Muslim parents are aware that a purely religious education will not help their children earn a decent living, because of outdated methods and concepts that lead to a negative outlook towards modern subjects
Madrasa is an Arabic word which means an educational institution. Madrasa education is working on an old traditional pattern. There is no emphasis on any scientific or research work. Madrasas are the nucleus of the cultural and educational life of the Muslims. Mostly the poor segments of Muslim community are resigned to sending their children to madrasas. Sometimes it offers them free education, boarding, etc, but the students remain far from modern education. They don’t even know the challenges they will face after completing their madrasa education. It has been observed that they don’t have reasoning, constructive or an analytical bent of mind. Also, it has been found that their minds are blank because they don’t have the right to ask what, how and why. Madrasa students don’t have even basic knowledge of science, mathematics, social science, computers, English, etc.
Madrasas should aim at the liberalisation of ideas, broad humanism, a scientific worldview and pragmatic approach to politics. Their approach should be modern and rational. They should advocate a modern, scientific and rational interpretation of the Quranic verses. Even they should stress on ‘Ijtihad’.
If the students have at least the basic knowledge of modern concepts like liberty, equality, justice, democracy, secularism, socialism, etc, it will imbibe in the young generation a way of understanding political beliefs and a clearer understanding of the modern world. It will also develop analytical thinking and evaluative skills in relation to political discourses. Students should be given a chance to study the socio-economic and political life of people, so that they will well acquainted with political values, rights and responsibilities. If they know their rights they can’t be deceived or easily fooled by anyone.
Scientific education helps generate solutions for problems of the present era and helps to answer the great mysteries of the world. It enables new ways of thinking. Besides, science is one of the most important channels of knowledge about the natural world.
Most of the madrasas are averse to the introduction of modern secular education. However, some of the madrasas have introduced modern education complemented with religious education. The Muslim communities are continuously demanding more quality education from their madrasas, but most of the madrasas are privately owned and their owners may not feel the need to respond to community expectations.
Although Muslim parents are attracted to the safe environment of these schools, they are aware that a purely religious education will not help their children earn a decent living, because of outdated methods and concepts that lead to a negative outlook towards modern subjects, and also due to lack of innovations, experiments and researches. Therefore, research projects should be undertaken on various aspects of madrasa education. Scholars associated with madrasas, jamias as well as with modern universities should be encouraged to work meaningfully in the field of madarsa education. If modern education is introduced in madrasas, it will certainly help empower them to participate as equal partners in society. Such research will point out the shortcomings of the madrasa education system and suggest measures to improve the quality of madrasa education for overall development of the nation in general and of the Muslim community in particular.
The writer is a BA student at MANUU