IOS ORGANISES TWO-DAY NATIONAL SEMINAR ON “TOWARDS EQUALITY, JUSTICE AND FRATERNITY IN CONTEMPORARY INDIA: CREATING A BETTER TOMORROW THROUGH ISLAMIC STUDIES” AT JODHPUR
October 20 - 21, 2017 in collaboration with Marwar Muslim Educational and Welfare Society, Jodhpur, Rajasthan
As part of the 30th Anniversary Celebrations Programme, Institute of Objective Studies, held a two-day National Seminar on “Towards Equality, Justice and Fraternity in Contemporary India: Creating a better Tomorrow through Islamic Studies” at Maulana Azad University, Jodhpur, Rajasthan on October 20 and 21, 2017 in collaboration with Marwar Muslim Educational and Welfare Society. The first-day session which began with the recitation of a Quranic verse by Ajmal Farooque Nadwi, In-charge of Urdu Section, IOS, was inaugurated by the Chancellor of Integral University and the Principal, Nadwatul Ulema, Lucknow, Dr. Saeed Al-Azmi.
Dr. Saeed Al-Azmi, Chancellor of Integral University and the Principal, Nadwatul Ulema, Lucknow
In his inaugural speech, Dr. Azmi described the composite culture of India as a colourful bouquet which contained Islam as a flower on one hand, and Hinduism, Jainism etc. on the other. No religion was bad as the mission of every religion was to teach the lesson of humanity. He explained that Islam was not only a religion of unflinching faith, but also a religion that cherished human values. Islam was indestructible and it offered solutions to many issues facing the Muslim community. Voicing concern over duplication in almost every field, he said that it had become very easy these days. It had now become difficult to make a distinction between the real and the contrived. This was applicable to the Islamic faith as well. Several practices had become part of Islamic faith which were taken from outside, but looked like innate.
He observed that Islam was a religion that taught a Muslim to lead a real life. Muslims had a better worldly life but that did not conform to Islamic life. He said that today fake coins along with the genuine metal currency were in circulation in the market. It was up to Muslims to identify the real currency. There were certain beliefs that had no co-relationship with Islam. He maintained that Islam always taught moderation and it was the religion of human welfare. Referring to the caste system that pervaded the Hindu society, he said that Islam was credited with first presenting the model of equality among people irrespective of their caste, creed and gender.
Preachers of Islam gave the message to India at a time when women were treated as an object of oppression. He said that the Prophet (PBUH) pleaded for equal treatment to women as every human was the creature of Allah. He expressed the confidence that the two-day seminar would go a long way in dispelling the misconception about Islam.
Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, Vice-Chancellor of Maulana Azad University
In his keynote address, the Vice-Chancellor of Maulana Azad University, Prof. Akhtarul Wasey, traced the relationship of India with Islam. He said that India’s association with Islam was as old as Adam’s relationship with India. Muslims ruled the country for some 800 years and their attachment with India was not only emotional, but also longer. Once they were rulers and then they were ruled and now they were partners in governance. He said that the historical records showed that Mohammed bin Qasim had much respect for Hindus during his rule.
Commenting on the role of Sufis and Ulema in the spread of Islam and its teachings, he said that it was not the German scholar, Max Muller who was being projected as the first Indologist, but it was Abdur Rahman Al-Beruni who took the lead in studying Sanskrit, translating Hindu religious texts into Persian and understanding Hindu religion in sittings with Pandits. He claimed that had the Muslims not followed the Islamic teaching of equality, they would not have remained in a minority in the country. Highlighting the role of Muslims in the pursuit of religious studies, he noted that they worked on the Qur’an and Hadith as also translated the celebrated work of Hindus, like Gita into Persian. Muslims’ love for a Hindu religious icon like Krishna was best illustrated by the works of the famous mystic, Hazrat Abdurrazaq Banswi, freedom fighter, Maulana Hasrat Mohani and Hazrat Amir Khusrau.
He regretted that Muslims produced political leaders and not intellectuals, and thus failed to present Islam to the world in a true light. Now the question of foremost value was if Muslims were ready to accord respectability to non-Muslims and their religion, he asked. He said that Muslims might endorse the approach of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanwi and Maulana Ahmad Raza Khan of Bareilly. However, what they stood for was derived from their love for Allah and His Prophet (PBUH). Thus, Muslims needed to charge their approach which had compartmentalised Islam according to different schools of thought. He deplored that a majority of Muslims today adored the Holy Quran, but did not follow what the Quran commanded. Instead of jihad, what was needed more was mujahida (struggle) against evil of every sort, he pointed out.
