A look at Darul Uloom Zakariyya near Johannesburg, South Africa


On the historical visit of Sheikh-ul-Hadith Moulana Muhammad Zakarriya Kandhelwi (Rahmatullah Alayh) to South Africa in 1981 (1402 A.H), he was requested by some brothers to make Dua for the establishment of a Darul Uloom (higher religious institution) and for the preservation and propagation of Islam. This ignited a spark to turn this dua into reality.


A 24 acre plot of agricultural land was purchased by a generous businessman on the outskirts of Lenasia for the establishment of such an institute. Thus 1983 (1404 A.H) saw the institution Darul Uloom Zakariyya becoming a reality which was named after its spiritual mentor. The institution was situated on agricultural land. The suburb of Zakariyya Park came into existence many years later and was named after the institute.



Qari Abdul Hamid of Panoli – India served as the first principal of the institute up to 1986. In the first year of operation the institute had a complement of 35 students. Due to the lack of adequate facilities, initially some students took lessons under a tree and the rest were catered for in a large house and two out buildings. The following year saw growth in student enrolment to 100 with six teachers and six classrooms. Prior to the establishment of the first Darul Hadith class in 1991, students usually travelled to the Indo/Pak subcontinent to complete their studies. The first 13 Ulama to qualify from the Institute was in 1991. 



Due to the absence of a Masjid in the early days, students performed their Salaah in a musallah (prayer hall). On  the 16th of February 1992, the Masjid at the Darul Uloom was opened in the presence of many honourable and distinguished guests who travelled from far and wide to attend the opening viz: Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi Sahib (R.A) (former Grand Mufti of Darul Uloom Deoband), Moulana Abdullah Patel Kapodra Sahib (former Rector of Darul Uloom Falah Darain Tarkeshwar), Sheikh Abdul Fattah Abu Ghuddah (R.A) of Syria, who performed the Khatme Bukhari (completion of Sahih al-Bukhari) and Sheikh Ali bin Abdurrahman al- Huzaifi (Imam of Masjid al-Nabawi), who led the first Jumâh Salaah. Mufti Mahmood Hasan Gangohi Sahib (R.A) also performed the first i’tikaf at the Masjid  for the entire month of Ramadhaan.  During the last ten days of that Ramadhaan, no less than 500 people sat for I’tikaaf, including Sheikh Yunus Saharanpuri Sahib (D.B), Qari Siddeeq Ahmed Bandwi (R.A), Mufti Ahmed Khanpuri Sahib (D.B) and the late Haji Bhai Padia (R.A).



A new administration block, Hifzul Qur’an section, kitchen, dinning hall and laundry were constructed with the generous contributions of well wishers over the years.A further 20 acres of adjacent land was donated by a generous brother upon which new boarding facilities were constructed to cater for the ever increasing role of the Darul Uloom.



A branch of the Darul Uloom was opened in Eikenhof, a locality some 13km away, in the year 2000, catering for approximately 100 young hifdh learners. A Maktab has also recently been opened up in Mandane – Soweto, to cater for the religious and welfare needs of the indigenous underprivileged residing there.



Since inception, with the tawfiq of Allah Ta’ala, the Darul Uloom has produced just under a thousand Huffadh, 619 Ulama, 137 Qira’aat Sab’ah and 42 Qira’aat Asharah graduates (mid 2011).



Over the years the Darul Uloom has been honoured by the visits of distinguished scholars. Herewith follows a list of some eminent personalities:

Mufti Ahmadur Rahman Sahib (R.A), Mufti Wali Hasan Sahib (R.A), Moulana Muhammad Yusuf Ludyanwi Sahib (R.A), Haji Farouq Sahib (R.A), Moulana Umar Palanpuri Sahib (R.A), Moulana Sarfaraz khan Safdar Sahib (R.A), Moulana Idrees Mirathi Sahib (R.A), Qadhi Mujahidul Islam (R.A), Moulana Anthar Shah Kashmiri (R.A), Sheikh Muhammad Bin Abdullah bin Subayyil (President of Haramain Al-Sharifain and Imaam of al-Masjidul Haraam), Sheikh Abdullah bin Umar al-Nasif (former president of the Muslim World League), Sheikh Abdurrahman Al-Sudais, Sheikh Abdulbari Thubaiti, Sheikh Saud Shuraim, Sheikh Salih bin Humaid, Sheikh Salah al-Budair, Sheikh Muhammad Ali Sabuni,  Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Sahib , Mufti Rafee Uthmani Sahib, Mufti Taqi Uthmani Sahib , Moulana Zulfiqaar  Naqshbandi Sahib , Mufti Saeed Palanpuri  Sahib, Mufti Azizurrahman Sahib, Moulana Arshad Madani Sahib, Moulana Sayyid Muhammad Rabi Sahib,  Moulana Salimullah Khan Sahib,  Moulana Farouq  Mirathi Sahib, Moulana Abdul Hafiz Makki Sahib, and many more contemporary luminaries, who continue to grace the Darul Uloom with their regular visits.

