Darul-Uloom Deoband, is a great central and religious teaching institution ·f the Muslims of Asia which has been rendering for a period of more than 114 years the service for the reviving and progress of religious sciences like Tafsir, Hadith, Fiqh, Kalam, culture, morality, etc.
After the collapse of the Mughal sultanate in India when the English, in view of their own political expediencies, had altogether abolished the old institutions teaching the Islamic arts and sciences, at that time not only for the survival of the Islamic arts and sciences and the Islamic culture but also for keeping Muslims as Muslims, it was an urgent need of the time to establish a great teaching institution on great foundations in order to protect the Indian Muslims from the great threatening mischief of atheism and religiousness. The responsibility of preserving Islam then devolved on the band of Ulema and the land of India is a witness that they did not show any dereliction in discharging their duty in time.
Thanks to Allah Most High that these expectations were fulfilled in full measure and in a short time the fame of Darul-Uloom reached its apogee and before long it became an international university, not only of the Indian Muslims but also of the Muslims of Afghanistan, Central Asia, Indonesia, Malayasia, Burma, Tibet-, Sri Lanka and the countries of East and South Africa; now around one and a half thousand students from India and outside India flock to it every year.
Darul-Uloom Deoband, is not merely a teaching institution; it is infect a movement, an independent school of thought, a shoreless sea from which, besides those of India, Pakistan and Bangla Desh, students from the whole of Asia and east and south Africa are acquiring knowledge. Almost all the teachers in all the religions schools that exist today in the subcontinent are directly or indirectly those who have benefited from Darul-Uloom and every year hundreds of students graduating from here, discharge the duty of propagating religion through leaching, preaching, sermonising and compiling of books and now this range has spread
upto Europe, England and America.
Darul-Uloom Deoband, has rendered yeoman service in taking the Muslims of the sub-continent to a distinguished position in their religions life. It is not only an international educational centre but is also such a centre of intellectual development, cultural evolution and communal aspirations that the Muslims have always had confidence in and pride over its authentic knowledge and high ethos. Even as the Arabs had once saved the sciences of the Greeks -from being wasted, the 93 Darul-Uloom Deoband, has similarly rendered invaluable services to the Islamic sciences, particularly to the science of Hadith, in the present limes, which is a golden achievement in the academic history of Islam.
Darul-Uloom Deoband, has not only provided prodigious means of maintaining and preserving the religious sciences and Islamic values in India, but it has also cast, at the end of the thirteenth and beginning of the fourteenth centuries Hijri, very far-reaching and fruitful influences. Discomfited in the uproarious revolution of 1857, the Muslims had been overcome with great depression and pessimism. A dreadful bowling wilderness was rampant in their academic and cultural environments. Had Darul-Uloom been not established and had it not served as a torch in .hose dark limes, it is difficult to say what would have been the Indian Muslims' history today.
In short, the glorious services Darul-Uloom Deoband, has been rendering for the last one century in respect of the religious education, preaching and sermonising, correction of beliefs and morals and the conservation of religion, are not hidden from anyone today. The graduates of Darul-Uloom, accordingly, are busy in many countries in giving religious guidance to Muslims and in teaching, preaching and reforming. In the words of Maulana Abul Hasan All Nadvi; "The rapport which the graduals of Darul-Uloom have with the common Muslims is not had by any other religious group, A network of Arabic Madaris has spread all over India and the Ulema and graduates of this institution are gracing the Masnads of teaching in them. They are considered trustworthy among the Muslim masses and are influential in the masques and the Mohallas (localities)".
So however much the Muslims of the sub-continent exult over the existence of Darul-Uloom, it will not be improper.
After the start of the British system of education in India when a new culture and a new era was beginning here, the elders of Darul-Uloom opportunely felt the necessity and importance of the Muslims' religious education. With public co-operation and the common Muslim's donations they started the movement for religious education and the establishment of Islamic Madaris. By Allah's grace and favour this movement of theirs gained popularity amongst the Muslims with the result that religious schools were started at many places in the subcontinent and a network of which spread all over India before long and has been widening day by day.
