The following article, “In The Context of British Colonial Influence, What Role Did Nadwat Ul Ulema Play Towards the Preservation of Muslim Society?” is written by Amna Sehrish, a student of Sir Syed Kazim Ali. Moreover, the article is written on the same pattern, taught by Sir to his students, scoring the highest marks in compulsory subjects for years. Sir Kazim has uploaded his students’ solved past paper questions so other thousands of aspirants can understand how to crack a topic or question, how to write relevantly, what coherence is, and how to include and connect ideas, opinions, and suggestions to score the maximum.
- ✓The end of the 19th century saw an unprecedented wave of Muslim educational institutions in British-colonised India.
- ✓Nadwat Ul Ulema played a crucial role in preserving Muslim society.
2- The then situation of the Indian subcontinent under British rule
- ✓After the War of Independence in 1857, the British started excluding Muslims from social, economic, political and educational spheres of life.
3- What was Nadwat Ul Ulema?
- ✓Nadwat Ul Ulema was founded in 1894 to provide a mix of Islamic and modern education.
4- Role of Nadwat Ul Ulema towards preservation of Muslim society
- ✓Focus on the empowerment of Muslims through inclusion in government
- Case in point: Cordial relations of Nadwat Ul Ulema with the government
- ✓Prepare the Muslim students for both worlds
- Case in point: Unique curriculum based on scientific and religious curriculum
- ✓Provide Fatwa to avoid confusion
- Case in point: Department of Dar Ul Ifta
- ✓Help Ulema to establish rapport among themselves
- Case in point: Darul Musanfeen established by Moulana Shibli Nomani to nurture and sustain ulema
- ✓Produce a distinguished team of authors in Muslim societies
- Case in point: Maulana Shibli Nomani’s writings
- ✓Influence on the minds of Muslims
- Case in point: Publication of Al Nadwa
Answer to the Question
The end of the 19th century saw an unprecedented wave of Muslim educational institutions in British-colonised India. Several institutions like Aligarh, focusing on modern education, and Deoband, providing religious education, were found to pacify the deplorable conditions of the Muslims. Moreover, due to the contrast between these institutes and the pathetic situation of Muslims, there was a need for institutions that could provide both types of education. Consequently, Nadwat Ul Ulema proved to be such an organisation, which played a crucial role in preserving Muslim society. It made many contributions to Muslims, such as influencing the minds to think in a certain way through journals and magazines, preparing Muslim students for both worlds by providing Islamic and modern education, and helping the Ulema to establish rapport among themselves to understand each other’s point of view. Additionally, it not only provided the institution for Fatwa so that Muslims could easily know the boundaries of their decisions but also focused on the empowerment of Muslims through inclusion in government as it had good relations with Britishers. This answer addresses the question of Nadwat Ul Ulema’s role in preserving Muslim society.
The then situation of the Indian subcontinent under British rule
Soon after the War of Independence 1857, the plight of Muslims started as Hindu and the British put all the blame for the war on Muslims. The British started excluding them from social, economic, political and educational spheres of life to take revenge on them. The British thought this exclusion was necessary to protect their rule in the Indian subcontinent. As a result, Muslims became backward and started losing their identity. There was a threat that if this situation continued to go on for a long time, Muslims would become a minority and would lose the essence of Islam by amalgamating into Hindu society. Many scholars and reformers started raising their voices, and many initiatives were carried out to take Muslims out of such a horrifying condition.
What was Nadwat Ul Ulema?
Nadwat Ul Ulema was founded in 1894 by Moulvi Abdul Ghaffar at Luckhnow, the deputy collector for the British government of India. Its objectives were the removal of sectarianism, elimination of extremism, improvement in Muslim life, and improvement in the syllabus. It was such an institution that amalgamated conservative and modern concepts, and it is said to be a middle solution and bridge between Aligarh and Deoband. The former was focused on providing scientific and modern education, and the latter was more tilted towards conservative Islamic education. In this situation, Nadwat Ul Ulema proved very beneficial in providing education about vocational training, modern science, and Islam.
Role of Nadwat Ul Ulema Play Towards the Preservation of Muslim
Focus on the empowerment of Muslims through inclusion in government.
First, its main focus was the empowerment of Muslims through loyalty to Britishers. Nadwa fostered relations with the government and agreed to patronise secular learning at the institution. It aimed to produce Ulema, who would be loyal to the British. This effort helped Muslims create good relations with the British government and remove past misunderstandings. British also reduced their atrocities after understanding Muslims and started giving them opportunities. Nadwa helped Muslims get updated with modern knowledge of British choice and equipped them with the necessary skills, which assisted them in getting British recognition and a chance to pacify their pitiable conditions.
Prepare Muslim students for both worlds.
