THE SYSTEM OF EDUCATION continued..

 

EDUCATIONAL STIPENDS

Most of the students prosecuting 'their studies in the Arabic schools are poor and indigent. The financial condition of their guardians is not such, that they may afford to spend money for the education and training of their young children and adorn them with education and culture.

The history {)f every progressive nation is a witness to the fact that the secret of its progress lies hidden in the education of its masses and this is not possible unless there is an arrangement for free education. Accordingly, after an experience of hundreds of years the greatest educationists of the twentieth century have at last arrived at the conclusion that the education of the masses ought to be free; and as long as this method is not adopted, it is difficult for education to, become universal. The greatest drawback of modern education is this that it has become a preserve of those people only who can afford their expenses, as if there is no place for the poor in the acquisition of the modern education.

But in our old system of education educational expenses have been made the liability of the educational institutions rather than of the students. In this system of education no fees are charged for education. And not only this, text-books are provided gratis for the students; rather, the indigent and poor' students are given even cash stipends by the institutions for food, clothes and other necessities. In Darul Uloom this matter has been paid 'special attention to ab initio that the burden of meeting the expenses of the boarding and lodging, clothing, medical treatment and other inevitable needs should be borne by Darul Uloom rather than by the students, save those who may afford to be self-sufficient.

But in the issuing of stipends due regard to it is inescapable that disinclination in matters educational and the eleemosynary or parasitic habit may not develop in the students, and that they remain all absorbed in educational works. Hence all the stipends are issued for one year only, to be renewed next year. Whenever the student fails in the examination, the stipend is stopped and is not reissued as long as he does not obtain, in accordance with the rule of the issue of stipend, success in the examination in the medium class. However, accommodation for stay in the hostel and text-books from the library for the relevant year are given temporarily without charge to every student, deserving or undeserving.

The following conditions are necessary for obtaining a stipend;

(A) The student may have studied books like AI-Nahv al-Wazeh, Sharh-e Tehzib, etc. (which are being taught in the second year).

(B) He may have obtained out of 50 at least 37 marks, which is the' medium class of success.

(C) .He may be asking for aid because of poverty.

The stipend is of two kinds: food - and - cash.

For the provision of food there is the Kitchen, from which each student, at each meal, is given two Tandoori (i.e., Tannurij a kind of bread which is baked inside the oven) breads the (dry) flour of which weighs 250 grams. Dal dish is given at lunch-time and meat-dish in the evening, If the student so wishes, he can also take cash price in lieu of meal.

Besides meals, cash stipends are also given in different quantities, some rupees per month.

In the terminology of Darul Uloom, both these kinds of stipends are called "Imdad" ("aid"). Those students, whom "aid" is issued, are also given four pairs of clothes, two pairs of shoes in one year and a quilt also in the winter season.

A monthly stipend is fixed for lighting in the rooms and for the washing of clothes. Physicians are appointed for the treatment of sick students. Medicines are provided gratis to the students and they are also supplied regimen (medically prescribed diet).

Besides these matters, arrangement of light in the passages of Darul Uloom, water-taps in the hostels, and tepid water in the mosque of Darul Uloom in the winter season, is done necessarily.

All the' students admitted in Darul Uloom are given text-books on loan from the library for one year without charge. Whether or not a student gets financial aid, he is n0t charged rent for the hostel-room.

 

PRIZE-DISTRIBUTION

In order to induce and tempt students to educational activities and create a competitive spirit among them, students are considered worthy of getting prizes on their success in the annual examination. A student securing the highest number of marks is awarded a special prize. Textual and non-textual books are given as prize, in accordance with the student's ability.

Like some other things, the custom of prize-distribution has also been there in Darul Uloom from the very beginning. In the function that is held every year under the name of prize-distribution, besides the local residents, people from outside are also invited to participate. The purpose of this gathering is that the Muslims in general and the contributors in particular may estimate the educational results of that adolescent generation they had entrusted to Darul Uloom as also this that they may see with their own eyes the scene of the utility of that money the community has donated to Darul Uloom Deoband.

 

TESTIMONIAL, SANAD (DEGREE) & "TURBAN"

 

The students who, after completing the course of Darul Uloom, obtain success in the annual examinations are awarded Sanads on their graduation. The title of each studied book is necessarily mentioned in the sanad but the book in the examination of which the candidate may have obtained less than 30 marks is not entered in the sanad.

 There are separate Sanads for the class of Persian, the class of cant illation and the department of Tibb. The students, who drop out in the middle, before completing the entire course, are also given testimonial for the books the examination of which they may have passed. The Sanad of ďAílimĒ in given to one who passes the fourth class and that of 

"Fazil" to one who completes the course of the eighth class.

Besides the names of books the examination which the candidate has already taken and passed, his academic and intellectual capacity and good ability are also mentioned in the sanad; and it is also testified that he has studied in Darul Uloom Deoband, is skilled in arts and sciences, and has had the right to teach and issue Fatwas. Over and above this, opinion is also expressed regarding his morals and behavior. The sanad is a printed one, and is adorned with the signatures of the vice-chancellor and the teachers and the seal of Darul Uloom Deoband.

