Al-Andalus (الأندلس) was the Arabic word used to describe the territory that included the Iberian Peninsula and cultural domain governed by Muslims between 711 and 1492 (today’s Portugal and Spain). Al-Andalus became an educational center for growth and advancement in philosophy, art and architecture as well as medicine, trigonometry, astronomy, pharmacology, agronomy and other fields. Taking its name from this legacy, Al-Andalus Academy aims to offer a holistic synthesis in knowledge that is oriented towards realizing the worship and knowledge of Allah.
The Columns aims to offer students a solid grounding in the Islamic tradition by first ensuring the fulfillment of the fard al-ayn (فرض العين), the duties obligatory on every Muslim individual, which include aqidah (theology), fiqh (Islamic Law), tasawwuf (spiritual purification) and contemporary issues. These four components, known as ‘The Columns’ must be coherent with each other for they are the outward and inward aspects to becoming a holistic human. Muslims, aware of their Islamic foundations and duties, can situate all knowledge within the Islamic paradigm and manifest excellence in any field pursued. The Academy also offers free content that covers the fard al-ayn through the Zamzam stream.
The Columns at Al-Andalus Academy is a program divided into four terms each year correlating with the four dimensions of Islam. The first term of study will be theology; the second term will focus on Islamic law according to the Maliki school; the third term will be a study on spiritual purification; the final term concentrates on contemporary topics. The students’ first year at Al-Andalus Academy will be foundational and its successful completion will be a prerequisite to enroll in the second year and so on.
Alongside The Columns, students examine contemporary works through the Al-Andalus Book Club. Students will be given the opportunity to read and discuss works whilst also giving them the opportunity to synthesize the knowledge they have gained in The Columns to contemporary issues.
Traditional Islamic learning began in mosques where teachers and scholars would sit by a column as shown in the picture above and students would surround them to establish circles of knowledge. Al-Andalus Academy follows this traditional model of education through the study of texts with a tutor whilst also contributing to the digital renaissance of learning to ensure accessibility for all.