Second, Nadwa not only focused on the secular curriculum demanded by the British but also set up a complete system of Islamic education. This created a perfect mix for Muslims’ success as they could perform well in practical fields without forgetting about the teachings of Islam. It helped a lot in creating a balance, and students could stand out in British-designed sectors by remaining within their Islamic limits and not forgetting about a true sense of Islam. It offered a unique curriculum, including mathematics, modern science, Islamic education, Arabic language, and vocational training. It also had an English department to equip students with the demanded language of that time. Consequently, Nadwa produced many scholars like Syed Suleiman Nadvi and Abul Kalam Azad.
Provide a Fatwa to avoid confusion.
Third, the Nadwa also focused on providing a facility for Fatwa so that Muslims could know what was permissible. At that time, Muslims used to live with Hindus, and they had adopted many of their false traditions. There was a threat that they would lose their identity and slowly convert to a new Hindu-Muslim version of Islam. So, there was a great need for Fatwa, legal opinion on worldly issues, and a department to protect Muslims from amalgamation. For this purpose, Darul-Ifta was set up for the public to get opinions on general and specific issues. It became a centre for Muslim scholars and Ulema belonging to different sects, which helped a lot in getting true and accurate opinions without bias. Therefore, the role of Nadwa in protecting Muslims of the subcontinent was remarkable.
Help Ulema to establish rapport among themselves.
Next to it, Nadwa played an important role in helping Ulema establish rapport by bringing them closer to each other. This was to preserve unity and eliminate extremism and sectarian violence. Moreover, when the Ulema got closer to each other, they worked in a union, increased their strength, worked for collective goods, and protected themselves. Dar Ul Musanfeen, which was the product of Nadwa, helped a lot in this purpose. It was established in 1914 by Maulana Shibli Naumani to nurture and sustain the Ulema belonging to different sects and provide intellectual leadership. This platform helped to solve the issues of Muslims of that time and reduced their plight.
Produce a distinguished team of authors in Muslim society.
Further, Nadwa produced a distinguished team of authors with modern and Islamic knowledge. Their matchless capabilities greatly influenced all their contemporaries and deeply impacted 20th-century Muslim thinkers. For instance, the name of Maulana Shibli Naumani is worth mentioning here as he wrote extensively on Islamic personalities to inspire Muslims. He started a complete series of biographies of Muslim Heroes, of which Al Mamoon, a biography of Mamoon ur Rasheed, was the first one. Later, he wrote more biographies of Imam Ghazali, Iman Abu Hanifa, and Maulana Roomi. Maulana Shibli not only guided Muslims but also refuted the allegations against Islam. As a result, this helped in the better understanding of Islam and clearing the misunderstandings the British had regarding Muslims. In conclusion, the authors produced by Nadwat Ul Ulema assisted Muslims in preserving their identity and conveying the real version of Islam.
Influence on the minds of Muslims.
Nadwat Ul Ulema influenced people’s minds through journals, books, and magazines. It was not just a madrassa but a movement of social reform. Additionally, it was launched to realise some objectives for preserving the identity of Indian Muslims. So, to influence many people, it was necessary to launch journals loaded with scholarly articles. As a result, a journal named Al Nadwa was introduced in 1904 to challenge the conservative beliefs of that time with logical analysis so that the Muslims could stop opposing the new modern education. Undoubtedly,some of the remarkable personalities like Maulana Habib Ur Rehman, Shibli Naumani, and Abdul Kalam Azad, through their writings, changed traditional thinking and misbeliefs.
Critically evaluating the situation, it is quite evident that the role of Nadwat Ul Ulema has a very prominent position in the history of the Indian subcontinent’s Muslims. Its services played a major role in mollifying the unfortunate situation of Muslims. By providing a middle way between Aligarh and Deoband, it saved Muslims from being disunited, for there was extreme criticism of each other from both sides. Furthermore, if Nadwa did not appear to provide the solution, the Muslims of the subcontinent could fall prey to the disunity and become fragmented. Two new versions of Islam, modern and conservative, could be introduced. Consequently, they would never have gained independence and preserved their identity. Thus, Nadwa’s exceptional services saved Muslims from drowning in chaos.
In a nutshell, Nadwat Ul Ulema proved to be an effective movement for the Muslim Renaissance. It abolished conservative beliefs and truly modernised the concept of madrassas by incorporating modern education with Islamic knowledge. It opened the people’s minds through its publications and several remarkable authors. Furthermore, it united the Ulema to promote unity and shatter the growing sectarian violence. Its Fatwa department also assists a lot in getting the correct opinion on a decision based on Islamic Law. Nadwat Ul Ulema provided extraordinary services that helped preserve Muslim society in British-colonised India.
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