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Radical Islamism and Jihad (28 Feb 2015 NewAgeIslam.Com)

How Madrasas Can Reform their Curriculums to Promote a Broad Worldview in Place of Extremist Thoughts?



By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi, New Age Islam

February 28, 2015


Recent urging of Shaikh of Al-Azhar, Ahmad Al-Tayib for reform in the Islamic education to contain the spread of religious extremism came as a welcome sign of introspection. Significantly this admission of a link between Islamic education and terrorism and the suggestion for change in madrasas curriculum was made in Saudi Arabia, a country that is the source of madrasa text books inspired by its Wahhabi-Salafi ideology that indoctrinate pupils into hate, intolerance and xenophobia. More significantly, it was made at a counter-terrorism conference at Mecca.


This should have stimulated a critical, candid and healthy debate on the curriculums of Islamic studies in madrasas as well as other seminaries and centres of Islamic education. But it seems we Muslims will continue to live in denial. What we need is to critically examine the theoretical frameworks and methodological approaches employed in the study of Islam as a faith, culture, civilization and history in all seats of learning, both of religious and secular nature. Keeping this objective in view, we should objectively and critically debate the text books of theology literature taught in the madrasas. Of course, we also need to critically examine, analyze and overhaul the systems and curriculums adopted in the departments of Islamic studies in secular colleges and universities.


As a pressing need of the time, all references to extremism, exclusivism, supremacism and violent jihadism must be removed from madrasa curricula and replaced by universal messages of Islam fostering global peace, religious harmony and brotherhood of mankind. But more important is the question as to how should we go about re-educating the clerics who control most of our madrasas and are vehemently opposed to any paradigm shift or radical reform in their systems ad curriculums. 


After an objective study and rigorous analysis of the mainstream Madrasa curriculum known as Dars-e-Nizami, the conclusion is that Indian madrasas need to be worked upon in the following areas of study in respective subjects which are now included in most Madrasas’ curricula:

Qur’anic Sciences:


In this subject, madrasa students must be given well-reasoned explanation of the so-called militant verses of the Quran, particularly the 24 verses related to jihad or defensive wars fought during the Prophet’s lifetime (Aayat al-Jihad). Students should also be convinced and taught rational arguments and responses to the doubts raised by the orientalists, Islamophobes and western writers about the contents of Quran held objectionable in their views.


However, there must be critical study of all the Qur’anic exegesis (Tafsir) and the classical Arabic Tafsirs (Tabari, Zamakhshari, Razi, Ibn Kathir, Baidhawi and Jalalain) which are essential part of the traditional Islamic education curriculum. They should be analysed and critically examined in view of the present situations. Special focus must be given on the Indian Ulema’s Tafsir literature in Urdu which play pivotal role in shaping the Indian Muslims’ doctrines and theological worldviews. They are, to name a few, Bayan Ul Quran by Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi, Tafheemul Quran by Syed Abul Ala Maududi, Tadabur-e-Quran By Maulana Amin Ahsan Islahi, Tafsir‑al‑Qur'an Wahu‑wa‑al‑huda wal‑furqan by Syed Ahmed Khan, Tarjuman ul Qur'an by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad etc. It is alarming to note that some Salafi Madrasas in India have incorporated chapters from the foreign radical Quran exegeses such as “Fi Zilal al Qur'an (In the shade of the Qur’an) by Sayid Qutub. It does not augur well for the future generations of Indian madrasa graduates.


Moreover, issues related to Fiqh or Islamic jurisprudence must be in sync with the Quran and should be taught in consonance with the present requirements and changes of the time. An introduction to Modern studies on Qur’anic sciences will help madrasa students to understand different and harmonious dimensions of the universal Qur’anic messages.


