The establishment of Naleemiah Institute in the year 1973 was a milestone in the history of Muslim education in Sri Lanka. The idea of founding an institution for the purpose of producing scholars who are not only learned in Islamic studies but also sufficiently knowledgeable in modern disciplines was conceived by Al-Haj M.I.M. Naleem, and this idea was given a form and content by a group of eminent Ulema and scholars. The main source of inspiration for such an endeavour was the inspiration provided by the book “The New Menace and its Answer” (Ridda Wala Aba Bakr Laha) by “Moulana Seyed Abul Hasan Ali An-Nadwi” in which he emphasises the urgent need for establishing academic institutions to produce scholars equipped with knowledge, piety, character and devotion to the cause of Islam to meet the ideological challenges faced by the Muslim Ummah.
Before the political domination of the Muslim world by the Western colonial powers there was one single type of educational institution, namely the traditional Madrasa in the Muslim world. With the onslaught of Western political domination the Islamic world encountered one of the most critical moments in its history. By establishing Western model educational institutions to teach modern secular sciences and by imposing its secular oriented educational system the West made an attempt to alienate and uproot the Muslim Ummah from its traditional base. These institutions produced men equipped with modern knowledge with a secular outlook devoid of Islamic orientation, who provided a new elitist leadership to the Muslim society. Parallel to this system the traditional Madrasas continued to impart religious education based on the traditional curriculum without being in any degree conscious about the newly emerging trends in the field of education and employment.
Education is a continuous process and in the field of education individuals and nations encounter new issues and challenges time to time to which a society must be responsive. It is only by proper response to these challenges it can ensure the continuity of a dynamic, lively, vibrant intellectual tradition.
It was at this moment of crisis in Muslim education the need was felt for an integrated and unified system of education bridging the gap between two systems to produce a new generation of Muslim scholars who are an embodiment of the virtues of both systems of education with sound Islamic personality. Jamiah Naleemiah was founded in 1973 to fulfill this important need for an integrated system of Islamic education, which accommodates the modern within the framework of traditional system of education.