“Mukhammadiya” by Galimdjan Barudi

22 March


“My goal and my thoughts: schools and madrassahs should be reformed to bring them closer to religion and benefit life. It’s necessary that both old and young cling to religion, take care of it with all their might, and remember morality. Religion is not a science, but a practice, to strive for which is the goal of any science. It is everyone’s duty to have their own free, unborrowed views, not to be hypocritical, and to preserve the greatness of faith. But in every business gradualness is needed. It’s difficult for a person to separate from the familiar”, -  one of the entries in last Galimdjan Barudi’s diary, who was a public and political figure, theologian, outstanding teacher-reformer and educator.

In 1882 Galimdjan Barudi completed his studies in Bukhara and returned to his native Kazan. The scientist devotes the subsequent years of his life to serving for the benefit of his people. Already in October 1882 Galimdjan Galeev (his real second name) is appointed the second mullah at the White Mosque. Today, this religious building is in the process of restoration and is located at the address: Kazan, Kyzyl Tatarstan Street, 20. At first, Barudi gave lessons at the mosque, but very soon he was given the opportunity to organize the educational process in his own madrasah. Also in 1882, Muhammadjan Galeev , the father of the young scientist, finances the construction of the building.

“Galey Madrasah” (according to official documents) is becoming known among the people as “Mukhammadiya” - in honor of the founder. During the year, the number of people wishing to study with Galimdjan Barudi has grown so much that the one storey building has become cramped. The building expanded, became three storey, and took on its final appearance in 1901. But in the first years of its work, the Muhammadiya madrasah wasn’t much different from other Muslim educational institutions. In 1886 Galimdjan Barudi goes on a pilgrimage, with stops in Constantinople and Cairo, where he gets acquainted with the methods of teaching and the arrangement of madrassahs.

“The old is like bad grains thrown onto bad soil, albeit with great skill. You won't get good results. The educational schedule and unusable schoolbooks should be completely replaced. Logic, philosophy, or rather, what was taught under these names should be excluded. It’s necessary to select certain sciences based on need, and establish the correct proportion between old and new. Arithmetic, geometry, new natural science, astronomy should be accepted, and beware of long comments”, - writes Galimdjan Barudi in the "Memorial Book" much later. But in 1887, having returned to Kazan from the Hajj, he began to reform the education system in his madrasah.

In the training program, Barudi proposed paying more attention to subjects on the interpretation of the Quran, reading hadith, and Arabic literature. Among secular subjects, importance was attached to the study of geometry, arithmetic, geography, history, and natural science. The main emphasis was placed on meaningful study of religious disciplines and teaching in the native Tatar language. The old traditional method was replaced with a new one - sound. The new method madrasah was also distinguished by the organization of the educational process: large equipped classrooms, visual aids, a comfortable dormitory, a dining room, and an extensive library.

With the introduction of a new teaching method in the Muhammadiya madrasah, the question of new teaching aids arose. Due to the lack of specialized literature and due to the Russian ban on the import of schoolbooks from abroad, their writing and publication fell on the shoulders of the organizers themselves. Galimdjan Barudi personally compiled several schoolbooks, many of which later became classics. Under the leadership of Barudi, by the mid-nineties of the 19th century, the Muhammadiya madrasah became an advanced and authoritative educational institution in Kazan. The innovations of European civilization are also taken into account and are organically woven into the curriculum.

In 1906, twelve teachers worked at the Muhammadiya madrasah, and in 1913 their number increased to twenty. Many of the teachers, in addition to teaching, actively published in periodicals, for example, in the magazine “Religion and Morality”. In addition to permanent, full-time employees, at the beginning of the 20th century, different personalities were taught here, such as historian and publicist Yusuf Akchura - Turkish history and literature, Dr. Abubekir Teregulov – course of medicine and hygiene, Fatih Amirkhan – geography, lawyer Said-Girey Alkin – law. In addition to Tatar youth, students from the Caucasus, Turkestan and Kazakhstan began to come to study at the Muhammadiya madrasah.

A large number of representatives of the Tatar intelligentsia and public figures were educated within the walls of the educational institution. The madrasah's students included such famous public figures, educators, playwrights, scientists and writers as Fatih Amirkhan, Galiaskar Kamal, Karim Tinchurin, Galimjan and Burhan Sharaf, Majit Gafuri, Salih Saidashev, Sultan Gabashi, Mirgaziz Ukmasy, Khusain Yamashev, Fathi Burnash, Khuja Badigiy, Kamil Yaqub, Zarif Bashiri, Gyibad Nugaybak, Naki Isanbet , Baki Urmanche , Akhmet Ishak and many others. The Muhammadiya madrasah existed from 1882 to 1918.

Thanks to Galimdjan Barudi’s selfless work in the Muhammadiya madrasah sparked one of the hotbeds of new method education in Russia at the beginning of the twentieth century. Within the walls of the madrasah Galimjan Barudi managed to implement those ideas that many of his predecessors were unable to implement in their time: Abu Nasr Kursavi, Husain Faizkhanov, Shigabutdin Marjani and others. Comprehensive training allowed the Shakirds to work in the future as teachers and imams in mosques. Graduates of the modern Muhammadiya madrasah, like their predecessors, have the intellectual potential to realize opportunities in many spheres of society.



GSV "Russia - Islamic World"

Photo: Anisantha/Creative Commons 4.0