Brigadier S Ahmed Ali, SM (Retd.), former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, AMU and Director, Jahangirabad Institute of Technology, Barabanki, UP
Speaking as the guest of honour, Brigadier S Ahmed Ali, SM (Retd.), former Pro-Vice-Chancellor, AMU and Director, Jahangirabad Institute of Technology, Barabanki, UP, claimed that Islam was the most misunderstood religion. He said that there were six issues which were being misinterpreted and required explicit opinion of the Ummah as well as religious leaders and scholars. They were: Islamophobia, fundamentalism, Islam, the concept of jihad, kufr (non-belief) and polygamy. Referring to so-called Islamic terrorism, he said that terrorism spread by Hitler, LTTE and the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims of Rakhine province of Myanmar by the army and the Buddhist marauders found no place in the propaganda against Muslims who themselves were the prime targets of terrorism.
Media overplayed terrorism and nick-named it as Islamic terrorism. Under the circumstances, it was high time for Muslims to learn and excel in their fields. He pitied that Muslims who once dominated the world of letters were now much behind others. It could be better illustrated by the fact that against the 201 Jews who bagged Nobel Prize, the number of Muslim Nobel Laureates was abysmally as low as 12. In an age of cut-throat competition, Muslims required quality education and this was possible only when we possessed quality teachers. He expressed happiness that for the first time, 50 Muslim young men qualified for the coveted IAS. Since Muslims had no leader worth the name who could mobilise Muslims, the duty had now fallen on Muslims to remove the ghetto mentality and reach out to Dalits and other minorities. Pleading with Muslims to join the mainstream politics, he said that we should carefully decide which political party could qualify for our support and choice. He asked Muslims to be daring, original and the first. He also urged Muslims to be the author of their own destiny.
Azmat Hussain, former Deputy Chairman, Bury Conservatives, UK and Vice-Chairman, North West CMF Conservatives
Another guest of honour was the former Deputy Chairman, Bury Conservatives, UK and Vice-Chairman, North West CMF Conservatives, Azmat Hussain, called upon the Muslims to shun the clichés like minorities as the Muslim population in the world today stood at about 180 crore. Muslims had name and fame, both, and there must be no cause for despondency. What was needed for them to practise as true Muslims and educate their children for a better tomorrow, he added.
Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, Chairman IOS
In his presidential address, the Chairman IOS, Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, observed that the advent of Islam in India was marked by a new history the Muslim rulers chronicled. Besides introducing a new religion, they took active part in the promotion of art and culture that impacted Indian society and the imprint of which was discernible. Whether it was the construction of buildings, designing, carving of stones, introduction of new jewellery, food, treatment of diseases, pharmacy, manufacturing of arms, drawing and painting or music, etc, Muslims enriched India with their knowledge and expertise.
To cap it all, Muslims always made it a point to uphold high Islamic traditions of justice, equality, respect to others’ rights, liberty to subjects, no interference in others’ religions, brotherhood, and pursued the policy of giving representation to all in matters of state. He said that the Muslims wrote religious books in Arabic, Persian and other regional languages, besides literature, poetry, exegesis of Quran, Hadith, Waqf, the life of the Prophet (PBUH), Sufism, Logic, Philosophy, Tibbi system of medicine, etc. Many of these books were printed. A number of books that could not be printed were preserved as manuscripts. That was the reason why a rich treasure in the form of manuscripts still existed in the country and abroad. Some of the literature was, however, destroyed due to the vicissitudes of time. But the fact remained that Muslims left behind a rich legacy of knowledge in the form of art, culture and sciences which the country could boast of.
He noted that Muslims always remained committed to religious tolerance, hospitality and warmth, and truly lived the age-old Indian ethos of unity in diversity. He said that the challenges before Islamic studies were manifold. They were related to issues like women’s participation in politics, right to vote and prayer in mosques, use of the media, particularly the visual media, benefiting from the banking system based on interest, citizenship and migration, determination of the sighting of moon, etc. He drew attention to the attempts being made to undermine the Preamble to the Constitution. Referring to the rich legacy of Islam, he said the responsibility to preserve it had fallen on everyone’s shoulders, adding that only those who learnt lessons from the past sustained for long. In this connection, he suggested the reading of the 8-volume book titled Empowerment of Muslims published by the IOS. He asked ulema and Islamic scholars to think of the challenges of the 21st century. He also sought their suggestions for the protection of Islamic legacy.
