THE SYSTEM OF EDUCATION continued..

 

FREE EDUCATION

The same traditions of our old system of education are the distinguishing feature of Darul Uloom. Here also fees are not charged from the students. Food, clothes and cash stipends are given by Darul Uloom Deoband to all resource less and needy students, and text-books and accommodation are provided free of charge to every affording and non-affording student. The result of this is that the education of Darul Uloom has not been a specialty, a preserve of the well-heeled only but even the most impoverished man can get his children adorned with education through it; its grace is universal and, in proportion to capability, full.

Darul Uloom, Deoband, is the first and the pioneer educational institution in India, established on the principle of free education and has been running this free system of education with enviable success for more than a century.

EDUCATIONAL AUTONOMY

Darul Uloom, Deoband, is also the first educational institution, which presented the concept of "Autonomous System of Education" during the British regime in India and assiduously endeavored to maintain intellectual liberty of the nation in an atmosphere of political slavery. Though this was a very difficult work, Darul Uloom, by practicing it, made it easy. Inspite of the offer of the British Government Darul Uloom never accepted this aid. Hence it has remained free from many such restrictions, which necessarily come in with the government grand-in-aid. It is being said by certain people that when the government was willing to give valuable financial aid to Darul Uloom, it was not proper on its part to decline and abstain from accepting it; however much generosity the community may show, it cannot compete with the substantial help of the government. These people most probably failed to notice this point that it is necessary to keep the Arabic schools free from the influence of the state, for though it be a government of the Muslims, unless it be a government of the purely Islamic style, its politics cannot be candid and unalloyed, whereas such education is required for the Arabic schools that may be absolutely free from all sorts of un-Islamic influence and extraneous practice. Hence Darul Uloom, Deoband, never accepted any aid from the government in power; its entire resource and capital consists in reliance on Allah. Darul Uloom has been busy in the service of the religion depending only on the Muslim masses, and notwithstanding the swift and severe vicissitudes of day and night it is maintaining itself and going on with its old dignity and traditions.

Today, unfortunately for our community, the purpose of education has come down to this that bagging through it some good and lucrative service substantial livelihood may be earned. As though the very intent and denotation of education has been altogether changed, and now, instead of "knowledge for the sake of knowledge", it too has become a means like many other means of earning livelihood, although it is a natural demand of the dignity of knowledge that its ideal be sublime. No doubt the profane arts and sciences are acquired so that worldly progress may be achieved through them, but if this ideal is restrained only to one's own personal gain and one's own advantage is kept in view, this is sheer selfishness. To expend the invaluable wealth of knowledge for only one's own ends is not to recognize the greatness of knowledge. The purpose of acquiring secular arts and sciences should also be this that through them the resources of the whole community (or nation) may be developed and they may become the cause of not only one's own rise and progress but also for the advancement of the country and the community.

The aim and ideal cherished by the students of Arabic schools in acquiring knowledge is to seek Allah's pleasure and to serve His creatures in the best possible manner. The pupils consider their teachers to be teachers and fully observe the old limits and ranks of teacher ship and pupilage. They pay the same respect to their teachers, which they pay to their parents; every student considers service to teachers conducive to increase in knowledge and prosperity!

The following golden incident of the Islamic history is worth remembering that when Madrasa-e-Nizamia was established in Baghdad, and high salaries and stipends were fixed for the teachers and the taught and all sorts of equipments for comfort were provided by the government, the Ulama of Bukhara held on this occasion an assembly of mourning for "the decline of knowledge" and expressed sorrow over it that now knowledge would be acquired not for the sake of knowledge but for status and wealth. It is obvious that if this noble purpose of knowledge is not there before a man, why would he, instead of the contemporary (modern) sciences, set his face towards Darul Uloom the value of the degree (Sanad) of which, in the sight of the government, is not more than that of an old almanac?

Once a lieutenant governor of the United Provinces (U.P.), Sir James Muston, while inspecting Darul Uloom, had asked a student from a place far off from Deoband:

"What is the purpose of your coming here from such a distant place”? Spontaneously the student replied:

"I have come to read here for this that after returning I may render religious service to the people of my native place".

It can be estimated from the syllabus of Darul Uloom that it is far higher than the standard of the government examinations of "Maulavi Fazil" etc. of "the Oriental Languages". On this account, had Darul Uloom so wished, it could have easily got its sanad recognized by the government equivalent to that of "Maulavi Fazil" but instead of making its sanad a "passport" to service in' the government departments, it considered it more apposite that it should try to create in its students such academic ability and merit that the moment the people see its alumnus and its sanad they may believe that it is a thing of value and that whichever task of religion this man takes upon himself, he will be able to discharge it with competence and elegance.