Hadith Literature (Prophetic traditions):


An objective, open-minded and critical study of orientalist writings on Hadith and Sirah literature must be carried out in madrasas with an aim to provide the students with clear-cut answers to the questions on hotly debated Hadith contents. The rules of co-relating contradictory or paradoxical Hadith texts and preferring one Hadith over the other should be taught to them so they may have clear viewpoints regarding acceptance and rejection of particular Hadith texts. Assessment of Hadith should always be in a wider and critical perspective in the light of the principles of checking and scrutinising the authenticity of Hadith texts, which are taught in the classical Islamic science of Hadith criticism known as Riwayat and Dirayat. Madrasa students should be taught the rules of hadith criticism in a way that they can rationally address the doubts raised by orinetalists as well as Muslim critical scholars against particular Hadith contents.


Islamic Jurisprudence (Fiqh)

Madrasas students should be provided with comprehensive study of the background which led to the evaluation of different schools of thought. The philosophy of Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) can only be rationally understood by conducting a detailed and critical study of the four schools of thought (Hanafi, Maliki, Sahfa’i and Hanbali). A study of the verses of the Quran which are related to modern jurisprudential (fiqhi) issues must be held in a broader and logical perspective.



Ilm-e- Kalam (Muslim Philosophy)


Use of reason along with revelation should be the prominent feature of Islamic theology propounded in the madrasa curriculums. We should try to comprehend and interpret religious doctrines on rational grounds. In the 21st century, we must put our emphasis on reason along with divine texts. We doo need a rational movement in the theological domain of the Madrasa curricula. Brushing aside theological polemics grounded in the outdated philosophy (qadim ilme-e-kalam), Madrasas students desperately need to be anchored in the Modern Philosophy (jaded ilm-e-kalam) which is taught in many mainstream universities. It will greatly help them in theological discussions and debates on basic principles, doctrines and roots of Islam. The following themes of the subject can be incorporated in the curriculum:


·         Origin and development of Qadeem Ilm-e-Kalam with particular reference to Ilm-e- Kalam in India.


·         Modern Philosophy which is taught in mainstream universities and is popularly known in madrasa circles as jadeed ilm-e-kalam


·         Basic issues and problems discussed under Ilm-e-Kalam.


·         Dissent in Islam: Theological, Ideological, Political, Religious and Social causes.


·         The Emergence of Mutazilitie, Asharites, Maturidites Qadrites, Jabrites, Murjites.


·         The ideologies of modern Kharjites and other extremist cults in the Muslims world; their theological refutation and rational retort to them.


Comparative Religions


Madrasa students must be introduced to all world religions like Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and modern religious currents and spectrums. They should also be made aware of modern approaches to study religions as well as different and myriad interpretations of religion. A comparative study of major religions and their holy scriptures will broaden their worldview and mental horizons. A study of reform movements in Islam and other religions will help them develop scientific and progressive temperament for Islamic reformation.


Islamic Finance


In view of the wider acceptance of the Islamic banking systems, madrasa students should also be taught the theories and concepts of Islamic finance. They should be enlightened on the functionalities of Islamic financial institutions. It is deeply felt that the importance of this subject in Madrasas will increase when the governments will allow their banks to start Islamic banking system. If madrasa students are taught the Islamic principles of investment and their application in the present financial market, they will avail job opportunities available in the market. Thus, they will come out of their narrowed zone of shackled thinking.


Besides the radical change and paradigm shift in the existing madrasa curriculum, modern and mainstream sciences and all lawful academic pursuits should be given good space in the curriculum. At least essential secular subjects such as history, geography, sociology, economics, physics and political science and administration must be taught to the madrasa students to broaden their worldview.  It would be wonderful if Madrasa students are also anchored in the soft behavioural skills to groom and upgrade their personality.


Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi is a classical Islamic scholar. He has graduated from a leading Islamic seminary of India, Jamia Amjadia Rizvia (Mau, U.P.), acquired Diploma in Qur'anic Arabic from Al-Jamiat ul Islamia, Faizabad, U.P., and Certificate in Uloom ul Hadith from Al-Azhar Institute of Islamic Studies, Badaun, U.P. He has also graduated in Arabic (Hons) and is pursuing his M. A. in Comparative Religion from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi.