In short, Darul-Uloom Deoband, arranged such a bouquet of its graduates in which parti-coloured and multi-coloured flowers are providing by their fragrance the means of exhilaration and delight to the smelling-sense of the soul. Who is not aware of this reality that students alone are the true reservoir of a people's strength? There is no dearth of promising young men among the Muslim community. There are however today countless young men and children who do have an eagerness and penchant for studies but financial difficulties come in their way. They want to walk but cannot walk; they wish to advance but cannot advance; they desire to come up but cannot come up; and yet the very same young men and children will constitute our future tomorrow. Feeling this helplessness and encumbrance, the Darul-Uloom Deoband, and all the other seminaries founded in its wake, have opened the thorough tares for the prosecution of studied for the students of religious sciences by making education free along with free facilities for food, clothing and lodging; and have removed all those obstacles and shackles which came in 'the way of acquiring education. The point of view of the religious schools is that the true key for the treasure of the world is the key of religion. Those prosecuting studies in the religious schools with this point of view are undoubtedly living a successful life. As far as the demand for their services in that subcontinent is concerned, it is increasing day by day. In this respect the future of the graduates of the religious schools is bright and satisfactory. After completing their education whichever walk of life the graduates of the Darul-Uloom selected for themselves, they were successful in it; and the complaint of unemployment is being rarely heard about them, although among the students of modern education this complaint of joblessness is quite common.
In its more-than-one-hundred-year history the Darul-Uloom, on the one hand, has given the Indian Muslims a progressive consciousness of social life and, on the other, a counterbalance between thought and action. If a class of Muslims today .has adopted a rational interpretation of Islamic views, a satisfactory elucidation of Islamic thoughts, and a correct Islamic life, it is mainly the result of the more than one hundred year old academic and practical struggle of the Darul-Uloom. Contrary to the common reports the religious proclivity here has never been reactionary and obscurantism.
Darul-Uloom, while grasping its basic principles firmly, has, in changing circumstances, always sided with the spirit of the age. as far as the Islamic principles permit. In this respect it can be said that Darul-Uloom is an educational institute which has been established on a 95 beautiful confluence of the old and the new, and its more than hundred year old glorious traditions are a herald of its brilliant past and a messenger of its great -future.
THE ACADEMIC AND RELIGIOUS BENEFACTION OF DARUL-ULOOM DEOBAND
There is no doubt about it that the Muslims, due to their infirmities, bidding farewell to sovereignty, had set seal to the decision of death of their collective life. But Divine Will wanted to preserve them. This required religious warmth which has always been the fountain-head of the Muslims progress. The land of Deoband was chosen for this fountainhead. Accordingly, for centuries this land was being given good tidings through the auspicious tongues of Hazrat Mujaddid Alf-e-Thani and Hazrat Sayyid Ahmed Shaheed that it would become the cradle of prophetic sciences. Most probably it was for this reason that the gentlemen who took part in the founding and establishing of Darul-Uloom were not only adorned with external sciences but their hearts were also the reservoirs and reflectors of the effulgence of divine lights, and who had been especially appointed through special inspiration for the establishment of Darul-Uloom. Hazrat Qazi Muhammad lsma'il Manglori who has been one of the great saints, says : "Darul-Uloom Deoband, Mazahir-e-Uloom of Saharanpur and Madrasa-e-Shahi of Moradabad are not among those Madaris which are being established by chance; these Madaris have been established through special inspirations".
Maulana Hafiz Muhammad Ahmed, the fifth vice-chancellor of Darul-Uloom, writes in one of his memoranda that:
"In this world of causes whatever fame, respect, high position, esteem, progress and popularity this Madrasah has achieved is sheerly Allah's bounty and special favour to this Madrasah. From the inception this Madrasah has received the patronage of such favourites of the Divine Court and training of such special men of God through whose internal and external 'confrontation' (Tawajjuh, a technique of contemplation, concentrating one's being upon someone; Translator) this Madrasah day by day achieved every kind of progress. Sincerity in the members, unity among the teachers, good and prosperity (Barakah) in every matter and the hourly progress, etc.- all these things are a sign of the confrontation of the same august men and trust in Allah of the same benefactors".
