One of the major reasons responsible for the debacle of Muslims in India is callous indifference towards education. Modern education has been completely neglected by the charitable organizations and a mere handful of Muslim institution of higher learning thrived under voices of dissidence. People were opposed to the western education labeling it as a threat to the Islamic principles. And the irony is that a huge majority of Muslim professionals today have justified their claim!
There appeared to be a wide gulf between modern education and traditional Islamic education. Which one to prefer as modern education guarantees a better standard of living in this world and Islamic education an assured place in Jannah (provided all the requirements are met with regard to intention).The solution of this perceived conundrum could be debated for years without a conclusion. As a matter of fact I think the solution is more prosaic than you think it to be. Both duniya and akhiraat are important.
Madarsas refused to include science and arts in their curriculum which resulted in frustration on the part of graduates because their education could only get them meager salaries. And as Mufti Shakeel Ahmed Sitapuri in an interview states, Ã¢â‚¬Å“poverty can lead to disbelief and wellness instills self-esteemÃ¢â‚¬?. He further goes on to say, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Worldly knowledge then he would have stronger character. It has often been observed that people return to religion after achieving worldly things, when they see other followers defending and preaching their own religion. So even through worldly gains, one can return to religionÃ¢â‚¬?.
Those who did manage to get themselves educated fell short of returning of returning something back. We should realize the importance of giving something back to the community. There are certain things which are incumbent upon you as an individual Muslim and then there are certain things as a part of the Ummah. We pray five times a day, fast, go to hajj and pay zakaat. Now these pillars of Islam have dual aspects, one for us and the other for the Ummah (the community). Now we can pray in solitude but the reward of praying it in a congregation far outweighs than that prayed alone, see the Ummah is involved here. Similarly the skills that we imbibe as a professional helps us to earn. Now thatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s for individual sake, nothing for the Ummah!
We are an economically backward community in India and it irked me when few plotted to extract political mileage out of it by offering Muslims reservations in government jobs. Well the only step Muslims took to improve their financial position is by rendering their unskilled labor to the sheikhs of gulf. People go only to never return back. For them India offers them hindrance to their progress (the vast Hindu majority) and so itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lucrative for them to work abroad and send zakat to their poor Indian Muslim brothers and sisters! No doubt most of the Muslim organizations in India are fuelled by petro dollars. How many Muslims are on the business scene in India? How many are so called entrepreneurs? Intellectually what do we contribute to the country? How many pious Muslims are in politics? (I just remember few in the parliament like the MP from Meerut) and when someone talks about Muslims playing a major role in politics they say itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a dirty game (and all dirty Muslims play this game) they say you need to do lot of things which are not in conformity with religion so stay away. Be abundantly clear about this that until and unless we occupy important positions in the government we cannot change the plight of Muslims.
I had the opportunity to visit Hyderabad last November, at the invitation of a friend of mine. As we were walking together we happen to pass by the area of Mehdipatnam and he exclaimed, “All these houses are adorned with Saudi money. Their children get the best of education and then they fly to Saudi or US to settle”. So you see the only responsibility they take on their shoulders is to send zakat back home. And the less privileged (or I should say unlucky) Muslims back home strive to make their ends meet and dream to be in Saudi one day. So this whole aspect of Muslims going abroad is not just brain drain but a mass drain! And all these give opportunity to others to malign the Muslim community (you might remember the famous statement of VHP during the riots ” tumhare liye to 53 desh hai, hamare to sirf eek hi hai”) what did the OIC do when Muslims were being butchered in Gujarat? They could have done something on papers but no visible outcome. They just don’t have the authority. And it again comes back to Ummah’s backwardness in technology.
We need to show our proficiencies in both the fields of knowledge but not at the negligence of one. It’s really unfortunate that people are not able to balance these two important aspects of life and often end up on the extreme side of either of them. Muslims were always the frontrunners when it came to science. All the great Ulemas of Islam were also a professional in various fields. Sadly the glorious past of Muslims has never been highlighted. Proficiency in worldly art considered a taboo in various schools of thoughts has further degraded the quality of education among Muslims; the credit goes to our uneducated Ulemas who out of their ignorance brought this society from its acme of success to abyss of ignorance.