A traditional `Aalim course is a lifelong educational journey consisting of classical texts, Arabic and Quran study. Here’s a break down of the subjects taught to help you understand the technical terms.

The popular Darse Nazami course is currently being taught at Al Markaz ul Islami in Bradford, England.


1. Arabic consists of:

  • Nahw (Nahu, Nahav’, Nahwa) – Grammar. The in-depth study of a language (Arabic); all the grammatical states of words and the order and effect in which words appear in a sentence.
  • Sarf –  Syntax. Commonly referred as morphology of doing words; patterns of changing or ‘metamorphing’ verbs depending on what is being conveyed in the sentence (aka “verbology”).
  • Arabic also consists of vocabulary, tenses, numbers, etc.

2. Hadith sciences of Prophet Muhammad’s saying include:

  • Usool – Principles of Hadith. Understanding and memorising the regulated researched rules gone into compiling the collections of sayings (Ahadith) according to the scholars of Hadith.
  • Sunnah – Actions. Categories of emphasised, non-emphasised, approved and described actions of Prophet Muhammad in his life according to the authentic collections of sayings and the Shariah rules derived from them.

3. Islamic jurisprudence involves:

  • Fiqh – Jurisprudence. All legal rulings of vast topics according to a main school of thought (there are four main schools of thought worldwide).
  • Usool – Principles of Fiqh. Understanding the regulated rules of how the scholars came to their legal position on vast topics, according to the Shariah.

4. The Quran exegesis includes:

  • Ahkaam – Commands (sing. Hukm). Shariah based legal rulings derived from the Quran according to a hierarchical system of authority (Quran > Sunnah > `Ijma > Qiyaas).
  • Usool – Principles of Ahkaam. Understanding the regulated grammatical rules of how the scholars came to their legal conclusion on the commands in the Quran which form the Shariah.
  • Tafseer – Exegesis or explanation of meaning. Studies from the two ‘Jalal’ Imams (Jalal’ayn) of messages, meanings and rulings of a large portion of the Quran.

5. Advanced scholastic theology includes:

  • Aqeedah – Creed. The full belief system of the majority of Muslims (Ahl sunnah wa’l Jam`ah).
  • Seerah – Biography, of Prophet Muhammad, Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

6. Spirituality of the soul focuses on:

  • Tasawwuf – Inner spirituality. Integrated into all subjects is Tasawwuf, through the historically accurate paths of purification according to the Sunnah.