It is reported that Darul Uloom Deoband has initiated a countrywide initiative for Islamic banking training in India. Deoband also has excellent track record in organising charity. It is one of the most important stakeholders of the Indian and Pakistani societies. It must be acknowledged that the Deoband-oriented Madaris are providing educational services to about 6 million poorest of the poor children of Pakistan. The respective figure for India is exponentially higher. India, Bangladesh and Indonesia are some of the other countries where Madaris also play a similarly significant role in their respective societies. In Pakistan, like the other countries cited, Madaris are financed by charities, awqaf and zakat contributed by the public annually (estimated to be over Rs96 billion). Hence Madaris are not a source of burden on the government resources and need all encouragement and appreciation for offering educational services to the poorest of the poor. However, Darul Uloom Deoband has been averse to markets in the past. Consequently, there has been a serious problem with the curriculum of Madaris in that it is merely historical in content and inspiration and is completely out of touch with the modern needs of the society and markets. Therefore, the Madaris do not prepare their graduates to participate in the development process: to contribute to it and to benefit from it. Thus reforming the curriculum of the Madaris has been central to many proposals for enhancing the positive role of Madaris in our societies.  However, all the suggestions for curriculum reform are vehemently rejected by the management of the Madaris on the pretext that these proposals are conscious and systematic attempts of “secularisation” and Western indoctrination.

Signs of marriage of charity and markets

It is in this perspective that the initiative of the Deoband to start India-wide training on Islamic banking should be considered as a truly revolutionary reform and a change of the intellectual mindset. Therefore, it is suggested that the government of Pakistan should encourage similar approaches among the Madaris for introducing the following courses in their curriculum at various stages:

  • Islamic Accounting and Auditing Standards
  • Islamic Financial Management
  • Islamic Banking
  • Shariah Supervision of Businesses
  • Strategic Management of Awqaf and Zakat Organizations
  • Islamic Economics
  • Islamic Capital Markets
  • Asset Management

Introduction of these and related courses will develop professional competencies of the Madaris graduates in the modern management sciences. On the other hand, the booming global Shari’a-based businesses will beneficially employ the new breed of the professionals. We expect that the Madaris will not object to such a home-grown strategy of curriculum reform, especially after the Deoband training initiative. Such a reform, if properly implemented, will have tremendous positive impact on poverty alleviation as well as achieving peace and security for present and future generations alike. (2607)

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