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Published in the 16-31 Jan 2005 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

American eyes set on Indian madrasas

By Abu Faheem Ansari

Forces inimical to Islam have always hatched conspiracies against Islamic centres and madrasas because of their importance. It is no secret to students of history that imperialist and colonial powers in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries tried to interfere in the affairs of madrasas in Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria and India, and tried to influence the Muslim culture and civilisation by changing the syllabi of the madrasas. Today, America has set its eyes on our religious and educational institutions. It claims that religious education and training as synonymous with terrorism and therefore it is trying to change the syllabi of madrasas in Pakistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and other countries. It has achieved some success in some countries.

Our Constitution guarantees the followers of all religions freedom to safeguard and promote their faith. Article. 260 of the Constitution provides the followers of any religion or sect the right to set up religious and welfare institutions, to run administration, perform religious practices and services, acquire movable and immovable properties for religious purposes. 

Anticipating no success in subverting the workings and syllabi of Islamic madrasas at central and state levels because of the secular Constitution, America has tried to influence our large religious madrasas under which many. smaller madrasas funtion. It tried to influence the authorities of big madrasas by inviting them to US in order to charm them by the material progress and glamorous life of American people. The idea behind this demonstration of friendship towards Muslims and Muslim countries is to weaken the confidence of people in the ulama, justify the American policy towards Afghanistan and Iraq, lessen hatred and anger sweeping across the Islamic countries against US, and ultimately facilitate the subversion of Islamic madrasas of the country. Some madrasa authorities understood the devilish intentions of Uncle Sam and rejected its invitation, but some authorities, award winners and traders of the country despite sincere advice of friends against the invitation, accepted the American proposal. People who visited America were so much impressed by the progress, free society, their reception and culture of the US that after their return they were all praise for America and American way of life. Not only this, they now want to run their religious, spiritual and educational institutions on the American pattern and this is what America wants. 

In this background, they want to change the madrasa syllabi. Even nude or semi-nude Christian and Jewish girls are honorably received in such institutions the fundamental objective of which is to preach and popularise the teachings of Allah and His Prophet and to preach the oneness of God and Hadiths and Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). Its is a matter of deep regret to find that religious persons of such big and famous institutions who are never tired of preaching and talking about faith are so much enamoured of American culture and magic that they have totally disregarded the Islamic faith and commands. They participate in receptions accorded to Christian and Jew damsels of America and get themselves photographed with them. When faithful followers criticise and object to their activities, instead of feeling ashamed of their acts, they indulge in arguments. Students and teachers of those institutions are not allowed to speak against them and they mourn the moral degradation.

After such shameless and sorrowful incidents some more people are keen and vying with each other to tread the path of vice in the same way as a few years ago some heads of Islamic and Arab states were keen to be in the good books of America. They were keen to come closer to America and win its favour even putting the interests of their own nation at stake in order to be considered allies of America. A similar position appears to be that of the authorities of some of Islamic institutions who do not want to miss the opportunity and take maximum advantage jeopardising their religion and faith.

My sincere and humble request to the authorities of Islamic educational institutions is that they should avoid endangering and spoiling the sanctity of their institutions for their personal interests because these institutions are the assets of the community and the nation. They will have to be answerable in the world and Hereafter. They should remember the message Allama Iqbal had given to the nation after returning from Andalusia, "Let those maktabs remain in the same condition and let the children of poor Muslims read in those madrasas. If these mullas are not there, do you know what will happen? I have seen with my own eyes its results. If Indian Muslims are deprived of these madrasas, the result will be exactly the same as that of Andalusia where inspite of 800 years of Muslim rule, except the ruins of Granada, Cordoba and Alhambra, no trace of Islamic civilisation and followers of Islam remains today. In India too apart from Agra, Taj Mahal and Delhi’s Red Fort there will remain no trace of the 800 years of Muslims rule and civilisation." Therefore, it is necessary today to keep a watchful eye on these educational, religious and spiritual institutions and give a careful thought to the plans of their safety. (Translated from Urdu) 

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