THE SYSTEM OF EDUCATION continued..

THE REMOVAL OF A DOUBT

 

On seeing this syllabus of Darul Uloom, the question arises: 'Why were not the modern sciences which had already reached India at the time this syllabus was compiled included in it'? The reason for this no inclusion, according to Hazrat Nanautawi, was that these subjects were being taught in the government schools that had been established in the country at various places and everyone could take advantage of these. On the contrary, the old sciences were in a state of abandonment and there was not even an inferior arrangement for teaching these. Moreover, in this syllabus itself attention had been paid to the creation of so much ability in the student that he might acquire knowledge of other sciences through self-study. This question had also cropped up at the inception of the Dar al-UlurT1 itself; on the convocation of A.H.1290 Hazrat Nanautawi threw full light on this question. He says:

"For the education of all the rational and traditional sciences and to acquire competency therein, this Madrasa and the Madrasa at Saharanpur are, no doubt, an excellent provision; and if it please Allah, the alumni here, provided they complete the curriculum, can easily and quickly acquire the remaining ancient and modern sciences by dint of the power of their ability. The reason therefore is that in these Madrasas, the greatest objective, besides the religious education, is the attainment of the power of ability. We did not rest content with only the religious sciences but as per the old system, have also provided subjects that develop intelligence, an excellent result of which in the former times was that great savants and polymaths possessing prodigious abilities were produced in legions amongst the followers of Islam. Hence, we understand with certainty that though the students here may not have succeeded with some of the modern arts and sciences, the ability of theirs may prove sufficient like a perfect teacher for their education. In other schools, though, due to the teaching of some modern subjects, the students thereof may have acquired some new acquaintance of those subjects which the students here may be wanting in, the latter, in fact, in the eyes of the just, would be considered, by virtue of their ability, superior to the former in these subjects also.

"Notwithstanding all this, even if some loss is conceivable supposedly due to lack of practice in some of the modern subjects, then due to want of ability and absence of the knowledge of religious sciences the students of those schools ought to be considered inferior to the students of this Madrasa.

"Now we also point out this thing so that it may be known why in respect of acquirement (of knowledge) this special method was proposed and why the modern subjects were not included. The main reason, inter A’alia, for this is that whether training be special or general that aspect should be borne in mind from which crack may have developed in their accomplishment. Accordingly, it is manifest upon men of intelligence that nowadays education in modern subjects is making rapid progress due to the outnumbering government-run-schools. Indeed the old sciences must never have declined so much as they did now. Under such circumstances the- people looked upon the founding of schools for modern sciences as an exercise in futility. Hence, it was considered necessary to spend money for the traditional sciences, as also for those disciplines which certainly develop ability for the conventional (religious) as well as the modern sciences.

"Secondly, the acquisition of numerous sciences at one and the same time proves detrimental to ability in respect of all the sciences. Of course, after acquiring the knowledge of intelligence-developing subjects, which have been prescribed especially for the acquisition of ability, if the old and new arts (subjects) too are acquired, the span of time required for their acquirement will, of course, remain equal. The objective will be achieved well enough through its antecedence and subsequence, as the ability of each science and hence the reason-developing sciences were introduced, along with the traditional sciences, in the curriculum. Hereafter, if the students of this Madrasa, joining government schools, acquire knowledge of the modern subjects, this thing would more shore up their accomplishment".

On another occasion, replying to the objection that modern sciences have not been included in the curriculum of Darul Uloom, he says:

"There is no arrangement here at all for the teaching of the worldly sciences. The answer (to this objection) firstly is that there ought to be a treatment of the disease. To take medicine for a disease, which is not there, is useless. The crack in the wall should be filled in; it is necessary to fill the kiln. What is it but foolishness to be anxious about the brick that has not fallen down? Of what earthly use are the government schools? If the profane sciences are not taught there, what else is done"?

 

METHOD OF TEACHING

 

The method of teaching of Darul Uloom can be divided into three grades:

Primary intermediate Fiqh

The aim before the teachers in the primary grades consists in creating in the students the ability to comprehend the contents of a book. Hence, in these grades more stress is laid on the comprehension of the book.

In the middle or intermediate classes, along with the comprehension of the book, such topics are also brought on the tapes besides the textbook under study which may be essential for broadening the students' minds and for elevating their mental standard.

In the higher classes, complete stress is laid on the teaching and understanding of the subject under study, but at the same time, the comprehension of the book is not overlooked.

The method of teaching in Darul Uloom is this that the student first reads the textual passage. Now it is the duty of the teacher to lecture so comprehensively on the read out passage technically that light may be thrown on every aspect and question of the concerned passage. The teacher tries to gather in all the necessary information regarding the topic in his discussion, and he, applying his lecture to the passage, may sections that may crop up in their minds regarding the problems under study, they may not allow the teacher to proceed further. The result of this method is that, on the one hand, the student attends the lecture fully prepared and, on the other, the teacher finds himself constrained to teach with full preparation and attention.

As a rule, in the lessons of the textbooks the teacher’s attention is concentrated on this matter that the ability to understand the book may be created in the students and they may know the method of understanding the author's motive.

