Religious Education in Pakistan


Emerging out of the middle ages, the Islamic educational institutions called madrassas (also referred to as Madaris-e-Deeniya or Deeni Asnad) are effectively seminaries which may provide some mix of primary, secondary and tertiary education. These kinds of schools have seen tremendous growth in number over the past century. In 2020, there were roughly 22,000 registered madrassas, awarding credentials to more than two million children. With such a population of students, understanding the ways in which this system is structured and regulated (only state regulated in the 21st century) is crucial as education continues to internationalize and Pakistan increases its share of the international education market. 


As there are a number of unauthorized madrassas, it is important to be aware of the recognized institutions responsible for overseeing and awarding credentials in the Deeni Asnad system. Only five boards and five individual schools can award credentials. These are regulated by the state following the establishment of the Pakistan Madrasah Education Board (PMEB) under Ordinance No.XL of 2001. This Board is empowered to register Deeni Madaris and to prescribe conditions for their operation. 


The names of the five schools are as follows: 

  • Jamia Islamia Minhaj-ul-Quran, 366 Model Town, Lahore. 

  • Jamia Taleemat-e-Islamia, Sargodha Road, Faisalabad. 

  • Jamia AshrafiaFeroz Pura Road, Lahore. 

  • Darul Uloom Mohammadia Ghousia Bhera Distt. Sargodha. 

  • Darual Uloom, Korangi Greek, Karachi. 


The names of the five waqfs/wafaq (Ittehad Tanzimat Madaris-e-Deeniya) 

  • Wafaq-ul-Madaris Al-Arabia, Markazi Office Gordon Town, Sher Shah Road, Multan. 

  • Tanzeem-ul-Madaris Alhe Sunnat, Jamia NaeemiaGhari Shaho, Lahore. 

  • Wafaq-ul-Madaris Al-SalfiaHajiabad Post Code 38600, Faisaalabad. 

  • Wafaq-ul-Madaris Shia, Jamia-al-Muntazar, H. Block, Model Town, Lahore. 

  • Rabita-ul-Madaris Al Islamia, Mansoora Road, Lahore. 


The entire program in the madrassas systems takes place over the course of sixteen years.  


There are five benchmarks within the system:

  • Middle School Certificate: 8-years of study
  •  ShahadatulSanviaAama: 2-years of study
  •  ShahadatulSanviaKhasa: 2-years of study
  •  Shahadatul Alia: 2-years of study
  • Shahadatul Almiya: 2-years of study 

While the ShahadatulSanviaAama and the ShahadatulSanviaKhasa may be respectively equivalent to the completion of grade ten and the completion of grade twelve, in both cases, the credentials awarded by the madrassas are not considered equivalent unless accompanied by the national compulsory subject examinations are taken through the appropriate national or regional examination board. 

Likewise, the Shahadatul Alia and the Shahadatul Almiya are not considered equivalent to tertiary academic credentials of a similar length of study without additional qualifying elements. The Shahadatul Alia is not equivalent to a bachelor pass and the sixteen year credential (Shahadatul Almiya) only qualifies one for employment as a teacher in Arabic or Islamic studies. The Shahadatul Almiya may be considered equivalent to an academic credential for the purposes of employment only if they have qualified with “two additional elective subjects other than Arabic and Islamic studies” at the bachelor pass level. As this criteria must be completed at an institution recognized by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan, there will be necessary accompanying documentation from such an institution. 

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