Focus on the association DAR EL HIKMA
Founded in March, 2010, the association Dar El Hikma was established in the city of Stains, in the northern suburb of Paris. The association welcomes its students in a 600sq meters premises recently renovated. Easily accessible by the highway A1, the « national 1 » or by public transport (bus 150, tube line 13/station « université », …), the association is located at 68 street Jean Durand, a few minutes away from the town hall.
Dar El Hikma has been offering for several years a learning curriculum for the Qur’an and the Arabic language according to the method of the righteous predecessors …
With 9 hours of compulsory weekly sessions, the study of the book of Allah is the main concern for the association. The courses are divided into 3 sessions of 3 hours a week with revision sessions. The study groups can welcome up to 15 students. Although complementary, each lesson has a specificity: the first session is dedicated to the reading of the memorised part, the second session covers the rules of Tajweed, and the third one is a revision session to work on what was learnt previously. It is important to specify that the teacher validating the memorisation of the Qur’an and the rules of Tajweed has an Ijaaza ("diploma" allowing them to teach Qur’an).
The Arabic curriculum includes 7 levels. The students will have to take a test to assess their level. For the beginners, the learning program is divided into 2 stages. During the first stage corresponding to level 1, the student will learn the letters of the alphabet and how to read and write. Afterwards, the student will have to memorize words of vocabulary.
The books studied during the first year of the program, are the ones of the association. There is a reading book along with an exercise book entitled “Alif Ba”. After completing this first stage, students can start the second stage, corresponding to level 2. The second year of the program is focused on the memorisation of numerous words of vocabulary and the study of basic rules of grammar and conjugation. The book taught for this second year is entitled An-nahu Al-wadih.
From level 3, the association chose to teach the method of Moutouns (Arabic texts). The book taught is a collection of texts entitled Qurratu-l-’uyoon, developed by the association. The method consists in studying and memorising books and texts recognized as being references for centuries. This is the method of the righteous predecessors. It is the best way to get knowledge, to retain it and to master it. Ibn Wahb, may ALLAH have mercy on him, said: " I heard Imam Malik saying: serenity, peace of mind and fear are the key words of the student; his straight path is to follow the steps of those who preceded him". Whoever wants to succeed should not stray from it.”
It is also from this year that begins the training program for teachers. This training program begins with the study of basic texts such as Al-Ajuroomiya (grammar), Lamiyatu-l-af’al (conjugation), or Miyatou al-bayaan wa al-ma'any (Rhetoric and eloquence) … Students can also lead revision groups. Ibn Al Mubaarak, may ALLAH have mercy upon him, said: " The intention is the first stage, then comes the listening, then the understanding, then the learning, then the implementation and finally the teaching of this knowledge.”
“Its price is that you entrust it to the one who is going to learn and memorise it " ('Ikrima, may ALLAH have mercy upon him).
Learning Arabic is essential to understand the Qur’an and the Sunnah and to begin the study of religious sciences. This is why Dar El Hikma teaches the religious subjects only after the validation of level 4.
Applying the benefits of the Arabic language
After the validation of level 4, students will be introduced to the Islamic jurisprudence. Similar to the Arabic language curriculum, they will have to memorise Arabic texts in order to learn the fundamentals of Islamic jurisprudence (Usool al-Fiqh) and others will study the introduction to the jurisprudence (such as Ar-Rissala). With the memorisation of books such as Al-Bayquniya, students will discover the terminologies of Hadith. Students will also have to memorise some Hadiths of jurisprudence (hadith al-Ahkam) from the book Bulugh Al-Maraam.
Besides what is taught, students learn how to research (on request of the professor or spontaneously), to expose their ideas to their classmates, to debate with knowledge and respect for others. Besides learning Arabic language, every weekend, sessions of revisions are offered to levels 1 - 4. The revision is essential. As reported " Knowledge only comes with memorisation ". Ali ibn Abi Talib, may ALLAH be pleased with him, said " Visit each other and revise - what was learnt because otherwise, the knowledge will inevitably disappear".
Besides the teaching of the Qur’an and the Arabic language, Dar el Hikma offers its members optional courses to better discover and understand the vast and rich Arabic-Muslim culture: introduction to Arabic poetry and metrics, introduction to Arabic calligraphy, … This cultural wealth is transmitted through the works of our predecessors. Reading being a key role in our religion, Dar El Hikma opened a reading club for its students. Specific to our association, this twice-weekly gathering, is an opportunity to discover numerous books covering many topics. The objective of this club is to allow students to know better the best authors of our community, but also to create taste and love for reading. This club is an invitation to travel through centuries and the regions which marked our civilization.
The Dar El Hikma institute welcomes children every Sunday morning during four hours. Courses are divided into four levels. The first two groups are for children not able to read and write. The book studied for these two groups is entitled Alif Ba (both volumes of Arabic and Tajweed are accompanied by workbooks). In addition to these learning sessions, numerous playful workshops are offered to children to strengthen their knowledge. The level three is for children able to read but with difficulties. The book studied this year, is the Volume 2 of the Medina books series, which enables the learner to improve their reading skills and develop their vocabulary.
The book studied in the fourth level is entitled An-nahu Alwadih. It introduces the learner to the foundations of Arabic grammar and to the memorisation of vocabulary. During this fourth year, students will also memorise some of the 40 Hadiths of Imam Nawawi.
A future in DAR EL HIKMA
Dar El Hikma is bursting with ambition for the future of our children. The projects are numerous and have now to be born.
When we speak about the future, we immediately think about our children. Learning the Qur’an is an integral part of the education of our children. For the study of the Arabic language, we noticed that the programs taught in various institutes are very limited. Most of the time students only memorise the letters of the alphabet and some words of vocabulary. Children already able to read and write cannot progress in an adapted structure. The association wishes to allow children able to speak and read in Arabic to continue progressing. With groups, up to 15 children, they will study and memorise Arabic texts according to the method of the righteous predecessors. Children have often fewer difficulties to memorise than adults. Thus, it is necessary to take advantage of this, to stimulate their memory. Let us not forget that our children represent the future. Thus, it is important to care about their religious education. The study of the foundations of the Arabic language will be offered to the young students who do not have prior knowledge of the language (alphabet, writing, pronunciation).
In the heart of Paris, in the 2nd arrondissement, a few meters away from the Louvre museum, is located the Richelieu Site (appendix of the French national library). In this appendix of the BNF (FRENCH NATIONAL LIBRARY) are stored dozens of thousands of works in Arabic. Dar el Hikma plans to transcribe some of these manuscripts dating from the first centuries of Islam. The association also wants to encourage its members to discover these places unfortunately not visited by the members of our community. Eventually, the association Dar El Hikma would also like to open a translation company.
Travelling through the books is a great thing but visiting the places quoted in these books is much better. Dar el Hikma wishes to organize educational journeys to discover the Islamic heritage and allow its members to enrich their culture. Journeys rich in emotions, on the tracks of Ibn Malik in Andalusia, or Ibn Ajuroomy in Fes, on the benches of Zaytouna (first Islamic university founded in the 2nd century) in Tunisia, on the lands of our prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his companions (explore the library of the masjid An-Nabawi in Medina, contemplate the Ka' ba, the one which inspired more than a scholar), …
The association would also like to organise language trips in the Maghreb where our members could study for a few weeks in one of our partner institutes.
One of the most ambitious projects of the association Dar el Hikma is to set up other branches across France. Even if in Paris there are numerous associations enabling people to study Qur’an and the Arabic language, they are much fewer in rural areas where the community is also important. These establishments will be managed by former members of the association considered to be able to manage such structures whose objective is to enjoin good.