There is no doubt about this fact that whatever has been Allah's dealing with this Ummah and even as. He has helped it repeatedly in the past, this time also the divine miracle appeared. In the light of the philosophy of history this event can be put into these words that this was a natural reaction to the unfavourable circumstances which shook the Muslims' mental faculties out of their sleep and revivified them.
It is very necessary to know here as to what kind of results and fruits of education and training of Darul-Uloom were produced among the Indian Muslims and other Islamic countries, for the true criterion of the success of anything can be only its consequences and results. In this connection, a long time back, the famous Urdu daily "Zamindar" of Lahore, had written the following about Darul-Uloom Deoband:
"At this time a large number among the personalities well-versed in religious sciences seen in the length and breadth of India consists of those who have come out assuaged from this river of knowledge (Darul-Uloom Deoband). All the great Ulema of India have been students of this glorious Madrasah and intact no other teaching institute in India can compote with it in the valuable's of academic services. Not only this, but in foreign countries also, except one or two, there is no other seminary which can stand comparison with it and which may have rendered such important services to the bright Islamic nation".
Darul-Uloom Deoband, had been established at a time when the Madaris for religious education had altogether become extinct in India and that time looked like approaching when vis-à-vis the modern education and its influences in India the light of religious education, Islamic commandments and religious usage's might have been lost or al least might have got bedded. During those tumultuous limes it was Darul-Uloom which steadied the tossing and teetering boat of the community and hence as far as the renascence of the social life of the Muslims concerned, it can be said off hand that a large part of its history is connected with the skirt of the continua educational and missionary struggle of Darul-Uloom. In the long life of Darul-Uloom a good many storms of accidents arose and a good many revolutions. 97 occurred in the politics and conditions of the country, but this institution, remaining unruffled, continued to fulfil with almost perseverance and steadiness the objectives with which it had come into existence, lt. is a tact that during these tumults of thought and ideas and in the period of movements steeped in the mischief of the West, had there been no existence of the Arabic schools generally and that of an academic institution like Darul-Uloom particularly, then it is ineffable in what gigantic maelstrom of inertia and insensitiveness the Muslims would have been engulfed.
In guidance and inculcation, preaching and commemoration (Tazkir), education and training and in improving the people there is no comer where the graduates of Darul-Uloom may not be busy and may not have played an important role in reforming and training the Muslim community. The splendour of the great functions and gatherings held for the call to and guidance of religion, and preaching and sermonising, at present in India is due to the presence of the honourable Ulema of the same, Darul-Uloom; the seals of teaching in all the big Islamic Madaris in the country today are being graced by these very gentlemen. As regards educational thought and practice Darul-Uloom has always traversed a particular tack. This tack fully reflects the light of its intelligence and perspicacity and its understanding of the times; and not only at that time but even after a pretty long time a large body of our educational experts was unable to understand it. However, the turn of event; at last brought the sincerity of action of Darul-Uloom into full relief like a sunny day, so much so that even those circles in which Darul-Uloom had been opposed vehemently had to acknowledge its necessity and services. Accordingly, once when its opponents had started a movement to get the financial help it was receiving from Hyderabad (Deccan) cut off. Sir Ross Mas'ud who was then the education minister in the Hyderabad Slate, opposing the said movement, had written; "Although we are striving for the dissemination of the English language, even as our effort for the betterment of our worldly economic life is correct, the existence of Deoband (Darul-Uloom) for our religions need is also necessary".
