By Dr. Obaidur Rahman Nadwi
Madrasas have become a source to ridicule Islam and its ideology. They are being maligned and targeted as the ‘den of ISI’ and considered ‘training centres for terrorists and militants’. Anti-Islam forces are spearheading malicious campaign against these institutions. In fact, such misconceptions have infused in the minds of a section of people with bias against Madrasas. The main focus is to degenerate Islam.
Right from the advent of Islam, the first Madrasa at Madinah “Suffah” [people studying there are known as “Ashab-e-Suffah”], or later on Madrasa Nizamia at Baghdad, Al-Azhar at Cairo, Darul Uloom Deoband and Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow all these in fact have always been the source of giving message of love, amity and brotherhood along with imparting Islamic education and oriental languages and literature.
Maulana Mahmud Hasan (who is known as Shaikh-ul-Hind), Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani, Maulana Muhammad Qasim Nanotvi, Maulana Rasheed Ahmad, Maulana Mohammad Ali Jauhar, Maulana Obaidullah Sindhi, Maulana Ataullah Bukhari, Maulana Hifzur Rahman Seoharvi, Maulana Abdul Bari, Maulana Ahmad Sa’id, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad and the like were all scholars of these Madrasas who fought in the struggle for freedom with Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Patel and many others to liberate India from the foreign yoke. Maulana S. Abul Hasan Ali Nadwi says, “Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani was sent to prison so often that probably no political leader would have gone to jail as he had been.”
No doubt, the role played by Madrasa products in the struggle for freedom can never be ignored.
A good number of children are benefited by these Madrasas that do not charge any fee otherwise they would have been deprived of education for paucity of financial resources. Schools run by the state are mostly mismanaged. Teachers in these schools are not regular too. This is why even non- Muslims often send their children to Madrasas to receive education and the message of love and humanity. Needless to add that India’s well-known reformer Raja Ram Mohan Rai, the first President of India Dr. Rajendra Prasad and well-known writer Munshi Premchand had also received their education in Madrasa.
Former Union Minister Ram Vilas Paswan had rightly condemned those who were branding Madrasas as the centre of terrorism and source of spreading hatred. Madrasas are the cradle of producing a well-disciplined and obedient lot of citizens.
In contrast to these allegations against Madrasas, Saraswati Shishu Mandirs are the institutions that produce children with hatred towards Muslims, impart them lessons on distorted history and poison their minds by telling them cooked-up stories of Muslim rulers and their so-called atrocities on Hindus. Not only this, training with the help of lathis, trishuls and swords is allegedly imparted to deal with anti-Hindutva forces. At the same time, we can’t place all Pathshalas on the page. There are also a plenty of Pathshalas which are managed by Hindus to teach tenets of the religion to become decent human beings.
There may be certain misunderstandings against Madrasas based on concocted propaganda, hence it will be in the fitness of things to visit them and gauge their discipline, standard of education and services to humanity. Only then allegations and misunderstandings against Madrasas can be done away with.
[The writer is Faculty Member, Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow]