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12 June 2013

Knowledge cannot be divided between religious and worldly: Salim Qasmi

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By Manzar Imam

New Delhi: As against the commonly held opinion of ulama who do not tire of speaking about division of knowledge between religious and modern or worldly, Maulana Muhammad Salim Qasmi, rector, Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband says that all the available forms of knowledge are from Allah. There is nothing as religious and worldly knowledge, he said. He was speaking at a symposium organised by Imam Quasim Islamic Educational Welfare Trust at India Islamic Cultural Centre on 6 June 2013. It was organised to have a discussion and opinion exchange on "Muslim Issues and the Possibilities of their Solution" at the release of an over 600-page long special Muslim Issues number of Urdu monthly Ma’arif-e-Qasim Jadeed published by the Trust.

Maulana Qasmi said that the division of knowledge is a political creation because all streams of knowledge flow from God. He asked heads of madrasas to invite people of other faith to their madrasas and exchange views and share their problems with them also.

As most speakers raised issues of Muslim minority and scores of problems faced by the community, the chief guest and Union Minister for Minority Affairs, K. Rahman Khan came up with ready made solution of several problems focussing especially on the issue of low literacy and poor higher education among Muslims. In answer to some of the issues outlined in the special number of the magazine, Mr Khan said that he himself had a project in tune with the recommendations of the Sachar Committee report. He further said that that issues which he had identified included security, communal violence, Constitutional rights, detention of Muslim youths on grounds of suspicions, political representation of Muslims, promotion of Urdu, reservation of Muslims in government jobs etc.


On the issue of Waqf properties, the minister said that steps were being taken to protect Waft properties and efforts were on to bring (new) laws in the forthcoming monsoon session of Parliament about the Waft according to which Waqf properties are termed as public properties. If that is done, said the minister, criminal cases could be registered against illegal occupiers.

Reacting to the question of government's (ir-)responsibility to implementation of schemes for minority development, the minister adopted a patronising position and questioned how far can we (Muslims) depend only on government schemes. He asked Muslims to build their own colleges and universities and define their role in the country's economy. Khan, who is also ex-officio member and President of Maulana Azad Education Foundation, said that the plan of establishing residential schools in Muslim concentrated areas was also being discussed.

The minister's statement that government was a mere facilitator and not the provider was heavily countered by Syed Faisal Ali, group head of Sahara Media's Urdu section. Ali said that the government was also the protector, promoter and monitor of the schemes and responsible for their implementation. He demanded the minister to produce the break-up report about the implementation of the Sachar Committee recommendations.

In his inaugural remarks Prof. Akhtarul Wasey of Jamia Millia Islmia said that the underdevelopment of Muslims was a matter of concern not only for Muslims but for the whole country because no country can be considered developed with a sizable population remaining undeveloped. He also raised the issue of lengthy judicial process in the country and said all the cases related to accusations should be dealt with in fast track courts.

Maulana Anisur Rahman Qasmi, Nazim, Imarat Shariah Bihar and Chairman of Haj Committee Bihar appealed that Prime Minister should talk with the Saudi Government over the issues of many NRIs looming danger of loosing their jobs in the Arab countries. He asked the Muslim leadership to be proactive and careful about the issues of Muslims.

Earlier, Mufti Mahfoozur Rahman Usmani, head of the Trust and founder of Jamiatul Qasim Darul Uloom AlIslamiah presented a brief review of the present Muslim situations and appealed Muslim leaders to sit together for seeking solution to Muslims’ problems.

Saeedur Rahman Azmi, rector, Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama; Maulana Essa Mansuri, chairman of World Islamic Forum, London; Dr Mufti Zahid Ali Khan, chairman of the Department of Sunni Theology, Aligarh Muslim University; Dr. Shihabuddin Saqib, editor of Ma’arif-e-Qasim Jadeed, and others also spoke on this occasion. Abdur Qadir Shams of Rashtriya Sahara ran the programme smoothly.

[Manzar Imam, a Delhi-based Journalist, is Special Correspondent of IndianMuslimObserver.com. He can be reached at manzarkhalil@gmail.com]

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