In the Science of Hadith, the following books are included in the course:

“Sahih-e-Bukhari, Sahih-e-Muslim, Jama'e-Tirmizi, Sunan-e-Abi Da'ud, Sunan-e-Nasa'i, Sunan-e-Ibn-e-Maja, Mu'atta-e-Imam Malik, Mu'atta-e-Imam Muhammad, Sharh-e-Ma'anil-Athaar Tahavi, Shama'iI-e-Tirmizi”.

Amongst the above-mentioned books the first four are completed wholly and their topics are thoroughly discussed. It is not necessary to read the remaining books wholly. In the few lessons of these books the teachers deliver such lectures whereby the purpose of the book is known. Since the greater part of Hadiths in the former and the latter books is common, there arises no need of separate discussion of the latter.

In the lecture on Hadith discussion as regards adaptation (jarah wa ta'dil, lit. objection and adjustment) of the narrators of Hadith is, wherever necessary, only brief. Instead of this more attention is paid to the technique of Hadith so that more and more power of education of propositions and the method of educing may be developed in the students and they may fully understand the method of education of the Imam of Fiqh. However; if the Imam of practical method of religion (Mazahib) have at any time needed to pay special attention to any authority or narrator, it becomes ineluctable to bring it under discussion during the course of the lesson.

But the arguments of the four Imams, their principles of the deduction of propositions and the answers on behalf of the Hanafite to the arguments of the three Imams are brought home to the students in such a sober and academic manner that nothing is detracted from the weightiness and glory of anyone of the four Imams. Rather, the arguments and proofs of the three Imams are presented before the students with great broadmindedness. Since most of the books of Hadith and Tafsir that are included in the syllabus of Darul Uloom have been compiled by the Shafiaite and Malekite Imams, their arguments. Inevitably come before the students; hence it becomes necessary for the teachers that they establish the Hanafite tack to be preferable in the light of arguments and evidences in such a way that the casuistic greatness of the three Imams may remain intact, admitting no distinction.

The zestful students of higher classes, in accordance with the style of the predecessors, consider it necessary to jot down the teacher's lecture. As such, Hazrat Gangohi's and Hazrat Shaikhul-Hind's lectures on Tirmizi, entitled Nafhul-Shazi and AI-Wirdul-Shazi, and Hazrat Sayyed Anwar Shah Kashmiri's lecture on the Sahih-e-Bukhari, entitled AI-Arful-Shazi and Fayzul-Bari (which is in four bulky volumes) are the result of the same taste for jotting down. These are only a few examples of such jotted lectures, which have been published; otherwise those publications are too many to be counted. These gem-scraps of the academic commodity are abundantly available with the graduates of Darul Uloom Deoband.

The teacher's medium of expression while lecturing and teaching is Urdu; the language which is spoken and understood throughout India. However, it is tried to explain to those students who do not understand Urdu, in other languages until they became able to understand Urdu.

The importance the mother tongue commands in the teaching of arts and sciences could be realized in the present system of education in India after a long time. This is an undeniable and incontrovertible fact that the ease with which academic matters are understood through the mother tongue and are retained in memory is not possible in any other tongue. But the dominance of the English paramount had so much come home to and dominated the minds of the nation that it could not get a clue to this reality for a long time. Amongst the Indian universities the first to realize the importance of mother tongue for education were Jamia Usmania Hyderabad and Jamia Millia Delhi. They also put this thought into practice and achieved remarkable success at both the places, and thus presented an example; to be followed by other universities; and now this demand has been generally accepted by the universities in India that the mother-tongue should be made the medium 'of education.

In this connection, anyhow, Darul Uloom bears the palm; the educational experts of the twentieth century at last were constrained to arrive at the same conclusion which had been understood in Darul Uloom a hundred years ago.

 

Note:

1. This is an educational aspect of this problem but, besides this, there is a linguistic aspect to it also, and it is this that by being the medium of instruction at Darul Uloom the Urdu language itself has achieved a great advantage, which the circles engaged in developing and propagating Urdu have not so far chanced to notice. Nevertheless, the results and gains of this cannot be denied. That great advantage is this that since Darul Uloom is a central educational institution of the Muslims in the Islamic world, students flock to it not only from the different linguistic states of India but also from various foreign countries for acquiring education; and they learn the Urdu language sufficiently well during their stay here. Accordingly, it is an event of a few years ago that a gentleman who had made a tour of various foreign countries had happened to visit Darul Uloom. His statement was that:

. "When I reached Bukhara, which is a famous place in Central Asia, I ran there across a man, who, considering me to be an Indian, spoke to me in a sympathetic tone in Urdu. I wondered very much how he, being so far away from India, must have learnt such chaste Urdu? On my asking him, he told me: 'This is due to the educational grace of Darul Uloom Deoband, and not only I but also the entire educational circle here generally understands and speaks Urdu. Despite my being a Hindi, that man, with great affability and love, lodged me as his guest and threw in my honor a grand welcome-party, a peculiarity of which I will never for get that because of my sake who-ever delivered a speech in it, spoke in Urdu only".

