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Darul Fath's pedagogical approach is exactly the same as the approaches found historically in traditional institutions of Islamic thought, from East to West: universities like Al-Azhar in Egypt, Zeitouna in Tunisia, the circles of knowledge in Damascus, and the Mahdaras and Madaris of Mauritania and Algeria.

The focus is on creating circles of knowledge at the feet of scholars with an unconnected chain (sanad) to the Islamic tradition, studying the exact same books that have been used to train scholars for over 1400 years. Many of the books taught are over 500 years old, and some, like Aqida Al-Tahawiya or the Risala of Ibn Abi Zayd are over 1000 years old.

Unlike institutions inspired by the Western university system, Darul Fath's focus is not on a graduation date or a certificate of completion. Although students will complete readings of dozens of classical texts in Darul Fath, the focus is not on "finishing" a book or curriculum, because a single teaching text (matn) can be revisited dozens of times through its various commentaries (shuruhand marginal glosses (hawashiat vastly different levels.

However, in recognition of the need for a predictable schedule and set of outcomes, Darul Fath structures classes into semesters with a set schedule and planned goals.

Core Sciences and Gateway Sciences


Traditional study of the Divine Law is focused on developing mastery of the core Islamic sciences, which are Aqida, Fiqh, and Tasawwuf. As the student advances in their studies, they require knowledge of additional sciences to aid their understanding of these sciences, such as knowledge of Nahw (grammar), Sarf (morphology), Mantiq (logic), Usul ul-Fiqh (principles of jurisprudence), Mustalah Al-Hadith (Hadith sciences), and more. The final goal is to be able to understand the Qu'ran and Sunnah in the way that the noble companions and their successors understood it. We structure our curriculum based on that system:

Year 1

Core Sciences:

Aqida: The systematic study of Islamic creed: the beliefs that are obligatory for every Muslim to affirm, negate, and deem possible about Allah and the Noble Prophets.

Fiqh: The study of the rulings of the Divine Law that pertain to the actions of elgally accountable individuals, and the conditions and stipulations of those rulings.

Tasawwuf: The study of how to attain sincerity in one's turning to Allah, and the study of the states of the heart that are obligatory for a believer and the study of the diseases of the heart and how to recognize and cure them.

Arabic: Study of classical Arabic and focus on attaining fluency, building vocabulary, and recognizing the basics of grammar (the structure of sentences) and morphology (the structure of words).

Topics Covered:

  • The scriptural and logical proofs for the existence of Allah, His attributes, and the truthfulness of His Prophets.

  • The rulings of devotional law (ibadat) relating to purification, Salah, fasting, Zakat, and Hajj, and their obligations, recommendations, and prohibitions.

  • Study of the formation of the schools of Aqida and Fiqh, and the biographies of the Imams of Aqida, Fiqh, and Tasawwuf.

  • Learning the etiquettes of seeking knowledge (talab ul-ilm) and the various paths and obstacles that the spiritual wayfairer (salik) face and how to overcome them.

  • Discussion of contemporary matters related to Islam in the 21st century, and real-world application of the Islamic sciences.

Books Covered

The Islamic written tradition (turath) is the richest intellectual tradition in the history of civilization. There have been hundreds of thousands of texts written on every discipline. One of the core pillars of traditional Islamic pedagogy is a scholar training students how to navigate the turath and learn how to read and interpret these texts.

Darul Fath boasts a faculty of scholars who have taken from nearly every geographical tradition of scholarship- from Mauritania in West Africa, to Algeria, to Egypt, to Turkey, to Damascus, to Yemen, to Pakistan and more. Every semester, the scholars select which texts will be covered for each science... some of these texts, such as the core teaching texts (mutunwill be taught repeatedly, while others may be opportunities that are offered once in a lifetime.

Below, is a partial list of texts that we have studied in the past two years.


Aqida Al-Tahawiyya: The earliest systematic text of Aqida by Imam Al-Tahawi on the agreed upon matters of Islamic creed.

Al-Ma'rifa: By Shaykh Abdul-Karim Al-Rifa'i, a reorganization of the Sanusi Creed, with elaboration on modern matters.

Al-Bidaya fi Usul il-Din: By Imam Nur Al-Din Al-Sabuni, one of the most important texts of the Maturidi school.

Umm Al-Barahin: Also known as Al-Sughra, this is Imam Al-Sanusi's paradigm-shifting summarization of Aqida and Kalam.

Irshad Al-Murid: A reorganization of Umm Al-Barahin written by Ibn Ghalbun, read with a modern commentary by Sh. Abdurrahman Mihrig, focusing on contemporary theological terms in English.

Tahdhib Sharh Al-Sanusiyya: Sh. Saeed Fodeh's refinement of Shaykh Ul-Islam Zakariyya Al-Ansari's commentary of Umm Al-Barahin.

Maliki Fiqh

Al-Ashmawiyya: Imam Abdul Bari Al-Ashmawi's primer on Maliki Fiqh, focusing on purification, prayer, and fasting.

Kitab Al-Akhdari: Imam Abdul-Rahman Al-Akhdari's primer focusing on Tasawwuf, purification, and prayer.