Khwaja Khalil Ahmed Shah, the keeper of the famous saintly shrine (Dargah) of Hazrat Sayyid Salar Mas'ud Ghazi at Bahra'ich (U.P.) writes:-
"Darul-Uloom Deoband, is a matchless centre of Islamic sciences not only in India but also in the whole world and it has had a special 98 class in the world next to the Jama-e-Azhar. This is the Madrasah which has caused to flow the rivers of Islamic Arabic sciences in India. Its graduates are engaged in each and every comer of India in education and Islamic services. The services Darul-Uloom Deoband, has rendered to religion and religious sciences are as bright as the sun. Of course, if some one closes his eyes due to inward blindness, opinionatedness and inequity, there is no remedy for it".
The people who have happened to travel through Islamic countries or have read in newspapers and magazines about the conditions prevailing there will have marked one thing, not so much marked in thought and mind as in their lifestyle : that the inhabitants of these Islamic countries have not only been affected by western civilisation and culture but have also accepted and adopted their influences to a large extent. The atmosphere of "he countries like Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Iran, etc., the lands whereof received directly the honour of being traversed by the holy Companions and acquired grace directly from their holy breaths, remained resplendent with prophetic sciences and the Companions' relies and continued as cradles of Islamic sciences and arts for centuries; but no sooner the feet of strangers touched those lands than the Muslim inhabitants bode good-bye precipitately to Islamic arts and sciences and Islamic culture and civilisation, and admitted such change and revolution in their lifestyle as if they had never been accustomed to the Islamic way of life; or as though they belonged to a region of Europe ab initio.
Besides this social and cultural revolution the condition of the academic decline you have already heard about in the foregone pages from no less a person than Allama Sayyid Rasheed Reza that had the Indian Ulema not lavished their attention on the Science of Hadith, this science would have completely disappeared from the countries of the East, for between the tenth and the beginning of the fourteenth centuries (Hijri) this science had reached the last stage of decay and debility in Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Hejaz. In A.H., 1315 when this respectable scholar migrated to Egypt he found that the khatibs in the Jama-e-Azhar and other masques used to quote such hadiths in their sermons which were untraceable in the tomes of Hadith, and, he has added the condition of the preachers and the teachers was also the same.
When the death-dealing tide of European dominance and paramountcy tried to wash away India, which had generally remained deprived of the auspicious steps of the Holy Companions and had not had any opportunity to be benefited directly by their holy breaths, the Indian Muslims had to contend with these calamities for nearly one and a half or two centuries, but they have not to date totally relinquished their old Islamic conduct, culture and social life and the orthodox religiosity the foundation of which had been laid eight hundred years ago.
The cause of this difference? What else can it be but this that at the time of the revolution in the said Islamic regions there did not exist any organised religions party, which, feeling the pulse of the nation in that envenomed atmosphere, could have made an all-embracing arrangement as a prophylactic measure for its survival and safeguard. But in India Hazrat Shah Wall Allah, having presaged this change from the straw in the wind, had laid the foundation of preventive measures. He prepared the Muslims' thought and mind in such a way that it safeguarded them from the alien influences; and at last the organised and blessed efforts of this party appearing on the one hand in the form of Darul-Uloom proved to be the guarantors 'of the Muslims' religion and virtue, on the other they became the means of their Islamic relations and religious connections. Forestalling, Darul-Uloom and its party built dams and dikes against the atheism-nourishing hurricanes and poisonous storms of irreligious, saved and rescued the Muslims from the current of the flood and brought them to the shore, reminded them of the forgotten lesson and thus, maintaining the prophet knowledge and the Companions' legacy intact in India, did not let the Indian Muslims straggle from the straight course.
The thirteenth century Hijri (nineteenth century AD) is a period of political decline and ideational languor. It was during this period that Europe gained domination over and colonised almost all the Islamic countries and more or less everywhere Islamic culture and Islamic sciences were facing the struggle of life and death, Ever-new misleading movements were faking birth in Islam, In short, after the decline of the power of the Mughal kings in India, the Indian Muslims were passing through the most precarious period of their history. They had never needed correct guidance so much before as they did now. The collapse of the Mughal regime and the establishment of the English paramountcy was the greatest accident in the history of the Indian Muslims. Under the violence, oppression and domination of the English, the enforcement of the Islamic laws apart, even the survival itself of Islam and Muslims in India was difficult.
