Historical

Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah A Tradition of Excellence Forging into the Future

Since its inception in 1927, Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah has set for itself a tradition of academic excellence. Its reputation is known not only in Singapore, but also throughout Southeast Asia.

It is with this excellence that Aljunied graduates earn recognition and acceptance by such esteemed institutions as the the University of Al-Azhar in Cairo.

The Madrasah also prides itself in a number of its alumni who had completed their studies in Al-Azhar University and serve their nations. Amongst them are, Pehin Dato Seri Utama Dr Haji Mohamad Zain Haji Serudin, now Minister for Religious Affairs In Brunei Darussalam, several grand Muftis, scholars and religious leaders of Singapore, Sabah, Sarawak, Pahang and Brunei Darussalam, and a number of lecturers at the universities in this region.

Even as the Madrasah was responsible for producing the Islamic scholars of this region, it now faces an even greater challenge to help nurture the religious elites who can help the ummah manage the rapid change in our lives today.

The opening of the Madrasah in 1927 represented the pride of Islam and the Muslim community. With the grace of Allah, Sayyid Abdur Rahman bin Junied bin Umar bin Ali Aljunied built the Madrasah from the endownment funds of his grandfather, Sayyid Umar bin Ali Aljunied, the founder of Waqf Aljunied.

From a plot of burial land to an institution of Islamic learning, that could have summed up the history of Madrasah Aljunied Al-Islamiah. Over the years, many events have taken place to contribute to its current prestigious standing. Dedicated teachers and excellent curricula, both secular and religious, have made it the premier school of Islamic learning in Singapore.

The two-storey building on its original site at Victoria Street has been demolished to make way for a spanking new SGD12 mil building. With refurbishment, the total cost amounted to SGD15 mil.

It was in the ‘20s that the idea of a madrasah was mooted after the then British Government stopped the use of the wakaf land as a burial plot. Assalih Assaiyid Abdulrahman bin Junied bin Umar bin Ali Aljunied, grandson of Assyarif Assaiyid Umar Ali Aljunied who was the founder of the wakaf land, then decided to build a madrasah on it. In 1927, the Madrasah Aljunied opened its door to the first batch of 10 students. Today, more than 80 years later, its enrolment has increased almost 1000-fold to reach more than 1000. With its new building, it can accommodate 1200 students.

Over the years, the Madrasah has attracted students not just from Singapore but also neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei Darussalam. In 1936, a special course to groom religious leaders was introduced called “Qismut-Takhassus Fil Wa’dz Wal Irsyad” the post-study course was conducted by Assyeikh Abdurrahim Ibrahim Assamnudy from Egypt. 2 years later, a special afternoon religious class was introduced for students attending government schools in the morning.

In 1941, the Madrasah went through its first rebuilding project to add more classrooms. At the same time, WWII saw many of its students and teachers going back to their various homelands and the name of the school changed to Darul ‘Ulum Addiniyah Aljunaidiyah. Its original name was restored when peace resumed in 1945.


The ‘60s saw new subjects being introduced into the curriculum, including English, Mathematics, Science, Geography, History & Malay. But the so-called ‘secularisation’ of the school did not affect the teaching of religious knowledge and Arabic language which were the main reason why parents sent their children to Madrasah Aljunied.

Thursday, recalled Al-Marhum Syed Ali Ridha Alsagoff was a special day where the senior students were given the opportunity to give a religious lecture in front of the whole school. “That was our training ground and many benefited from this as you can see from the number of religious leaders that the Madrasah had nurtured” he said.

Arabic is the lingua franca of the school. In the early days, anyone caught speaking in languages others than Arabic was punished. Over the years, Madrasah Aljunied has distinguished itself as the only religious institution whose students mastery of the Arabic is second to none.

Over the years, many of the students have graduated and gone on to pursue higher education at Islamic universities overseas. Today, the only difference that sets Madrasah students apart from those at secular schools is that they are taught religious education.

The goal of Madrasah Aljunied is to develop thinking Muslim scholars who have the flexibity to adapt to the changes in the modern world without compromising his Islamic values.