By Mohammad Razi-ul-Islam Nadwi
Some of Sir Syed’s views and beliefs (e.g. on heaven, angels, jinns, nature, miracles etc.) were contrary to the consensus of majority of scholars. Despite their opposition he did not change his views.
However, when he established Madrasat-ul-Uloom, and later MAO College he kept his personal views separate from the institution and did not try to impose them upon the students of his college.
Later when he established Department of Theology in the College he appointed Maulana Abdullah Ansari, the son- in-law of the founder of Darul-Uloom Deoband Maulana Qasim Nanautvi, as its head.
After establishing the Madrasa/College Sir Syed survived for about 12-13 years but during those years neither in the Theology Department nor in any other department of the college did anyone hear about Sir Syed’s views.
Few years ago Aligarh Muslim University took a revolutionary decision and started a Bridge Course for Madrasa students and the students who attended this course were regarded eligible for admissions in courses of other social sciences.
Using his discretionary powers. the former Vice Chancellor General (Retired) Zameeruddin Shah appointed Dr. Rashid Shaz directly to the post of Professor and also the Director of the Bridge Course.
Dr. Rashid Shaz has gained some international fame for some of his views. His writings have been translated in different languages.
He thinks that muhadiseen, experts of Islamic jurisprudence and tradional ulema have muddled up the real teachings of Islam and therefore he wants to remove those covers and thus renovate the ‘real teachings’ of Islam. The leading Islamic scholars, however, do not approve of his views. They regard his views as deviation.
After being appointed as the Director of the Bridge Course by the University it would have been more appropriate for Dr. Rashid Shaz to follow the example that was set by Sir Syed himself. He should have focussed on improving the Bridge Course and make it more useful for madarsa students.
Instead he started thrusting his views upon madrasa students. His non-academic activities are a testimony to this fact.
The Bridge Course was brought under the Center for Promotion of Educational and Cultural Advancement of Muslims of India (CEPECAMI). Dr. Shaz was given its Directorship as well.
CEPECAMI is AMU’s old department whose aim is to take practical measures for the educational upliftment of Muslims. Dr. Shaz used it to spread and promote his particular views as well. Its glaring proof are the proceedings of those two international conferences that have so far been organized under its banner.
University authorities need to rethink whether they have started the Bridge Course to acquaint Madrasa students with modern sciences or to proselytize and make them hate traditional education and its centers?
If negligence is being practiced in this aspect there must be a system to check and stop it. Surely AMU is not yet devoid of the presence of milli sympathizers and its well wishers. Why then no voice is being raised against it from there?