Abdul Hakeem Faizy Adrisseri: The first Indian to join the governing body of League of Islamic Universities

Abdul Hakeem Faizy Adrisseri with LIU Secretary General Dr. Jafer Abdul Salam when he visited Cairo.
Abdul Hakeem Faizy Adrisseri (right) with Ex Grant Mufti of Egypt Dr. Ali Jumua (extreme left) and Sheikul Azhar Dr. Ahmed Muhammed Ahmed el- Tayeb.

By Shafeeq Hudawi, TwoCircles.net

Malappuram might be thousands of miles away from Cairo, but that has never deterred the exchange of ideas and scholars. And Abdul Hakeem Faizy Adrisseri, a 60-year-old resident of the Malabar district is the latest addition to the list of Indian Muslims who have made it big in the world of Islamic education. A few days ago, Adrisseri became the first Indian to be selected to the 21-member apex body of Cairo-based League of Islamic Universities (LIU) as its first executive member. The functionaries were impressed with the integrated education model of which Faizy is an untiring advocate. It is an apt reward for Adrisseri, who started almost four decades ago in much simpler surroundings.

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Brought up in a clerical family, Adrisseri dropped out of school in the first standard and pursued traditional Islamic education in various mosques for eight years. But it never stopped him from dreaming and materialising others’ dreams. “I was not aware of the formal education,” Faizy reminisces. 

Abdul Hakeem Faizy Adrisseri with LIU Conference Committee president and Principal, College of Humanities, Al Azhar University Dr. Nabil Muhamed Tawfik Elsamalouti when he visited Kerala.

After spending eight years in Dars, the traditional teaching centres attached to mosques, he joined Jamia Nooriya Arabic College at Pattikkad in his home district Malappuram in 1977 for a two-year course in religious studies. An ardent reader, Malayalam books, and periodicals helped him determine his inadequacies as a school drop out.

The success story, scripted by Adrissery, dates back to 1993 when he joined Markazu Tharbiyyathul Islamiyya at Valanchery in Malappuram district. Markaz is one of the Islamic institutions where the integrated education model combine was introduced. It combined traditional Islamic studies with modern education.

Abdul Hakeem Faizy Adrisseri with officials of Islamic Universities League when he visited Cairo

Adrisseri along with his colleagues Kunjamu Faizy and C K Mohammed Darimi brought in a new age in Islamic education in Kerala by trying a hand with the integrated education system. “I felt like I was bestowed a golden opportunity to materialise my dreams when I was appointed as a teacher in Markaz. I had determined that religious scholars needed to be cognizant of the changes in the world and they should tap the potential of various knowledge,” he said.

By 2000, Coordination of Islamic Colleges (CIC) came into existence as a running body of around ten colleges. After completing ten year-long courses in CIC run colleges, students are given post graduation in Islamic studies along with a UGC approved degree. Postgraduates from these colleges are called Wafy. As per the CIC, more than 5,500 students are now pursuing higher secondary, degree and pg courses in these colleges.

Adrisseri’s efforts as the coordinator of the Coordination of Islamic Colleges (CIC) shaped a new model of education, which is now followed by several Islamic arts colleges in Kerala and Karnataka. Under Hakeem Faizy, CIC is materialising an educational revolution among the Muslim community, especially in Muslim women’s education. Now, it’s all set to spread its wings to more areas in Kerala and other states. Currently, Adrisseri oversees 69 institutions including 24 women’s colleges.

Adrisseri believes that integrated education has ensured more acceptance among Islamic scholars in the Muslim community and the general public. “It has helped them to act in accordance with the evolving time,” he says.

It was a milestone when the first women’s college was started in 2008 at Valanchery. Presently, more than 1,300 girl students are studying in 24 colleges across Kerala. Graduates from women’s colleges are known as Wafiyyas.

“Diversification has driven success in these colleges. And both Wafies and Wafiyyas are active in various activities ranging from teaching to community empowerment activities,” Adrisseri says, adding that the model is only likely to spread in the coming days. Wafies are now pursuing their higher studies in various Indian and foreign universities including International Islamic University of Malaysia and Cairo University.

While it comes to Wafiyyas, CIC is now concentrating on bringing out more teachers. “We need more women’s colleges and scholars to run them. Later, we will channelise these women scholars,” Adrisseri adds. Wafiyyas are now part of CIC as coordinators of various colleges and CIC has Wafiyyas as teachers in more than 80% of the total teaching posts in women’s colleges.

The present number of Wafiyya colleges, according to Adrisseri, is inadequate to meet the present requirements of the Muslim community in the state. “In the present academic year, only around 450 girl students are admitted even though more than 1000 students attended the entrance examination,” he says.

However, after getting elected to the supreme body of the LIU, Adrisseri is now eying on developing ties between Indian universities and Islamic universities across the globe. “Interexchange programme can help universities reform themselves and they will also lend students community a lot of opportunities to explore their knowledge. My prime stress will be on introducing interexchange programmes and cooperation of universities,” he says.

Adrisseri was recommended to the apex body after LIU Foreign Affairs Desk director Valeed Abdul Mu’nim along with LIU deputy secretary general Nabeel Samaloothi and its Medical Fiqh Science director Ishaq Abdul Aal visited various CIC colleges.

The CIC has been a member of LIU since 2014 and has received several accolades for its integrated education system. CIC also has academic tie-ups with University of Cairo, Al Azhar University and Academy of Arab Languages.

Adrisseri will leave for Egypt in April last week to attend LIU’s general body and executive board meeting along with an international seminar. The programme will be held in Alexandria. And while he might be located in a completely different surrounding, this Malappuram resident is only likely to continue putting all his efforts into the integrated model of education.