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A day inside Jamia Hafsa

ISLAMABAD, May 8, 2007: Islamabad is fairly quiet on Sundays but at Jamia Hafsa, the girls' seminary that has been in the spotlight in recent months, it is business as usual with the students hurrying around and announcements from loudspeakers echoing on the campus.

A big piece of cloth, perhaps a bed sheet or a table cover, hangs at the entrance to the Madrassa that accommodates as many as 4,500 students, who actually live on the premises, while another 1,000 are day scholars.

Four fully alert girls, their heads covered guard the entrance and inquire about the identity of every visitor before allowing them to proceed to the reception. Once inside, the campus presents a scene that is unlike any modern educational institution.

Girls of almost all age groups are on the roll of the Madrassa that has virtually no chairs and desks with most students sitting on the floor studying, others busy chatting and still others scurrying to take up their duties assigned by the management. It is only 7am and the place is so full of life.

The Madrassa remains alert all the time as about a 100 girls guard various parts of the building in two-hour shifts round the clock. "The official lights off time at night is 10pm," said Amna Hadeem, a student from Peshawar.

The Hafsa students have been the centre of attention after occupying a Children's Library since February in protest over the demolition of mosques in Islamabad by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) in the name of illegal construction and security risk.

The students along with the male counterparts of Jamia Fareedia also abducted Shamim Akhtar and three of her relatives, allegedly for running a brothel in Sector G-6. They were released after two days of confinement at the Madrassa.

A typical day at the campus starts with Thajjud followed by breakfast. The food is prepared by 60 cooks which is then served to different groups of students in shifts. "We can't serve all of them in one go because if we do so, there is going to be chaos," said Principal Umme Hassan.

A truckload of flour is consumed in three days at the campus while meat comes in for free from people sending in "Sadqa". "We get meat in such a large quantity that often it is passed on to the needy outside," she said while sipping in the juice of Drek, a local herb considered good for blood but sour in taste.

Umme Hassan, wife of Lal Masjid's prayer leader Maulana Abdul Aziz, has been living on the campus since 1998 and has seen it grow over the years. Married at the age of 16, she took up teaching at the seminary the following year and continues to do so even today.

Jamia Hafsa, which became operational in 1992, had only four rooms and 100 students then. However, today it has two massive floors with the third under construction. Interestingly, standing at the entrance to the Madrassa, one cannot make out the huge size of the structures inside.

Officials say that once the building is completed it would be spacious enough to accommodate 8,000 students in all. The Madrassa, it is believed, has gained in popularity because everything here is taken care of by the management.

From books to bedding, food to medicine and Burqas all are provided for free, says Umme Hassan. "We give out 50,000 Burqas each year," she remarked. The campus has a big convenience store named Maktaba, four canteens and a small hospital run by a homeopathic doctor. "Our Allopathic physician quit after being harassed by the intelligence agencies," she said, adding that now they have to go visit her clinic outside.

The Madrassa has some 114 PhD level students who after graduating are ranked as Muftiats. They are the ones who guide people coming to them seeking solution to their day-to-day problems.

A Darul Afta room is reserved for the Muftiats, eight of whom are on duty from 8am till 10pm each day to facilitate the people. Another room close by is used for match-making and storing stuff for dowries while a third is meant for guests, the only room equipped with a bed. It was here that Shamim was kept.

The subjects taught at the campus also include computers, glass painting, flower making, paintings and calligraphy and even journalism. "We also organise exhibitions displaying students' art work," said Ramla Saeed, a student.

But as the Madrassa standoff with the government continues, the atmosphere inside the compound has eased considerably following the recent tension-filled weeks. Some of the students, who had quit in anticipation of an operation against the seminary, are now coming back. For now, their row with the government has taken a backseat, so it seems. The News


Your Comments
"Masha Allah, Its a sign of Light."
Name: Mohammad Nouman
Email: mohammed_nouman@yahoo.com
City, Country: Karachi, Pakistan


"Good! Its a best sign."
Name: Zareen
Email: mukhtarsohail@yahoo.com
City, Country: Lahore, Pakistan


"It would be nice to know where all the funding is coming from. That will provide you a lot of insight of the objectives of the madrassa."
Name: Fahad
Email: me@domain.com
City, Country: NRW, Germany


"All the funding is given by the public. To provide a insight of the objectives of the madrassa you may look at the curriculam of the madrassa."
Name: Zaraar
Email: zaraar.hyder@gmail.com
City, Country: Islamabad,Pakistan


"jamia hafasa has done the great. it is wakeup call for muslims to protect themselves nobody other but they have to pay the cost of their deeds, Blood n tears r so precious to Allah subhan watala, good day inside jamia Hafsa. may Allah fill our heart with the sprit of Emaan, ameen"
Name: muslima
Email: muslims_sister_786@yahoo.com
City, Country: rawalpindi,Pakistan


"Dear Brothers and Sister of Islam, Asalam-u-alaiku. in the reference of Jamia Hafsa and Lal Masjid. we have to repay the blad of our modist and brave sisters and our mujhid brothers. if we people only talk on internet then ist wast of time and we cant do something for your sister and brothers. this sis our duty that you repay blad or your sisters and brothers to this non muslim government of pakistan. pakistan need Islami Inqelaab and inqlaab need hard work and tray. we are some girls we have great a Tanzeem for our sister our Tanzeem name is (Hizbulmuhsenaat) now need sisters and brothers from all pakistan if you people want to do something for your shaheed sister and want to finish in bad cultur of pakistan and please join with us help us. we are waiting for brothers who reach our voice to all pakistan. we have creat CDs for Jamia Hafsa. but now have to give this CDs to all country sisters and brothers but we dont have any sources so that we send this CDs to all country so now we are looking for our brave brothers who help us and send this messaget and CDs to all pakistan our CDs Name is ( HAQEQAT KIA HAY) and (LAST VOICE OF JAIMA HAFSA SISTER 30 MINT BEFOR SHAHEED) and ( Behno ki Pukaar) and your people want to see these CDs then kindly contact with us. jazakumullah khair. Asma Maryam "
Name: Hizbulmuhsenaat
Email: muhsenaat@muslim.com
City, Country: pakistan


"I ALAS TO JAMIA HASFA"
Name: roqiya
Email: ROQIYA@YAHOO.COM
City, Country: ISLAMABAD, Pakistan


"Ah........the great girls of jamia hafsa and mujahideen of lal masjid can never be forget......they have gone to jannat and ****** and pervezies are making preparation for hell "
Name: mehboob ahmad
Email: mehboobalhazarwi@gmail.com
City, Country: haripur, Pakistan

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