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What is the role of a madrasa? Should it concentrate on imparting Islamic instruction only and memorizing the Quran in Arabic without understanding the meaning or imbibing the values enshrined? Or should it produce a complete aalim (scholar) ready to take his place in the changing world with knowledge of modern science and technology?
The answer to this question is provided by Ziya Us Salam and M. Aslam Parvaiz in Madrasas in the Age of Islamophobia.
Ziya Us Salam and M. Aslam Parvaiz have jointly ventured into the territory that many would consider contested. But the authors have historical facts to back them in their lucid presentation.
Lack of familiarity breeds contempt. In the age of the short-cut and of simplistic connections, many of us do not even realize how ill-informed we are about traditions and institutions in the multiverse that is India. This book is an essential reading for all citizens, addressing as it does the richness of an alternative system of education. Madrasas vary as much as do government schools, in terms of facilities and rigour of courses. Perceived as essentially religious seminaries, their strengths—such as the grounding in logic and their multi-language richness—are forgotten.
The book touches a very important topic that the Muslim community is facing in India rather than all over the world. It would be appreciated by all sections of the society. Some very important and sensitive issues related to madrasas have been dealt with: their infrastructure, contents/syllabus, methods of teaching, resources, management, etc. As far as madrasa syllabus is concerned, surely it is in immense need for updating. The need of the hour is to study both old and new tafsirs.
“Madrasas in the Age of Islamophobia is undoubtedly an interesting and easily accessible introduction to madrasa education in India.”