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Madrasas in South Asia: Teaching Terror?

Posted by arshadamanullah on April 27, 2009

Title: Madrasas in South Asia: Teaching Terror?

Edited by: Jamal Malik

Publisher: Routledge, New York.

Year: 2008

Pages: 190

Review : Arshad Amanullah

Erfurt (Germany) played host to an international workshop on “Islamic Learning in South Asia” from 19 to 21 May 2005. The under-review volume is an anthology of the revised papers presented on the occasion.

The volume departs from the popular literature on the South Asian madrasas in the sense that it does not allow the securitization point of view to overshadow other vantage-points and concerns with reference to the madrasa-scape of the region. The institution of madrasa has been the ‘master institution of the Muslim society’ (to borrow a term from Clifford Geertz), however, it will be erroneous to assume it the sole channel of the Islamic learning in any Muslim settlement. Informed with this comprehensive understanding of the socialization of a Muslim individual, Jamal Malik, in his illuminating introduction to the volume, situates the madrasas on the timeline of the intellectual history of the Muslim community. Though the division of knowledge into transmitted (naqliyya) and rational (aqliyya) has its precedence in Ibn-e Khaldun’s (1332-1406) “science of the classification of the sciences”, Malik is not sure when and how terms like dini madrasa and ulama-e-din surfaced. Hence, it would be interesting to explore their ‘genealogy and career’ [p 7 and 21].

The introduction further elucidates the trajectory of the politics of the madrasas vis-a- vis the colonial and post-colonial states. The civilizing mission of the colonial state to transform a European Enlightenment tradition into a “global ethic” met stiff resistance on the part of the madrasas in South Asia. This effort to arrest the homogenizing character of the colonialism was instrumental in determining the social location of the madrasas as an antithesis to the ‘domestication’ of Islam through modern education system. Despite the territorial decolonization, this nature of the madrasas continued to be the same till date, as has been discussed by many contributors.

The volume which is comprised of eight papers excluding the introduction and conclusion penned by Malik, exemplifies the employment of two different approaches, namely objective and intersubjective, to study the contemporary realities of the madrasa space. The former’s primary concern lies in the political economy of the madrasas while the latter approach stresses the role of ideas in this respect.

The non-economic aspects of the madrasa economics have a political dimension as well. It will be manifest if one ponders on the relation among the tax, the citizen and the state on the one hand and the religious donation, the believer and the madrasa on the other. While fear and coercion lies at the core of the first, social recognition, belief in an unseen world and compassion for the co-humans categorize the other. With the latter quotient, the political of the madrasa economics turns to be a complex of ethico-political considerations of a non-elite tax-paying citizen of a post-colonial state. A comparison between his/her feelings while paying the tax and those while donating to a madrasa, communicates something. Can it be explained in terms of his/her frustration at the failure of the state to act as the sole arbiter of fate? Does the frustration carry similarity/contradiction to the same when he/she comes to know about the corrupt usage of the donated resources by the madrasa authorities? Papers of Tariq Rahman and Saleem H. Ali seek to engage some of these issues.

Both the contributors correlate the increasing influence of the madrasas to the infrastructural underdevelopment which symbolizes the failure of the post-colonial state in meeting the expectations of the citizens of Pakistan. Though the public angst finds articulation in the idiom of sectarian violence, it should also be seen as the Sunnite proletariat’s crusade against the Shiite bourgeoisie. However, the class-character of such violence does not exclude the role of the larger politics of the madrasas in instigating sectarian outbreaks [p 73 and 93]. It should be borne in the mind that the cooption of the madrasas by the global and local players has resulted in catapulting the ulama in active politics of the country.

Difficulty in providing correct figures of madrasa demography has many reasons. In this regard, Christopher Candland aptly remarks that “establishment-based surveys are more trustworthy than statistical adjustment of household surveys” [p 103]. It is in this context that the discussion regarding the possibilities of numerical errors in the report of International Crisis Group (ICG) on the madrasas of Pakistan assumes importance. It suggests that the attention the scholars pay to the data-collection methods about the madrasas, is on increase.

