Dars Nizami Curriculum

Since the establishment of the Delhi Sultanate in India in the 13th century, Hanafi fiqh was prevelant and taught. The Majority of the Ulema focused on Fiqh (Jurisprudence) and Usul al-Fiqh (Principles of Jurisprudence). The scholars studied books of Fiqh like al-Quduri, al-Hidaya and Majam al-Bahrayn wa Multaqa al-Nayirayn and Usul works like al-Husami, Al-Manaar and Usul al-Bazdawi.

As time passed the Mughals came to rule. Qutb al-Din Sahalwi was selected to support the Fatawa Alamgiri project sponsored by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb Alamgir. This work was to be a Hanafi compendium covering all matters of fiqh. After the death of Qutb al-Din, his sons Nizam al-Din Sahalwi and Muhammad Sa’id Sahalwi were tasked by Aurangzeb to come up with a comprehensive curriculum for future students of the deen.  

This curriculum consisted of the following three fundamental categories of education.

  1. Lisaniyaat (Languages), which included Tajweed, Arabic Grammar, Arabic Morphology and Rhetoric
  2. Ibadaat (Worship), which included Quran Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh, Usul Fiqh and Usul Hadith
  3. Ma’qulaat (Complementary), which included History, Math, Medicine, Logic, Literature, Philosophy, Farsi, Astronomy and other electives.

This comprehensive course was to equip all scholars with deep knowledge of Islamic law as well as any secular or supporting sciences. On completion of the course (which may have taken 10 years), one would be recognised as an Aalim, an Islamic scholar.

For hadith studies, the scholars studied, Miskaat al Masabih, a compilation of hadith from many hadith collections. Shah Waliullah Dehlawi introduced a detailed study of the Sahih Sitta in the Dars Nizami as he felt scholars lacked true comprehensive knowledge of hadith.

The Dars e Nizami is now world renowned and still widely taught in the Indian subcontinent.

Today there are many variations, tailored to new audiences and challenges. Some retain the classical syllabus where as others teach foundational subjects or extract key elements from the books. To cater for full time working professionals.

I have listed the subjects currently taught in most schools. Note – with the advent of secular schooling, many don’t teach the complementary subjects. Scholars will have a grasp of the foundational works, but with advanced texts, they may not cover everything from cover to cover, but will study key parts from the text guided by a teacher. Or will self-learn and check their understanding with a teacher. Likewise not all schools cover every hadith one by one, but will choose selected chapters from hadith works.

Tajweed – Arabic Letter pronunciation and rules of reading

  • Any Tajweed qaida with a qualified teacher

Sarf – Arabic Morphology

  • Any Sarf book like Sarf Bahai with a qualified teacher

Further studies may include rare abwab

Nahv – Arabic Grammar

  • Nahv Mir – Foundations of grammar
  • Sharh Miatu Amil – Foundations of grammar
  • Hidaya tun Nahv – Comprehensive Arabic grammar

Further studies include Al Kaafiya and Sharh Jaami

Often encourage to study a number of times to solidify understanding.

Mantiq – Logic

  • Majmu al Mantiq – Terminology of Mantiq terms
    • Sughra
    • Awsat
    • Kuibra
  • Mantiq ul Gilani – Compiled version of the Majmu al Mantiq – Go to book
  • Mirqaat – Foundational and comprehensive Mantiq 

Further studies Isa Guji, Qala Kul – Sharh of Isa Guji, Sharh Tazeeb and Mir Qutbi


  • Khulasah Qaydani – Basic fiqh
  • Munyatul Musalli – Basic fiqh
  • Nur al-Idah – Intermediate Fiqh
  • Quduri – Intermediate Fiqh
  • Kanzul Daqaiq – Advanced Fiqh
  • Sharul Wiqaya – Advanced Fiqh
  • Hidaya – Advanced Fiqh

There are many fiqh works and commentaries that students can spend a life time on like Badai Sanai, Radh ul Mukhtar, Fatwa Alamgiri and Bahar e Shariat, etc.

Usool ul Fiqh

  • Usool Shashi – Comprehensive
  • Nur al Anwar – Advanced
  • Husami – focus on Qiyas – Advanced

Further studies include Musalamus Sabooth, Tawzih and Talwih


  • Six hadith books
  • Miskaat
  • Taysir ul Qari
  • Other hadith collections

Usool Hadith

  • Bayquniyyah– Comprehensive
  • Taysir Mustalah– Comprehensive
  • Nuqbah tul Fiqr- Advanced


  • Jalalayn – Basic tafisr
  • Baydawi
  • Many other tafsir works

Usool Tafsir

  • Fawzul Kabir

Uloom ul Quran

  • Suyuti
  • Rawayhul Bayaan


  • Durus al Balagha
  • Mukhtasur Al Maani
  • Mutawaaz
  • Talkhees-ul-Miftah


  • Hidayatul Hikma
  • Mehbsi

Aqidah and Ilm ul Kalaam

  • Nasafi
  • Sharah Aqaid Nasafi
  • Nibras
  • Khayali
  • Umoor al Amah

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