Analysis

Need for reform in Hyderabad and beyond

In all earnestness and humility it would not be out of place to mention that I am no scholar of Deen. I am still a student learning  from  highly-placed scholars of Deen and through my studies I remain a student.  

Currently in Hyderabad, in particular, and other places in general, it is observed that Muslim girls are comparatively more qualified in fields of medicine, engineering, computer sciences etc. as compared to boys. Boys from NRI families spend more time in late-night gossip, fun, driving 2-wheelers and 4-wheelers, noisily and at high-speed (many are young and without licence). If this generation neglects education what would be the fate of the coming generation?

In January 2014, The Times of India had reported that only 10 percent of students had access to higher education in the country. Tribal and Dalits fare the worst with 1.8 percent having any higher education. Similarly, only 2.1 per cent Muslims and nearly 2 percent of rural population is able to go in for further learning.

NRI families spend hard-earned money in restaurants, on luxuries, vehicles etc. On a wedding, lakhs of rupees are spent on expensive wedding halls with garish decoration, 15 or more different dishes are served in dinner.  These families invest in gold and landed properties, which are not functional assets.

The option lies in entrepreneurship. The wealthy spend corers of rupees for building homes. In all these cases it is an issue of status, ego and exhibition of wealth.

Tragically, on the other side thousands of poor girls are unmarried. A small portion of this wealth would suffice to solemnise weddings in many poor families. Some of it can be used to support education of deserving students. Another significant area is madrasas which are looked upon suspiciously for their alleged misuse.

In a memorable article in The Times of India (January 4, 2009), Swaminathan Aiyar wrote that Ulugh Beg, ruler of Central Asia, built the madrasas of Samarkand, Bukhara and Khiva as great centres of learning religion, mathematics, medicine, astronomy and other sciences. He was the greatest astronomer of his time, famous for his star charts and astronomical calculations. He nurtured an entire cadre of scientists and astronomers at his observatory in Samarkand, the world's finest city at that time.

 Omar Khayyam, best known as  a poet, wrote  the famous Rubayiat.  But he was also a scientist and philosopher of Samarkand. Central  Asia was the world centre of learning for centuries and Khiva was the birth place of Mohammed al-Khwarizmi (780-850), the father of algebra. The word “algebra” is derived from al-jabr, one of al-Khwarizmi”s techniques to solve  equations. He also pioneered the use of decimal point. Ibn Sina, known in West as Avicenna, was among the  foremost medical authorities of his time, apart from being a philosopher and historian. He studied and taught at the madrasas of Bukhara and Khiva.  

Let the new madrasas be religious seminaries and universities as in ancient Samarkand and Bukhara. Rather than stress only madrasa modernisation let us take a look at madrasas centuries back to know their potential.  

Suleman Daud Khan, Hyderaba

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-28 February 2015 on page no. 11

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