About the Book
This book is an outcome of a national conference organized in February 2010, by Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy. Maulana Azad National Urdu University. Hyderabad. The book is an attempt to examine the backwardness among Muslims in India. Each paper examines it in the context of its region. Muslims' educational backwardness must be understood in the context of regional variations with a temporal dimension. The book examines various dimensions of exclusion among Muslims viz. awareness levels, non-formal education, employment, etc. It further focuses on educational exclusion of Muslim women. Finally, it discusses various inclusionary measures for Muslims of India including advocacy for reservation for Muslims in the light of various committee and commission reports.
Prof. Abdul Matin is the Chief Editor of the Journal of Exclusion Studies. He has published several books including Social Change and Planning (New Delhi: Pearson, 2011). At present he is the Chairman, Department of Sociology and Social Work, Aligarh Muslim University, Aligarh. He has served as Director cum Professor at the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad during 2009-2010. Prof. Matin is the Co-coordinator of the Polio Eradication Programme: The Underserved Strategy: Social Mobilization Component since 1010, which is funded by the UNICEF. He is the Project Director of the S-CCSP-SS, Aligarh District funded by the UNICEF. He is a member, Advisory Board of Young Lives (NGO) during the period 2010 - 2013.
Dr. Farida Siddiqui is an Associate Professor-cum-Deputy Director at the CSSEIP, MANUU, Hyderabad.
K M Ziyauddin, a trained social anthropologist is presently associated with Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad as Assistant Professor-cum-Asst. Director.
Akumarthi Nageswara Rao is an Assistant Professor-cum-Assistant Director at the CSSEIP, MANUU, Hyderabad.
Dr. Masood Ali Khan is a Research Associate at the CSSEIP, MANUU, Hyderabad. Dr. Khan is currently working as Research Associate; prior to joining the Centre, he had worked as Acting Director, Southern Regional Centre - ICSSR, Osmania University, Hyderabad.
Dr. P.H. Mohammad is an Associate Professor -cum-Deputy Director at the CSSEIP, MANUU, Hyderabad.
Dr. S. Abdul Thaha is an Assistant Professor- cum-Assistant Director at the CSSEIP, MANUU, Hyderabad.
The problem of Muslim educational backwardness in India must be discussed in the context of its temporal and spatial dimensions. The temporal dimension of the problem must be traced to the British conquest of India and also weakening of Ijtihad among Muslims. This conquest was not a single simultaneous event but took place in stages. Thus the changes in education introduced by the British were uneven in impact. These changes took place first in those regions that were drawn into the ambit of British rule first. The British conquest of India took place by sea from the West, South and east so that the maritime regions of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta were the first to experience change. The Muslim conquest of India took place by land from the north and so the regions where they were established as ruling elite at Lahore, Delhi and Lucknow were the last to be affected by the changes introduced by British. Since these changes in education affected the regions dominated by the Muslims last, the Muslims of this region lagged behind the other communities in education as a consequence of British rule.
Ijtihad, which means, the modern interpretation/re- reading of Shari' ah in the light of Qur'an and Sunnah to suit the requirements of time and space IS an accepted concept in Islam and one cannot deny its legitimacy. There is no need for Ijtihad as far as basic beliefs and Ibadats (Prayers) are concerned. But in other matters of changed life styles Ijtihad is a great necessity. It is particularly important in relation to the status of women, relations between different Muslim Sects, relations between Muslims and non-Muslims, the role of Muslims in non-Muslim societies, and Islamic economic theories. Unfortunately in recent past, restrictions on the practice' of Ijtihad were imposed both by religious establishments with vested interest and by repressive governments in Muslim countries opposed to democracy and freedom of inquiry. It has to be understood that freedom of expression is essential to the practice of Ijtihad through which reconciliation of Islam and modernity as well as reform of educational system can be successfully accomplished. Many scholars from different disciplines have expressed the opinion that the loss of Ijtihad has been a central reason for the intellectual conservatism and stagnation in Muslim societies and, therefore, Ijtihad is a prerequisite for the survival of Islamic Civilization in a modem world. Shah Waliullah has emphasized the need for Ijtihad in order to provide economic and social justice to Muslims at large. Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, (1817-1898) has criticized Taqlid (thoughtless imitation) and has advocated for Ijtihad. According to him Muslims could not progress without acquiring knowledge of modem sciences and technology. He asserted the simple truth that knowledge is not the exclusive preserve of any nation; it belongs to the whole mankind. He maintained a valiant posture and succeeded in realizing the intellectual energy of Muslims and recommended education of science to feel the need of Ijtihad. Allama Iqbal has considered AI-Ijtihad as "the principle of movement in the structure of Islam". He had desired to reconstruct Islamic law or Shari' ah according to the needs and requirements of modem times. Only religious obligations or Ibaadat were beyond the law of change since they constituted the rights of God. But mundane or worldly matters (muamalaat) relate to the rights of the people and are subject to change and modification. Tahir Mahmood has pointed out that ancient juristic wisdom has to be changed through Ijtihad to meet the contemporary demands. Asghar Ali Engineer is of the view that Islam came into existence in a changing society. Therefore, it has emphasized the need for dynamism and the principle of ljtihad. Thus, the door of Ijtihad (re-interpretation) should be kept open as permitted by the Qur'an and Sunnah. Restrictions and opposition of Ijtihad are practiced by vested interest of religious establishments and by repressive governments in Muslim countries. Democracy and freedom of inquiry and expression are essential to the practice of Ijtihad and to the successful reconciliation of Islam and modernity. Reform of Muslim educational systems is also desirable. Dars-e-Nizami was an initiative in pursuit of Ijtihad for education in modem times. However, lack of sustained efforts in this direction especially after the British conquest of India may be attributed as a major cause of Muslim educational backwardness. Another reason for Muslim educational backwardness could be the regional variations in their positions.
The Muslims of India were not a single, homogenous and monolithic community but differed in their social position in various regions. The spatial dimension of the problem of Muslim educational backwardness must be traced to the position of the Muslim community in the various regions of India. The changes in education introduced by the British rule affected only those communities which were in an advantageous position in the various regions. The Muslims in the maritime regions of Bombay, Madras and Calcutta were at a disadvantageous position compared to other communities so they were not affected by changes introduced by the British. The Muslims in these regions occupy a position which was not considered high and were in occupation such as agriculture and trade. The Muslims in north India particularly in towns such as Delhi, Lahore and Lucknow belonged to higher social echelon because these regions were the centre of Muslim power and culture in medieval times. It also attracted over centuries, elite administrators, scholars and landlords who settled down in the urban areas. The Muslims of North India were more prosperous, urban and better educated than Muslims in other regions.
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