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Guest Impressions
Monday, 30 October 2017 13:21

3,000 students of Qur’an in a remote village of Africa

“That pile of ash we passed by is a kind of Madrasah that has been fired up every evening for about 70 years and students of Qur’an have been inculcated by the fire’s light.” Haşim Akın wrote about the Sheikh Abdullah Efendi who educated 3000 students of Qur’an in a remote village of Burkina Faso.


A few days ago I met a lover of Qur’an in Burkina Faso. In fact, it cannot be said that I met him. Because the news reached us due to the death of him. When we went to express condolence, we learned things that are astonishing and made us burst with pride.

We took the road to give condolence when we heard the news of the death of Sheikh Abdullah Efendi. The honour of the condolence visit was vouchsafed to us. I sat in the car seat and I got off six hours after. Two-thirds of the journey passed through dirt roads. If these would be called roads. In many places we moved along by asking for the right path and finally found the village we were looking for.

Sheikh Abdullah Efendi was the father of a man named Yakup, who was an Imam of the village. In Burkina Faso we have had visits to several villages for various reasons. For the first time, now, we have come to a similar village that we had visited before. We found a Mosque with four small charming minarets, looking luxurious compared to the environment in the village. The village welcomed us with a rarefied spiritual atmosphere. It was not hard to understand that we have come to a unique place. When we arrived, the congregation just finished the Salah. After the prayer, we entered the condolence house. There was a huge crowd consisting of young and children, far beyond our expectations. At that time, I predicted that not all the people waiting there would be villagers. Then we performed Wudu and Salah.

As we left the Mosque to go the condolence house, we passed by a huge pile of ash. Our brother Abu Bakr, our guide, asked me “What is this?” I replied, “Ashes, a fire must have been lighted here or the ashes must have been moved.” Later we learned that this pile of ash we passed by is a kind of Madrasah that has been fired up every evening for about 70 years and students of Qur’an have been inculcated by the fire’s light. It is something I have heard of in Africa but I have never seen it yet. Villagers have been working in daytime and studying Qur’an in night-time in the circle of fire.

Those who came here from neighbouring villages and stayed as boarder students to complete their religious education numbered about 3,000. The young people we saw at the condolence house were the students educated according to this tradition. The only lighting means in the village, in which there is no electricity, is the fire in the square. We then visited the grave of such a servant of Qur’an and prayed there.

Since there is no opportunity to give the Qur’an to every student, some of them just get to touch the Qur’an. The vast majority use fire ashes as a pencil to write their daily lessons down on a wooden tablet and study their lessons by using it in the morning. Thanks to the charities coming from Turkey, the new generation might have a Mus’haf. Older generations memorized Qur’an by listening. It is not easy to bring the Qur'an to three thousand people in these impossibilities.

Like Father Like Son

Yakup, who is in charge of Imamet, is just like his father. As said, the apple does not fall far from the tree. In brief, there is not just one reason that the book of deeds of Sheikh Abdullah Efendi will not be closed.

There are some people constantly making-up excuses.

Challenges and obstacles catch their eye. But there is always a way to overcome every obstacle for the courageous hearts. In the words of Anatolian people, "If a shepherd wants, he will milk the cow”. There may be no easy condition; people may be insensitive to give support. What is important is to find a remedy and to set out on a journey. Allah shall not belittle and wipe away any good deed and intentions of any who have set out on the path.

Brave hearts like Sheikh Abdullah Efendi, devoted their lives to Dawah. Educating many students on Quran is not an easy task. It requires dedication and sacrifice. Perhaps modern day teachers and students are not fully appreciative of the conditions they have. I have left my heart amongst the voices of the 3,000 Huffaz in the village, where we stayed for about an hour.

Darul Ihsan Media Desk

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