Weekend Connections: Engaging with London’s Weekend Madrasahs

Weekend Connections: Engaging with London's Weekend Madrasahs

Weekends are often seen as a time to relax and unwind, but for many Muslim families in London, it is also a time for education and community. Madrasahs, or Islamic schools, play a crucial role in the lives of many young Muslims, providing them with religious education and fostering a sense of belonging to their faith. While weekday madrasahs have been around for decades in London, there has been a recent rise in the popularity of weekend madrasahs.

Weekend madrasahs offer an alternative for working parents who are unable to send their children to weekday classes. These madrasahs usually take place on Saturday or Sunday mornings and cater to students between the ages of 5-16. They offer a range of subjects including Quranic studies, Arabic language, Islamic history and culture.

One such weekend madrasah is Al-Manaar madrasah Cultural Heritage Centre located in West London. The centre has been providing religious education since 2001 and currently caters to over 300 students every weekend. According to Mohammed El-Khdoury, the Head Teacher at Al-Manaar Madrasah, “the demand for weekend classes has increased over the years as more parents see the value of giving their children an Islamic education alongside their secular studies.

Aside from providing religious education, weekend madrasahs also offer other benefits including promoting social connections among students from different backgrounds. Asma Ahmed*, whose children attend Al-Manaar Madrasah says “It’s not just about learning Quran or Arabic; my kids have made friends from different cultures and this opens up their minds.” This sentiment is echoed by many parents who see these classes as an opportunity for their children to build relationships outside their school environment.

Weekend madrasahs also play a vital role in promoting social cohesion within communities by engaging with local non-Muslim organizations through various events such as community clean-ups or food drives during Ramadan. This not only promotes a positive image of the Muslim community but also instills in students the importance of giving back and serving their local community.

Moreover, weekend madrasahs help bridge the generational gap between youth and elders by providing opportunities for young Muslims to interact with respected scholars and teachers. This allows them to learn from their experiences and gain a better understanding of their faith.

In addition to all these benefits, weekend madrasahs also offer a platform for parents to get involved in their children’s religious education. Many parents volunteer as classroom assistants or help organize events, strengthening the bond between family members while promoting active engagement in their child’s learning.

Despite all their advantages, there are challenges that come with running weekend madrasahs such as lack of funding and limited resources. However, these obstacles have not deterred many organizations from continuing this valuable service to the community.

In conclusion, weekend madrasahs play a crucial role in providing holistic education for young Muslims in London. They offer many benefits including social connections, promoting madrasah community involvement and strengthening family ties. With increasing demand from parents looking for an alternative to weekday classes, it is clear that these institutions will continue to thrive in building a strong Muslim identity among future generations.