By K. Rehman Khan
Muslims need to focus particularly on their educational and economic progress.
Muslims today face numerous issues. The most pressing problems are issues within the Muslim community itself. Muslims must introspect and see where they have gone wrong.
Deficiency in investment for education and economic advancement is a major cause of the overall backwardness of Muslims. Muslims have failed to invest their resources in building infrastructure for the overall development of the community. Muslim leaders—both religious leaders and political leaders—have failed to guide Muslims to invest in economic and educational progress and stand on their own feet. They have made them think that this progress is the responsibility only of the government or political parties. They have ignored the basic fact that Muslims are responsible for their own progress. A sense of minoritarianism is deep rooted among the Indian Muslims. This sense is responsible for many Muslims thinking that they must depend on the government for their own development. They should know that this is unreasonable. The state must treat all citizens equally.
Ever since Independence, the Indian Muslims’ leadership has not provided the community with the guidance that they needed. It has not facilitated them to participate equally with other communities in the economic and education fields. It is true that the Muslims have had to face many challenges, including the issue of communal polarisation. Another issue was the emphasis given by the religious leadership on madrasas, while modern education was not given the attention that it was due. The entire country was on the path of development, and other social groups were participating in the developmental process and reaping its benefits, but Muslims did not participate much in the process. Instead, they wasted all the energies on irrelevant issues or non-issues. Various political parties exploited these non-issues and kept the Muslim leaders engaged in them.
“Muslim religious leaders should realise that promoting modern education and the economic progress of the Muslim masses and overcoming sectarian divisions ought to be among their major priorities”.
The Muslim community is divided religiously, on the basis of sects. These sectarian divisions within the Muslims are another major cause of their backwardness. Muslims need to reflect on this.
Today, Muslims should start seeing things from a different perspective. They need to focus particularly on their educational and economic progress. Economically rich Muslims should not sit apart and isolate themselves from the larger Muslim society, content just with doing some charity work. They have a major responsibility to share their wealth for the development of the community and invest in the educational sector. They should realise that the wealth they have is not their own. They are only trustees of wealth that is given by God. God has given wealth to them, and they must share it with others. If they do not do this, they will have to face tragic consequences when they depart from this world, leaving their wealth to their children to become a liability to the society, rather than becoming an asset.
Our religious leaders should realise that promoting modern education and the economic progress of the Muslim masses as well as overcoming sectarian divisions ought to be among their major priorities. Economically wealthy Muslims and Muslim religious leaders should come together and enable the community to address these issues on their own strength. They should not hope or expect that anyone else will do this work for them.