The Story of Al-Furqan
Our story started on 2nd October 1989 when the foundations of Al-Furqan were laid by Zahida Hussain, the organization was initially named as Muslim Study Group.
Herself a parent, Zahida was looking for a school for her daughter in which both the National Curriculum and the Islamic Curriculum were taught side by side to the highest possible standards, helping each child to reach their full potential.
Inspired by her mother and supported by her husband, Muslim Study Group opened its doors on the first day with four children aged 3 to 5, including Zahida’s own daughter.
Parents who joined the organisation were also committed to providing a sound education to their children in a disciplined environment where the values of Islam were of primary importance. Thus making the Muslim Study Group a unique family in which every parent focused on the highest possible outcomes for their child.
From our humble origins in a semi-detached house in Moseley, Birmingham, occupying just two rooms, we met the educational needs of our students. The accommodation was not conducive to an educational environment. Al-Humdulillah, word spread of the high educational standards being achieved. We were overwhelmed by the demand for our educational provision.
We immediately set our sight on moving into more suitable premises after a long and painful search we took occupation of a terraced house in Sparkhill, Birmingham. There the Muslim Study Group flourished for a further two years and once again we were forced to explore more suitable buildings. Our development has always been restricted by financial constraints. We were not prepared to go beyond our limitations. It was a policy of cautious but firm development – a policy that the family of Al-Furqan is proud of – Al Humdulillah – unlike many a venture of the late eighties we continued to grow with the Du’as of our brothers and sisters in the community and the blessings of Allah (SWT).
In August 1992, we took occupancy of Stanfield House, Warwick Road, Tyseley. This move required the Muslim Study Group re-constituting itself as Al-Furqan School (4yrs to 18yrs). Stanfield House was deemed suitable as an educational establishment. This was followed by receipt of the final registration awarded by the Department for Education.
From September 1996 the primary part (boys & girls aged 4 to 11 years) became known as Al-Furqan Primary School and the secondary part (girls only aged 11 to 18 years) became known as Al-Furqan Community College.
On the 9th of January 1998, Al-Furqan Primary School was approved for Government funding and obtained Grant Maintained Status. The newly funded school was incorporated as Grant Maintained on the 1st of February 1998 and thus became the first state funded Islamic school in England. Al-Humdullilah, an historic achievement for Muslims in England. In September 1999, under the new legislation, Al- Furqan Primary School became a Voluntary Aided school with Al-Furqan Educational Trust being its Religious Authority.
Over the years Al-Furqan Primary School achieved several awards for its excellent educational standards, including the Government’s Achievement Award; Investors in People Award; Leading Aspect Award; Quality Mark; Art Mark; ICT Mark; Comenius Award; Every Child Matters Award; Leading Parent Partnership Award; Impetus Award and the Health Schools Award.
Al-Furqan Community College (Girls) continued to remain independent and amongst the top performing secondary schools in England.
In September 2002 Al-Furqan Primary School re-located to Reddings Lane. In February 2003 Al-Furqan Community College (Girls 11 to 16, independent) relocated to the same site within an independent purpose built building. It had to sacrifice its 16yrs to18yrs provision due to the high demand for 11yrs to 16yrs provision. Al-Humdullilah, a Nursery was opened in 2004. A purpose built mosque was open to the local community in 2005 and Al-Furqan Community College (Boys 11 to 16, independent) opened its doors in September 2006.
The family of Al-Furqan has grown and changed enormously over the years and has had to manage many challenges – internal and external, however one thing never changed – each and every parent who joins the Al-Furqan family continues to do their best to secure the best possible outcomes for their child.
Once when asked who the family of Al-Furqan are, Zahida replied any parent who wants to secure the best outcomes for their child and any child who stays in touch after they have left school. She often tells the family of Al-Furqan the following story:-
On 2nd October 1989 at 9.30 half an hour after we opened our door as the Muslim Study Group we had our first visitor. He told me a story which I have treasured over the years…
Once there was a wise man who spent his days just outside his village sitting under a shady tree where he could think. One day a traveller came to him and said, “Old man I have travelled far. I have seen many things and met many people. Can you tell me, if I go into this village, what kind of people I will meet?” The wise man replied, “Yes I will be happy to tell you? But first tell me what kind of people you have met in your travels so far.”
The traveller replied, “O you wouldn’t believe it I have met the most awful people! I have met people who are selfish and unkind to strangers. I have met with people who don’t care for themselves or for one another. I’ve met foolish young people I could learn nothing from and old people whose lack of hope depresses everyone they meet.” As the traveller spoke a look of sadness grew in this wise mans eyes as he nodded in a knowing way. “Yes” he said, “I know exactly the kind of people you speak of. And I am sorry to tell you but if you go into my village I’m afraid that is exactly the kind of people you will meet.” “I knew it” the traveller scoffed “It’s always the same. It’s always the same.” He kicked the dirt under his feet and stormed off down the road without ever bothering to stop in the village.
A few hours later another traveller came to the wise man and said, “Kind sir I have travelled far and seen many things and met many different people can you tell me if I go into this village what sort of people I will meet there.” The wise man replied, “Yes I’d be happy to tell you but first you tell me what kind of people you have met in your travels so far.” The traveller responded, “Oh you wouldn’t believe it. I have met the most amazing people? People who are kind and generous to strangers, people who care for one another like family. I’ve met young people with a wisdom beyond their years, and I’ve met older people with a youthful passion for life that brings joy to everyone they meet. And I have learned much from all of them.” As the traveller spoke the wise man smiled brightly as he nodded in a knowing way. “Yes” he said, “I believe I know exactly the kind of people you speak of. And I’m happy to tell you. If you go into my village I am certain that is exactly the type of people you will find.” “Come then” said the traveller “and introduce me to them.”
The message I got from this story was that the parents, children, staff, visitors, volunteers, partners, friends who choose to become part of the Al-Furqan family are very special and amazing people and it is their kindness, generosity, wisdom and passion that has made Al-Furqan what it is today!
On our journey we have always accepted that like any family – the family of Al-Furqan is not perfect so we have always valued criticism for it helped us to reflect and praise for it gave us energy. Thank you to everyone past and present for your very special and amazing contribution to Al Furqan and we would like to welcome anyone who is special and amazing to join the family of Al-Furqan be it as a student, parent, staff or volunteer and become part of our story…