With regard to the application of the intersubjective approach, contributions of Nita Kumar and Arshad Alam stand out as they are marked with thick description of the space and subject they studied. Through ethnography of three madrasa-going children from the Ansari/julaha community of Madanpura, Varanasi, Kumar demonstrates the actual share of the madrasa within their ‘total learning experience’. She regards the madrasas as a microcosm of the larger problem of schooling in India. Any strategy which aims at overcoming the problem has to ‘fore-front’ the interests of the child, not those of the state/society, defined in terms of pro/against an imagined modernity. According to Kumar, Umahatullah Ulum is the name of the madrasa Sabina, one of her case-studies, attends. Writing elsewhere on “History at the Madrasas”[i], she mentions a madrasa with identical name: Umahatul Uloom. Are they two different madrasas or the same madrasa which she has given two different names in two of her papers? To the best of my knowledge, the correct name of the madrasa is Ummahatul Mominin.

Alam’s paper on Jamia Ashrafiyya, Mubarakpur, the biggest Barelwi madrasa in India, successfully navigates the madrasa space and allows the reader to observe there the interplay of dars-e-nizami, pedagogy, non-dars (also known as kharji kitaben–books which are not part of the curriculum– in the madrasa lingo), and the performance of the knowledge by talaba in making of a Barelwi identity. He finds out that the debate inside the madrasa is ‘an internal one’ which is more concerned with teaching the difference between the ‘true’ and ‘false’ Islam, rather than ‘othering’ of non-Muslims. Related to the Barelwi denomination is Usha Sanyal’s contribution which makes a study of the historical evolution of Madrasa Manzar-e Islam, Bareilly (established by Ahmad Raza Khan, the founder/reformer of the Barelwi tradition in 1904)and Jamia Ashrafiyya, Mubarakpur.

Sanyal’s exploration of the career-trajectory of Yasin Akhtar Misbahi, one of the Ashrafiyya graduates, is marked by a sort of linearity. Had she compared his biographical details to those of other graduates of the same madrasa who rose to fame, it would have been added more to the scholarship on the subject. For example, Obaidullah Khan Azmi was nominated to Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Parliament of India, thanks to Arshadul Qadri who encouraged Azmi to join active politics. As a fiery and eloquent public speaker, he made his presence felt during the agitation against the Shah Bano Case. It would be interesting to explore how his location as an Ashraffiyya graduate and a Member of the Parliament has negotiated to shape Azmi’s political behavior and career. Sanyal’s uncritical reproduction of Misbahi’s claim that the ‘jagir’ system was unique to Mubarakpur, is problematic (p 34). The reality is that irrespective of denomination, it was prevalent in almost every locality which had a residential madrasa.

The saga of resistance against the homogenizing nature of colonialism, post-colonial state, language and religion in the context of Bangladesh constitutes the core of Zakir Hossain Raju’s paper. Unlike other contributors to the volume, he explores cinematic texts, including Tareque Masud’s The Clay Bird (Matir Moina, 2002) to analyze how, according to Bangladeshi art cinema films, Islamic learning contributes to the process of the identity formation of a Bangladeshi Muslim. Interestingly enough, Masud finds the madrasa as a special place where “…you unlearn all the notions of homogeneity and prejudice that life otherwise teaches you…” [p 138].

Irfan Ahmad’s paper on the educational ideology of Sayyid Abul Ala Maududi (1903-79) argues against the dominant mode of understanding of Islamism that the latter is a revolt against modernity. Though he brilliantly situates Maududi’s philosophy on education within the ideational framework of the fermentation brought about by colonialism, it is not clear why the latter was in favor of an Islamic state ruled by ulama [p145]. It runs contrary to the Maududi’s image as a bitter critic of the traditional ulama. Moreover, absence of any reference to Jameatul Falah, Bileria Ganj, UP, from Ahmad’ narrative is conspicuous. The madrasa is the prime institution established by the Jama’at-e Islami, India to translate Maududi’s educational philosophy into reality.

In short, providing balanced accounts about the madrasas of South Asia, the volume strongly contests the popular understanding of the madrasa politics. Moreover, its role in stimulating further interest in the encounter of global and local forces at the madrasa space and thus expanding the horizon of the scholarship on the subject, is commendable.