At that time the only party to bear the responsibility of protecting Islam was that of the Ulema; every inch of land of India is a witness to fact that the Ulema did not fail in discharging their duty even to the extent of a scintilla. Even on ordinary student of history knows that inspire of being deprived of the government backing during the past quarter and century the Ulema of India have so lightsomely discharged the onerous responsibility of protecting and developing the Millat (community) that the alien government had to incur defeat at every front of antagonism to Islam. And prise be to Allah that the Muslims of India continued to progress!
After the revolution of 1857, the Indian Muslim were groaning under mountains of misfortunes and tyrannies inflicted by the English upon them; they were overwhelmed with a peck of troubles and oppression which created in them such a feeling of fear and panic, helplessness and distress that if urgent and effective steps had not been taken to alleviate it, it is difficult to say that would have been the condition of the Muslims in respect of Islam. Madaris and hospices had been devastated; the Ulema had been sent to gallows, the fiefs (Jagirs) of the nobles had been confiscated, and the endowments of Madaris and hospices had been peculated. The Muslim rank and file had been so severely and excessively punished that a feeling of misery, loneliness and subjugation had overcome them and had blunted their religious and academic faculties. Such a condition of inertia had developed in them that seeing it, it was not easy to predict that this community would ever thrive again. The victorious English men's passion for vengeance, with their characteristic morgue anglaise, did not content itself only with the country and wealth of the Muslims but it also did not leave any stone unturned in destroying and obliterating, as far as possible, their 1300-year old proud achievements, their arts and sciences, civilisation and culture and human virtues and merits. Under such adverse circumstances it will not be an exaggeration to assert and claim that if the name of Islam has remained alive in this land of India, it is very much due to this Darul-Uloom and the sweating toil of the party of the Ulema. Then, stringing all the inhabitants of the Islamic world in one academic thread, it served them also besides the Indian Muslims in a very generous manner. There are very few such Islamic countries from where students may not have come to Darul-Uloom to slake their academic thirst. As such, in the past one century, thousands of students, having lighted their own torches from this great candle of knowledge, have fanned out in the darknesses of the world. Students from Sri Lanka, Java, Sumatra, Malaya, Burma, China, Mongolia, Tatar, Qazan, Bukhara, Samarqand, Afghanistan, Egypt, Syria. Yemen, Iraq, so much so that even from the illuminated Madina and the glorious Mecca, came here for studies. Is it not short of a miracle that the country that may never have benefited directly from the prophetic sciences should become a centre for the whole world in religious education, so much so that the same sun of knowledge may be shedding its light in the two holy sanctuaries of Islam (Mecca and Madina)? And this felicity has not fallen to the lot of any other seminary that its graduates may have graced the Masnads of teaching in the illuminated Madina, particularly in the Prophet's Masque. Maulana Khalil Ahmed Anbathvi. the author of Bazlul-Majhood, Maulana Sayyid Ahmed and Maulana Hussain Ahmed Madani have lectured on Hadith for years in Madina and in the Prophet's Masque, and have caused to flow the rivers of arts and sciences, the Book and the Sunnah, from which numerous students of Egypt and Syria, besides those of Hejaz, benefited and quenched their thirst of knowledge. Maulana Madani's elder brother, Moulana Sayyid Ahmed, an alumnus of Darul-Uloom, started a Madrasah named Madrasatul-Uloom al-Shariyyah in the illuminated Madina from which the Madinans are deriving benefit, Maulana Madani used to say that "when during my stay in the illuminated Madina l used to describe the exegetical information of Hazrat Shah Abdul-Aziz and other Indian Ulema before the Ulema of Hejaz, the latter used to wonder as to from where the Indian Ulema had acquired those secrets and mysteries of the Quranic knowledge". Maulana Rahmatullah Keranvi established Madrasa-e-Saulatiyyah in the venerable Mecca on the pattern of Darul-Uloom. Another Madrasah was founded by Maulana lshaq Amritsari, an old boy of Darul-Uloom.