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/radical-islamism-and-jihad/ghulam-rasool-dehlvi,-new-age-islam/how-madrasas-can-reform-their-curriculums-to-promote-a-broad-worldview-in-place-of-extremist-thoughts?/d/101760



  • ڈاکٹر ابراہیم موسیٰ نے اپنے انٹرویو میں مدارس کے نظام کی خامیوں اور کمزوریوں پر بھی بھرپور گفتگو کی جن پر ہمارے ہاں بھی عموماً‌ گفتگو ہوتی رہتی ہے، تاہم اس نظام کے مثبت اور کارآمد پہلووں کے حوالے سے بھی انھوں نے بہت اہم باتیں کہی ہیں جو بے حد قابل غور ہیں:

    1- پاک وہند اور بنگلہ دیش کے نظام مدارس کی ایک بڑی خوبی یہ ہے کہ یہاں اسلامی روایت کے کلاسیکی متون پڑھائے جاتے ہیں، جبکہ عرب ممالک کے نظام میں اعلیٰ سطح تک پہنچنے کے بعد ہی طلبہ کو ایسے متون پڑھنے کا موقع ملتا ہے۔

    2- یہ نقطہ نظر کہ اسلام کی تشریح صرف قرآن وسنت سے کرنی چاہیے اور اس میں  اسلامی تاریخ کی بڑی شخصیات کے کام کو نظر انداز کر دینا چاہیے، دراصل یہی ’’بنیاد پرستی’’ ہے جسے ایسے ذہن قبول کرتے ہیں جو تاریخ اور روایت سے سیکھنے اور ان کی پیچیدگیوں سے نبرد آزما ہونے کے علمی وفکری وسائل سے محروم ہوتے ہیں۔

    3- برصغیر کے مدارس اگر چند چیزوں کی اصلاح کر لیں تو مذہبی حلقہ ہائے فکر کے تنوع کے لحاظ سے وہ مسلکی ومذہبی رواداری اور بقائے باہم کے حوالے سے باقی عالم اسلام کے لیے ایک نمونہ پیش کر سکتے ہیں۔ اس کے لیے مدارس کو مسلکی ومذہبی بحثوں کے ساتھ ساتھ طلبہ کو اپنی تراث کے ایسے ادب سے بھی متعارف کرانا چاہیے جو انسانیت دوستی پر مبنی ہے اور جس سے ہم سیکھ سکتے ہیں کہ انسانیت، شیعہ، سنی، بریلوی، اہل حدیث اور دیوبندی کی تقسیم سے بہت بالاتر چیز ہے۔

    4- دینی تعلیم کے نظام کو سرکاری کنٹرول میں دے دینا مسئلے کا حل نہیں۔ سرکاری انتظام میں دینی تعلیم کا سسٹم رکھنے والے معاشروں میں بھی فرقہ واریت کا مسئلہ موجود ہے۔ جو معاشرے تعلیم کے نظام کو حکومت کے سپرد کرنے کے بجائے خود اس کی ذمہ داری اٹھاتے ہیں، وہ زیادہ بہتر اور مثبت نتائج دے سکتے ہیں۔

    5- دہشت گردی میں دینی مدارس کے بنیادی کردار کا الزام بالکل غلط ہے۔ نائن الیون کے واقعے کے بعد امریکی حملے کے رد عمل میں جیسے پوری سوسائٹی میں مزاحمتی قوتوں کے ساتھ ہمدردی پیدا ہوئی، اسی طرح اہل مدارس میں بھی ہوئی، لیکن پھر عسکری گروہوں کے انداز فکر اور کارروائیوں کو دیکھتے ہوئے مدارس نے خود کو اس فکر سے الگ کر لیا۔

    Jirga - 25-February-2018: https://youtu.be/oT-sFWaEIQM
    [2/26, 5:13 
    برصغیر کے دینی مدارس پر ڈاکٹر ابراہیم موسی کا جرگہ کے لیے خصوصی انٹرویو

    By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi - 2/26/2018 5:06:12 AM

  • Dear Tirath Raj Maudgil ji,

    Thanks so much indeed for your taking great interest in reading my articles on NAI. We would eagerly want you to be a frequent reader and commentator on our articles and comments. As for the practice of the salutation to the Prophet (pbuh) after his name, I find most of the NAI articles containing this in the short form of pbuh (peace be upon him) in place of saw (Sallalaho alahi wa sallam). This, I think, is done with intent to make the salutation easy to understand for non-Muslims or non-Arabic speaking Muslims, not only on NAI but also in many other Islamic forums and magazines. 

