Sunday, April 3, 2011

Quit blaming Ulema and start to write your own destiny

By Abdul Hannan Siwani Nadvi for
As the age of research work, quality education and divine power that had been empowering Muslims to face the challenges of every era moved out from them all over the world, another tendency has grown very rapidly among Muslims. It is the tendency to push the blame on the Ulema, holding them accountable for every failure, pointing fingers towards some specific Islamic laws, declaring the syllabus being taught in Madrasas and religious institutions as outdated and terming Madrasas as a symbol of old age – which is seen especially in the Muslim community in India.
The Sachar Commission report makes the air clear about Madrasas - the percentage of Muslims who approach Madrasas for education is only 4, even the financial condition of Madrasas, teachers and students who study there is not much better. As it is known to all Muslims, Madrasas, except for some, have no good infrastructure due to very bad financial conditions as they are run solely by donations from Muslims. In such an atmosphere, is it just to expect the 4% to solve all the problems of Muslims, the problems being plenty?
Laziness, dullness, distancing themselves from hard work, selecting short-cut ways to make money, wasting time in watching films and TV programs, or taking part in unnecessary works and making themselves busy in nonsense subjects, or trying to get awards and fame by making comments against the Ulema – indeed all these paved the way for majority of Muslims to put the Ulema on target so that the latter can cover their failure and no one would blame them for the deteriorating situation of Muslims in India.
Pushing the blame on Ulema and pointing the finger towards Madrasas is a very easy task, but conceding our own faults and mistakes is very hard work for most of us. Do we forget what our behavior with the Ulema and Madrasas are? How do the Madrasa people get donations and how do they collect it from every Muslim so that they can arrange a free education to poor Muslims in Madrasas?
Is collecting donations an easy work? When the representatives of Madrasas knock the doors of Muslim homes and ask some donation for Madrasas, during the month of Ramzan or in normal days, what do most of us do? Why do we misbehave with them? Why do we treat them as if they were beggars? Even my own personal experience is very harsh; very few people treat them with respect and dignity, most of us close the door before them, some of us make excuses. Some of us ask them to come after two hours and when the representatives come after two hours, they are said there is nobody in the home and asked to come the next day. When these representatives come again, we do not open the door, or they are told from the window to go away and never to come. Some of us tell them we are against Madrasas, hence we will not give any donation. And if some agree to pay the donation, they give just 10 rupees or 5 rupees or 20 or 30 rupees. And these representatives of Madrasas, despite this misbehavior, go from door to door, room to room, house to house, knock every door to collect 5 or 10 or 20 or 50 rupees. Some of us drive them off, some of us use abusive language against them, some advise them to leave the Madrasas, some of us say to them “you cheat the people” but no one asks them, ‘please come in my home, have a tea, have some cold water’, or ‘please have lunch with us today or tomorrow’. Most of us throw hundreds of questions on them for giving just 10 or 20 rupees, such as ‘where are you from?’ ‘Who are you?’ ‘Give details of the madrasa,’ etc. And at last, unwillingly, grudgingly and resentfully we agree to give a mere 10 or 20 rupees; while thousands rupees are being spent in purchasing an item just because our children like it.

Students of a Delhi madrasa.
This is the harsh reality of Muslims’ behavior with the representatives of Madrasas. We feel hesitation in donating just 10 or 20 rupees, while a particular class in the Muslim community always blames the Ulema, targets Madrasas and its education system. This class always demands computer education to be taught there. Can anyone let me know how much the cost of one computer is? How many people have gifted even one computer to any Madrasa? If anyone gives computer or funds to Madrasas, in return he wants to be listed as one among the members of the Madrasa and wants to interfere in the Madrasa’s education system. I ask the common Muslim how much he pays for the education of his one child in an English school. It may be Rs 5000 or Rs 6000 per month; however, the cost of education of a Madrasa student for one year exceeds no more than Rs 5000. Madrasas themselves bear the cost of books, breakfast, dinner and lunch and so on; no one goes there to ask the officials of Madrasas how they arrange meals every day for hundreds and thousands of their students.
We want high-class and well-rounded graduates to come out from the Madrasas. We, however, face trouble in giving a mere 10 or 20 rupees as donation. A family can spend thousands rupees just for the happiness of their children; a family can purchase puppets, video games, CD players, and so on and on but when donating a few rupees they think these Madrasa people have made them bankrupt and penniless.
Same is the situation of Imams in our country. An Imam is paid Rs 2000 or Rs 3000 normally, and it may come to Rs 5000 if the Masjid is big. Most of the Masjids are being run by donations and with the help of Muslims. Sometimes, the Masjid administration faces difficulties in giving even this salary to the Imam; how do we expect the Imam to sustain his family with such a small amount?
No doubt, there are hundreds and thousands of Muslims whose donation, help and sacrifices are helping the owners of Madrasas to run these institutions without a hope of prize or award.
I would like to say, the Ulema have besieged themselves within the boundaries of Madrasas and religious education only. Rest of the field is left free for the entire Muslim community. Why are they not trying their luck in these fields? The Muslim community is in need of good doctors, engineers, scientists, architects and so on.
When it has been made clear that only 4% or less than 4% go to Madarasas for education, what about the rest 96%?
There are many rich Muslims, and there are hundreds of scholars, professors and others whose salary and monthly income is more than one lakh and who have great respect, relations and sources within and outside the community. Why are they not trying to build another university? Why can’t a network of schools and universities be deployed across the country?
In these 63 years, the Ulema established a network of Madrasas throughout the country, collecting one rupee and two rupees and suffering a lot of difficulties. Then why can’t these powerful leaders gift any new university to Indian Muslims?
First we have to change our attitude, our behavior and our manner. Change our minds and be ready to make sacrifices; nothing will change if we continue to blame the Ulema and madrasas.
Differences and oppositions have a place in every community, but in the Muslim community it is being used as a tool to escape from discharging the responsibilities.
If every Muslim does his own work, I think no one can stop them from arriving at a higher position in the world. If every professional Muslim does his work in his field well he will see the result in just a few years. The society will be changed and Muslims will shine, if only they do this.
In this society in which voices arise against the Ulema and Madrasas, we can see that two small children, who were living in slum areas and were from poor families, won the Oscar awards and found no problem in achieving these goals. How did this happen? Muslims have to think about it hundreds and thousands of times.
Many times, we saw in Delhi, non-Muslim boys and girls from very poor families reading, studying and finishing their home work sitting on small broken beds beside the road, where there were noises and crowds of rikshaw-pullers and passersby. In spite of all this, and under the heat of the sun, these boys and girls were busy studying. Can Muslims take a lesson from them instead of blaming the Ulema and Madrasas?
I would like to say to all Indian Muslims that their problems could be put to an end within just a few years if every Muslim decided to play a pivotal role in building the community and the country. 
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