Our dua is that Allah Ta’ala accepts all the efforts put in by one an all, in what ever form it may be, and may he continue to make the Darul Uloom grow from strength to strength. Aamîn.



The Darul Uloom has five faculties of Study:

  1. Hifdhul-Qur’an – The Memorization of the Qur’an al-Kareem
  2. Aalimiyah – Study of Islamic Jurisprudence and Sciences
  3. Tajweed and Qira’aat – Science of Qur’anic Phonetics and Renditions (Sabah and Asharah)
  4. Ifta course – Specialisation in the Science of Islamic Jurisprudence and Research
  5. Arabic Adab – Specialisation in Arabic Literature


The head of the institution is Moulana Shabbier Ahmed Saloojee. There are 16 teachers in the Hifdhul-Qur’an faculty and 22 teachers in the Aalimiyah, Qira’aat and Ifta faculties. Auxiliary staff in all other departments is 40.


The institute currently has a role of 715 students, with 300 local students and the remainder from 56 Countries. 300 students are studying to become Hafidh while the remainder of the students are studying to become Ulama and Qur’ra.



The Hifdhul Qur’an Course: is generally a three year course (depending on individual capabilities) wherein memorization of the Holy Qur’an with Tajweed (correct recitation and pronunciation) is taught.  Initially the student study Norani-Qaidah (an introductory book in understanding the correct pronunciation of the letters of the Qur’an and phonetic related laws), and culminates in the student been able to recite the entire Qur’an by memory. Ta’lemul Haq, an elementary Fiqh book for Hanafi’s and Tuhfatul Ikhwaan for Shafi’s are also taught concurrently with the Hifdh program.

The Aalimiyah Course: is a seven year Darse-Nizami (classical adapted Arabic-Urdu curriculum) course. As most students enrolled are followers of the Hanafi or Shafi Madhab (schools of thought), thus emphasis on the Fiqh (Jurisprudence) of these two schools, although other madhahib are also discussed. This course culminates in a detailed study of the six most authentic books of Hadith (Sihah-al-Sittah). The medium of instruction is predominantly in the Urdu language.


Tajweed and Qira’aat Course: this course runs concurrently with the Aalimiyah course. During the first four years, together with studying essential books on Tajweed such as Fawaid-e-Makkiyyah and Muqadamah al- Jazriyyah, the entire Qur’an is completed in the riwayat-e Hafs with a complete chain of transmission to Imam Hafs (Rahmatullah). Thereafter, the Qira’aat Sab’ah (seven modes of rendition) is studied over the next two years. This is done both theoretically and orally. Students are selected for this course on merit and should be a hafidh as well as have achieved 70% or more in the previous year of study.



Ifta course: this specialisation course comprises of a two year study. In the first year the following Arabic books are studied; Uqud Rasmil Mufti, al-Ashba wan-Nazâir, Qawaidul-Fiqh, Naful Mufti was-Saîl and Siraji (book on inheritance). Students are also required to re- attend the Hidayah Thalith (Arabic Fiqh Book) lessons once more. Thereafter, students are required to research questions given in Tafsir, Hadith and Fiqh. A minimum of 100 questions are to be covered over the two years as part of the research project.

Qira’aat Asharah: This is a one year course wherein the ten modes of rendition of the Noble Qur’an are studied. This is also done both theoretically and orally.

Extra-Curricular activities:

Students are also strongly encouraged to engage in the following co & extra-curricular activities:


Islâh & Tarbiyah (Self-Reformation)

Alhamdulillah, many of the teachers have received Khilafa (spiritual vicegerency) from their respective Sheikhs and deliver lectures and conduct self reformation programmes on a weekly basis. Honourable guests also get to address the students on a regular basis.