(The review-article has been published in Third Frame, Vol. 2, No. 1, Jan-March, 2009, pp 162-165. Third Frame: Literature, Culture and Society is a quarterly journal devoted to concerns in literature, culture and society. This issue of the journal is a thematic issue devoted to Islam as observed in a local or particular context.)


[i] Kumar, Nita (2003), History at the Madrasas, in Seminar ( on Rewriting History), February 2003 http://www.india-seminar.com/2003/522/522%20nita%20kumar.htm ( visited on 14 January 2009)

Posted in Book Reviews, Inside a Madrasa, Lived Islam, Madrasa Graduates, Madrasa History, Mindsets, My Writings | Leave a Comment »

What is Deoband?

Posted by arshadamanullah on June 5, 2007

“The name of Deoband came to represent a distinct style, a maslak, of Indian Islam that emphasized the diffusion of scripturalist practices and the cultivation of an inner spiritual life. By roughly 1880 there were over a dozen Deobandi schools, by the end of the century, at least three times that many, some in places as distant as Chittagong, Madras, and Peshawar. Deoband had pioneered a non-governmental style of formal organization for madrasa education in India. Thanks to that structure, the school succeeded in training a large number of ‘ulama’ in its reformist ideology and in establishing a network of ancillary schools further disseminating that teaching. Deoband thus offers a striking and successful example of the bureaucratization of traditional religious institutions that has made them effective in the modern world”.

[Metcalf, D. Barbara (2004), Islamic Contestations: Essays on Muslims in India and Pakistan, p51, Oxford University Press, New Delhi].

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Physical Training for Students in the Deoband Madrasa

Posted by arshadamanullah on April 11, 2007

“The curriculum provides a sort of physical training for all students. In the beginning, it consisted of some quasi military exercises which led people to remark sarcastically that the Darul Ulum was a ‘madrasah-i-harbiyah  (Military School) instead of a ‘madrasah-i- Arabiyah’ ( Arabic School).  Mawlana Nanawtawi was ready for the retort and explained the measure in terms of its worldly usefulness and ‘ shar’I’ validity for an active social life. But it seems that later it ceased to attract the attention of the management and gradually became a neglected optional aspect of the Darul Ulum life”.

(Faruqi , Ziya-ul-hasan (1963), The Deoband School And The Demand For Pakistan, P 37, Asia Publishing House, Bombay).

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The Deoband Madrasa And The Demand For Pakistan

Posted by arshadamanullah on April 6, 2007

“The Deoband School(India) has been, throughout its existence, an orthodox religious movement professing its loyalties with some tinge , to the Hanafi school of ‘fiqh’.Politically, till 1947 it upheld the tradition of being vehemently anti-British and has been “nationalist” through and through. Whatever it has done, it claims to have done it for the cause of Islam and the welfare of the Muslim community. Even in this spirit, it says, it oposed the Muslim League in its struggle for the establishment of Pakistan–a separate homeland for the Muslims of the Indian sub-continent where , as claimed by the Muslim League, they could be free to carve out a future of their own in accordance with their religious and cultural traditions. This position sounds paradoxical since the Deoband School was founded with the expressed prupose of preserving the ‘Shariah’ and the cultural traditions of the India Muslims ; and hence, apperently, it is Deoband who should have been in the forefront for the achievement of Pakistan. This thesis is an attempt to resolve this seemingly paradoxical position of Deoband and explain the genesis of its opposition to the demand of the Indian Muslims for Pakistan”.

[Faruqi, Ziya-ul-Hasan(1963), The Deoband School And The Demand For Pakistan,Asia Publishing House, Bombay].

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Madrasas in India: A Historical Perspective

Posted by arshadamanullah on March 25, 2007

History of the madrasas in India goes back to the advent of Muslims to the subcontinent. They played an important role in the eco-cultural life of the Muslim society. In the medieval India, they used to provide with the manpower to the government to run its huge and vast machinery. A chain of these madrasas were spread in the length and breadth of the country. They were instrumental in imparting education to the masses. They were marked with the secularism in their nature. This, including with other characteristics of the madrasas, attracted a good crowd of the children even from the non-Muslim majority. This situation continued up till late 19th century. The luminaries like Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Dr.Rajendra Prasad and Dr.Sachdanand Sinha and thousands of others got their elementary education in madrsas.