Besides the usual award of a sanad according to the practice of the old institutions, a turban is also wrapped, in a public function and at the hands of their own teachers, around the head of those students who may have achieved distinctive qualifications in arts and sciences. In the Arabic schools the technical term for this turban is "turban of proficiency".

 

THE MUSLIMS' AVOIDANCE OF THE ENGLISH EDUCATION

 

This blame has gained notoriety against the Ulama of India, particularly against the Ulama of Deoband, that, by issuing a Fatwa against the acquirement of the English education, they prevented the Muslims from acquiring it, wherefore the Muslims lagged behind other communities in the field of worldly progress. But this blame is baseless, because the Ulama were against only that curriculum which might lead the Muslims towards atheism and irreligion. This danger was being felt in Aligarh itself. Accordingly, to obviate it, an independent Department of Theology was established there, and when Maulana Muhammad Qasim's son-in-law, Maulana Abdullah Ansari, was invited to head it, Darul Uloom promptly accepted this invitation. Maulana Abdullah Ansari graced this post till the end of his life and after him, his son, Maulana Ahmed Miya Ansari, was appointed on this post. He was also a graduate of Darul Uloom. It is, therefore, obvious that in case of opposition to the English system of education, this thing was not possible.

As regards those students who, after graduating from the Arabic schools, wished to enter government schools, Hazrat Maulana Nanautawi, in his speech delivered in a function of prize-distribution held in 1290/1873, had encouraged such students in the following words:

"If the students of this Madrasa join government schools to acquire the modern sciences, this acquirement would more shore up their accomplishment".

Replying to the objection of certain people as to why modern sciences were not included in the syllabus of Darul Uloom, he said:

"If this thought is a stumbling block that there is no arrangement here at all for the profane sciences, its answer firstly is that there ought to be treatment of the disease. To take medicine for a disease, which is not there, is futile. The crack in the wall should be filled up; it is necessary to fill the kiln. What is it but silliness to be anxious about the brick that has not yet fallen down? What are the government schools for? If the profane sciences are not taught there; what else is done there? Had these schools been less in number than what are required,' then it would not have mattered. But it is common knowledge that through the government's attention, towns and cities apart, schools have been opened even in villages. To make arrangement for the schools of secular sciences in their presence and be negligent towards the religious sciences is not the work of the longsighted wisdom".

In fact our ancestors did not feel any hesitation in adopting the arts and sciences of other nations even at that time when the flag of their greatness and power was flying over half the world. The Muslim in the past had not only adopted the philosophy of Aristotle and Plato and other Greek philosophers but had also become masters of the medical treasures of Hippo crates and Galen. Researches on Euclid and Ptolemy had become an interesting pastime of their lives. The Indian Arithmetic too had been cast in the Arabic mould. In this very way foundations were laid in the Arabic language of a new literature, history, philosophy and knowledge, medicine, arithmetic, astronomy, astrology, chemistry, physics and other arts and sciences, which are a proud wealth of culture and civilization of the world today. The Muslims adopted these sciences in such a way that instead of being felt strange they look Islamic sciences. In the acquirement of arts and sciences Muslims have always been very large-minded. Every student of history knows that the Muslims have not only learnt the arts and sciences of Greece and India' but have also developed and enlarged them.

It is an atrocious misunderstanding in respect of the Ulama; English education was never called impermissible and illegitimate. The Ulama were opposed rather to that culture only which was correl.1ted with the English education and which alone was being considered the singular means of advancement. It will be apposite here to see by pondering over this blame in the light of historical facts that its reality is. Exactly at the time, which coincided with the beginning of the late, Sir Sayyad Ahmed Khan's educational. Movement, a matchless divine of the time, Maulana Abdul Hayy Lakhnavi, who belonged to the old educational center of Hanafite jurisprudence at Farangi Mahal, Lucknow, had issued the following Fatwa regarding the English education:

"To study the English language or learn to write English is prohibited if it be for the sake of resemblance, but if the purpose be this that we may be able to read letters written in English or know the contents of their books, then it matters little. It says in the Mishkat Sharif that the Holy Prophet (Allah's peace and blessings be upon him!) ordered Hazrat Zaid bin Thabit to learn the Jews' script (Hebrew) and he learnt it in a few days".

In Hazrat Maulana Rasheed Ahmed Gangohi's Fatawa, in reply to a query regarding the learning and teaching of the English language, is written:

"It is correct to learn the English language, provided one does not commit a sin and there may be no impairment in religion.

In the early period of the East India Company Hazrat Shah Abdul Aziz Dehelvi's Fatwa too was to the same effect that "to learn the English language is permissible". In short the respected Ulama never opposed the English language in itself at any time. On the contrary, for the earning of livelihood and the acquirement of knowledge and information they explicitly issued a Fatwa of its legitimacy, even as' it is clearly evident from Hazrat Zaid bin Thabit's example in the prophetic era. However that form alone was declared impermissible through which, due to different reasons, the student's belief and faith were affected and which became the means of adopting un-Islamic culture, un-Islamic morals and anti Islamic beliefs.

