Founded in 1908 in Qadian, Jamia Ahmadiyya has grown from its humble beginnings to become a global institute where students undertake a 7-year course with the aim of becoming future missionaries of the community and to propagate the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat. The Jamia course is divided into three stages, with each lasting a minimum of two years. In order to graduate and attain the Shahid Degree from this institution, a student is required to pass all three stages.
The first two years of Jamia help build the important foundation of the student. In these years, the basics of the fundamental languages Arabic, Urdu and English are formed. In addition to this, students begin studying other essential subjects including the study of the Holy Qur’an and the books of the Promised Messiah (as).
Once the foundations have been laid, new subjects are introduced, such as: Ilm-ul-Kalam (learning about our fundamental beliefs), Comparative Religions and History, Tafseer (exegesis of the Quran). These topics aid the student to become a critical thinker in order to deepen his knowledge of faith. In this stage, students also take a step closer to becoming multilingual missionaries.
The final two years of Jamia focus on solidifying and recapitulating the skills and knowledge gained by the student throughout his time at Jamia.
Here, the student also begins his dissertation, the subject matter of which is approved by the worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) himself. By passing his final exams and earning the Shahid Degree from his Holiness (aba), the student completes the 7 year course and becomes a missionary.
In the first year of Jamia, a student is introduced to the basics of his subjects with the intention of building a strong foundation for the next seven years. The focus of the first year is around the three main languages which are Arabic, Urdu and English. The subjects which are taught alongside the languages – the translation of the Holy Qur’an and the correct pronunciation (Tajweed) of the Holy Qur’an) – revolve around these three languages
The focus of the following year is also on the three main languages (Arabic, Urdu and English), in order to fortify the core that the student has built from the previous year. In addition to subjects taught in the first year, Fiqah (Islamic Jurisprudence) is added to the list.
In the third year of Jamia, a student is introduced to a new array of subjects which further advance his knowledge of the previously taught fundamental subjects. These subjects consist of Ilm-ul-Kalam (learning about our fundamental beliefs), History of Islam and Hadith; these are combined with the core subjects mentioned above.
In the fourth year, the student has learnt the necessary studies needed to expose him to the pragmatic side of his education. Here, the student takes steps towards becoming a critical-thinker, which give the student the ability to further study the subjects previously taught, alongside the new subjects of Tafseer (exegesis) of the Holy Qur’an and Studies of Comparative Religion.
The fifth year revolves around strengthening the knowledge of the student, so that he can grow into the world of research and self-study, whilst also undertaking a new subject – Persian. This year is where the student increases his knowledge of all subjects previously taught.
The sixth year is the finalisation of studies in Jamia and the student is to focus on his thesis. The thesis is chosen by the student himself and approved by His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba). For one’s thesis, the student either translates a book, or chooses a topic to research about. This is the main focus in the sixth year.
The final year of Jamia is where the student finishes his thesis and begins the preparation of his final exams (also known as Shahid exams). These exams test the student on what he has learnt throughout the course of his seven years in Jamia. The students also master the necessary life skills required for a missionary in his practical life. These include: homoeopathy, basics of mechanical engineering, cooking, accounting and horse riding etc.