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228Re: [arkitectindia] Madrasa Education System

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  • zubair hudawi
    Feb 2, 2005

      Dear Sir,

      I am a graduate from an Islamic institution in Kerala after studying there for 12 years. I have done my BA and MA in Sociology from Osmania and Madurai Kamaraj Universities respectively through correspondence while I was in the Islamic College. I have done my 2nd PG in Arabic language from JNU and now I am in my second semester of Mphill in JNU SLL& CS.

      I’ve been reading interestingly all mails and comments from the well doing Arkitectindia and now wants to add some experiences in to notice.

      I studied till the fifth grade in a regular school and then enrolled at
      the Dar ul-Huda Islamic Academy, in Chemmad, in the Mallapuram district of
      northern Kerala. The Dar ul-Huda Islamic Academy, where I studied, is a good example of how we can incorporate modern education in the madrasa system.
      At the Academy we studied the general Islamic subjects, along with subjects like English, Mathematics, Science and History till the twelfth grade level. This allowed us to appear
      as external candidates in the government secondary school examination. In
      addition, we also learnt Urdu, Malayalam and Comparative Religions. Besides,
      we had to learn computers and take part in a range of extra-curricular
      activities, such as games and literary and public discussion groups.
      By combining traditional Islamic and modern education in this way, the
      Academy trains 'ulama who choose from a range of careers, and thus need not
      only work as imams or preachers in mosques. Some of the Academy's graduates
      are abroad, working in the Gulf. Some have joined various Malayali
      newspapers. Several of them are now studying at regular universities, many
      of them in higher Arabic and Islamic studies, but a few in other fields
      which madrasa graduates earlier rarely entered. Thus, for instance, a
      graduate of the Academy is presently doing his M.Phil in Sociology at Jawaharlal
      Nehru University, where he is working on 'The Crisis of Tradition and
      Modernity Among Muslims' for his thesis.
      In much of the rest of India there is a sharp dualism between Islamic and
      modern education. As a result, students who study in madrasas have little or
      no knowledge of modern subjects. Likewise, those who study in regular school
      have little or no knowledge of Islam. This dualism is reinforced by the
      stance of some traditional 'ulama, who seem to regard the two forms of
      knowledge as distinct from, if not opposed to, each other, although, as I
      see it, any form of beneficial knowledge is legitimate in Islam.

      In Kerala, this dualism has, to a large extent, been overcome. We have a
      unique system of Islamic education in Kerala. Every local Muslim community has its own madrasa, which is affiliated to a state-level madrasa board run by one or the other Muslim
      organisation. The madrasa boards prepare the
      syllabus and textbooks that are used by all the madrasas affiliated to them.
      The boards also conduct the annual examinations and send out regular
      inspection teams.

      The timings of the madrasas are adjusted in such a way that allows the
      children to attend regular school as well. In this way, by the time they
      finish their school education most Muslim children in Kerala have a fairly
      good grounding in Islamic studies as well. I don't think there is any
      similar system in any other Indian state, where, generally, if you want to
      study Islam you have to go without modern education. In Kerala, fortunately,
      we do not have to make a choice between Islamic or modern education. Our
      children can study Islam while at the same time carrying on with their
      regular studies as well. After they graduate from regular school, if they
      want to specialise in Islamic studies they can join an Arabic College, and
      if they want to go in for modern education they can enrol in a university. Nowadays we can see a number institutions continuing the combined study up to degree or PG level facilitating the students to study both religious and modern education.

      What I want to mention here is that Muslims see the religious education most important and necessary to keep the religious practices in their life. Eventhough nowadays the study has become to produce a particular so-called clergy class and oriented to do jobs with religion, the islamic education is religiously compulsory to every one to regulate the life of a believer and to mould a good human being who is good to humanity. In the prevailing situation we can or have to preach the need and necessity of modern education in a cordial and convincing manner. Unfortunately many who ventured earlier failed due to an accusing and blaming attitude with out considering the social milieu they live in and the cultural past they came through.

      A model which allow the students go ahead to achieve best schooling and after with that of keeping religious study would be identical for the betterment of Madrasa education utilising madrasa graduates studying in our universities because they would be better to impart and make understand the necessity of modern education to the concerned authorities.

      One thing is more important, that Madreasa graduates are not the potential terrorists they mostly keep kind hearts and minds and they are understood so by others because most of them are unwilling to interact especially with non-muslims due to complexes or habituated solitude. The potential terrorists are the common men who are deprived of even religious education, keeping the emotional and inflammable belief and touch with religion. So We cannot deny religious education but we must strive for making their prospects better with imparting good and suitable modern education.

      Offering all the kind services which I can

      Your Friend

      Zubair Hudawi K

      104, Jhelum Hostel



      Sadbhav Mission <sadbhavmission@...> wrote:
      Dear Shaheen,
      Your have raised an important issue. Three realities must be kept
      in mind:
      1) Madarsas are the only avenues of education for most vhildren who go
      there. In Yamuna Pushta slums I had made efforts to get children
      enrolled in govt schools but there was no room for many of these children. Then Janam patri was a problem. Further, parents did not expect themselves to be able to educate their child to a level where he/ she could find a
      job. Hence motivation for formal schooling was dampened.

      2) Poor children educated in madarsas are never fundamentalists. Poverty
      as a class deters them from being fundamentalists. Fundamentalism is a
      middle class and elite class mentality and political doctrine.

      3) Madarsa education in most svhools, where poor children study, is too
      minimal to develop any substantial understanding of society, religion,
      science, maths, langyage or cultivating any technical skills. This must
      be upgraded and better organized. Institutions like Nadva and Darul Uloom
      excel in a few of these of these areas, specially religion, Arabic and
      Urdu. The education however should be more broad based.

