Traditionalist ulema lead educational revolution in Kerala

Written by Yoginder Sikand · December 13, 2007 · 452 views

December 13, 2007

Kerala’s Muslims are unique among their co-religionists in India in fashioning a system of education that enables their children to attend both religious as well as regular schools at the same time. Muslims account for around a fourth of Kerala’s population, and the state’s Muslims, known as Mapillas, are among the most literate of the various Muslim communities in the country. Madrasas and schools run by literally hundreds of Muslim religious organizations in the state have made this possible. A recent study by Zubair Hudawi, himself a madrasa graduate from Kerala and presently a doctoral candidate at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, titled ‘Development and Modernisation of Religious Education in Kerala: The Role of the Samastha Kerala Jameyyat ul-Ulama’, discusses this contribution in great detail.

The Samastha Kerala Jameyyat ul-Ulama (SKJU) represents a traditionalist theological position, quite opposed to Islamic modernists on numerous points. Yet, as Hudawi argues, it has not hesitated from championing modern education. Hudawi, who spent several years studying at the Dar ul-Huda Islamic Academy, the SKJU’s leading centre for higher Islamic education, seeks to explain this enigma through an in-depth analysis of the organisation’s evolution and development, arguing against the notion that the traditionalist ulema are necessarily and wholly opposed to ‘modernity’. He argues that the SKJU is an excellent example of a traditionalist Muslim religious organization that, rather than opposing ‘modernity’ outright, actually facilitates it, albeit selectively. Thus, today, he writes, the SKJU runs not just several thousand madrasas but also numerous English- and Malayalam-medium schools, and scores of women’s and technical colleges. Continue reading “Traditionalist ulema lead educational revolution in Kerala”

Islam’s Path East: China

One of Islam’s main entry points into China was the Pearl River port of Quanzhou.

The majority of China’s Muslims are Turkic peoples living in the vast Xinjiang region of northwest China. The rest are mainly Hui – either descendants of Chinese converts to Islam or the offspring of Chinese intermarriages with Muslim immigrants whose appearance is distinctly Chinese. They live in sizeable communities in the former Silk Road oases of western and central China, in the southern province of Yunnan, and in the industrial cities and ports of the east. 

Contacts between Muslims and Chinese began very early. Arab merchants traded in silk even before the advent of Islam, and tradition has it that the new religion was brought to their port-city trading colonies by Muslim missionaries in the seventh century.

In 755, a contingent of 4000 soldiers, mostly Muslim Turks, was sent by the Abbasid caliph Abu Jafar al-Mansur to help the Chinese emperor Su Tsung quell a revolt by one of his military commanders, An LuShan. Following the recapture of the imperial capital, Ch’angan (today’s Xian), these soldiers settled in China, married Chinese wives and founded inland Muslim colonies similar to those established by the traders on the coast. 

Islam made its first real inroads into what is now western China in the middle of the 10th century, with the conversion of Sultan Sutuq Bughrakhan of Kashgar and his subsequent conquest of the Silk Road oases of Yarkand and Khotan in southwest Xinjiang. 

During the Song Dynasty (960 – 1279), China experienced spectacular economic growth. This stimulated expansion of the Muslim mercantile communities – particularly in Ch’ang – an, the eastern terminus of the Silk Roads, and in the port cities of Quanzhou and Guangzhou, where Muslims largely governed the internal affairs of their own neighborhoods, building mosques and appointing qadis to adjudicate according to Islamic law.

But although some Chinese merchants involved in international trade did become Muslims, other converts were few, and Islam in China was confined largely to Muslim immigrants and their descendants. Until, that is, the Mongol invasion overthrew the Song Dynasty and ushered in what Chinese Muslims regard as the “golden age” of Islam in China. Continue reading “Islam’s Path East: China”

mezquitas (mosques) of Cordoba,Spain


The Great Mosque of Cordoba extended and revised architectural review

When the Umayyad were supplanted by the Abbasids in 750 and the centre of Islam relocated from Damascus, Syria to Baghdad, Iraq, a Umayyad prince named Abed Al-Rahman I moved to Spain where Muslims were already established & founded a dynasty with Cordoba as its capital. The kingdom flourished, lasting for nearly 300 years (756-1031). In 929 a restored Umayyad caliphate was set up in Cordoba, in rivalry with the Abbasids in Baghdad: by any standard, Cordoba was the richest, most sophisticated city in Europe.

The Great Mosque of
Cordoba’s original construction under Abed Al-Rahman I – Part 1
The Great Mosque of
Cordoba‘s original construction under Abed Al-Rahman I – Part 2
The first mosque extension under Abed Al-Rahman II
Building work on the Great Mosque of Cordoba by Abed AI-Rahman III

The extension under al-Hakam II
The last extension under Al-Mansor

The Great Mosque Of Cordoba’s Pictures



Magnificent
Interiors

The Great Mosque, Cordoba

 

The Great Mosque of Cordoba’s original construction under Abed Al-Rahman I – Part 1
The Great Mosque of
Cordoba‘s original construction under Abed Al-Rahman I – Part 2
The first mosque extension under Abed Al-Rahman II
Building work on the Great Mosque of Cordoba by Abed AI-Rahman III

The extension under al-Hakam II
The last extension under Al-Mansor

The Great Mosque Of Cordoba’s Pictures

Mosques in Spain

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Related books

Islamic Art and Architecture: From Isfahan to the Taj Mahal Art historian Henri Stierlin explores a dazzling 1,000-year-old decorative tradition in Islamic Art and Architecture: From Isfahan to the Taj Mahal.

