Tuesday, August 9, 2011

'The Madarsa Ordeal'

I spent nearly three years in a Madarsa, for memorizing the holy Quran. It's was a very unique and yet a very disturbing experience for me. No matter how optimistically I try to think, my life would never be the same again.

PS:-  Read the previous post if you haven't, in order to totally understand this post !

Pss:- Oh and yes, I replied to your comments at last! =D
Soon the dreadful day arrived and I enrobed in the Madarsa uniform, a Kurta Pajama, ironically white, the color of traditional Islamic-grave-clothes. My Dad drove me to the Madarsa located in the north side of the city. The double-storey building was quite newly built and looked pretty formidable.

I was greeted by the bearded ‘principal’ very warmly and led to a class on the second floor. There, around twenty children were sitting on the carpeted floor in a circle. In the middle was seated another bearded yet relatively short man. 

All of them were reciting verses from the holy Quran at the top of their voices. As we entered the class, the short guy raised his hand and everyone became silent at once. 

Then the principal introduced us to each other. He was to be my mentor now for the next 3-4 years. He asked my name and my age and then he ordered me to find sit in the corner. 

I obeyed him and from there I scrutinized my new master. His facial features were overshadowed by his over-long nose and partially by his long beard. My first impression of this guy was of a cross, wicked short guy who made you eat his ear wax and drink nose-bogies for lunch if you did not please him.

First day in the Madarsa I expected the ‘Qari’ (that’s what they call a teacher there) to start teaching about the most reliable 100 ways to blow a World-trade-centre or 999 unique ways to grow your beard longer. Or something as 'excitingly blasting'.

But to my disappointment he never did teach anything like that. The ‘Qaris’ were simple, illiterate villagers who did not even know that the world was round. Honestly, and they believed I was an insane infidel when I told them so.

As days went past, I became more acquainted with the Madarsa atmosphere. None of my classmates had ever been to a school. They were as ignorant as their mentors. To me, the Madarsa seemed worlds apart from my School though both of them were located in the same city.

 The Qari used to beat little kids like a beast for little reasons, like talking in the class or for been late. He would get a Voldemort-ish gleam in his eyes then as if he was demented. Later on he’d feel sorry for the kid and call him, give him a hug and some candy which he always had some in his pocket.

The Qari and me became ‘pals’ very quickly. Not because we had ANYTHING in common. But because I was the only 'Talib' (Word for student) who came to the Madarsa in his own car. The Qari used to think the world of me. He used to ask me to read his letters, write his replies etc etc

He even once asked me to teach him. I politely declined because I did not have such strong brain cells that could stand that kind of pressure. Nevertheless, I remained the Qaris favorite apprentice and he’d let me enjoy special privileges like been late or talking in the class. He used to ask me frantic load of questions as he had recently came from a village in Punjab and he had no idea about city and city life.

The most epic event was the Qari falling in love with a college girl. She used to wait for her bus every afternoon at the bus-stop right in front of the Madarsa.

During the 10-15 minutes the girl stood there, the Qari would stick to the window (My class was on the 2nd floor) and make faces and blush and smile.  Maybe he imagined himself as the Rapenzul and the girl as prince charming waiting at the bottom of the tower asking him to throw his exquisitely long hair, beard more likely, to her so that she could climb up to him.

In love, he inquired from me one morning,’ How do people marry in cities?’

I always ready to pull some legs replied,’ Umm, well one has to give a trunk full of gold coins to the girl’s family before you get married to her.’

He considered this for a moment and says thought fully,’ Well, I have a dozen Buffaloes of my own, back in my village. Will they do?’

You cannot imagine the effort I had to make to stop myself rolling on the floor laughing. It took a bull’s strength for me to keep a straight face then and there. 

For most of the people, leaving school and landing into an alien world would make them depressed and lost. But thankfully I, with some aid from my mom, kept my cool. Though I spent nearly three years of my life, the very best part of my teens I learned a lot. I learned things people don’t learn even in a fifty years. 

I learnt how to face my problems on my own, how to alter situations to suit me. I learnt how to convert torment into fun. And now I have made it I feel good and more importantly satisfied. I have always believed that attaining self-satisfaction is light years better than cherishing incomplete triumphs.

Most of my classmates are enrolling into universities this year, nearing the acme of their career. And here I am, still haven't completed my A levels yet. This makes me feel sad, at times. But feeling sad is a trait of donkeys like Eeyore and I am by no means a donkey.

What makes me feel satisfied, and keeps me going is the memory from my completion of Hifz ceremony. It is a ceremony which is held after you complete memorizing the entire Quran. During that event, I witnessed a spectacle I had never seen before or never expected to. I saw two huge tears, flow from my dad’s usually dispassionate, dry eyes into his beard. 