      Best regards

      monam khan <monamkhan2002@...> wrote:

            "Madrasa: Concept, Relevance and
                     Scope for Modernisation"




      This should be read in the continuation of Dr. Shaheen Ansari's mail dated February 1, 2005.  Some people may raise questions  about its importance in discussing here.  So, I think, it is important to state about the relevance of this discussion.


      Every Muslim locality has a mosque and majority of them have Madrasas.  We at Ark Foundation believe that instead of building new infrastructure we should work on  reconstructing the already existing Madrasas in the country. This is not only economical but practically viable also. We can get teachers and students easily. What we need is to reorient old teachers of the Madrasas and appoint a couple of new teachers with the background of modern education system.


      Relevance of the discussion also lies in analyzing importance of Madrasas in majority of the Muslim society. In view of the ongoing changes in the social, cultural, economic, and political environment drastic changes is required in Madrasa system of education so that Indian Muslims could come to terms with the changing needs of contemporary Indian society.

      It is true that the  Indian Madrasas  have produced a number of world famous Islamic scholars, but lakhs of Muslims educated from these Madrasas are deprived of the job opportunities because of their ignorance of modern knowledge.  This create a vicious circle as majority of the students going to Madrasas are from economically weaker section of the society. Those who can afford send their children to mainstream schools including public schools.

      The debate is justified in a sense that it will provide a balanced synthesis of the classical and the modern method of teaching. The concern will be to seek ways in which Muslims can learn to integrate the revealed fundamentals and the ever transforming world of modern knowledge. It will show how the changes do not involve the dilution of the traditional thought, but the affirmation of the dynamic nature of the faith.

      Modernisation is understood primarily in relation to the need for modern subjects in Madrasa- not just for their own sake, but also in order to further understand the deeper implications of the Quran. A deeper study of history of the wider world for instance, is one such areas of improvement. Likewise, the study of social sciences, Hindi (national language of India), English (the language of the world) is necessary in order that the graduates feel at home in the world they live in and interact with. At the primary and intermediate levels, the pupils need to be exposed to key subjects taught in the alternative system of education.

      Modernisation is also important in terms of promoting employment oriented programmes. These are programmes through which the pupils will be given technical and professional training as well as religious, in order to be able to maintain themselves and their families. It is also making of Madrasa system of education relevant to modern times. 


      So on behalf of Ark Foundation I would like to request you to kindly throw some light on it.



      Monam Khan


      Research Team

      Modernisation of Madrasa Education

      Ark Foundation


      PS: Friends we are looking for innovative ideas but we will also welcome ideas which you may have come across in books, journals/magazines and newspapers. You can also help us by sending names of references or web links on the above topic.  The purpose is to learn and develop a model for the modernisation of Madrasa education system. So the ideas should not be necessarily  your own creation but relevant to cause or the topic under discussion.

      shaheen ansari <shaheen@...> wrote:

              Madrasa Education System: A debate


      In recent years Madrasas have attracted immense attention in India, more so than mosques and other endowed institutions of India. This has partially been on account of the general perception that fundamentalism, Islamization and extremist violence stem from the Madrasa. Orthodoxy, religious conservatism and obsession to medieval identity remained the main focus of Madrasa education in India. And this is the point from where the demand for debate on modernization of Madrasa on Indian soil gets strengthen.

      Before reaching at any conclusion we should ask ourselves:

        1. Is the perception per se is correct? or
        2. Is it a creation of media? or
        3. Is it propagated by people with vested interest?

      Well, in JNU people have different opinion. To understand this a group of students, coordinated by Monam Khan (monamkhan2002@...), has identified six Madrasa in South Delhi. They have selected South Delhi because it is close to both JNU and IIT, from where we draw most of our volunteers for the programme called "Two Hours A Week". I should tell here that in this programme every volunteer gives at least two hours a week for the development of our underprivileged brethren. Monam is taking this initiative not only to understand the above mentioned perception but also to initiate the experiment of Modernisation of Madrasa Education in India.

      We know that every individual carries his/her own socioeconomic, religious and educational background for his/her understanding on various issues. Several volunteers have come out with different argument to introduce different kind of courses/subjects in order to modernise Madrasas. There was a long debate on the issue and before reaching at any conclusion we decided to share it with the esteemed members of arkitectindia, an online group discussion forum and seek their opinion.

      Some of us believe that the Madrasas are playing a vital role in literacy movement. It is the real foundation of Muslim education in India. Now the questions to ponder are:

        1. Do the people who run these institutions lack clarity of vision about the present day economic and social needs of Indian Muslims?
        2. Are they playing a positive role in the scheme of their education?.
        3. Can Madrasas be converted into vehicles for communication of secular and modern knowledge so that Muslim participation in civil society increases?
        4. Is it possible to empower the entire community through the modernisation of Madrasas?

      Though we will welcome discussion on concept and relevance of Madrasa but we would like to focus on the scope for modernization of Madrasa. We invite suggestion and views for:

        1. Understanding Madrasa Education System
        2. Process or method for its modernization
        3. New syllabus taking into account the changed conditions of modern life and
        4. Steps to improve economic conditions of Madrasa students through vocational training.

      Now the forum is open for debate and discussion on "Madrasa: Concept, Relevance and Scope for Modernisation". Can you spare a few minutes for this cause? Then kindly educate us on the above issue.

      Thanking you
      Yours sincerely
      Shaheen Ansari


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