Gardens, Landscape, and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain The Gardens, Landscape, and Vision in the Palaces of Islamic Spain offers a new interpretation of the history of gardens in Spain during the period of Islamic rule from the eighth through the fifteenth centuries.

Islam’s Claim on Spain

The white minaret of the new Great Mosque of Granada doesn’t overshadow a nearby church but is nonetheless a testament to Spanish Muslims’ pride in their history in “Al Andalus,” the region of southern Spain now known as Andalusia

GRANADA, Spain – Across a valley of fragrant cedars and orange trees, worshipers at the pristine Great Mosque of Granada look out at the Alhambra, the 700-year-old citadel and monument to the heyday of Islamic glory.

Granada’s Muslims chose the hilltop location precisely with the view, and its unmistakable symbolism, in mind.

It took them more than 20 years to build the mosque, the first erected here in half a millennium, after they conquered the objections of city leaders and agreed, ultimately, to keep the minaret shorter than the steeple on the Catholic Iglesia de San Nicolas next door.

Cloistered nuns on the other side of the mosque added a few feet to the wall enclosing their convent, as if to say they wanted neither to be seen nor to see.

Many of Spain’s Muslims long for an Islamic revival to reclaim their legendary history, and inaugurating the Great Mosque last year was the most visible gesture. But horrific bombings by Muslim extremists that killed nearly 200 people in Madrid on March 11 have forced Spain’s Muslims and non-Muslims to reassess their relationship, and turned historical assumptions on their head.

“We are a people trying to return to our roots,” said Anwar Gonzalez, 34, a Granada native who converted to Islam 17 years ago. “But it’s a bad time to be a Muslim.”

Spain has a long, rich and complex history interwoven with the Muslim and Arab world, from its position as the center of Islamic Europe in the last millennium to today’s confrontation with a vast influx of Muslim immigrants. Continue reading “Islam’s Claim on Spain”

Ahead of Iraq Deployment, 37 Korean Troops Convert to Islam

Ahead of Iraq Deployment, 37 Korean Troops Convert to Islam
“I became a Muslim because I felt Islam was more humanistic and peaceful than other religions. And if you can religiously connect with the locals, I think it could be a big help in carrying out our peace reconstruction mission.” So said on Friday those Korean soldiers who converted to Islam ahead of their late July deployment to the Kurdish city of Irbil in northern Iraq. At noon Friday, 37 members of the Iraq-bound “Zaitun Unit,” including Lieutenant Son Hyeon-ju of the Special Forces 11th Brigade, made their way to a mosque in Hannam-dong, Seoul and held a conversion ceremony.

Captain Son Jin-gu from Zaitoon Unit recites an oath at ceremony to mark his conversion to Islam at a mosque in Hannam-dong, Seoul on Friday. /Yonhap


The soldiers, who cleansed their entire bodies in accordance with Islamic tradition, made their conversion during the Friday group prayers at the mosque, with the assistance of the “imam,” or prayer leader.

With the exception of the imam, all the Muslims and the Korean soldiers stood in a straight line to symbolize how all are equal before God and took a profession on faith.

They had memorized the Arabic confession, ” Ashadu an La ilaha il Allah, Muhammad-ur-Rasool-Allah,” which means, “I testify that there is no god but God (Arabic: Allah), and Muhammad is the Messenger of God.”

Soldiers from Zaitoon Unit pray after conversion ceremony at a mosque in Hannam-dong, Seoul on Friday./Yonhap


Moreover, as the faithful face the “Kaaba,” the Islamic holy place in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, all Muslims confirm that they are brothers.

For those Korean soldiers who entered the Islamic faith, recent chances provided by the Zaitun Unit to come into contact with Islam proved decisive.

Taking into consideration the fact that most of the inhabitants of Irbil are Muslims, the unit sent its unreligious members to the Hannam-dong mosque so that they could come to understand Islam. Some of those who participated in the program were entranced by Islam and decided to convert.

A unit official said the soldiers were inspired by how important religious homogeneity was considered in the Muslim World; if you share religion, you are treated not as a foreigner, but as a local, and Muslims do not attack Muslim women even in war.

Zaitun Unit Corporal Paek Seong-uk (22) of the Army’s 11th Division said, “I majored in Arabic in college and upon coming across the Quran, I had much interest in Islam, and I made up my mind to become a Muslim during this religious experience period [provided by the Zaitun Unit].”

He expressed his aspirations. “If we are sent to Iraq, I want to participate in religious ceremonies with the locals so that they can feel brotherly love and convince them that the Korean troops are not an army of occupation but a force deployed to provide humanitarian support.”

(englishnews@chosun.com )