In short, Darul Uloom Deoband, in this manner, through its students, has widened the circle of Urdu to almost all the Asiatic countries.

A similar incident had happened with Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru during his visit to Russia. The address presented to Pandit Nehru at the Tashkent aerodrome by the citizens was in Urdu and was read out by an Uzbek. Pandit Nehru also replied the address in Urdu which, as the newspaper reported, the audience understood, applauding several times with clapping during the course of the reply.

 

(AI-Jami'at Daily, June 18, 1955)

Besides this there are more than sixty book-depots in Deoband which keep publishing religious books in Urdu day in and day out.

 

EDUCATIONAL FEATURES OF DARUL ULOOM

As much as the word 'education' is simple and brief, to the same extent it is important, affecting the deepest recesses of the soul. Education is not merely the name of pictures of letters; phone Tory lines, dialects and big and small books. On the contrary it is the name of such an intellectual, mental and academicals training through which the latent faculties and talent of man are developed to be adorned and organized and human sentiments and feelings are civilized and polished by bringing them under an excellent and lofty ideal, so that useful fruits and consequences thereof may be brought into play for mankind. It is a very difficult task to teach man to use his talents correctly but it is as much necessary as it is difficult.

In other words, if education is limited to merely knowing the unknown things, then it is not something extraordinary, but if it is employed for action, then its difficulties are increased manifold. Although every nation of the world appreciates the value of knowledge, the Muslims' view of knowledge is quite different from that of the other nations'. The non-Muslims acquire knowledge so that through it they may gain power and greatness, progress and superiority in the world. Knowledge for the most part is considered the means of acquiring wealth but it is a peculiarity of the Muslims that instead of a means they have considered knowledge an end; they have never considered it a means of livelihood. The Muslims have always acquired knowledge for, the sake of knowledge; they never acquired it in order to earn their livelihood through it. According to the Muslims the acquisition of knowledge is a duty, by discharging which a Muslim, besides worldly benefit, also gains absolution in the afterlife. The statement of the Sovereign of the Universe (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him!) is;- . ,

 

"It is an obligation upon every Muslim man and Muslim woman to acquire knowledge".

This obligator ness has been made necessary for action only, and it is incumbent upon every person as per need. It is an acknowledged fact of history that no nation in the world could become exalted until its powers of knowledge and action did not awaken. Education alone is the means through which spiritual and moral, civilization and cultural progress can be made, 'which is the raison d'etre for the creation of humanity. In view of such progress it is essential that every seeker of knowledge is provided an opportunity to develop his talents in the best possible manner. In other words, it is the primary duty of society that it provide such facilities whereby every student' may display his best talents. In fact, nations are made through knowledge and are deteriorated through ignorance. On this account it is necessary that every person should have equal opportunities for the acquirement of knowledge. Emancipating knowledge from the monopoly of the particular strata’s of society, Islam has done such a great obligation upon humanity that it is difficult to assess it.

The history of every developed nation is a witness to the fact that the secret of its progress and advancement is hidden in its commonalty's being educated, and this is not easy until there is arrangement for free education. In the present system of education the heaviness of expenses has deprived the majority of the advantages of education. After an experience of hundreds of years the educational experts of the twentieth century have at last arrived at the conclusion that the education of the common people ought to be free, and as long as this system is not adopted, it is difficult for education to be universal.

 

OUR OLD SYSTEM OF EDUCATION

In our old system of education this principle was always put into practice. Accordingly, in the mode of the education that had been adopted in these schools, the educational expenses were charged to the institutions rather than to the students. In this system of education fees were not chargeable, and not only this but text-books also had to be provided for the students gratis. Then not only this that the education was free and no rent was charged from, the students for the boarding house but destitute and poor students were also given cash stipends by the institutions for food, clothes and other necessities. It is that specialty of the Arabic schools the example of which is not found in any other educational system of the world.

Besides this, in the Arabic schools never such a restriction was laid on the acquirement of knowledge whereby the doors of teaching and learning might have been closed for certain individuals of the community. On the contrary, every man who had any zest for the acquisition of knowledge could acquire knowledge in him without any let or hindrance. Our schools have always been free from the restriction of age and avocation and never have been allowed in them the discrimination of race and color, wealthiness and poverty, the high and the low. On this account the ways of acquiring the highest possible education have remained unceremoniously open for every man, no matter to whichever ethnic group he belongs and however much a man of slender means he may be. In the educational history of the Muslims innumerable such scholars and men of accomplishments will be met who ancestrally belonged to small and high occupations. The principle keeping education more and more exempt from restrictions and conditions has always been observed in the religious schools.

The world has learnt the lifting of restrictions on education of the mean occupations from Islam only. The thing for which Europe is being credited today of bearing away the palm is in fact a reflection of the Arabic schools only; yet the world has still to learn from these schools the philosophy of lifting the restriction of age-limit. Accordingly, the foundation thereof has been laid in the form of "Adult Education"1. Now the time does not seem to be far off when this curse will be removed from the universities of the world.

 

<<BACK<<

>>NEXT>>