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The Architecture And Development Of Markaz Of Sheikh El-Ilory



Markaz Announces Date For Diploma Entrance Exam

By Nurudeen Ibrahim

Since the inception of Islam in the world the necessity of knowledge cannot in any way be denied. Islam came with knowledge and the prophets were all educators for their followers.

The Holy Prophet Muhammad came to educate the entire world. He transmitted knowledge to his companions and the companions in turn transmitted to their successors. With time the Muslims became popular for leading knowledge and people in different parts of the world were in search of the Muslims to satisfy their urge for knowledge and curiousity for epistemology. For decades the Muslims held the banner of knowledge and served as teachers to the West. With time centres of knowledge were established for people from various parts of the world to come for knowledge acquisition.

Bayt-ul-Hikma (House of Wisdom) in Baghdad was established to take care of different aspects of knowledge. Other centres too were established and later in 970AD Al-Azhar University was established as a centre of Knowledge in Africa.

Before Al-Azhar, the University of Al-Qarwiyyin flourished as a Centre of Islamic Knowledge beginning in a mosque. This interesting historical development was what engineered the curiosity of a visionary Islamic leader in Africa Sheikh Adam Abdullah El-Ilory to also establish Markaz as a centre of Islamic education in Nigeria.

The aim of Sheikh Adam was to establish a modern day Islamic Centre of knowledge that will be absolutely unique in its style and method which will be comparable to other leading centres outside Nigeria.

Markaz is one of the most leading centres of Islamic knowledge in not just Nigeria alone but the entire West Africa and also the most influential in Lagos and South-Western Nigeria. It is one of the oldest and most respected in the country. It was established by the late erudite scholar, Sheikh Adam Abdullah El-Ilory in 1952. Markaz was established with a license or approval (ijazah) received by the founder from al-Azhar University.

From time immemorial, Markaz is not comparable with other centres of knowledge as its educational and structural plans and academic excellence proved Markaz beyond others in many ways. Even though today there are many replicating the template of Markaz especially by those who were trained by the same Markaz of Sheikh Adam but the glory and record are not the same. It is the first modern Islamic centre of knowledge established in South West for reasons not hidden. It was founded on the basis of disseminating useful knowledge, modern Islamic civilization and moderate ideology to the Muslims and other citizens in addition to preventing the spread of any indoctrination or false dogmas by extremists. It is still the madrasa that offers the most useful courses to prepare a seeker of knowledge for understanding the Qur’an and Islam in general.

The architecture of Markaz since the time of Sheikh Adam affirms Markaz as a place of readiness for knowledge acquisition with all-encompassing requirements needed for modern day learning.

Markaz which is situated in Agege area of Lagos features different class rooms for different categories of students, a dining hall, a printing press, hostel, staff room and offices, assembly ground, mosque, indoor sports hall, conference room, seminar room, Information Computer Technology centre and even clinic.

The clinic has been standardized better after it went into extinction for many years and now linked up with hospitals outside the schools to offer better services on a daily basis and this is what most schools and offices do today.

At the time when this architecture surfaced at Markaz, it was difficult to get any other Madrasa with something similar but today Markaz has given the platform for other madrasa to rise with its template.

The curriculum of Markaz was developed in such a way that made it different from many others. The curriculum offers the following: Qur’an Recitation, Hadeeth Memorization, Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence), Tafseer (Exegesis), Lugha (Arabic Language), Nahw (Arabic Grammar), Sarf (Arabic Etymology), Balagha (Arabic Rhetoric), Sharia (Islamic Law), ‘Aruud (Arabic Versification), Ta’reekh (History), Dawah (Islamic Propagation), Ta‘leem (Method of Teaching), Hisaab (Arithmetic), Tasawwuf (Islamic Spirituality and Sciences of Dua), Falsafa (Islamic Philosophy), Tawheed (Islamic Theology), Jughraafiya (Geography), ‘Ilm-ul-Falak (Astronomy), Akhlaaq (Moral Education), ‘Ilm Nafs (Psychology), Usuul al-Fiqh (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence), ‘Ilm-ul-Hadeeth/Mustalahul Hadeeth (Principles of Hadeeth), Ath-Thaqaafa al-Islamiyya (Islamic Civilization), ‘Uluum-ul-Qur’an (Sciences of the Qur’an), Al-Inshaa (Arabic Composition), Al-Adab al-Arabi (Arabic Literature), Tajweed (Rules of Quran Recitation), Qasaaid and Nasheed (Arabic Poetry), As-Seera An-Nabawiyya (Biography of the Prophet), Mantic (Logic), Al-Wa‘z wal Irshaad (Islamic Guidance and Counselling), Meeraath (Inheritance), ‘Uluum (General Sciences), ‘Ilm Rasmi (Arabic Calligraphy) and Nusuus (Islamic Songs and Praises).