The situation started changing towards the 19th century when some critical problems engulfed the Muslims of the sub-continent. On the one hand, hegemony of the Muslim dynasty which had been ruling the country for centuries, came to an end and, on the other hand, the Englishmen, conquering the land, had begun to consolidate their empire. Muslims were in a dilemma, not been able to decide what to do. As the Englishmen put an end to the traditional education system, they divided the education into two categories: religious and non-religious. This made the ulama worried about the preservation of the religious as well as cultural identities. The ulama responded to the situation in two ways: firstly, they tried to tackle this impasse through violent means in uprising of 1857 but it resulted in disastrous consequences; secondly, sensing the change in the need and nature of the time, they did their best to open a series of madrasas at a number of places first in UP and then all across the country. Thus, a network of them got established in the country.

Maulana Wahiduddin Khan, a noted Muslim scholar, terms this spurt in the opening of madrasas at this juncture of history as the “Movement of Dini Madaris” [ Deen-o-Shari’at: Deen-e-Islam ka ek Fiki Motala, Goodwords, New Delhi, 2002] . According to him; the ideas regarding this movement must have been germinated around 1834 when Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay came to India as Viceroy of the British India Company. To him goes the credit to introduce the prototype of what is today known as the English/Secular Education System. The purpose of introducing this system, in Macaulay’s own words, was: “So that a generation may arise, which is Indian in birth and English in thought.” In other words, it aimed at consolidating the British Empire in India. Contrary to that, the ulama made an effort to establish an apolitical empire through setting up a network of madrasas in the country. The ulama were vehemently opposed to the Macaulay syndrome. This opposition on their part springs from the perception that it would act as an axe on the roots of the cultural and religious heritage of the country. This helped in cultivating their image as anti-colonialist and also made them out of the synch with the march of the time. Consequently they grew more radical in their anti-colonial views.

This network of madrasas was meant to function as the supply house which could cater to the religious needs of the Muslim community. So; they started imparting God-oriented education, instead of job-oriented education because they were not the factories to manufacture earning animals. Some of salient features of the madrasas which were established under the influence of this Movement of Dini Madaris are as follows:

1. They are funded by the public donations.

2. They provide free education to all students.

3. They were/are not an urban-centric phenomenon. They were/are opened in every possible village, bringing education at the doorstep of every house, resulting in the elimination of the intellectual gap between the masses and the elites.

Despite the fact that these madrasas grew by geometrical proportion, thanks to the missionary spirit of the ulama which was the driving force behind the whole project, their graduates didn’t perform that well in the non-religious sphere of life as was expected. This is evident from the fact that in the first half of the 20th century, the sub-continent witnessed two important movements: the freedom struggle and the Pakistan movement. The ulama took part in both of them but they played second fiddle to the English-educated persons. The situation didn’t change after the Partition. When the All India Muslim Majlis-e-Moshawarat, the biggest movement of the Indian Muslims after the Independence, was launched, the ulama participated in it in a large number but they have gradually been marginalized and, thus, become ineffective. This can be seen as the consequences of the introduction of new education system by Macaulay in the country. It has created not only the dichotomy of religious and secular education but also raised the status of English to the language of the ruling elite and the educated ones. In this changed scenario, the madrasa graduates found themselves at the periphery of the day-to-day life though they have been playing important roles in every walk of life throughout the history.

