Usul Academy is the story of revival, renewed life, and newfound hope. It is the story of the spirit of an ancient tradition brought back to life rejuvenated by the love of God (Allah), knowledge (ʿilm), and the desire to give the past a future (iḥyāʾ wa tajdīd). From the Asḥab al-Ṣuffah and the great scholarly legacy (imāms) and schools (fiqh, kalām, taṣawwuf) and from the Qarawiyyīn, the University of Cordoba, al-Azhar, the Niẓamiyyah madrasahs, the South Asian Dars-i Nizami tradition to the late Ottoman madrasahs and kulliyyāt, the dissemination of knowledge has been a distinguishing marker of Islamic Civilization and its unique contribution to the world.
Ever since the last traditional Ottoman madrasah closed its doors and the scholars of Islam and their institutions driven to the margins of society ― the dream of reviving the venerable ancient tradition of Islamic learning has preoccupied the imagination of every sincere Muslim. Muslims still hold firm to the conviction that though the dark night of ignorance has fallen upon them, the dawn is bound to rise and shine once again. This is the way of God, this is the Law as He states, “They desire to extinguish the Light of Allah with their speech, but Allah will not allow this, for He wishes to spread its light to its full, even if the disbelievers do not like it” (Q 9:32).
The closure of the madrasahs brought devastation to the enterprise of Islamic knowledge while the spirit of such a tradition continued to live on in the hearts and minds. This spirit gave way to many unimaginable revivalist efforts that demonstrated an unrelenting commitment to the Islamic intellectual tradition among some of these extraordinary people of God. Across the Islamic world, it was in the private circles of learning, quiet corners of mosques or in the sanctity of private homes that the Islamic spirit lived on, unhindered by the challenges of an increasingly secular and often aggressive anti-religious context.
Traditional scholars have always endeavored to continue to carry the trust (amānah) of knowledge and convey it to others. As a result, over the past few decades many initiatives have been developed by sincere Muslims to revive the Islamic tradition of learning. However, many of these initiatives have been restricted to particular local communities, and often inaccessible to people who cannot move and study at these institutions.
The recent surge in online learning has provided an unprecedented opportunity for a global audience to learn from traditional Islamic scholars irrespective of where they may be. By building on the experiences of these initiatives, a group of scholars convened in late 2020 with the idea of developing an online madrasah that would continue the spirit of traditional Islamic learning and engage with the world of contemporary knowledge. With this, Usul Academy was born.
Usul Academy builds on the centuries-long tradition of Islamic education, particularly the Ottoman heritage. Yet it employs the most recent technology to provide traditional Islamic education with a comparative perspective to a global audience through “blended education,” which combines online and face-to-face education (summer retreats in Istanbul).
In the spirit of reviving the classical Islamic tradition in a modern context, the team chose the name “Usul Academy.” Our motto is “Rooted Revival.” Our logo includes the sandal of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, within the Star of Futuwwah (Islamic chivalry originating from the Sunnah) to symbolically signify that Usul Academy is rooted in the Sunnah and the Futuwwah tradition with a renewed spirit.
May Allah give us the best success in making it a light house spreading the light of authentic knowledge for those who seek guidance in our confusing age and accept it from us as a permanent charity in the service of humanity.