View of book release
Earlier, General Secretary of Marwar Muslim Educational and Welfare Society, Mohammed Ateeque, welcomed the guests. Finance Secretary, IOS, Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish, introduced the theme of the seminar. On this occasion, Urdu translation of the three-volume book, ‘The Role of Muslims in the Indian Freedom Struggle (1857-1947) was released. While Dr. Saeed Al Azmi released volume I, Prof. Akhtarul Wasey and Mohammed Ateeque released volume II and III respectively. Mulk Mein Halaat ka Naya Rukh, written by Prof Mohsin Usmani, was released by Brig. S Ahmed Ali.
Business Session I
The inaugural session was followed by business sessions I. The sessions discussed “Islamic Studies during the Muslim Rule and Misperceptions about Islam and Muslims.” Prof. Yasin Mazhar Siddiqui, former Director, Shah Waliullah Research Cell, AMU, Aligarh and Brig. S Ahmed Ali, SM (Retd.), were in the chair. Speaking at the session, General Secretary, Majlis-e-Mushawarat, and Islamic scholar, Maulana Abdul Hameed Nomani called for understanding of the views of the opponents of Islam on issues like kufr (non-belief) and jihad (religious war). He said that RSS was engaged in the study of Islam in a different perspective. As many as 500 books were produced by the RSS and Hindu Mahasabha on the subject. He said that the issues like ghulami (slavery) jizya (religious tax on non-Muslims) and caste were haunting Muslims today. While Prof. Mohammad Ayub Nadwi, former head, deptt. of Arabic, JMI, presented his paper on “Women’s Rights in Islamic Shariah”, Prof. Haseena Hashia, prof., deptt. of Geography, JMI, spoke on “Muslim Geographical Thought: An Analysis”, Prof. Mohsin Usmani Nadwi, former prof., deptt. of Arabic, English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad, read out a paper on Hindu Mazhab ke Mota’ale ki Rawayet and Dr. Zubair Zafar Khan, assistant prof. of Islamic Studies, AMU, gave a talk on Hindustan mein Musalmanon ke Khilaaf Kuchh Ghalatfahmiyan aur Kuchh Haqaiq: Eik Tajziati Muta’ala. While Dr. Khursheed Afaq, lecturer, deptt. of Islamic Studies, JMI presented a paper on Ahade Sultanat mein Taleem ka Farogh (Madarsa Feroz Shahi ke Khususi Hawale se), Dr. Mohammad Masihullah Khan, guest teacher, deptt. of Islamic Studies, JMI, spoke on Ahade Wasta ke Hindustan mein Kaseer Mazhabi Mu’ashra (Sufia-e-Karaam ke Khususi Hawale se). Dr. Najmus Sahar, Guest Faculty, Dept. of Islamic Studies, JMI, presented a paper on Ghair Muslimon ke Saath Bhaichara aur Masawaat: Hindustan ke Muslim Hukmaranon ke Tanazur mein. Muhammadullah Qasim, research scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, Jamia Hamdard, read out a paper on “The Orientation and Approach of Indian Ulama in Resolving Contemporary Issues through Islamic Jurisprudence in Modern India”. While Dr. Raihan Akhtar Qasmi, asstt. prof., deptt. of Sunni Theology, AMU Aligarh dwelt on Jihade-e-Islami aur Atankwaad: Do Motazaad Raahein. Maulana Shahid Hussain Nadwi, Mohtamim, Darul Uloom Arabia Al-Islamia, Jodhpur, spoke on Islam, Amno Salamati ka Mazhab: Halaat-e-Haazra ke Tanazur mein.