Were they the tears of glee or tears of pride, I don't know! I just know and prize that I was the reason behind them. And I think that is enough compensation for sacrificing three years, the best three years of my life. Isn't it? 


normal.is.overrated. said...

LMAO "most reliable 100 ways to blow a World-trade-centre or 999 unique ways to grow your beard longer. Or something as 'excitingly blasting'" haha you had great expectations of the schoool dude :P

It's good that it wasn't all to waste, atleast you got something out of it even though you at first didn't want to go. That's a good thing :D And Mansh'Allah you memorizied the quran!

cricketfreak said...

I like the last sentence, a reference from the Kite Runner right?

Shama said...

Qari in love with college girl :p Rapenzul and the prince charming
hahahhaha Hamza Naughty boy ;-)

Hey you are not donkey... you should feel proud that your father is happy with you and Allah has good plans for you and soon completing tour A-levels you would be shining somewhr... you are perfect the way you are.

lil star keep your head high!!
love x

Sadhana. said...

This post was funny yet touching, especially the last paragraph! : )

Stupid Cupid ♥ said...

Hahahahahahaaaa =))
"who made you eat his ear wax and drink nose-bogies for lunch if you did not please him." Really? :P Anything haan u think!

Hahahaha omg :)) "100 most reliable ways .."
I like the way u write :D Funny and nice it is!
"Voldemort-ish gleam" :P

That Rapunzel pic is sho cute!! Hahahahahaha bechaara the Qari, so bad re u are.. But if'd been in ur place,I'd have started laughing like some demented person :p and not have stopped only! Epic this was :D

"Self-Satisfaction is light years better than cherishing incomplete triumphs." So So Soo True :)

Awwwwww :) I think they were of pride!!

U know what I think? Well of course you don't :p, so m gonna tell u!
Dads in Pakistan and India and such other places,well most of them, are culturally brought up being told that they should be strong and strict blah blah and only the mothers should do the loving. So a lot of times even though they love u hell loads,they don't express. Thankfully my dad does \:d/ but um what was I saying? Oh yeah, your dad ALWAYS IS proud and happy for you and because of you, bas he doesn't or maybe can't express it much :)

And the last line awwwwwwwwwwww :)

BTW thanks for the comment on me blog :"> And i hope that u said after seeing my pic only and not some random that I'd put up :p :-s

Take Care :)

fatima said...

awww yea- ur dad`s pride at you would have flushed away all the problems u might have faced(ing)

-E- said...

wow, that was a great post. how did the actual memorizing work?

Hazel said...

Aww I'm glad it wasn't as awful as you thought :)

Felicity said...

This was one of the nicest posts I've ever read on blogger. :)

Ezazi said...

That last paragraph. A tear rolled out. Your parents must be so very proud of you. ♥

That Qari Rapunzel thing was hilarious. :D

Do you have freakishly extraordinary memory?

bengalimishtiz said...

How old was that Qari guy??? xD
Rest of the post, abnormally touching. And funny. And crazy. And very, very appealing. :)

KN. said...

'Dad for you, a thousand times over' <3

That was one thing epic about this whole post. The feeling of accomplishment, when you see your parents being all teary eyes and proud for YOU. :)

I didn't know you were a Hafiz, Hamza. And this post has made your blog even ultimate of my ultimate favorites. I still remember, you were the first follower of my blog and i will never forget that encouragement!

By the way, crush-time-love is inevitable bahi, so obviously we can't blame Qari Sahab if he felt all lovey-dovey in a need of a cupid's arrow. ;)

Fun post. :D

God bless.

P.s: Jeez. My comments are now annoyingly lengthy. Nevermind. :P

That's just Raw said...

Only you can do that; to make us feel extremely sorry, motivate to laugh (Yea out loud), then almost make us cry and of course ending with a Oh-so-inspiring thought.

Have I ever mentioned that I am confusingly proud of you? that's true actually.

FB might be boring but m glad that I were there and stumbled onto Young Pakistan =)

Ifra Khaliq said...

Moulvi's love story was awesum :P

Faryal Hasan said...

‘…..the most reliable 100 ways to blow a World-trade-centre or 999 unique ways to grow your beard longer. Or something as 'excitingly blasting'.’

Oh my goodness, did they not teach you the abovementioned activities? This is a news.

*Reads the rest of the story and smiles*

You are a brave, brave man, Hamza! As said once before, you have learned a lot from life. Perhaps, even more than an old man. Your experience will help you in later years.

The last paragraph. <3 Amazing. :)

Priyanka said...

