In every era the spiritual reformation, wholesomeness and success of the Ummah has been closely attached to the ‘Ulema. Whenever the ‘Ulema and leaders of the Ummah portrayed outstanding models for the Ummah and continued their obligations of reformation and dissemination, the Ummah enjoyed peace and tranquillity and the “Allah – inspired” peace of mind continued its descent upon them.
On the other hand whenever the leaders and so-called “’Ulema” fell into a slumber of negligence and whenever they had over looked their status and fell behind pursuits of wealth and fame and portrayed a bad example to the Ummah, spiritual deviation set swiftly. The fire of spiritual corruption and moral degeneration was set aflame and the blazes of internecine wars exploded into a towering inferno. The blame lies on none other than this group of ‘Ulema.
Presently, there are numerous religious institutions and who knows the total number of ‘Ulema qualifying from these institutes. The numerous ‘Ulema graduating from these Madaris should have resulted in the total eradication of ignorance and deviation from every corner of the world but alas, these so-called “leaders” are nothing more than (in the words of the Hadith) “the scum of flood waters.”
The main reason for this is that education has been transformed more into a formality and custom than anything else. Religious institutes today lack the faculties of spiritual reformation and upbringing. On the other hand, matters have reached such extremes that on the pretext of ta’leem and tarbiyyah (education and religious upbringing), the children in primary Madrasahs (maktabs) are beaten like animals. The students in turn develop evil thoughts about the teachers and tend to become antagonistic towards them. The teachers are under the impression that their obligation is restricted to teaching only. There seems to be no bond linking the student and teacher together. Nobody seems to be aware of each other’s rights nor is there any consideration awarded to them.
Within the various branches of teaching and education, there seems to be either an upper extremity or a lower extremity. On one hand, lengthy lectures, multi-faceted differences of opinions and views regarding a certain masalah has become the norm of the day., whilst on the other hand, mere translation of the book has become the habit of certain teachers.
The condition of the students is that they pay no attention to mutala’ah (studying) nor do they have any inclination towards takrar (revision and repetition). Merely sitting in class, preparing for the examination and attaining a certificate have become a rather simple issue.
Regardless of the theoretical and practical capabilities of the students, the Madrasah authorities are wont of issuing Qiraat and ‘Alim certificates no matter what happens. On the other hand some students who, taken aback by their zeal to toiling, desire to memorise all their books without taking any care of their health and eye-sight.
These are some of the defects which have rendered of the Ummah thirsty for ‘Ulema who can be of genuine service to them. Only such ‘Ulema and Madaris will be able to quench this thirst of the Ummah.
Even in these times, if decent arrangements are made for the education and spiritual fostering of the students of these Madaris, the thirst of the Ummah can still be quenched and the Ummah can metamorphose into a spiritual flourishing and lush Ummah….
(Mufti) Muhammad Zayd (Mazahiri Nadwi)
1 Rajab 1410 A.H.
(Etiquette for Teachers and Students, compiled by Mufti Muhammad Zayd Mazahiri Nadwi from the writings of Maulana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanwi)