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Islamiyaat for religious education of 96% Muslim students in schools

Saturday, June 12, 2010 11:46:58 AM, Staff Reporter

Maulana Ilyas Nadvi speaking at the Islamiyaat release function in Malegaon on June 05, 2010


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Malegaon: Minister of Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal is probably the only man in the Union Government whose mention irritates the Muslim Ulema. The reason is his over-ambitious project that he calls as ‘Madrasa Reforms’. The contention of the Ulema is why Kapil Sibal is so worried about 04% Muslim students acquiring religious education in Madrasas while a lot is needed to be done about the remaining 96% Muslims who are in schools and colleges. Kapil Sibal does not seem to be convinced. But here is a man who has come out with an interesting program to educate these 96% Muslim students who are schooling not in Madrasas but in modern institutions.


Worried about lack of religious knowledge among the Muslim professionals, Maulana Ilyas Nadvi - General Secretary, Maulana Abul Hasan Ali Nadvi Islamic Academy, Bhatkal - decided to design an Islamic Curriculum that can be introduced in the schools run by Muslim managements in India. Maulana Ilyas Nadvi was recently in Malegaon to launch his unique curriculum in the town. Ask him to elaborate and he would share an incident that happened about two decades ago.


Dignitaries releasing the Islamiyaat in Malegaon on June 5, 2010. The Islamic Curriculum for students comprises 11 books.



“Right at the peak of the Babri Masjid controversy”, Maulana Ilyas Nadvi recalls, “In reply to a question posed by a journalist, President of the All India Muslim Personal Board (AIMPLB) at that time Maulana Ali Miya Nadvi had said, the main issue that Muslims in India specially the professionals are facing is their Fikri Irtedad.”


By Fikri Irtedad he meant a kind of mental or intellectual apostasy against Islam that according to the Maulana was becoming fast prevalent among the Muslim masses in India.


“Those present in the meeting say, the journalist was bemused by the Maulana’s unexpected reply. But, after learning about what Maulana Ali Miya Nadvi had said, I was shocked”, Maulana Ilyas says.


Shocked, Maulana Ilyas with couple of his friends began making the assessments of the Muslim masses. To some extent, they diagnosed lack of basic and fundamental knowledge about Islam as the reason behind the mess. At the same time, it was also revealed to them that while there are plenty of schools and colleges run by Muslim managements, they hardly have any arrangement to impart religious education to their students. Equally shocking for them was the revelation that some Muslim managements have become allergic to their Muslim identities and have given non-Muslims names to their schools.


“The reasons came revealing to us one after the other and it was then that we decided to design a curriculum based on Islam suitable for Muslim students studying in schools and colleges. It has eleven different books to be taught in ten years from First standard to SSC level. The curriculum covers from basics to details of the Islamic concepts including perfect recitation of Quran and the meaning”, he said.


Actually implementing the syllabus in its early days of introduction though had quite a few challenges, it soon became so popular that the Academy had to translate it into other languages. Today, besides Kannad, the syllabus is available in English, Urdu and Hindi also.


“Following the overwhelming demand that we received after its introduction and actual implementation in Karnataka schools, we translated it into English, hired a British lady to improve and fine-tune the language, and introduced it in English Medium Public Schools”, he added.


To their surprise, the English version became more popular than the other versions. It also got published by Islamic Foundation Great Britain and is also taught to Muslim students studying in Public Schools run by Non-Muslim managements in India and abroad.


Today, the English translation of Islamiyaat- as the Academy describes its curriculum, besides all the schools run by Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and some by Delhi Public Schools is adopted by the finest schools in Pakistan, Singapore, Bangkok and Britain. Overall more than 200,000 students in over five hundred schools are benefiting from the curriculum. The schools in Malegaon are introducing this curriculum from this academic year. The organisers, however, are not satisfied with the result.


“Considering that the population of the Indian Muslims is 15 crore, there can be 5 crore Muslims in the age group of 3-23 years who are in schools. Our target is to reach to each one of them”, Maulana Ilyas Nadvi says.





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