The reality in fact is this that there were several reasons for the Muslims avoidance of the English language. The foremost reason was this that, on the one hand, there was intense bitter ness in the Muslims hearts against the aggressive English who had deprived them of ruler ship and empire; they (the Muslims) used to look at every thing of the English with aversion. The presence of inimical sentiments in the Muslimís hearts regarding the Englishmen's culture, civilization and sciences was but natural. The Muslims had seen the lamp of the Mughal empire snuffed out before their own eyes; they had seen with their own eyes the spectacle of the royal family writhing in dust and blood; they had seen thousands of Muslims being put to the sword on very ordinary, flimsy suspicions, Thousands of Muslim families had been reduced to utter poverty (lit, were starving for want of even stale bread); and thousands of respectable families were wandering about aimlessly in a state of utter destitution and helplessness. They had seen the plunder and devastation of all those things, which they considered the ultimate product of morality and human culture and without which their life had become prosaic, and their glory' and honor had gone. They could not at all bear to give English education to their young children nor to have anything to do with the English. In that period the grave consequences of the mutiny and its reaction could not be psychologically overlooked. The struggle between Islam and Christianity that had been going on for centuries in' Europe and the Middle East had now, according to their thinking, reached India also. Hence this thing had become indelible in the Muslims' heart and mind that to tolerate Christianity and the Christian state would be detrimental to Islam and the Muslims. So, they decided to completely boycott this new culture and civilization and began to consider everything that was related to the English a portent of danger for Islam and the Muslim. It is evident that this kind of their thinking was a natural reaction of the circumstances, and for which, they should be considered excusable.

On the other hand, the English too considered the Muslims their real political rival. Although in the war of independence of 1857 the individuals of both the Hindu and the Muslim communities had participated and both the communities as per their capacity, had taken part in this war in the eyes of the English the Musalman alone was their real opponent. Hence the English, after gaining control, and considering him to be the real rebel, made him more and more a target of their oppression and grinding tyranny. The policy of depriving Muslims of every high place in the country and easy circumstances was adopted. The idea of the English was to make the Muslims educationally low and useless so that the vision of sovereignty and exaltation might get out of their heads. This wound had been inflicted so deep that it was not going to be healed in a few days.

At the same time the padres in India were not only allowed to preach Christianity but had also had the backing of the officials. The teachers in the schools and colleges used to be largely padres, and lessons of the Bible were compulsory. The Ulama alone were not opposed to this thing but even the commonest Muslim, under such circumstances, was not prepared to send his children to the schools.

Maulana Fazl-e-Haq Khairabadi who had been sentenced for life and transported to Andaman-Nicobar Islands for the guilt of issuing a Fatwa of jihad of 1857, writes:

"The English prepared a scheme to Christianize all the Indian inhabitants. It was their belief that the Indians would not be able to find any helper and cooperator, and therefore save submit and obey, they would not have the nerve to defy them. The English had thoroughly realized that the rulerís variance from the ruled on the basis of religion would be a great stumbling block in the way of domination and possession. Hence they began to indulge in all sorts of wiles and chicanery with complete diligence and assiduity, in their willful attempt to obliterate religion and the sense of nationhood. To teach small children and the ignorant and to inculcate their language and religion, they established schools in towns and villages and made an all out effort to wipe out the old sciences and academic attainments".

Formerly the government used to be an institution, mainly concerned with administration of the country army police revenue and finances.

Most of the walks of life were out of its circle of activity and gamut. The people of the country used to be free in their educational system culture and civilization, morals and social life, as a result of which it was not necessary that with the change of sovereignty change might come in education and culture also. But the frame of the British system of government was different from this; its circle of operation circumscribed the whole life of the country and the nation and its jurisdiction covered all the walks of life. English culture and English education had become correlative and these alone were considered the means of advancement and civility. The Ulama were against this thing only.

In the Muslimís avoidance of the modern education there was indeed some interference of the will and intention of English politics so that the Muslims might not remain able to rule, and secondly, the Muslims themselves for fear of irreligion, hesitated in admitting their children to schools.

These were the causes that obstructed the Muslims' going to schools and colleges. Accordingly, when the padres activities cooled down due to their own continuous failures and the teaching of the Bible was excluded from the school course, and at the same time, as time passed on, the Muslims' aversion against the English and English education gradually naturally subsided in the Muslims' hearts, they began to incline towards English education.

This is the reality of that blame which kept the Muslims away from the English education. In fact aversion to English education was the result of the Muslims' national sense of honor and psychological reaction, and the. Ulama too were included among them. However, the Ulama recognized the spirit of the age and with full insight and foresight never avoided issuing Fatwa for the legitimacy of taking English education.

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