Indian Muslims, then and now...

By: Umar Shariff

1. Indian Muslims Today
Today the Muslims in India are known for being businessmen, vendors, mechanics etc etc.... But at the same time, it is an alarming fact that the majority of the Muslims don't go to schools at all. Even if they go to schools, they don't pass their 10th standard too. These are the observations of the Sachar Commission report.

2. In the past, in the times of the British rule, a Muslim passing from a Madrasa used to get government jobs in India. Isn't that amazing! What was the reasons for recruiting Muslims from Madrasas? Madrasas were places to learn knowledge. Qur'an and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam was taught to them . The people passing out from these institutions were having immense knowledge in history, morals and worldly knowledge too. In fact, when we look into the history of the well known Metropolitan city in India, Madras, we come to know that it is believed to have originated from the older name Madarasapattinam, which means The City of Madarasa. It was believed to have got the name, for having had Madarasas there. The britishers shortened the name Madarasapattinam to Madras.

3. Muslims during the British rule, issued a fatwa to not learn the language of the British, the English language, as an expression of their love for their country India; and an expression of their hate towards the colonial occupants. The impact of that fatwa is seen amongst the people even today. Many Muslims hate the English language. They hate things that origin from the British soil. Now that's another extreme. Whenever we go to extremes, we would have to face the disturbances in the society.

4. Islam encourages mankind to gain knowledge. Most of us know that Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him was an unlettered person, before he was deputed as a Prophet, by the all mighty Allah. When Prophet was alone meditating in the mountain, an angel appeared to him and read the verses of Qur'an, the revelation from God all mighty. The first word of the verse was "IQRA", which means "READ". Allah's first message to mankind, in the last revelation was encouraging mankind to read and gain knowledge.
Ever since the Qur'an was revealed to the people of Arabia, it transformed them from the nomadic bedouins to a community of liberated minds. Great thinkers, historians, rulers, scientists arose from amongst them. Spain was ruled for 800 years by Muslims. India witnessed the Muslims rule parts of India for 800 years. Their contribution in country's administration with well constituted system, paved way for peace and tranquility to the people of all faiths.

5. Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu 'alaihi wasallam used to read this supplication after every fajr prayer in the morning. He would say ALLAAHUMMA INNI AS-ALUKA 'ILMAN NAAFI'AA, which means, O ALLAH, give me the knowledge that is beneficial. That's a very important thing to ponder over. There are many kinds of knowledge in the world, which can be broadly classified into two kinds, i.e Constructive knowledge and Destructive knowledge. If one wants to learn atomic energy to use it to produce electricity, then that's a beneficial knowledge. If one wants to learn atomic energy to drop bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, then that's the destructive and evil thing to do. Hence we must always have a right goal to achieve with the knowledge that we gain. Knowledge must be gained to please the Lord of the Universe. And God will be pleased with us, when we use the knowledge for peaceful life in the world. I pray to God that HE guides us all to peace and serenity in this world and the hereafter.

Knowledge without action, is like a car without tyres:-)

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