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Ambassadors of Peace



Contributions of Madrasas

 By Asghar Ali Imam Mehdi Salafi




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In the eyes of Islam, Knowledge is a great wealth which must be gained by all possible means. Allah teaches us new knowledge at every given moment. Individuals learn more and more day by day; nations and humanity at large learn fresh knowledge at every stage.

Ilm is vital and most important national activity, the backbone of a country's progress. In India, Universalisation of Elementary Education, (UEE) eradication of illiteracy and development of vocational education are the thrust areas identified in the educational sector. Major initiatives in the form of Operation Black Board, Non-formal Education, Teacher Education, District Primary Education Programme and National Programme on Nutritional Support to Primary Education have been undertaken to achieve the goal of UEE. The achievement so far has been around 50 percent only.

In such a scenario Madarsas have played a much-needed role in educating the country's minority group Muslim youth. No government programmes or schemes have succeeded as much as Madarsas and Maktabs in making people literate. Thus religious education given in Madarsas and Maktabs has made the work of literacy campaign much easy among Muslims.

Madarsas are found not only in urban areas but also in the backward rural regions, where often no other educational facilities exist. The Madarsas manage to spread literacy in that section of society which is the most deprived one. Madarsas exist with very little infrastructure. They do not usually charge any fees. In today's commercial world, Madarsas are remarkable as centres of free education. It is through this Madarsas education system only that people are empowered socially and economically and are enabled to adjust themselves in all spheres of human activity.

The basic objective of Madarsas is to produce experts of Islam. Madarsas are the factories to develop the personality in tune with the Holy Quran and Hadith and they are established with a view to supply the Muslim Community with the servants of religion, teachers, social workers, reformers and preachers. They make the young generation true servant of Almighty Allah and true well-wishers of humanity.

The said task itself portrays the importance of Madarsa education, 'Ulama produced by these Madarsas even now provide leadership not only in religious maters but in social sphere as well. It is because of this important role of Madarsas that people call them to be castles of Islam. The Madarsas, sow, in the hearts of children, the seeds of the greatness, keeping one's promise, tolerance, decency, generosity and cooperation in dealings with Muslims and non-Muslims alike, so that they may grow up and develop with truth. They teach the importance and need for morality at the individual, public and collective level. The Madarsa teach their students that the progress and survival of nations, the nourishment and development of civilization and culture, the rightful consolidation of power and strength all depend an morality. If the students get good moral training, then all these good qualities will be found in their society.

The Madarsa teach their students to throw away sectarianism and communal prejudices. They do not teach them to take part in strikes, lock-cuts, ghenaos in our national life. They cultivate universal values so as to keep the human beings true to their name.

Madarsas and Maktabs have made enormous contributions to Urdu language and literature and self employment. In many villages, if there is government primary school, its teachers are not as dedicated as the less paid Maulvis of privately run Madarsa and Maktabs. Madarsas for girls do teach Muslim girls to know their rights and duties. Educating the Muslim girls is like equipping them with a powerful weapon. Educated women will also have an opportunity to be financially secure and thus less susceptible to exploitation. Today 30 percent of Muslim women in India are considered to be literate compared to 70 percent of men.

Apart from the contribution in literacy campaign the Madarsas have made a good contribution to provide self employment for thousands of young men. Alims graduating from different Madarsas render their services throughout India.

A Madarsa product has sympathy, cooperation, and honest approach in life. A government servant of Madarsa background is just and does not indulge in corruption, a Muslim teacher engages his classes and does not bluff through his course, a Muslim businessman having Madarsa education does not profiteer, a Muslim physician is available at all times and a Muslim citizen is peaceful and participate in public life and contribute to the development of the community, society and the county. He meets the situation with love and patience and shows respect to other religion. In short he is a good Muslim, a good Indian and a good citizen of the world, rolled into one.

It is the Madarsa educated Alims who played a significant role in the freedom struggle. 'Ulama produced by these Madarsas provided leadership not only in religious matters but in social sphere as well. 'Ulama stood shoulder to shoulder with their leading freedom fighters. 'Ulama of Sadiqpur, Patna (Bihar) suffered all kinds of persecution, sentenced to long term, imprisonment even transported for life in Andaman Islands. 'Ulama influenced the Muslim masses and they participated in freedom struggle in large number.

The administrators teachers and students of Madarsas know that there is no justification for violence in a democratic state which grants fundamental rights and is committed to respect human rights and thus provides a peaceful avenue for airing political views, for resolving differences. That's why India which is the home of the second largest Muslim community in the world has not bred indigenous terrorism. Indian Muslims have their grievances but they live on hope and peaces. Presently most of the terrorists or militants in India or elsewhere are not the products of Madarsas — in many cases they are the products of English schools — yet a smear campaign is launched against them. Is it not a sorry state of affair?



(The writer is General Secretary Jamiate Alhe-Hadeeth Hind)





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