Dawah &Tabligh (Call and Dissemination of Faith):

The Darul Uloom strongly encourages the students to actively participate in Tablighi (propagational) activities. Mashwara (consultation) takes place each morning. Taleem (Kitaab Reading) takes place daily after the Asr Salaah in various language groupings. Joula Maqamiyah (local visits) takes place on a Thursday after Asr and a lecture is held thereafter. Joula Intiqaliyah (visits to nearby neighbourhoods) takes place on Sundays. Students are encouraged to go out during weekends for a 24hour period as well as during the holidays for longer periods.



Classes in Astronomy are conducted on a weekly basis and forms part of the Aalimiyah program.


The Darul Uloom has published the following books:

  1. Al-Eti’daal fi Maratib al-Rijaal, (an English translation of Sheikh Zakariyya (R.A.) Urdu Book)
  2. 20 Rakaats Taraweeh
  3. Dawah & Tabligh
  4. Sunnats
  5. Haj, Umrah and Ziyarah
  6. Fatawa Darul Uloom Zakariyya (in Urdu, thus far in 4 volumes).
  7. Khutbatul-Ahkaam (revised edition)
  8. Fatawa Sirajiyyah (revised edition)
  9. Ikhtilaaf A’imah aur Hadith-e- Nabawi (Urdu translation of Sheikh Awamah’s ‘Atharul Hadith al-Shareef)
  10. Deewan Imam Shafi’ee (an English translation)
  11. Tajaliyât-e-Qur’an (Urdu Translation)
  12. al-Juzul- Latîf fil Istidlâl bil Hadith al-Dhaêf
  13. Waqt ki Ahmiyat (Urdu Translation)
  14. Badihât-e-Qur’an (Urdu Translation)
  15. al-Qira’ah al Arabiyya (4 Volumes)
  16. al-Mukhtâr min al-Alfâdh wa al-Tabirât
  17. Kitaab Qawâ’id al-Lugha al-Arabiyya
  18. al-Dua al-Masnoon
  19. Zikr-e-Ijtima’e wa Jahri Shari’at ke Aa’ine me
  20. Khulzar-e-Sâdi



Darul Ifta (Fatwa department):

The Darul Ifta has been set up to research and probe difficult juristic issues as well as to guide Muslims seeking solutions to their religious challenges. This department was officially inaugurated in 1992 and is headed by Mufti Radha-ul-Haq. Alhamdulillah, this department currently serves the needs of Muslims both locally and abroad. It has issued some 2500 recorded Fatawaa thus far. The Darul ifta can be contacted by fax on (0027) 11 859 2694 or email: [email protected]



The Darul Uloom has a well equipped library. It houses some sixteen thousand books on various aspects of Islam. The books are predominantly in the Urdu and Arabic language with a selection of English books. Books may be viewed in the library or taken out on loan.



The retail bookshop situated near the entrance of the Masjid has a large selection of Islamic literature. It also stocks stationery, Islamic items and audio cds. The store manager can be contacted on: (0027) 72 341 6782 or by email on: [email protected]



The Darul Uloom has its own surgery and private practitioner who sees to the health and well-being of the students. All minor ailments are cared for and treated at the facility. A minimal fee to cover admin cost is charged for the treatment and medication. For major ailments, x-rays, blood tests etc, students are referred to nearby public and private hospitals.


Boarding Facility:

There are two boarding facilities, which are overseen by four supervisors. One houses the Hifdh students and the other the Aalimiyah students. Each room accommodates 6 students. Students are usually housed according to the classes they belong to. Each student has his own built in cupboard for his personal belongings. Each room is allocated a shower for usage. Separate kitchens have also been allocated should students wish to cook or warm-up their own food.


Kitchen and Dining Hall:

Three meals are provided for by the Darul Uloom. Breakfast usually consist of cereal, bread, butter and jam served with tea. Lunch usually consists of a variety of rice dishes served with chicken, mutton, dhal (lentils) or Kari (curd). Various types of curries are served with bread for supper. The spacious dining hall has three separate sections, one for guests, one for the Dora (final year) students and the other for the remaining students.



The Darul Uloom has a privately run tuck-shop on the premises which sells fast foods such as hotdogs, sandwiches, pies, french fries, cold drinks, sweets, chocolates as well as house hold items and necessities. The tuck-shop opens at lunch, supper time and after Esha till late.

For more specific items and amenities, the nearby town of Lenasia has a shopping mall as well as many supermarkets and restaurants serving halaal food.



The Darul Uloom offers a laundry service for the benefit of the students. All clothing should be tagged and clearly labelled with the name of the student in indelible ink. No dry-cleaning service is provided.