The peculiarity of Darul-Uloom is that it is irrigated by the pellucid spring of Islam and has had its own special individuality, Its versatile services which, crossing the Indian borders, have reached the Islamic countries, are intact the sweet fruit of the Indian Muslims' performance of their duty and pecuniary sacrifices, and by way of "discourse of Lord's bounty", they can pride themselves in all the Islamic countries on the tact that this largest seminary of the Muslims of Asia is maintained on the basis of their generosity and love of learning, and its sphere of benefaction is not limited to them only but has encompassed within its religious C education and training the non-Indian Muslims also; and for one hundred and thirteen years the assemblies discoursing on Allah's and the Apostle's words have been thronged due to Darul-Uloom only. This is the very fountain-head of divine graces which, by its spiritual water of life, has made the fields of faith green in every nook and comer of India and outside India and the alumni of this very seminary are discharging the duty of serving the upright religion (Din-e-Hanif) in India and most of the Islamic countries. No just Muslim can deny the tact that the sentiments of awakening of the Indian Muslims are mostly the result of the admirable efforts of Darul-Uloom only.
Time showed many vicissitudes and fluctuations but at no lime did Darul-Uloom change its ideal; it has maintained its old tenor for a period of more than one hundred years. If had to sail through perilously swirling waters and brave severe storms and it had to bear many buffeting from angry waves, but it did not alter its course. Instead of being affected and swayed by the accidents and vicissitudes of time, it has always tried to change the atmosphere of the world by casting its own influence. This is the reason that as much religiosity as is found in the Muslims of India despite their long subjugation is not seen in other Islamic collieries. A contributor to Mujalla-al-Uloomiddin, Aligarh, has stated as follows:
"The domination of the English people had created the danger that, God forbid, religion and religious sciences might depart from the country. The establishment of Darul-Uloom under such circumstances obviated this danger and it emerged on the map of India as a live exposition of the Quranic verse : 'Lo! We, even We, reveal the Reminder, and Lo! We verily are its Guardian' (XV : 9)
"The Muslims of India and Pakistan (the subcontinent). as regards their religious life, are under the obligation of the graduates of Deoband. Innovations and wrong customs and conventions came to an end in every nook and corner of the country through their missionary and reforming efforts. The correction of convictions (Aqa'id), preaching of religion, and polemical debates with the benighted sects, etc., are the conspicuous achievements of these gentlemen.
"Its graduates accomplished great works in the academic field in which, besides the compilation and writing of useful books, are included the discovery of old academic treasures, useful and meaningful commentaries and scholia, and the translations of innumerable books. Their services in the academic field deserve to be appreciated and complimented.
"Many graduates of Darul-Uloom entered the political field, gave sacrifices and suffered hardships for the sake of the dear native land. Darul-Uloom Deoband, has also been a centre of political guidance for the Muslims of India. Its graduates not only joined different movements and worked with them but they also became the cause of the setting of several new movements on foot. Thus they have been regularly giving the correct political guidance to the Muslims.
"Indubitably the establishment of Darul-Uloom Deoband, was an important need of the time and its graduates fulfilled this important need. In such circumstances prevailing in the country when the very concept of education, particularly the religious education, was absent and when there were only schools established by the English which either used to christianise their students or at least made them weary of their religion, Deoband rose to the occasion, gave correct religious guidance to the people and created a religious atmosphere in the whole country. The services of Darul-Uloom in this connection deserve to be written in letters of gold''.