Al-Murshid Al-Muin: Imam Abdul Wahid Ibn Ashir's 130 line poem focusing on Kalam, Usul Al-Fiqh, the ritual chapters of Fiqh, and a detailed chapter on Tasawwuf.

Al-Izziyah: Imam Abu Hasan Al-Shadhili's summarization of Maliki Fiqh, meant to be an introductory text for new students at Al-Azhar during his era.

Qariba ul-Salik: Imam Ali Al-Amrusi's summarization and distillation of Mukhtasar Khalil, the most authoritative text of Maliki Fiqh.

Al-Risala Al-Qayrawaniya*

Hanafi Fiqh

Is'af Al-Muridin: Imam Al-Maydani's primer on Fiqh, with a detailed introductory section on Aqida and Kalam.

Maraqi Al-Sadaat: The famous primer by Imam Al-Shrunbulali focusing on all aspects of Hanafi ritual Fiqh.

Nur ul-Idah: A highly detailed text by Imam Al-Shrunbulali on ritual law.

Mukhtasar Al-Quduri: The seminal summarization of Hanafi Fiqh by Imam Al-Quduri.

Al-Kafaa'a fil Nikah: A specialized text focusing on a single condition of marriage.

Sadh al-Hamama: A text focusing on the pre-requisites of someone to lead the prayer by Imam Abdul Ghani Al-Nablusi.


Mahiyyat Al-Tasawwuf: A summary of the characteristics of the people of Tasawwuf and the path, written by Habib Umar bin Hafiz.

Adab Suluk il-Murid: Imam Al-Haddad's guide for the etiquettes of the spiritual wayfairer.

Usul il-Tariq (Zarruq): Sidi Ahmed Zarruq's guide to the principles of the spiritual path and the core pitfalls one encounters.

Usul ul-Fiqh

Al-Waraqat: Imam Al-Haramayn Al-Juwayni's primer on Usul ul-Fiqh, which was read along with Imam Muhammad Al-Hattab's commentary Qurrat Al-'Ayn.


Ta'lim Al-Mantiq: An urdu text in Mantiq typically taught to senior students in the Dars e Nizami curricum.

Al-Sullam Al-Munawraq: Imam Abdurrahman Al-Akhdari's 140 line poem on all of the chapters of Mantiq.

Al-Isagoge: Imam Al-Abhari, a contemporary of Imam Fakhr Al-Din Al-Razi's summary of logic, perhaps the most famous text of logic in history.

Al-Maqulat Al-Ashara: A summary of the Ten Categories and their usefulness/pitfalls in Kalam and philosophies.

Mustalah Al-Hadith

Taysir Mustalah Al-Hadith: A modern summary of Hadith science by Sh. Mahmud Al-Tahhan, studied in some schools in the Indian subcontinent as an advanced text in Hadith science.

Al Bayquniyya: Imam Bayquni's famous summarization of the various types of Hadith.


Al-Durus Al-Nahwiyya I & II: The first two books of a modern text in Arabic grammar taught in the famous Ma'had Fath Al-Islami in Damascus and across Islamic colleges in Syria and Turkey.

Learning Goals

Year 1:

  1. Studied and corrected their basic aqida with ability to offer rational proofs for the existence of Allah ta'ala and the Prophets.

  2. Capable of explaining and following the ahkam of tahaara, salah, and sawm.

  3. Understands basic Arabic vocabulary related to fiqh and aqida.

  4. Reached a beginner or higher level of fluency of Arabic and can now identify basic sentence structures.

  5. Can explain the importance of following a madhab and can appreciate the complexity of interpreting Islamic texts.

  6. Is engaging with memorization and hifdh, memorizing at least 1 juz' or pushing themselves based on their previous level.

Year 2:

  1. Has studied basic fiqh masa'il related to ibadaat at least twice and can explain exceptions to rulings and give restrictions to general ahkam.

  2. Can explain the basic issues of aqida related to the ilahiyyat, nubuwwat, and sam'iyyat at least at the level of the basic text of Jawharat al Tawhid.

  3. Can explain differences of opinion in aqida between schools and identify characteristics that would constitute bida' or kufr.

  4. Applies concepts of usul and the other tool sciences to fiqh and aqida and asks questions to fiqh and aqida teachers related to mantiq, hadith, adab al bahth, sarf, and nahw.

  5. Can understand the basic matn being studied and can reasonably explain the meaning of each sentence by depending on their written notes/translations.

  6. Has studied ibadaat multiple times, and muamalaat at least once, including rulings related to nikah, buyu', and dhakah (slaughter).

  7. Can actively engage with the terminology of aqida and fiqh, explaining more intricate details regarding the mustalah (terminology) of their madhab and knows details regarding the biographies and methodologies of scholars within their school.

  8. Has learned how to analyze and rebut ishkaal regarding Allah and the Prophets related to the rational proofs by using first concepts.

  9. Understands foundational principles used in Aqida related to subtle concepts such as epistemology, the jawhara, etc.

  10. Displays real growth and maturity in both understanding and outward practice, especially in how they interact with the community.

  11. Can reliably explain and teach all concepts learned in Year 1.

  12. Displays improvement in Arabic level and engages with the ibara of the matn they are studying directly without relying extensively on translation or notes.

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