Business Session II
The second day began with business session II with Prof. Mohsin Usmani in the chair. The theme of the session was “Muslims in Post-Independence India”. The first speaker was Dr. Mohd. Faheem Akhtar Nadwi, associate prof. and HoD, deptt. of Islamic Studies, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad, who presented the paper on Hindustani Dastoor aur Masawaat, Bhaichara aur Insaaf ki Islami Tasawwarat. He was followed by Dr Ehsanullah Fahad, deptt. of Islamic Studies, AMU, who read out a paper on Hindu-Muslim Ta’alluqaat aur Sangh Parivar. While principal, Madarsatul Uloom Al-Islamia, Aligarh, Dr. M Tariq Ayyub Nadwi, gave a talk on Islam mein Mazhabi Rawadari Hindustan ke Maujuda Halaat ke Tanazur mein, Dr. Shakeel Ahmad, asstt. prof., Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Srinagar, presented a paper on Hindustan ke Maujuda Siyaq mein Masawaat, Insaaf aur Bhaichare ki Janib eik Behtar Mustaqbil ki Takhleeq bazarie Islamiat. Dr. Mohd. Arshad, assistant prof., deptt. of Islamic Studies, JMI, put forward his views on Azaad Hindustan mein Muslim Taleem Sufi Khidmaat: Eik Tajziyati Mut’ala. Dr. Javed Akhtar, guest faculty, deptt. of Islamic Studies, JMI touched upon “Jamia Millia Islamia: New Movement in Education (An Exclusive Synthesis of Islamic and Modern Education with Nationalism)”. He was followed by Dr. Mohd. Usama, guest faculty, deptt. of Islamic Studies, JMI who presented his paper on Azaad Hindustan mein Ilmi Ahya ki Tahreek, Idara Tahqeeq-o-Tasneef Islami ke Hawale se. While Dr. Mohd. Tahseen Zaman, guest faculty, Deptt. of Islamic Studies, JMI presented a paper on Azaad Hindustan mein Ilmi Ahya ki Tahreek, IOS ke Hawale se. Dr. Suhaib Alam, assistant prof. of Arabic , JMI, read out his paper on Ilmi Ahya ki Tahreek, aur Darul Musannefeen, Ashmil Rishad T., research scholar, Bafaqy Islamic and Arts College, Malappuram, Kerala, spoke on “Muslims in Post-independence India – An Analysis of the Educational Status of a Minority Community in India with Special Reference to Muslims of West Bengal.”
Business Session III
This session was devoted to the theme “Indian Constitution and Islamic Ideals of Equality”. Prof. Mohammad Ayub Nadwi, chaired the session. The first speaker of the session was Prof. Javed Ahmed Khan, Director of the Centre for West Asian Studies, JMI who spoke on “Development in Islamic Studies and its Relevance in India: A Review”. He was followed by Dr. Mujeeb Akhtar, assistant prof. of Arabic, Delhi University who read out his paper on Hindustan mein eik Pur Aman Samaaj ki Tashkeel: Qur’ani Ayaat ki Roshni mein. While Abu Aala Syed Subhani, editor, monthly Hayat-e-Nau, New Delhi, gave a talk on Adl-e-Ijtemai ki Qur’ani Buniyadein, Mujtaba Farooq, research scholar, Idara Tahqeeq-o-Tasneef Islami, Aligarh, spoke on Takseeri Samaaj mein Islam ki Numaindagi. Sabah Bin Mohammad, research scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, Jamia Hamdard, centered on “Judicial Precedents of Muslim Personal Law in Contemporary India”, Irfan Jalal, research scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, Islamic University, Kashmir, spoke on “Equality in Islam – Some Reflections”. While Sadiq Ali N, research scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, Kerala University, Kerala, concentrated on “Contribution and Influence of Islamic Historiography in Mughal Period”, Jafaruddin AT, research scholar, Bafaqy Islamic and Arts College, Malappuram, Kerala made a critical appraisal of “Islamic Studies during Muslim Rule in India: Contribution to Development of Fiqh.”
Business Session IV
This session was devoted to the theme “The Way Ahead, or Future Strategy”. Prof. Javed A. Khan chaired the session. Dr. Mohd. Khalid Khan, asstt. prof., deptt. of Islamic Studies, JMI, began with his talk on Insaan ke Buniyadi Haqooq aur Islam. He was followed by Dr. Naseem Gul, asstt. prof., deptt. of Islamic Studies, at BSGB University, Rajouri, Kashmir who spoke on “Inter-faith Dialogue: sine qua non of Religious Harmony”. While Dr. Nadeem Ashraf, asstt. prof., deptt. of Sunni Theology, AMU read out his paper on Takseeri Mu’ashrey mein Shara’i Adalat ka Qayaam aur uski Zaroorat, Dr. Mohd. Umar Farooque, from the deptt. of Islamic Studies, JMI, presented a paper on Islam aur Takseeri Saqafat Ahade Wasta ka Hindustan aur Mulk ka Maujuda Manzarnama: Ahade Mughalia ke Khususi Hawale se. The fifth speaker of the session was Mohd. Ashraful Kausar, research scholar, deptt. of Islamic Studies, JMI, who spoke on Maujooda Hindustan mein Musalmanon key Masael ka Hal. The last two speakers of the session, Shafika Sheikh and Mohd Irshad Alam, research scholars from JMI and Jamia Hamdard presented their papers on “Need of Literacy of Islamic Finance in India” and Ahade Alamgiri mein Mutaleaat Quran-o-Hadees, respectively.