That post made me smirk, frown, sad and laugh out loud.

You are good with narrations, kiddo:)
Keep going..

Viya ;) said...

Umm, well one has you give a trunk full of gold coins to the girl’s family before you get married to her.’
LOL!! really??!! :P :P hehe.. Poor teacher of yours! :P

I'm sure your dad was really really proud of you on the graduation day.. and Its really nice to see kids so young like you especially in this era,dedicate at least a lil part of your life to traditions, customs and religion. :)

Kiran Ashraf said...

awww so touchy. its good then u went to the madrassa and got to see how proud your daddy was on u becoming a Hafiz. I wanted to memorize the Quran too but bad luck.. no madrassa for me but I hope that at some point in life, i ll definitely love to memorize the Quran with its translation.

Anuradha said...

Oh wow, Hamza. This post was funny and touching and emotional and a million other things. You're extremely brave, I don't think I'd have survived had I been you! You're an amazing person. Good luck in life :)

Fahham Asghar said...

You are a very lucky guy brother to be a hafiz e Quran.

Those three years weren't wasted , probably the most productive three years of your life :)

the other side of me said...

hahahhaha..the Rapenzul thing soooo funny,

the three years that u spent in madarsa is not wasted at all,hey u memorize the whole Quran okayyyyyyyyyyyy!!! that's a big deal

No worries, maybe you have a different path than your friends,but that's what makes you different from there..

You rock!!!!!

for you a thousand times over :):)

sm said...

interesting read

Meghana said...


PurpleMist. said...

"Because, Dad, I’d say that for you, a thousand times over."
Aww :')

The Qari having a crush on that girl thing was so funny! :D

You should be SO proud of yourself, 3 years and you have gained so much, it will surely help you later in life :)

L.F. said...

Well, I have a dozen Buffaloes of my own, back in my village. Will they do?’

Sunakshi said...

Awesome post!loved the reading,seriously. :)

Admin said...

This blog is so great. Gotta say. I've just launched a blog that I hope will turn out this great someday.

Ezazi said...


aaishah said...

Hahaha qari in love eith the college girl LOL :P And dudeee the last paragraphh<3

Don't feel bad about not having completed your AL yet. The moment you compare your life to others' is the moment you wash up all the lessons your life has taught you. Not everyone has the strength to endure all that you have. Stay strong<3

~Serendipity~ said...

I gave you an award here :)


Furree Katt said...

i agree with Viya's comment! and i'm so proud of you :D
the thing about your qari's crush was too funny hahaha

Muhammad Israr said...

congratulations on your memorizing the Holy Quran... there are very few people in the world who are Haifz and also university graduates... i wish more and more people like you go to medrassahs and the culture can change there... may be you did not finish your A levels yet but is not it more than enough to make your parents feel proud? wish you best luck :)

Eeshie said...



Rutaba Tariq said...

MashAllah. Hamza, a simple congratulation on such a marvellous achievement wouldn't suffice. Not just that, but the way you spin your life into perspective that you sow, is remarkable and rare. :]

I am not a Hafiza, but I had a Qari sahab who used to teach my brother and I, and he used to memorize it unlike me('Amma paara' hi nahi mukk raha tha mera xD ). As I remember,Qari Sahab never raised his voice against me,but I did saw him being very strict to my brother, and like your teacher he'd make up with a hug, toffee and a nicely coated advice. The post just gave me a gentle reminder of my childhood, anyways, it was nice reading all about your three year endeavours. Chuckled loudly reading the love story - Version : Mullah Taaro. xD

Though not in your shoes exactly, I share the experience of being a little behind my age group. And like you I've no regrets for time spend otherwise. It has added in so much in me. I wouldn't trade it for the world.

the butterfly effect said...


Although I must say while memorising the Quran as it is, is a great accomplishment. I think it better suits the Arabs since they understand it because of the language. Here where there is a huge language barrier it's just a formality that parents make their children go through. Of course it's an honour to have learnt the Quran but the greater honour and benefit resides in understanding it.

I don't have anything against hafiz-es. It's just that I haven't met any decent ones. Never upon seeing whom I would know that they are. But I'm not stereotyping. So don't take it personally.

MashaAllah it's amazing that you're a hafiz. You get to chose 20 people to take with you in jannah (or so I've heard. Please confirm it of you can from a Hadith) please let me be one of them.

And as far as a levels is concerned I bet you're brighter than most of your class mates and more mature. That gives you an edge.

Poor qari sahib. I feel sorry for him.

Anonymous said...

Umm, about turning torment into fun, Hamza. Only you can do that. Any tips (my life is basically torment so how can I make it fun? Besides reading your epic blog, of course (wink))