Quranic schools: worship & recreation
Hashid Abdu, one of Mua'ath Center's supervisors and head of its social committee, told Yemen Times that the center conducts a number of activities for its students on a daily basis, including summer camping, recreational trips, evening parties, visits to religious scholars and some sports activities.
All students are provided with meals and accommodation for nominal fees. According to Abdu, some students are capable of memorizing the whole Quran in one year, while others take up to three years, which is the maximum time given to the center's students to complete their memorization.
The preacher of Brotherhood Mosque in Hodeida, Hassan Ziad, is also a Quran teacher who runs one of the Quranic circles belonging to the mosque. He says that each circle has about fifteen students a year, of which about four to five students memorize the Quran completely.
Ziad adds that such circles do not limit themselves to memorization of the Quran alone; they teach Islamic jurisprudence, and sayings of the Prophet.
He further explains that Quranic classes include various activities like leisure trips, Quranic contests among mosques or centers at the level of schools, governorates or the country as a whole.
After the student completes learning the whole Quran by heart, he confines himself to one Quran teacher who reviews the Quran with him chapter by chapter. At the end of the review phase the student is granted a certificate in Hafz (memorization) and Tajweed (Quran reading rules). The students stay in the memorization circles for a length of time according to their abilities.
There is a religious awakening underway among parents, which has led many parents to send their children to Quranic schools. In Hodeidah, Ziad affirms that families encourage their children to join Quran classes. Even among older people, there is a revived interest in the Quran. One of the elderly has decided to memorize the entire Quran and now has only six out of thirty parts remaining to memorize, according to Ziad.
Abdul Rahman Al-Ahdal manages a number of Quran classes in the municipality of Sana'a. During his career as an imam and preacher of Hafsah mosque, he graduated forty-five Quran memorizers before moving to Bayan mosque, where he works today.
"There are many problems that teachers of these circles face," explains Al-Ahdal. "They receive merely $25 a month, paid by philanthropists. Such a scant amount of money hardly pays for the most basic daily requirements. This compels many a teacher to look for other jobs to make a decent living."
As for the number of potential students joining Quran classes, Al-Ahdal says that the number is low and that many students come to classes only under pressure from their families and not out of their own convictions.
"Some students are rather material and think only of securing university certificates and careers more than they think of the Quran."
He says that the time for classes is between Maghreb and ‘Ishaa prayers (less than one hour), which is a very short time that enables the students to memorize only 1-2 pages a day. He hopes that one day both the teachers and students will have greater financial incentives and that teaching sessions will be longer.
There are other sports, recreational, jurisprudence and etiquette programs, and religious scholars regularly attend programs held by Bayan mosque for its students.
Since such circles and centers have been established, thousands of young Yemeni men and women across the country have memorized the Holy Quran. One of these is Mohammed Al-Arumi, 25. He memorized the holy book at the Quran Memorization Charity in Ibb governorate nine years ago.
Al-Arumi seems happy about what he has accomplished in memorizing the Quran in only two years.
"I advise all people to heed the Quran and its rules, live by such rules and work hard at memorizing it," he says. "My determination helped me finish my mission while I was still in secondary school."