Pocket money may be handed to the Darul Uloom office with instructions as to how the money is to be dispersed. This is advanced on a weekly basis. Pocket money could be forwarded to the office by means of EFT .


Recreation facilities:

There is a large sports ground comprising of a soccer field, cricket pitch and basket ball court. Students use these facilities daily after Asr and over the weekends.


Public Telephones:

The Darul Uloom has public telephones for the use of the students. Calls can be made during students free time and over weekends. The telephone numbers are: (0027) 11 859 – 2110/2963/2305/2340



Letters, parcels etc. may be sent to the postal address of the Darul Uloom. Please ensure that the parcels are securely packed and clearly labelled.


Guesthouse/visitors rooms:

The Darul Uloom has limited space to accommodate guests, parents etc. Bookings have to be made in advance. In the event of unavailability, guesthouses in the nearby areas could be rented.



Hifdh students: Students doing the Hifdh course commence class immediately after the Fajr Salaah for an hour during the summer months and half an hour before Fajr during the winter months (April to July). During this period, new lessons (sabaq) memorised the night before are delivered to the respective teachers. Students are then given a 30 minute breakfast break. Thereafter classes recommence for a further 4hrs during which recently memorised lessons (sabaq para) and the first round of dhor (previously memorised lessons) is revised and delivered. Lunch and compulsory siesta is thereafter taken until the Thuhr Salaah (approximately 2hr break). Classes continue after the Thuhr Salaah for approximately 2hrs until the Asr Salaah during which the second round of dhor is revised and lessons for the next day are taken. After the Asr Salaah, taleem takes place for a short period after which supper is served. Thereafter, students have free time up to the Magrib Salaah in which to engage in some sport or take a stroll or do some physical exercise. New lessons are memorised after the Magrib Salaah for approximately one and half hour till the Esha Salaah and a further 45 minutes thereafter.


Aalimiyah students: Students attending the Aalimiyah course recite Qur’an for half an hour after Fajr before going for breakfast. Classes commence thereafter for a total of 4hrs, comprising of five 45 minute periods each. During the second session after the Thuhr Salaah, there are three 45 minute periods each. Compulsory revision as well as preparation for the next day’s lessons take place after the Maghrib Salaah and continue for an hour after the Esha Salaah.


This is the daily schedule from Monday to Saturday.



Weekends Off:

Students are given a day off from Saturday after the Asr Salaah to Sunday before the Maghrib Salaah. Local students are allowed to go home while foreign students usually stay in or go out in jamaat for a 24hr period. Students wishing to leave the premises over weekends or during any other time require prior permission.


Visiting hours:

Parents, relatives and friends may visit the students Monday to Saturday between Asr and Maghrib and on Sundays from Fajr upto Maghrib. For visits outside normal hours, prior arrangements have to be made with the office. Sisters should be properly clad when visiting the premises.



Three examinations take place during the year i.e. at the end of each of the three terms. Progress sheets or reports are handed out.



There are three vacational breaks during the year. Ten days at end of the first term (on the occasion of Eidul-Adha), a two week break at the end of the second term and a two months Ramadhaan break which coincides with the end of the academic year.


Students not going home during the holidays can either opt to go out in Jamaat and those who are Huffadh to lead the taraweeh prayers in various towns of Southern Africa during the month of Ramadhaan. Students wishing to stay on the premises of the Darul Uloom during the holidays, require permission to do so and are responsible for their own food arrangements. The kitchen remains closed during the ramadhaan and mid year vacations.


I’tikaaf Program:

Brothers are welcome to spend I’tikaaf during the last 10 days of Ramadhaan at  the Darul Uloom Zakariyya Masjid. Spiritual Purification programmes take place daily.All Programmes are conducted under the supervision of Moulana Shabbier Ahmed Saloojee Saheb, Khalifa of  Mufti Mahmoodul Hassen Gangohi (R.A). Programmes include:Tafseer of the Qur’an al-Kareem, Taaleem, Advices, Zikr Majlis, Durood and Du’aas etc..




For more information, visit the official website of Darul Uloom Zakariyya: www.duzak.org




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3 comments on “A look at Darul Uloom Zakariyya near Johannesburg, South Africa

  1. Asaalmu aleiku warahmatuaahi wabarakat,my name is Abdijalil i had sent a form from your side that i requested to join in Hifd class please am waiting for replay.Jazakumulahu khera.

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