    Thanks again, Please be with us in our open-minded, objective and brainstorming discussions on NAI forum.

    By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi - 3/16/2015 6:13:30 AM

  • A comment by a learned Hindu friend:

    Dear Ghulam Rasool Saheb,

    It is indeed a honer for me to associate my self with you and to read the articles from a learned and straight minded person like you. 

    I had seen in you, a writer and an Alim , follower of the true principles of this great religion Islam. I had some thoughts which I wanted to put into action and was as such searching for like minded persons who would be knowledgeable and could correct/guide me. 

    Believe me, it was only after reading the articles, you sent me, that I became aware of the New Age Islam Foundation and realised that I am on the right track.

    At the out-set let me be very clear about myself. I am a deeply religious person and a hindu by faith. All my life I have followed the principal of respect for all religions and wish to take/understand  all the good preachings and also put them to practice in my life, whatever little is left of it. 

    I have some good thoughts, I wish to put into action and feel that you & your friends can show me the right way. The least you could do is hear me out. 

    I wish to point out that, when I visited the web site of the New Age Islam Foundation, I found that they do not, strictly follow the practice of the salutation to the Prophet after his name (Sallalaho alahi wa sallam). At least the short form of SAW could/should have been expressed. May be I have a lot to learn.

    Comment by Tirath Raj Maudgil

    Posted by Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi

    By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi - 3/16/2015 5:43:40 AM

  • Yes, that is how we have to bring revolution in youth mind and this is the time we have to work against this extreme ideology about Islam.

    Commet by Peer Zada Syed Muhib
    Posted by Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi

    By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi - 3/2/2015 6:28:47 AM

  • To: All Respected Muslim Readers @ New Age Islam Forum


    Read a published write-up re: biggest fraud in the name of "Islamic Mortgage" by a Mortgage mafia with the collaboration of so called religious scholar.   See attachments as well and think how common Muslims are fooled by commercial mullahs and mafias in the name of "Islamic finance/banking/mortgage" and "halal products".



    Welcome to the Islamic-Sharia version of “Highway Robbery, my fellow Muslims.


    Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia    

    By Mohammed Rafiq Lodhia - 3/2/2015 1:01:45 AM

  • A comment on this article by one of my learned friends:

    Dear Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi saheb,

    It should be so. But this is not perceived as that by most people in the world. Where ever the Muslims are a minority, may it be China, Thailand, philppines, Vietnam, Shri lanka, Burma, to name a few, they are clamoring for separate countries. Quite often these demands are accompanied by violent demonstrations. May be, it is the act of a few but it is indirectly supported by other,s silence. The saner elements  are continuously haunted by radicals to the extent that they have to be protected by their own or adopted national governments. 

    The recent advent of Islamic State has added fuel to the fire. It is showing a very cruel face of Islam. However there is very little noise from other Islamic countries against such cruel acts.

    Comment by Dr G L Moondra

    Posted by Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi

    By Ghulam Rasool Dehlvi - 3/2/2015 12:45:21 AM

  • MR GRD
    What is Islamic Banking? Why do you need a parallel Islamic banking? Is it not like having parelle Islamic Law(Shariat)?
    why you are not happy with current financial system practiced by all?
    Same thing if said by others is narrow mindedness and if you say it is not.

    By rational mohammed yunus - 3/1/2015 10:43:45 PM

  • This is a very sensible summation of what a reformed madrasa curriculum should be. A graduating student must be fully knowledgeable about Quran's abhorrence of violence, war,  coercion and disrespect for the beliefs of others, and he/she must fully understand Islam's emphasis on righteousness, justice, compassion, community service and commonsense approaches to problems. A graduating student must be able to elaborate on the concepts of gender equality, equal rights and protections for religious and sectarian minorities, and brotherhood of mankind.
    By Ghulam Mohiyuddin - 2/28/2015 12:57:18 PM

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