Presented at the  Leadership Training Programme, Islamic College of South Africa 19-22 June 2000 by Prof Dr Omar Hasan Kasule, Sr. Deputy Dean,  Kulliyah of Medicine

The Halaqa/usrah is a personalised method of tarbiyah used by the Prophet (PBUH)


LEADERSHIP OF DISCUSSION: The Naqib can lead discussion in some sessions and is also encouraged to delegate this responsibility to various members of the usra. Whoever has the responsibility for leading discussions must take 20-30 minutes preparing for the session


RECORDING ATTENDANCE: The Naqib must have a register in which members sign their name and the times of arrival. Signing-in should be done before the usrat starts any formal work.


START AND END: Members should start by reciting surat al fatihat and should adjourn with recitation of tasbih kaffarat and surat al ‘asr


TIME MANAGEMENT: The Naqibat must make sure that all three components of the usra are covered. The members should start with Qur’an study followed by usrat discourse and end with discussion of current issues. Time should be left at the end to deal with any administrative matters that may arise or to solve any personal problems of members that may arise.


MANAGEMENT OF THE DISCUSSIONS: The Naqibat should make sure that all members participate. This can be achieved by being pro-active ie addressing questions to individuals or inviting them to make comments. If a member is unable to say anything or is unwilling or otherwise reluctant, the Naqibat should not insist but should move on to the next member. Very talkative members should not be allowed to dominate the discussions. The Naqibat should politely re-direct any speaker who veers off the topic of discussion.


USRAT MATERIAL: The Naqib should make sure that every member has a personal copy of the usrat manual. Each member should also bring along a copy of the Qur’an with translation in addition to whetever other books have been assigned


THE ETIQUETTE, ADAB, OF USRAT: Members should greet one another before starting. All members should endeavour to know one another by name. Any member wanting to go out for a valid reason must obtain the permission of the Naqibat. All members must learn to listen and not interrupt others. They must obey the instructions of the Naqibat. Members must avoid quarrels or loud arguments. A spirit of tolerance should exist with the understanding that there could be more than one way of being right. Excessive laughing or joking should be avoided. Members should sit with proper adab. Recitation of the Qur’an should be done with khushu and tadabbur.


EXTRA-MURAL SOCIAL ACTIVITIES: As a means of increasing bonding among usrah members, the naqib/naqibat must organise some recreational or educational activities outside the regular sessions of the usrah. These may be visits to interesting places, picnics, sports etc


CURRENT AFFAIRS: The usrah should provide an opportunity for informal unstructured exchange of views about current issues in the university, the society, and the whole ummat. The discussion should be at a high conceptual level avoiding controversies that do not help advance understanding of the issues at stake


EVALUATION, MUHASABAT: Special sessions should be set aside for collective self-evaluation by members of the usrah. The parameters of this evaluation should be agreed on by all. The evaluation could cover the usrah and its activities or could extend to other activities of the members. The purpose should be fostering the spirit of sharing experiences and self-criticism

Professor Omar Hasan Kasule Sr. June 2000