Special attention has been paid to this thing in the curriculum of Darul Uloom that through it the student, along with the preservation of the spiritual and moral values of Islam, may also acquire ability and expertise in the Islamic arts and sciences so that after going out from here he may be enabled to bear the responsibilities of sincere leadership of the community and may play an important role in the effort for the Islamic call and preaching. It is tried in Darul Uloom Deoband to convince students that the purpose of their education is not at all the acquirement of degree or preparation for 'government services and offices. On the contrary, it is a purely religious education, and the political and geographical conditions of India demand that such a party that may always be actively busy in elevating the Word of Allah and the revival of the Sunnah should be present amongst the Muslims. Thank Allah that Darul Uloom is successful in this educational purpose: from this institution have come out thousands of such Ulama, preachers, authors and leaders who have never avoided this purpose of Darul Uloom.

The prophetic Hadith is a commentary and exegesis of the Book of Allah and the second most important source of the Islamic law. Darul Uloom Deoband has rendered service to many religious and secular sciences but the teaching of Hadith has been the most conspicuous among them all. The teaching of Hadith in Darul Uloom has been comprehensive in tradition (Riwayat) and reasoning (Dirayat) and all the principles of the Islamic law. Here it is tried that the commentary of the Hadith and such details of topics related to it may come before the students that in their future life they may not have to face any difficulty in the conjunction and reconciliation (Jama wa Tatbiq) and preference and interpretation (Tarjih wa Tawil) of the prophetic Hadiths. In this respect Darul Uloom, Deoband, in the teaching of Hadith, commands a singular dignity. This is the reason that the Dar al...,.Hadith of Darul Uloom is held in high esteem and respect by all the religious schools.

On account of the extensiveness of its educational system, maturity in conformance to the Sunnah, and consummate firmness in arts and sciences, Darul Uloom Deoband enjoys the position of a singular institution. In the teaching of Hadith particularly it commands an individual style, which special feature of it makes it distinguished over all other educational institutions. In its Dar al-Hadith gather every year three to four hundred students who flock to it from different parts of the world merely. for the study of Hadith. Amongst these students of Hadith there is a large number of such people also who are graduates of other institutions and come here only to benefit from the special higher education of Darul Uloom.

Darul Uloom, Deoband, leads all the seminaries of India, Pakistan, Bangla Desh, Burma, Afghanistan and other countries and many Madrasas imitate it in the method of education and internal organization.

Darul Uloom has been religiously kept aloof and independent from state help and government interference. The system of education and training that the British government had started in India in its regime not only did not have any compatibility with the Islamic ideal and belief but was also very harmful for the Muslims; had it been accepted, then our present generation not only would have been deprived of Islam but also, unsurprisingly, would have renegade from and revolted against Islam. The elders of Darul Uloom Deoband sensed this danger in time end, despite political slavery, revivified the old system of education to maintain intellectual liberty in order that the students completing this course of study could begin the world as a true believer.

TIME-TABLE

As it is generally the practice in the Arabic schools, in the Darul Uloom Deoband too the time-table is divided into two parts: the first part consists of four hours and the second of two. In the summer season from 6-00 a.m. to 10-00 a.m. and after the Zuhar prayer, from 3-30 p.m. to 5-30 p.m., and in the winter season, from 8-00 a.m. to 12-00 noon and after Zuhar prayer, from 2-00 p.m. to 4-00 p.m. Each period in the Darul Uloom Deoband is of full sixty minutes. With change in season the hours of periods also change gradually; i.e., from 6-00to 6-15 and from 2-00 to 2-15; similarly, from 8-00 to 7-45 and from 3-30 to 3-15.

Usually, after admission in the month of Shawwal, lessons begin in the beginning of the month of Zi-q'ada and continue till the end of Rajab. The annual examination is' held in the month of Sha'ban and continues for nearly three weeks. The annual vacation begins from the last week of Sha'ban and continues up to the 'first week of Shawwal. Admissions begin from the second week. Friday is the weekly holiday.

 

RULES OF ADMISSION

The portal of Darul Uloom Deoband is open for every student who wants to acquire knowledge of the religious sciences, provided he agrees with the objectives and the educational ideal of Darul Uloom Deoband and applies for admission with the firm resolve of abiding by the rules and regulations of Darul Uloom Deoband and provided his lifestyle be in consonance with the Islamic values. With these conditions he can be admitted to that class for which he may have ability and capacity.

Admission generally begins from the second week of Shawwal and ends by the end of the third week, but the admission of fresh students is closed a little earlier.

At the time of admission a fresh student is admitted to a class for which he is considered fit by virtue of his ability; admission cannot be given on the basis of the sanad of any other educational institution. However those students who pass the Persian classes and join the Arabic class are exempted from the test for admission.

Admission in the Quran class and Persian class is done through application and in the Arabic class through a printed application-form. There are two kinds of the admission-form: old and new. By old are meant those students who may have studied in Darul Uloom itself in the previous year and the newly-arrived students are called "new" (i.e., fresh).

