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madrassah,in Islamic countries, a school, historically usually one devoted to higher education in religious studies, but the term may refer to any school. Privately endowed, often by royal or wealthy families, and attended mainly by poorer students who also receive free room and board, traditional madrasas have offered a free education in Islamic theology and law and related subjects, mainly accomplished by memorization and recitation of religious texts. For many, they long provided the only accessible source of higher education. Over time, the curriculum of many madrasas broadened to include logic, mathematics, history, and other disciplines, but other have continued to focus primarily on traditional Islamic subjects. Madrasas have taught young men in major Islamic cities since at least the 12th cent., with some documented as far back as the 9th cent. During the 1980s some madrasas, especially in Pakistan, became centers for the recruitment of volunteers fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan and later sometimes supplied recruits for the TalibanTaliban
, Islamic fundamentalist militia of Afghanistan and later Pakistan, originally consisting mainly of Sunni Pashtun religious students from Afghanistan who were educated and trained in Pakistan.
..... Click the link for more information. . Some madrasas also have been training grounds for Al QaedaAl Qaeda
or Al Qaida
[Arab.,=the base], Sunni Islamic terrorist organization with the stated goals of uniting all Muslims and establishing a transnational, strict-fundamentalist Islamic state.
..... Click the link for more information. and other Islamic extremists, leading to the misconception in the West that all madrasas are radical Islamist institutions.
See R. W. Hefner and M. W. Zaman, ed., Schooling Islam: The Culture and Politics of Modern Muslim Education (2006); J. Malik, Madrasas in South Asia: Teaching Terror? (2007); F. A. Noor et al., ed., The Madrasas in Asia: Political Activism and Transnational Linkages (2009), S. H. Ali, Islam and Education: Conflict and Conformity in Pakistan (2009); N. Gupta, Madrasas in Eastern India (2009).
a Muslim secondary and higher school, preparing clergymen, teachers for Muslim primary schools (makatib ), and government civil servants in Near and Middle Eastern countries.
The madrasa became widespread from the ninth through the 13th century in countries where Islamic populations predominated, including certain areas of prerevolutionary Russia (Bukhara, Samarkand, Kazan, and Ufa). Madrasas were usually built near large mosques. The program of studies consisted of Arabic, theology, law, history, and certain applied disciplines. In the Middle Ages, madrasas were not only centers of Muslim theology but had a definite cultural importance as well.
The reorganization of the public educational system that was carried out in many Islamic countries during the 1960’s led to the formation of two basic types of madrasa: the secular madrasa, a school of secondary or higher learning within the public educational system; and the Koranic madrasa, preparing clergymen. Education in the secular madrasas is tuition-free; boys and girls are separated. In addition to the state and theological madrasas, a few private madrasas, which charge tuition, are in operation. Study of the Koran is obligatory in all secular madrasas. Graduates of a madrasa have the right to enter a university.
In the USSR, the Mir-Arab Madrasa in Bukhara, which offers secondary theological education, is in operation (as of 1973).
V. G. FUROV
As an architectural structure, the madrasa originated in the eastern part of the Muslim world in the tenth and 11th centuries. The early madrasas are exemplified by the Farjek Madrasa in Bukhara, a tenth-century structure that has not survived, and the 11th-century Nizamiyyeh Madrasa in Khargird, Iran. Madrasas were built in the Near East in the 12th and 13th centuries, for example, the 12th-century al-Nuriyah al-Kubra Madrasa in Damascus, and the 13th-century Mustansiriyyah Madrasa in Baghdad. The building of madrasas began in North Africa in the 13th and 14th centuries (such as the 13th-century Saffarin Madrasa in Fes and the 14th-century Hasan Madrasa in Cairo).
The one- or two-story madrasa consists of cells, a mosque, and a lecture hall, built around a rectangular courtyard. While sharing common features, madrasas of different regions differ in their layout and construction. Thus, in Middle Asia the mosque and lecture hall are located within the building, along both sides of a portal that is on the axis of the main facade, while in Syria and Egypt, the lecture hall and mosque occupy loggias that open onto the courtyard. In Asia Minor, the madrasa courtyard is usually covered by a large dome. In Asia, vaults are used for roofing, and in North Africa, trussed tile-covered roofs.
Madrasas are decorated with carvings in stucco, stone, and wood, carved terra-cotta, and glazed tiles. The 14th-century Bu-Inaniyah Madrasa in Fes, the Ulugh Beg Madrasa in Samarkand (15th century), and the Mir-Arab Madrasa in Bukhara (16th century) are among the outstanding examples of world architecture.
V. L. VORONINA