Posted in Deoband, Education/Religion, Madrasa History, My Writings | 1 Comment »

The Feudal Elite Nurtured the Madrasa System

Posted by arshadamanullah on March 22, 2007

Arjumand Ara writes in her paper entitled  Madrasas and the Making of Muslim Identity:

“…The feudal elite nurtured the madrasa system exclusively for the poor but kept its reins in their own hands. This ensured that the new mass base, created in the name of religion, could be exploited as a significant source of power and a handy tool in their bid for domination in the emerging democratic societies. They thus needed the institution for their own survival. Deprived Muslims who were made to believe that their most valued treasure, Islam, was in danger, vowed to protect the tradition of madrasas even at the cost of their lives. Even today, madrasas are falsely considered to be the institution that played the greatest role in saving Islam from extinction. Ironically, poor Muslims consider madrasas the protectors of Islam without realizing  that many of the ulama and the maulanas, who exhort them to protect the system, send their own children  to public schools, convent, and even to Europe and America for higher studies…”

[Farouqui, Ather (ed), Redefining Urdu Politics in India, OUP, 2006, P 97]

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A Top Angle View of the Madrasa Space

Posted by arshadamanullah on March 20, 2007

I would prefer not to term Children of Faith a ‘film’ which provides a top angle view of the madrasa space. Its narrative is constructed of an irritatingly linear voice-over and a series of endless pan-shots. This brain-child of Saleem Ali has a screen-life of 16.22 minutes. Its mise-en-scene lacks nuances of moods and tones prevalent in madrasa environment. The theme demands from the director to spend much more amount of time on research, production and post-production of this visual document. 

The video is available here:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3234950266145914423&q=children+of+faith&hl=en

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Introducing Natural Sciences in the Madrasa Curriculum

Posted by arshadamanullah on March 20, 2007

Concerted efforts of the Aligarh Muslim University towards enabling madrasa graduates to find employment in every sector of the Indian society, will always are celebrated. ‘Centre for Promotion of Science’, a body affiliated to the university, was established in March 1985.The main two objectives of the Centre, in words of  Syed Abul Hashim Rizvi,the director of the Centre, are : 

“a) to create awareness amongst Indian Muslims of the importance of acquiring and   creating scientific knowledge and to provide possible help to minimize their  backwardness in the natural sciences, in order to enable madrasa graduates to find  their places in the Indian society according to the public needs of the day; and

b)  to help in the introduction of regular teaching of natural sciences in madaris and in the  improvement of the quality of natural science education in Muslim schools.” 

Various programmes like Introductory Science Courses and Training Courses for madrasa teachers, Subject Refresher Courses, workshops, courses on the use of computers in teaching etc are conducted by the Centre. Mr. Syed Abul Hashim Rizvi has been in corresponding terms with around 1400 madrasas.He kept on sending them questionnaires of some sort or other with regard to the inclusion of natural sciences into the madrasa syllabi. On the basis of the responses he got from 192 of them, he draws the following tentative conclusions regarding the status of the education in the natural sciences in madrasas: 

a)      Assuming that only those madrasas that are interested in natural science education  have responded, about 13 percent (of those contacted) are involved in teaching  natural sciences.

b)      There has been a definite trend towards inclusion of natural science teaching in Indian madrasas during the last 10 years (i.e. much before September 11, 2001).After 1992, this percentage is about 56 of those madrasas which had responded to the questionnaire.

c)      About 33 percent of madrasas have reported teaching natural sciences from the  very   beginning.

d)      There is a significant number of madrasas (about 50 percent of those that  responded) that are teaching natural sciences upto the tenth class.      e)  About 14 percent of madrasas have between six and ten faculty members teaching  natural sciences and about 90 percent of madrasas have up to five faculty members teaching natural sciences.

f)      Most of madrasas where teaching of the natural sciences has been introduced in  the last 10 years are small-or medium-sized in terms of student strength. 

 Apart from other activities, until now the Centre has organized 15 Introductory Science Courses (of 12 days duration) for madrasa teachers and three Conferences of ulama, teachers, scientists and educationists. However, Mr.Rizvi feels that “The task of introducing natural science education and sustaining it in a large number of madrasas is gigantic as well as crucial. It requires the concerted efforts of much bigger organizations (than this Centre), with resources, suitable manpower and commitment to match the task.” 

[See: Rizvi, Syed Abul Hashim (2006),  “The Introduction of Natural Sciences in Madrasa Education  in India” , in  Hartung,Jan-Peter & Helmut Reifeld (ed), Islamic Education, Diversity and National Identity: Dini Madaris in India Post 9/11. Sage Publications,New Delhi].

