The Value of Traditional Islamic Seminaries
Hadhrat Mufti Muhammad Taqi Uthmani (db) has written regarding his journey to Baghdad:
“Baghdad is that city which for centuries had been at the center of the Islamic world. The mere sight of this city reminds one of the glorious days of the Abbasi khilafat. Upon reaching Baghdad I enquired whether there were any Madaris (seminaries) present in which Islamic knowledge is imparted in accordance with the ways of the pious predecessors. I was informed that all such Madaris had now been converted into schools and universities. Now, the knowledge of Deen can only be attained from university faculties, such places wherein Islam is taught as mere theory, similar to ancient philosophy. Islam can neither be seen in the lives of the students nor in the Ustadhs (teachers). Forget bring religious scholars, on seeing their appearance, one wonders if they are even Muslim.
“This is just like how orientalists study Islam today, in the universities of America, Canada, and Europe. If you read their books and articles you will come across the names of such books that many of our Ulama have never even heard about. It seems as if deep tahqiq (research) is being made. But [sadly], in spite of swimming in the ocean of Islamic knowledge from morning till evening, they return dry as bone. No effect of what they rigorously study can be seen in their lives. The soul of this knowledge has been destroyed. “
Mufti Taqi Uthmani thereafter asked if they could at least direct him to an Aalim (scholar) of the old school of thought, so that he could present himself at his service. He was directed to a Masjid close to the tomb of Shaykh `Abd al-Qadir al-Jilani (ra), in which was a Maktab. Here he met an old pious-looking man. Mufti Taqi Uthmani described his meeting with him in the following words:
“On seeing him, I felt as if I was in the presence of a pious Allah-fearing Aalim. He was sitting on a straw mat, dressed in coarse clothing, and eating dry bread. The light of the Shari`ah could be discerned on his forehead.
“After making salaam, he enquired regarding my name and the place from which I had come. He also asked about the condition of the Madaris of our country, their syllabus, and the manner in which the kitabs (books) are taught. Tears flowed from his eyes as I mentioned the names of the kitabs found in the Dars-e-Nizami syllabus [the syllabus used by Islamic seminaries across the Indian subcontinent].
He asked, “Are these kitabs still being taught!?”
“I replied in the affirmative. He then explained, ‘Today, we have been deprived of even hearing the names of these kitabs. These kitabs create Allah-conscious men, they create true Muslims. In our country these books are no longer taught. I beg you to convey this message of mine to the Ulama and the masses of your country, that for the sake of Allah subhana wa ta`ala, they should bear everything but should never allow the destruction of such Madaris wherein these kitabs are taught!’ ”
The enemies of Islam are fully conscious of the fact that as long as these simple Maulanas, sitting on straw mats, are present in society, they cannot remove Iman (faith) from the hearts of the Muslims. Therefore the enemies of Islam are making all out effort to remove these Madaris.
Extracted from Ulema of Deoband by Madrasa Arabia Islamia (Azaadville, South Africa)