Therefore, Markaz offers first class Islamic education and promotes Islamic Spirituality which will not give room for distractions. Anything contrary to these does not depict the known Markaz.

Markaz has since its establishment in 1952 produced thousands of scholars home and abroad among whom few will be mentioned.

Notable Scholars Produced by Markaz include:

1. Sheikh Sulaiman Raji El-Imam
2. Sheikh Yaqub Abdullah El-Ilory
3. Sheikh Mustapha Sanusi Zuglool (late)
4. Dr. Yusuf K. Jumu‘a
5. Professor Aderemi
6. Professor Baqi Agaka
7. Professor M.A. Bidmos
8. Professor Hamzah Abdur Raheem
9. Professor Balogun (late)
10. Professor Lanre Badmos
11. Sheikh Yunus Yaqub (late)
12. Sheikh Moshood Ramadan
13. Sheikh Abdul Wahab Zubayr Al-Gamawy
14. Sheikh Sulaiman Abdul Wahhab Al-Gunyawy
15. Professor Ishaq Oloyede
16. Sheikh Femi Abbas
17. Sheikh Sideeq Farouq (late)
18. Sheikh Musa Yahya Agboola
19. Sheikh Moshood Adebayo (late)
20. Professor Isa Alabi
21. Arch. Nurudeen Lanre Quadri
22. Justice Ahmad Belgore (late)
23. Justice Moshood Abdul Rahman Oredola
24. Sheikh Habibullah Adam Abdullah El-Ilory (Present Mudeer of Markaz)
25. Dr. Abdul Ganiyy Jumu‘a Ariyibi (late)
26. Dr. Abdul Moumine Omolaja Yusuph
27. Sheikh Adam Yahya Al-Fulany
28. Sheikh Daud Abdul Majeed Alfanla
29. Sheikh Abdul Wahid Jumuat
30. Sheikh Sulaiman Farouq Onikijipa
31. Professor Ahmad Abdul Salaam
32. Professor Khalil Gbodofu
33. Dr. Abdur-Rasheed Mahmoud Mukadam
34. Professor Mahfouz Adedimeji
35. Sheikh Saeed Ibrahim Olawunmi (late)
36. Dr. Muhammed Tajudeen Abiodun Yusuph
37. Professor Abdul Rahman Al-Imam Kakuri
38. Sheikh Misbahudeen Ibrahim Zaytuny
39. Dr. Abdul Lateef Sayuti
40. Dr. Ridwanullah Olagunju
41. Sheikh Abdullah Salaty (late)
42. Sheikh Ridwan Adam Abdullah El-Ilory (late)
43. Sheikh Jamal Adam Abdullah El-Ilory
44. Sheikh Thaoban Adam Abdullah El-Ilory
45. Justice Abdullah Adam Abdullah El-Ilory
46. Sheikh Bashir Adam Abdullah El-Ilory
47. Dr. Jumu’ah Adam Abdullah El-Ilory
48. Sheikh Abdullah Mukaddam Ibrahim (late)
49. Sheikh Abdul Hameed Bashar and many great personalities.

At the beginning Markaz started with just two sections: Ibtidaiyya and I‘dadiyya. After few years Sheikh Adam El-Ilory added a third section for additional opportunity to advance in knowledge. Thus, the three sections at the time of Sheikh Adam El-Ilory were:

1. Ibtidaiyya Section (Elementary)
2. I‘dadiyya Section (Primary)
3. Thanawiyya Section (Secondary)

It was said that Sheikh Adam El-Ilory had the plan for further studies after the Thanawi level which was the Diploma Level. However, this did not materialize during the life time of Sheikh Adam but he initiated the 3 Months Certificate Course at Al-Azhar which offered the people of Markaz the opportunity to learn at Al-Azhar University.

After the demise of Sheikh Adam El-Ilory, his son Sheikh Habib El-Ilory who took over the tasks of his father established the Diploma program at Markaz for advanced studies and to offer the people opportunity to get direct entry into higher institution through the diploma course. The diploma course is a special course that does not only offer Arabic and Islamic studies but other courses such as English, Nigerian History, Economics, Government, English Literature and others.

Today there are more developments at Markaz through the efforts of Sheikh Habib El-Ilory: the old buildings are being replaced with new ones, the old hostel has been demolished and new modern structure has been completed, more buildings have been added, the offices have taken new modern shape and well equipped with modern facilities and the entire school is now beautified. In addition to this, Markaz has embarked on a University Project for a total transformation while retaining all other programs including the Ibtidaiyya and the I‘dadiyya. Just like the University of Qarwiyyin and Al-Azhar, Markaz has also transformed through developmental stages that have not stopped. The University project has started with its preliminaries as a University College with approval given by the National Universities Commission and it will continue to grow and become a pride for Islam.

We pray for the success of Markaz as it gradually embarks on the University project and we also pray that may the Lord reward all those behind this beautiful initiative.

Nurudeen Ibrahim
Revised Edition May, 2024

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