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Ijtihad, Rethinking Islam ( 20 Dec 2011, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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Intellectual Ambivalence of Educated Indian Muslims: the RTE versus the Ridiculous Fatwas



By Muhammad Yunus, New Age Islam

Co-author (Jointly with Ashfaque Ullah Syed), Essential Message of Islam, Amana Publications, USA, 2009

21 December, 2011

A cursory scan of this day’s news bulletin on this website will show three focused English articles advocating the extension of RTE (Right to Compulsory Education) into the madrasas and one listing a set of preposterous fatwa. In terms of significance those on extension of RTE are paramount in that they advocate a way forward out of the Jahiliya that now stalks the Muslims while the one on fatwa is the reflection of this Jahiliya. Now look how these articles have stimulated the intellect of the educated Indian Muslims. The Articles are:

1)      The Opponents of the Right to Universal Education (RTE) to the Muslims are the enemies of Indian Muslims – Muhammad Yunus   

2)      Defending the Right to Education of Muslim Children - Neloofer Qureshi

3)      Madrasas and India's Right to Education Act: A TIMES Debate - Prabhat Banerjee

4)      Did an Islamic cleric ban women from touching bananas and cucumbers? True or false - Asra Q. Nomani

Responses: Altogether 6 Muslim readers including this writer commented on the first three articles and twice as many on the 4th.   

This purports to show that the educated Indian Muslims are good in deriding the maverick muftis and entertaining themselves at the perversion of their faith, but have no interest in bringing about a reform in the madrasas curriculum, the theological predominance and medieval moorings of which conduces to produce the category of people, who issue preposterous fatwas. 

If the educated Muslims remain a silent witness to the exclusion of RTE to the madrasas as per popular demand, they or their posterity will have to pay a very heavy price. The mainstream Hindu community in India is going through a series of major reforms – many in line with the Qur’anic message – notably eradication of caste system, women’s right to inheritance, a widow’s right to remarry and so on. The Indian Muslims on the other hand are opposing reforms – much in the way their ancestors did in British India that led to their self imposed exodus from India, created inter-faith hatred and the culture of riots. If the Muslims fail to keep pace with the progressive strides of the mainstream Hindu community, they will end up as the pariahs and the underdogs of Indian society and bear the wrath of those who want India to shine, and the educated Muslims will alone bear the responsibility for this self imposed doom. With this the writer requests the New Age Islam to mount a campaign to support RTE extension into madrasas. 

Muhammad Yunus, a Chemical Engineering graduate from Indian Institute of Technology, and a retired corporate executive has been engaged in an in-depth study of the Qur’an since early 90’s, focusing on its core message. He has co-authored the referred exegetic work, which received the approval of al-Azhar al-Sharif, Cairo in 2002, and following restructuring and refinement was endorsed and authenticated by Dr. Khaled Abou El Fadl of UCLA, and published by Amana Publications, Maryland, USA, 2009.