A former ambassador of Afghanistan, Sardar Najibullah Khan, has expressed his impressions of Darul-Uloom in the following words :
"In the eyes of the common people of Afghanistan Darul-Uloom Deoband, is a public educational institution but l can say on the basis of my own observation' that it is not merely a public teaching institution but is also a centre of Islamic culture. At a time when the Islamic state was no more in India, Darul-Uloom protected religion and Islam, and l hope that in future too it will remain similarly engaged in serving the arts and sciences. The public, Ulema and lowers of knowledge in Afghanistan are not only its admirers but they are also the helpers and well-wishers of its Ulema. In fact this assembly (Mehfil) of Islamic culture is the most prominent assembly and is sui generis. The foundation of Islamic culture rests on truth, love and recognition of reality and this assembly comprises all these elements.
"The history of the Darul-Uloom is a witness to this thing that it has always produced upright and truthful sons on whom Darul-Uloom can rightly pride itself."
Once a newspaper of Calcutta, 'Asr-e-Jadid', dated October 13, 1936, reviewing the services of Darul-Uloom, had written :-
"The religious and educational services Darul-Uloom Deoband. bas been rendering to Islam and the manner in which it has protected the spiritual building of Islamic India from the flood of western culture and civilisation can be evidenced by every comer of this long and broad subcontinent that is India. At a lime when the glitter of modern sciences had dazzled the superficial' observers, when the lure of worldly honour and ranks was drawing the best hearts towards them, when people had become indifferent to religion and negligent towards religious education, when the sacred voices of "Said Allah" and 'Said the Apostle', overcome by the victorious racket and deafening flourish of trumpets of the western education and civilisation, had been suppressed in the drum-porch of modern education, at such a delicate time it v/as Deoband and Deoband atone which stood its ground bearing the standard of the Quran and the Hadith. The typhoons of apathy and the tornadoes of lukewarmness of the country repeatedly tried to knock it down but it stood like a mountain. The derisive laughter of the triumphant culture could not deflect it from its Asianism and conservatism. The flood of modern education did wish to wash it away with its current but it was discomfited; and it, despite its forlorn condition, continued on the one hand to contend with its internal and external enemies and, on the other, kept transmitting the light of its spiritualism to every nook and comer of the country, so much so that after its continuos struggle it is today a glorious centre of Islamic education not only in India but also in Asia and the state of its spiritual lure is such that those doting on the Quran and the Hadith have gathered around it moth-like not only from Peshawar and Rangoon but also from Qafqaz, Mosul, Bukhara and every part of the Islamic world.
"It is said that the Ulema are recluses, unaware of the roughs and smooths of the world. But this is not correct. They are not against the modern sciences but they are certainly inimical to the westernism which makes hearts and minds disclaim their own nationality, their own religion and their own social life. They are not inert and narrow-minded, but this is also certain that they do not look with approval upon such education and lifestyle which may make the sons of the community and the country strangers to themselves; which may annihilate their communal sentiment and make them indifferent to religion and devoid of oriental morals; which may habituate them to fashion, externalism and indolence and may put out of sight the greatest and most important purpose of life, i.e., worship to God and service to his creatures".
The newspaper, AI-Jami'at, Delhi, dated April 22, 1952, had written in its editorial as follows:- "To deny this fact will be tantamount to denying the greatest truth of the world that the example of the glorious services which the Islamic and religious schools of India, particularly Darul-Uloom Deoband, have rendered to Islam and the Muslims and the way they have moulded the mind in the Islamic mould, cannot be found in any educational system of the world. Such inexpensive education which has been given in Arabic schools till now is sui generis in the world. The teachers get so much pay as today perhaps office peons must be getting. They teach sitting on sack-cloth so that such students may be prepared who may become responsible for the religious life of the Muslims. The condition of the students' steadiness is such that they content themselves with whatever they get. Even if they receive any help from the Madrasah, it is only so much that oil and soap may be bought and they may launder their clothes themselves. These students devote themselves merely for Allah's pleasure and don't care a fig even if they have to starve sometimes and may not have whole clothes on their bodies !