In his valedictory address, Prof. Yasin Mazhar Siddiqui, urged Muslims not to confine themselves to being Muslims for name sake alone. They must ensure that mutual love, brotherhood, equality and justice formed part of their engagement with non-Muslims. Laying stress on basic education, he said that Sir Syed wanted every district to have a centre for basic education. He observed that oriental education should be the first step towards university education. Today’s education was more bookish than inspiring students to form ideas and thoughts. Laying emphasis on the need for giving proper training to ulema, he said that much of the problem was at the root of it. Our ulema should be reminded of their responsibility to lead the ummah in order that government could not seize the opportunity to exploit Muslims, who must learn from history that the English rulers capitalised on their weaknesses. Study of science and technology was equally important for Muslims, he added.
Presiding over the session, the IOS Chairman, Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam suggested reading of three books: World without Borders, World without Muslims and World without Islam. Since these books were critical of Muslims and Islam, our scholars should go through them and answer the questions raised in them.
Referring to the negative projection of Muslims in the media, he said that it was high time to put the things in proper perspective in order to discount the misgivings about Islamic terrorism. He asked historians to revisit Indian history and assured that the IOS would consider sponsoring such a project. He said that only such races who were vibrant with their legacy, survived. Thus we must take upon us the responsibility to imbue our generations with the rich Islamic legacy. He informed that the IOS had planned to organise lectures on understanding Hinduism in the near future adding that some of the papers presented at the seminar made reference to the RSS which had expanded far and wide. Though much had been written about the organisation, yet a lot more needed to be explored. He said that the study of Hinduism and the RSS required thorough knowledge of Sanskrit and asked research scholars to propose projects for the purpose and assured that the IOS would award scholarship to those willing to learn the language.
He also asked the participants to send the paper they presented at the seminar by December 31 next for being published in book form. He informed that the board of studies had decided to get the books published by the IOS translated into Hindi, English and Urdu. Some of the books would also be translated into Arabic. The extracts of the IOS books would be digitalised. He stated that the IOS was closely working with the like-minded organisations to evolve a common strategy for the study and solution of vexed issues. He announced that a two-day closing ceremony of the ongoing series of seminars will be held on February 17-18, 2018 in Delhi.
While the proceedings of the valedictory session were conducted by Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish, a vote of thanks was extended by the Director, Programme, Muslim Educational and Welfare Society, Mohammad Ameen.
View of audience
A six-point resolution was unanimously adopted by the delegates on the occasion. Prof. Akhtarul Wasey read out the resolutions.
The Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi organised a two-day national seminar on “Towards Equality, Justice and Fraternity in Contemporary India - Creating a Better Tomorrow through Islamic Studies”, in collaboration with Marwar Muslim Educational & Welfare Society, Jodhpur on October 20-21, 2017 at Maulana Azad University, Jodhpur (Rajasthan). The seminar adopted the following resolutions:
1. This two-day national seminar, being conscious of and heeding to the call of Islam, resolves to engage followers of other faiths in a dialogue in order to create a tension-free, peaceful, brighter and egalitarian society in which the lofty ideals of equality, justice and fraternity as cherished by Islam and enshrined in the Constitution of India will prevail and enable citizens of the country to live a dignified life in peace and prosperity.
2. The seminar resolves to carry out in-depth researches on burning issues of the time which are poisoning the atmosphere and disturbing the social fabric of the country with a view to promoting communal harmony and securing a better and peaceful life for all the fellow Indians.
3. The seminar resolves to prepare and publish text books of international standard meeting the requirements of Islamic Studies as a modern social science discipline.
4. The seminar resolves to prepare and publish books/booklets, based on objectively carried out researches that will improve the image of Islam, dispel misunderstandings about it and free society of communalism, all kinds of hatred, mistrust and prejudice so that our future generations may breathe in clean air and lead a happier life.
5. The seminar resolves to encourage scholarly research on the contributions of Indian scholars in various fields/branches of Islamic Studies and translate as well as publish them in Arabic, English and regional languages of India.
6. The seminar greatly appreciates the works done so far by the Marwar Muslim Educational & Welfare Society, particularly the establishment of Maulana Azad University and requests its promoters as well as authorities to set up a Department of Islamic Studies which will go a long way to help achieve the lofty goals of equality, justice and fraternity in India.