims to tell these stories and create space in history for a group Ahmed says has largely been “absent from places such as museums and archives”. She believes it is one of the reasons Muslims and other diasporic communities “do not visit or engage in these spaces”.

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