"If the statistics of this inexpensive education these schools have given are published, perhaps the world will not believe it. These schools are the headspring of Islamic life through which the warm blood of religion and beliefs is transfused into the religious body of the Muslims. And all are aware of the fact that Darul-Uloom Deoband, is the greatest religious centre not only of India but also of Asia in which students from all over the world receive education and the sheets of whose educational benefaction have spread all over Asia".
The daily Da'wat, Delhi, dated July 24, 1969, writes about the peculiarities of Darul-Uloom as follows :- "Darul-Uloom Deoband, is a century-old trust with us. In Asian countries it is the only institution which takes upon itself full responsibility for supporting and educating nearly fifteen hundred students every year in such condition that it never took aid of a single paisa from the government. Students right from Asia Minor to Hejaz, Syria and Iraq used to come to Darul-Uloom Deoband, for prosecuting their studies and after graduating from it when they reached their own countries, they used to cut a good impression of their academic erudition. In India and Pakistan teachership in the Madaris and the important service of leading the congregational prayers in the masques and sermonising are even today mostly in the hands of the graduates of the same Darul-Uloom".
From the opinion of a western thinker you will -know that the fame and greatness of Darul-Uloom, having passed through the continents of Asia and Africa has even reached Canada. Prof. W. Cantwell Smith, Director of the Department of Islamic Studies, Mc Gill University, Montreal, Canada, writes in his book. Modern Islam in India :-
"Next to the Azhar of Cairo, the Darul-Uloom at Deoband is the most important and respected theological academy of the Muslim World. Its influence and prestige throughout India are naturally large and they are all the greater for the school's long tradition and concern for the' material condition of the Indian Muslims. The tradition is derived ultimately from the movement of Shah Waliullah Dehlavi and the Indian Wahabis and has expressed itself in the participation of Deoband 'Ulama' in various revolutionary movements such as the Ghadar of 1857 and their more recent support of Congress nationalism. Unlike Bareilly, Deoband is thoroughly dissatisfied with things as they are, and it is vigorous and determined in its efforts to improve them. Its aim is to resuscitate classical Islam, rid the Muslims of the theological corruption's, the ritual degradation's and the material exploitation to which they have fallen prey since the British occupation.
"Theologically the school stands for a rigid orthodoxy of the classical Aristotelian type. The door of "Ijtihad" is closed tight. Deoband maintains rigorously the promises of Islam. Within the limits of those pressures it is relentlessly rationalist. It attempts to do away with aberrations, compromises and intellectual laziness. The theological atmosphere is that of an unmitigated scholasticism; the professors use exclusively the old categories of thought.
"On the practical side, Deoband 'Ulama' are puritanically strict. They work assiduously to overcome and destroy backsliding, superstitions, saint-worship and all the paraphernalia of ignorance, poverty and fear in a depressed and decadent agrarian society.
"Their ideal is traditional Islam in its purest form with a strict enforcement of Shari'ah. Their conception of historical Islam is precise unlike the liberals, whose roseate picture of an ideal age in the past is coloured more strongly by contemporary liberal aspirations than by any disciplined acquaintance with Islamic studies".
(Modern Islam in India, pp. 320-321 by Prof. Wilfred Cantwell Smith, Pub. Minerva Bookshop, Anarkali, Lahore 1943.)
The educational and religious services of Darul-Uloom are so clear that an observer can see them at first sight. In 1377/1957, the President of the Republic of India, the late Dr. Rajendra Prasad, while speaking in Darul-Uloom, has said :-
"The august men of the Darul-Uloom have been learning and imparting knowledge for the sake of knowledge. Such men have been there in the past also but very few who acquired knowledge and taught it merely for the sake of serving knowledge. They used to be more honoured than the kings. Today the elders of Darul-Uloom are treading the same path.
"The elders of Darul-Uloom have rendered service not only to the inhabitants of this country but they have also achieved such fame from their services that students of foreign lands also flock to this institute, and after having acquired education here, they go back to their countries and disseminate whatever they have learnt here. This thing is worthy of being proud of for all the people of this country".