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Deoband and Islamic banking – Implications for educational reform and poverty alleviation

It is reported that Deoband has initiated a countrywide initiative for Islamic banking training in India, see the image below

1527031_547543092032806_209025884_nDeoband is one of the most important stakeholders of the Indian and Pakistani societies. In the first place it must be acknowledged that the Deoband oriented Madaris are providing educational services to about 6 million poorest of the poor children of Pakistan. 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 (over Rs. 96 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, in the recent past, 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 the center of many proposals for enhancing the positive role of Madaris in our societies (for the large intellectual and policy work done all over the world on this subject, see, this Google search result:  http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=madaris+reform&btnG=Search

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 in "secularization" and Western indoctrination. It is in this perspective that the initiative of the Deoband to start India wide training on Islamic banking shall be considered as a truly revolutionary reform and a change of the intellectual mind set.

Therefore, we suggest that the federal government of Pakistan shall encourage similar approaches among the Madaris of our own country 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 and Asset Management
Numerous other related courses.

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 Shariah-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 of poverty alleviation as well as achieving peace and security for present and future generations a like.

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