.. Prof Rahmat Karim Baig
The spread of Islam in south Asia in the 7th AD brought an unimaginable change in the fabric of the culture of that time. It fascinated a great bulk of non Muslims, mostly belonging to low caste Hindus and other down trodden sections of the society suffering under the cruel caste system of Hinduism. The spread of Islam was fast enough to train the whole mass in the true Islamic spirit within short time and in order to attract more and more non Muslims the religious leaders of the time allowed to teach some basics of Islam to the converts who could not shed the old habits of their ex faith and culture. The details of their old creed did continue to play role in their lives in the new circle as Muslims. The Sufis did not press the converts to shed all the vestiges of the old culture and faith, thus allowed the adumbration of varying details of different faiths to remain as features of Muslim culture. The true Islamic colour with all its bright merits and values did not reach the converts of that initial period. The need for religious Seminaries was felt and thus the Madaaris system was introduced at a later stage for teaching the basics of Islam based on a few disciplines called DARSE NIZAMI which operates to date.
The graduates of that education system complete their courses and qualify after 8 years and no student is declared failed but all pass out in 8 years vs. 16 to 18 years of the government school system – double of the duration of the Madaaris system. This disparity is very high and unjust to the Divine Faith that we claim to believe. In fact we believe in God but we don?t trust him and beg for the things by spreading our hands instead of resorting to Allah Almighty while we claim Him as our Creator and sustainer. The fact is that the Holy Quran was revealed to the Holy Prophet PBUH in 23 years slowly, gradually and in peace meal and thus its inculcation was made under the divine guidance of the Prophet of Islam PBUH himself.
The disciples of the great Messenger were highly devoted and spent most of their time to learn each and every Verse of the HOLY BOOK directly from the messenger with its connotations and Arabic was their mother tongue so it was no problem for them whereas the modern AJMI/ non Arab students of religious Institutions, brought up with different mother tongues, in addition to that drawback, gets only 8 years to graduate as a religious scholar and his DASTAR BANDI is held after 8 years but in fact they are not as learned as are supposed by ignorant masses and have very little knowledge of Islam and its history.
These graduates of Madaaris must be educated for 23 years instead of 8 years to be true scholars and this longer duration will train them properly with more modern subjects included in their curricula to make them enlightened scholars instead of fanatics that we see around us. Their longer stay in the Seminaries be made compulsory to enable them to reach maturity and this extra period be given weightage in the curricula and made equailant to M. Phil. as done in the Universities. The 8 years in a Madrasa is no more than an SSC curricula of our high schools and a graduate of that qualification is never considered for any post. Well, consider it, discuss it for better results or enjoy the bitter fruits of fanaticism as usual – compare and contrast.