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19 July 2011

Students learn science and computers at Azamgarh madrassa

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By Abu Zafar

Azamgarh (Uttar Pradesh): Re-inventing itself to keep pace with the times, a century-old Islamic seminary in Azamgarh district not only has a broadbased curriculum with science and computers but also a polytechnic to equip its students with vocational skills.

Established in 1908 at Saraimir town in Azamgarh, Madrasatul Islah is one of the oldest Islamic religious schools in the region.

Apart from the Quran, the madrassa also imparts knowledge in English, science, mathematics, political science, economics, Hindi and computers.

About 1,000 students from Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra study here. Several alumni are doing research in various universities in India and abroad.

Fakhrul Islam Islahi, vice rector of Islah, says that modern education is not incompatible with Islam.

"Science and mathematics are helpful to understand Islam and obey its commandments. It is difficult to solve inheritance questions and disputes without knowing mathematics," says Islah, who also heads the department of Arabic of Shibli National Post Graduate College in Azamgarh city.

The Islamic law of inheritance is an important subject of Islam that is necessarily taught in madrassas.

English has come a long way here and is no more viewed from the pre-independence lens as the language of the oppressor.

The madrassa's polytechnic offers certificate courses in mobile operating and several other branches of electronics.

Zafeer Alam, who studied at the polytechnic, feels proud to have received both religious and modern knowledge.

"I am not an expert of mobile technology but with the knowledge that I have got at Islah, I can repair mobiles," says Alam, who runs a mobile operating shop in his village in Bihar.

Nazish Ehtesham, another alumnus, is now a medical officer at the Municipal Corporation of Delhi.

"Islah helped me to take a great leap ahead in my career as it provides some of the best education in Arabic language and science," said Nazish, who also studied Unani medicine at Jamia Hamdard university in Delhi.

The polytechnic is fast gaining popularity among students from nearby schools and colleges as well, and boasts of 500 students.

(Courtesy: IANS, July 18, 2011)

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