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Directory of the Ahle Hadis Madrasas In India

Posted by arshadamanullah on March 19, 2007

Book : Madaris-e-Ahle Hadis : Ek Tarikhi Dastavez

Compiler : Khalid Haneef Siddiqui
Publisher: Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadis, Delhi

Year : 2004

Pp. 622+xvi
INR: 200.00
Reviewed by: Arshad Amanullah

The Ahle Hadis, pejoratively known as ‘Wahhabis’, though emerged like several other sects as a response to the crisis of the slippage of political power from the Muslim ruling elite to the British, the sect, unlike others, has a well-documented history as a group which offered armed resistance to the Raj. The British suppression of the sect made its ulama introvert and forced them to maintain a low profile. This also gets reflected in the body of the academic literature available on this section of the South Indian Muslims. There is absolutely no serious empirical or sociological investigation about the people and ulama of the sect in Independent India. By putting a first hand data about several important aspects of madrasas of the sect in public domain, Siddiqui seeks to fill a very important gap in our understanding of Muslim religious groups and ulama activism after 1947.

This directory, report of the survery conducted under the aegis of Markazi Jami’at Ahle Hadis, Hind, provides important information regarding 1636 out of about 2500 Ahle Hadis educational institutions,
including boys and girl madrasas, secular schools, technical institutes and tibbiya colleges all over country. In arranging the data, the compiler has observed the following method: names of states and districts are in alphabetical order; it divides the madrasas in five categories (Fazilat, Alamiyat, Sanaviya, Motawassita and Ibtidaiyya); each district starts from the highest level of the madrasas i.e. Fazilat it has. Here he does not observe the alphabetical order.

The section on every state begins with a brief but useful note on its geography, demography and literacy rate in general. It points out names of the districts which have the concentration of the Ahle Hadis population and, as a result, that of the educational institutions. It vaguely talks about the status of literacy and the economic condition of the sect-members in a particular state. It places special emphasis on mentioning names of the girl madrasas of the state. Moreover, it mentions names of the Ahle Hadis magazines coming out of the state. Libraries and publication houses of the sect also find place in the note.

The directory furnishes the following details regarding every institution it enlists: year of establishment; name of founders; present general secretary and principal; level of education; number of the students(boys and girls) enrolled, whether they are day scholars or avail the boarding facilities; number of academic and administrative staff; nature of curriculum(religious, secular or a mix of both); whether it is affiliated to any board or university; source of revenue, whether it gets any financial grant from the government, annual budgets; details of the land and the premises; number of books available in the library if there is any; registration number( if registered) and the full postal address with phone numbers. None of them carry email address.

Though the directory is a remarkable shift in terms of the presentation and content from its prototype Jama’at-e-Ahle Hadis Ki Tadrisi Khidmaat (Contribution of the Ahle Hadis Sect to the Field of Education, Jamia Salafia, Varanasi, 1984) by Maulana Azizur Rahman Salafi, Siddiqui’s compilation also leaves much to be desired. As the maps enclosed in the beginning of the section on every state do not bear any coloured or graphic representation of the presence or concentration of the population and educational centers of the sect in a particular region, they do not serve any purpose. Like most of the Urdu publications, this directory does not have any alphabetical index. However, towards the end, it incorporates two exclusive indexes: one for those madrasas which provide education upto the Fazilat level and another for the girl madrasas. The last page contains names of 88 institutions on which no information is provided in the directory. It ends with the promise to include them in the second edition. Using deftly the available data, the compiler could have made it more user- friendly. Like he could have very easily inform the users about the number of people employed in the unorganized sector of the madrasas as every madrasa had mentioned total number of its staff. Moreover, the directory divides the curriculum of a certain madrasa into two categories: dini (religious) and asri (modern). One needs to know what they stand for as they have not been explained anywhere.

Despite its limitations, very few books have proved as timely as is the case with this directory. It is a must for scholars interested in the South Asian Islam as it is an invaluable contribution to the madrasa studies which has flourished so rapidly in the wake of rise of Taliban and fall of twin towers.