 

By filling the admission-form the student makes a promise that he shall keep himself engaged in studies with eagerness and singleness of purpose, and shall fully abide by the rules-in-force of Darul Uloom, and in his personal appearance, deportment and etiquette, and reading and writing, etc. shall follow the student-like demeanor and lifestyle.

There is no restriction of age-limit for admission; however, young children from outside who cannot stay alone in the hostel are not admitted. There is also no such restriction on account of any profession wherefore the doors of teaching and learning may be closed upon some individuals or sections of the community; on the contrary, every man who cherishes any zest for learning can learn and acquire knowledge without any hindrance. The Arabic Madrasas have always been free from the restriction of age-limit and profession, never allowing any discrimination on account of color and race, riches and poverty, and high and low class. Hence the ways of acquiring the highest possible education with convenience have always remained open to every man belonging to any race, of how so ever much small means he may be. In the educational history of the Muslims will be found innumerable such scholars and accomplished men who ancestrally belonged to different high and low professions. Such men who have been ignored in the world on account of their lowly professions acquired education in these Arabic Madrasas and accomplished such wonderful exploits in the academic and political fields that every student of history is aware of them. The credit of antecedence and pioneering for the thing that is being considered today a gift of Europe belongs in reality to our Arabic schools.

EXAMINATIONS

It is not - easy to say that the system of examination was generally current in the Arabic Madrasas; nevertheless it appears from the particulars of some Madrasas that the students were examined in them annually. As such it is stated in the history of Bijapur entitled Bustanus-Salatin, in connection with the chronicles of the seminaries that "the examination of the students used to be held at the end of the month of Zil-hijja". An explicit statement about the annual examination in the same book at another place is that "the annual examination was held every year".

But this system had been abandoned just a short time before the establishment of Darul Uloom, and this system of holding quarterly, six monthly and annual examinations, which is a good means of assessing the student's ability, labor and toil, was not in vogue. When a student finished a book under the instruction of a teacher, a higher book used to be begun without holding a test for the previous book. It is evident that in this there was no opportunity to assess and assay the student's ability, and very often even an undeserving student also used to go on crossing the stages of progress. Perceiving this defect, Darul Uloom put an end to this system and made the quarterly, half-yearly and annual examinations compulsory.

The rules that are in force in Darul Uloom in connection with examination are also sufficiently stiff. There is no rule of private examination here.

 

Amongst the Madrasas of India most probably it was a specialty of Bijapur only that an annual examination used to be held there, otherwise no mention of annual examination is met with in the history of other religious schools; and this much is absolutely certain that in the immediate past of the establishment of Darul Uloom the custom of annual examination was not at all there in India.

 

RULES OF EXAMINATIONS

 Examination, which is the criterion of assessing the students’ educational ability and the teachers’ labour and assiduity and on which promotion to higher classes depends, is a very necessary thing. But even as Darul Uloom has been absolutely kept aloof from the influence of the government, similarly any kind of external interference in the examination' has also not been liked. The curriculum is of its own proposition and examinations too it conducts under its own supervision.

The examinations here are of two kinds. One is examination for admission. It is held for those students who come from some other seminary to be admitted to Darul Uloom. Usually it is held in the month of Shawwal. Special strictness is used in this examination and very often

more than half of the candidates taking this examination have to return because of their failure. The other examination is" held for studies. This is held thrice in the academic year. The quarterly examination is held in the month of Safaru-Muzaffar, the six-monthly in Jamadil-Ula and the annual begins in the last week of Rajab and ends in the second ten days of the month of Sha'ban.

Extreme precaution is taken and strictest invigilation is done in. the examinations. All the examinations of the first and the second years and of some books of the third year are conducted catechetically, through viva voce and of higher classes, there is written examination. The question papers are printed with utmost precaution and under extreme secrecy.

In the examination four hours are given for answering the paper. Seats are fixed and special care is taken that the candidates may riot talk with each other in case of disobeying this rule the guilty candidates are expelled from the examination.

The hypothetical marks of the examination are 50. The detail of securing classes in the examination is as under:

, To be placed in the lowest class a successful candidate must obtain 30 to 36' marks, for the intermediate class 37 to 43, and for the highest class 44 to 50.

It should be known on this occasion that prior to Darul Uloom all the educational centers that were there in India were by and large of the nature of private institutions and it was a common factor in all of them that there was neither classification in them nor muster-rolls nor were the students compelled to choose a subsidiary book and subject with the principal book and subject. There was absolute freedom one would read whatever one liked and read as long as one wished. There was neither fixed duration for education nor any particular mode of examination. It is Darul Uloom only that takes precedence of all others in executing classification, duration of education, maintenance of muster-roll, holding of examinations, relevance of subjects and other such matters, and it is from here only that these things gradually became customary in the Arabic schools.

<<BACK<<

>>NEXT>>