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Knowledge is key to empowerment: Asrarul Haque Qasmi

Wednesday October 05, 2011 09:49:00 PM, Manzar Imam

Member of Parliament Maulana Asrarul Haque over the mike. Seen to his left are Dr. Halima Sadia, Dr. Shabistan Ghaffar, Justice M.S.A. Siddiqui & others

New Delhi: Knowledge is power and no society can progress without knowledge. These views were expressed by speakers coming from diverse fields of education, social service, judiciary, media and a host of other areas of life in a seminar on “Inclusive Education of Minority Girls: Issues and Opportunities”.


The seminar was organized by Universal Knowledge Trust (UKT) October 02 at Mughal Banquette Hall, Abul Fazl Enclave, New Delhi.

As the theme suggests, speakers dwelt upon the practical aspects of raising literacy rate especially among minority girl students from its present low percentage. The common misconception about Islam’s narrow view of female education was removed by learned speakers with examples from Islamic texts and history of Islam.

Speaking on this occasion, noted Muslim scholar and Member of Parliament, Maulana Mohammad Asrarul Haque Qasmi said that Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) had spent 9 years to educate her wife Ayesha (RA).


He said that the first person who memorized the entire Quran was not a man but a woman and it was none other that the prophet’s wife Ayesha who is also the narrator of second largest body of ahadith.

The MP said that Muslims were a vibrant nation and they did not need to be reminded of the value of education. All they needed was better infrastructure.

He said that Islam’s ideology was connected with practicality. It is therefore that education in Islam is not just a right but a duty and the key to empowerment.

Information, coordination, cooperation and initiative on priority basis should be the key terms for success especially in charting the map of women’s education.

Maulana Qasmi also stressed the need for community-based infrastructure and said, “We cannot take forward our entire community only with government’s infrastructure.”


He exhorted to take initiatives as nothing happens without doing.

Chairman of National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions (NCMEI), Justice M.S.A. Siddiqui said that every path of development of Muslims passed through education.


Citing examples of struggle of Lal Badur Shastri and Abraham Lincoln for acquiring education, Justice Siddiqui said that there was no excuse for people to say that they could not give education to their children because of poverty.


Poverty and economic conditions cannot prevent one from achieving anything if there is passion for it, he said.

While hailing the contribution of madrasas for Muslim education, Siddiqui lamented that despite being world’s largest community, it was very unfortunate that Muslims could not establish a single university that could be counted among the 100 top universities of the world.

Dr. Haleema Sadia, head of the primary wing of Hamdard Public School while addressing the seminar said, "Instead of delivering lengthy lectures on the virtue of education, there is need to find practical solutions for the problems of girls’ education."


She asked to stop celebrating the present status of poor literacy of Muslims and urged to think about ways to change it.


She also asked to stop misinterpreting Quranic verses and said that they were wrong who said that ulama were against women’s education. She called it a distortion of Islam.


Stressing to prioritise education over everything else, Dr. Sadia asked women to stop celebrating rituals.

She cited her own example how her madrasa education never stopped her from acquiring contemporary education and maintain hijab, which she termed as her right.

Dr. Haleema suggested that every Muslim must try to change at least one person’s life through education, else only rhetoric would bring no change.

In her welcome address Dr. Shabistan Ghaffar asked to avail of the facilities of many Commissions set up to help minorities.


Abdul Rashid Agwan, Director of Centre for Advancement of Voluntary Efforts (CAVE) opined for user-friendly concept of education. In the time of privatization, Muslim institutions, NGOs and business houses need to take forward steps, Agwan said. Dr. K.P. Wasnik, Director, Vocational Education, National Institute of Open Schooling informed about the many facilities available for education.


He said that under vocational education alone there were 82 courses available.

Awards in the form of mementos and citations were given to 10 people in recognition of their community services. Some engineering students were given scholarships.

UKT also gave an award to Danish Ahmad Khan, founder-editor of The award was in the form of a memento and citation in appreciation of his extraordinary community service through the increasingly popular news portal.

Organized by UKT, the programme was sponsored by National Commission for Minority Educational Institutions, National Institute of Open Schooling, All India Federation for Women’s Empowerment through Education, An-Noor Women’s Welfare Organisation and Jamia Cooperative Bank.

It ended with vote of thanks by UKT trustee, Advocate Farid Khan Burney.






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