Nadavant-ul-Ulma was the synthesis of Ali Garh and Deoband

The institutions Aligarh and Deoband were working apparently different but inwardly for the same objective to reform the Muslim society and organize them on sound footings. Aligarh was ultra-modern and their entire thrust was on English education whereas Deoband had orthodox approach and focused on religious education. The ultra-zeal of these two apparently different institutions created certain misgivings in the minds of Muslim intelligentsia.

Moreover, the missionary zeal of certain British officers, to organize missionary schools in the far and wide of India was also a cause to establish the Madrassah that would be moderate in training and preparing the students for future challenges. One of the significant of these institutions was Nadwat-ul-Ulama. It was attempted to bridge up the gulf between the old and the new ideas. It was started with a conference held on 22nd, 23rd and 24th April 1894 at the Madrassah Faiz-i-Aam, Kanpur. It brought on one platform the leading ulema of every school of thought. Beside the Hanfi ulema, Maulawi Ibrahim Arawi and Maulana Muhammad Hussain from among the Ahill-e-Hadith and Maulana Ghulam-ul-Hasnain from among the Shiah Mujtahids participated in the session.

The president was the great scholar Mufti Lutfullah, of Aligarh who commanded the respect of all sections of the participants. Maulana Sulaman Nadwi, the most distinguished scholar of Nadwah, has well summarized the problems facing the conference. He said: Thoughtful Muslims were perturbed at the onrush of revolutionary trends and catastrophic disasters. The old system of Madrassah and Maktabs was breaking down. Muslim boys were being attracted to English schools and colleges, Christianity had been brought to the forefront through the influence of government. A network of missionary activities had spread everywhere. Their orphanages had been established at every place; disputations between Christians and Muslims had become common: pamphlets were being published by both the camps and modern European ideas were rushing in like, a flood”.Ulemas was busy in petty controversies over the matters of no significance and were being estranged from one another in the process. The methods of instruction in old Muslim institutions had grown antiquated and were outdated. The founders of Nadwah set themselves the task of finding remedies for these difficulties. Maulana Shibli was the person who assumed the responsibility of framing syllabus and chalking out course, outline for Nadwah.

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  • To bring improvement in the syllabus of education and to synthesize the religious and scientific education and to cultivate morals and decency in behavior.
  • To make an effort to address the disputes that were causing bickering among the ulema.
  • To promote the welfare of Muslims society by keeping them away from political affairs.
  • Foundation of 9rand Islamic Dar-ul-Ulema in which along ‘with arts, science and manual skills were also taught.
  • Establishment of Dar-ul-Ifta.

The Nadwah like Deoband and other Muslim educational institutions has its links with the movement of Shah Waliullah through Maulana Buzurg Ali who was a leading scholar and had studied under Shah Muhammad lshaq, the maternal grandson of Shah Abdul Aziz. In order to get financial help from government Maulana Shibli Numani adopted a moderate policy to appease the government just on the footsteps of Sir Syed. The foundation stone of the new building of Nadwah was laid by an English governor. Being a close associate of Sir Syed Maulana Shibli had developed the perception of practical life base: on expediencies. He regarded the policy of aimless confrontations against government as useless and against the Muslims interest. This policy of Shibli earned criticism from the certain quarters of ulema of Nadwah. Shibli was criticized. This division among the ranks of Nadwah gave rude shock to this institution.

Despite the difficulties Nadwah earned a good name in the academic world of India. It produced great leaders and seasoned individuals that made difference in Indian political and literary history. Syed Sulaman Nadwi, Maulana Moin-ud Din Khan and Maulana Masood Au are the distinguished people of Indian history.In 1908, the managers of Nadwah decided to publish a journal Al-Nadwa. The first editor of the new organ was Maulana Habib-ur-Rehman and Maulana Shibli. It enabled the ulema to become acquainted with new trends of thought and current problems: those who had received modern education could study the achievements of Islam in the earlier centuries. It propagated the importance of Islamic studies and Arabic in the subcontinent.

Deoband gave the idea of removing British by giving support to Hindus but on the other hand Nadwa believed in the unity of Muslims and was against the Congress. Nadwa also encouraged the English along with Islamic teaching but on the other hand Deoband only appreciated religious teachings i.e. Quran, Hadith, and Fiqah. Nadwa’s students spread in the sub-continent and worked for the creation of Pakistan while Deoband’s students were in favor of Congress motives. Dar-ul-Musannafin, Azamgarh is also branch of Nadwah that served Indian Muslims intellectually. Significant changes were brought in the contents of instruction and new disciplines were introduced. In spite of this, Nadwah did not succeed in its primary objective because it tended to row more and more conservative and thus failed to assimilate as much of Western knowledge as was necessary; in disciplines it did not prove equal to Deoband not to the Aligarh. However it succeeded in bringing moderate behavior in Indian politics.

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