Posted in Book Reviews, Education/Religion, Madrasa History, My Writings, Resources | 15 Comments »

Madrasas:Gender No Bar

Posted by arshadamanullah on March 16, 2007

Now Muslims are paying more attention to impart Islamic education to girls. As a result new women madrasas have come up in UP, Kerala, Maharashtra, AP, Delhi, Gujarat, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, etc in the last one and a half decade. Some of the prominent women madrasas are Jamiatus Salihat, Rampur; Jamiatus Salihat, Malegaon, Kulliya Fatima Al Zohra,Mau;Jamia Aisha Siddiaqa, Malegaon, Jaimiatul Banat, Jianpur, Azamgarh, Jamiatul Falah, Bileriaganj, Azamgarh, Jamiatul Banaat, Hyderabad, Jamiatul Banaat Shamsul Uloom(Niswan),Ghosi, UP. Dr.Nsim Akhtar has given a detailed account of these women madrasas in his paper presented in a seminar on “Madrasas Education in India: Eleventh to Twenty 1st Century”, organized by Cultural Committee of Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi in October, 2002.[See: Husain, S.M.Azizuddin(ed)(2005), Madrasa Education in India: Eleventh to Twenty First Century, Kanishka Publishers, New Delhi, p94-109].

Established in 1952 in Rampur, UP, Jamiatus Salihat is one of the oldest and, thus, the most famous madrasa for girls in India. It offers a curriculum which is a combination of Islamic and modern sciences. The curriculum is marked with a tilt towards the ideology of Jamaat-e-Islami.

Apart from academics, the madrasa looks after the health of the students as well. It aims at making them real preacher of Islam, characterized with high level of morality, aware of the requirements of the age and well-equipped to fulfill them in the light of Qur’an and Sunnah. Kulliya Aisha, Malegaon is another famous girl madrasa. Established by Jamia Muhammadiya Education Society, the curriculum of this institution is different from its North Indian counterparts. In addition to the Islamic sciences, it has included in its curriculum, the syllabus of the Maharashtra government.Kulliya Fatima al Zohra,Mau,UP and Jamia Mohammadiya,Bangalore have the same curriculum and education system, differing in secular sciences as they teach the syllabus of their own state governments. The fact that unlike other girl madrasas, this society has designed the same curriculum for both the boys and girls really merits mention here.Jamiatul Banat, Azamgarh is also one of the oldest girl madrasas in North India. Established by Sheikh Abdul Haleem in 1960, the madrasa has the strength of more than 600 students. Another Jamiatul Banat exists in Hyderabad. It was established in 1988 and has a branch too at Akbar Tower Malkapet.Its aim is to cerate women scholars in Islamic Studies. It provides boarding facility for 90 girls .It sends its students to public exams of universities in the Oriental Language and Islamic Studies as private candidates. In 1998 the number of students was 800, teaching staff was 35 and non-teaching staff 11.

Jamiatul Falah (Niswan), founded in 1962, had educated 1175 alimas and 911 fazilas till 1996.It is one of the oldest girl madrasas whose more than one hundred alumni are involved in teaching at various girl madrasas in India. One thousand girls are enrolled in it, including five hundred students residing in the hostel called Safiyah Manzil. Majority of its students belong to U.P.It takes 14 years for a girl to complete her education offered by the madrasa.Situated at Ghosi, Mau, UP, Jamiatul Banat Shamsul Uloom is the biggest girl madrasa of Ahmad Raza Khan’s school of thought. Established in 1982, this madrasa plays host to more than six hundred girls .Its degrees are recognized by Arabic and Persian Uttar Pradesh Board which also gives financial aid to the madrasa.Founded in 1983, Al Jamia al Zahra has churned out 45 alimas and 365 Qariahs (reciters of Qur’an with its defined rules) till 1996.

Main stress in the girl madrasas is on exegesis and hadees .Syllabi has been made shorter keeping in view the needs of the students. Hence, it does not take more than five years to finish the course. On the basis of the knowledge attained here, a girl can do further study. Some madrasas have maintained that girl students should be given training and knowledge of nursing, general medicine and maternity.

 

 

 

 

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