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Safinatul Hidayh’s services to education
By S Ubaidur Rahman

Maulana Zeeshan HidayatiThe dusty lanes in the eastern area of Khureji have now a different address. And this address was never ever heard in the poor vicinity of one of the most backward areas of the Capital, Delhi. Here garbage, open manholes and crater-like potholes will confuse an outsider visiting the area so much that he will be forced to leave the stinking environ as soon as he gets here. A state of the art English medium school in such an area will cause people to blink with doubt. But it is true. Now the area boasts of a true English medium school where CBSE syllabi mixed with Arabic language teaching is giving a new dimension to students.

Not only that the area had no school run by Muslims but there were no good schools either. Poor people living in the vicinity were forced to send their wards in substandard schools run by Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD)where most of these have openroof schools with teachers rarely appearing to take classes. But with the establishment of JS Public School (Jamiatus Saqlain) that was launched some three years ago by Safinatul Hidaya Trust, people can heave a sigh of relief as they are now spared of the trouble of searching some good schools for their children. 'The school provides quality education to the children in the area', says Aijaz Ahmad a businessman in the area whose two children are studying in the school.

The trust run by Maulana Syed Zeeshan Hidayati has one more school in Jorcha Sadat in the outer Delhi near Dadri and a madrasa, Haoza Ilmiyya Jamiatus Saqlain, near Kashmiri Gate area in old Delhi. 'We have not established these schools just for the sake of having a school in the area. We have a bigger aim and these schools are our initial experiments.' Says Maulana Zeeshan Hidayati, a leading Shia alim of the Capital. We held a seminar in 1983. Its topic was 'Combination of modern education with the theological education-possible or impossible'. We believe that there is no difference between modern education and madrasa education as these very madrasas produced scientists like Abu Ali Sina, Jaber bin Hayyan and a number of other leading scientists. But of late our madrasas have become places where substandard education of theology and Arabic language is imparted to the people.' Maulana Hidayati says.

'So we thought to begin with an experiment. We thought to start a madrasa where standard theological education is imparted along-with science, Maths, English and computer education and modern schools where Arabic language is taught along with modern syllabi to the children of secondary schools.' It was a Herculian task, confides the Maulana but Allah, the Almighty helped us. To begin with we launched a madrasa as an experiment. We wanted to show the world and particularly the Muslim leadership that it is possible in this age too. Later we launched a modern school in Khureji in the Eastern Delhi and added one in Delhi suburbs in Dadari. This school in Khureji is turned into an adult education centre in the evening, where people of all age groups come and study. It is all with no price tag at all. The trust provides free education to people of all age-groups of the area.

People's response is very encouraging in the adult education centre, says Abdus Salam Siddiqi, the young press secretary of the Trust. People of all age groups who work during the day come in the evening to attend classes here, Siddiqi adds.

'Both the schools in Khureji and Dadri are giving excellent result. We will shortly be adding two more classes so as to complete higher secondary school here.' Says Maulana Hidayati. He also says that 'when he talked of his plans to set up such schools he was laughed at by a number of people. People also criticized me and said that I will not be able to deliver anything and these experiments will boomerang.' 'They also said that it is not possible to run such a school in environment where we live. Now both the schools are running with the maximum number of students these schools can cater,' says the Maulana.

'The madrasa run by the trust is also a big success. We do not take many students but we have given them an excellent syllabus that no madrasa can match and we are also teaching science, maths, English and computer education to students enrolled here. Students are also giving excellent results here.' says the Maulana. We have admitted only fifty students here and it is a part of our experiment that we are doing. We believe that within ten years we will be able to give very good result among the Muslims all over the country.

Students of madrasas after completing their full courses in the madrasas are able to have some command over Arabic language but their lack of knowledge in the modern sciences proves a big handicap for these freshers, nor students of modern schools know anything about the Arabic language and Qur’an. If a school student is taught Arabic language with the whole modern syllabi it may produce excellent results, says the Maulana. Maulana adds that it is possible in every Muslim managed school and college, adding Arabic language is no constraint for the administration in such schools. He adds that we are trying to mix both these things and are quite successful.

‘Money is a big constraint for us. But we are trying to do what others just talk about. We want to deliver concrete results.’ Maulana exudes confidence. The trust is planning to set up an Islamic University in the Capital. It has already purchased a large tract in the outskirts of Delhi and planning is afoot to start work on the project very soon.

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