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Published in the 1-15 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Madrasas in Kerala

The report on "Madrasa and Arabic Colleges in Contemporary Kerala' written by Yoginder Sikand (Vol. 22, No. 8, August 2004) is incomplete and misleading. The author had collected information from persons belonging to a single organization and the facts are undermined intentionally or ignorantly. It is true that the Mujahid movement had brought achievements in the field of religious reform and education. But it is not that organization which reaped the fruits. In the field of Maktaba and Madrasa education the traditional ulema who now belonged to two factions brought the desired results.

The number of maktabas owned by these two factions of ulema come about ten thousands and it is centralized unde well knit educational boards. They had institutions not only in Kerala but in other states and countries where Keralite Muslims reside. In gulf countries as well as in Malayasia and Singapur the traditional classes run Maktabas under their respective boards. The Samasta Vidyasa Board and Sunni Education Board work efficiently to monitor the Madrasa(Maktaba) network system. Both of these boards had their center at Calicut. Now the Sunni Educational Board had established All India Sunni Educational Board with its head quarters at Darya Ganj in Delhi publishing books in Urdu and establishing Kerala type Maktabas in various parts of Northern India. 

The Dars system maintained by the traditional ulema is the best example to show the religious higher learning in its traditional way. The Shariath colleges and Dawa Colleges also confer degrees which are well considered by the community in the appointment of Imams, Khatibs and teachers in the dars and Madrasas.

It is very sorry that the author had neglected all these important aspects and presented a superficial report. The Madrasa and Maktaba systems developed by the ulema in Kerala are models in the religious education and the community as a whole with necessary reforms can implement it.

Dr. Hussain Randathani, Director, Islamic Research and Development Council, Al-Irfad Monthly Calicut

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