What Indian Muslims Really Need To Hear From Maulana Madani

What Indian Muslims Really Need To Hear From Maulana Madani

by Arshia Malik - Sunday, February 12, 2023 02:03 PM IST
What Indian Muslims Really Need To Hear From Maulana MadaniBust of Ibn Khaldoun at the entrance of the Casbah of Bejaia, Algeria (Photo: Reda Kerbush/Wikimedia Commons)
  • Indian Muslims need to be told why there are not more universities, chairs, societies, fellowships, prizes, and scholarships named after Ibn Khaldun in India.

During the thirty-fourth general session of the Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind in New Delhi, the organisation's president, Maulana Mahmood Madani, said India is the birthplace of Islam and emphasised that considering Islam as a foreign religion is incorrect.

Madani called for equal treatment of all citizens and an end to hate speech, inviting the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief to put an end to mutual hatred and work together for a developed India.

He reiterated that the Jamiat supports continued dialogue between the RSS and Muslim bodies, and opposes the implementation of a uniform civil code in India, stating that it will harm the country's unity and diversity and is motivated by vote-bank politics.

Madani further clarified that the Jamiat has always stood for the idea of India, composite nationalism, and Hindu-Muslim unity, and has no religious or ethnic enmity with the RSS or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), but differs with them based on ideology.

The Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind chief’s remarks contain problematic assertions and opposes the implementation of the uniform civil code. It is not what ordinary Indian Muslims need to hear.

Instead, they should be made aware of the fourteenth-century North African philosopher and historian, Ibn Khaldun, and his famous The Muqaddimah — a comprehensive work of history and sociology that’s considered to be one of the most important works of the Middle Ages and a founding work of modern sociology.

The book provides insights into the rise and fall of civilisations. It is divided into several sections, each of which covers different aspects of human society and civilisation.

In the first section, Khaldun lays out his philosophy of history and the importance of group solidarity.

In the second, he analyses the factors that contribute to the rise and fall of civilisations, including religion, economics, and politics.

In the third, he provides a historical overview of the world, starting with ancient civilisations and ending with the rise of the Islamic Empire.

The Muqaddimah remains a highly regarded work in the field of history and sociology. Its insights continue to be relevant and widely studied today.

Indian Muslims need to be told why there are not more universities, chairs, societies, fellowships, prizes, and scholarships named after Ibn Khaldun in India.

Khaldun believed that the rise of a civilisation is due to the efforts of its people to satisfy their basic needs, such as food and shelter. Bharat, as a civilisational state, is the best example of it. The Turkic and Mongol invasions and conquests tried their best to obliterate it, yet they didn't succeed.

Khaldun also observed that civilisations become more complex and sophisticated over time, with the development of arts, sciences, and technology.

We can see the evidence left that British scholars, with their colonial mindset and imperialist attitude towards Indic knowledge, documented, the damages of which are visible in all spheres of life in India today.

We have just begun to reassert those Indic basics and past glory by rediscovering, redocumenting, rewriting, re-interpreting, and preserving.

However, Khaldun also argued that this growth is often followed by a decline, as people become more concerned with material wealth and luxury, and lose touch with the values that built the civilisation in the first place.

According to Ibn Khaldun, the decline of a civilisation is a natural process that is brought on by several factors, including the loss of unity and cohesion, the loss of religious and moral values, and the rise of luxury and decadence.

He also believed that the decline could be hastened by outside factors, such as natural disasters, invasions, and other forms of violence.

Again, his arguments find examples in the history of India's civilisation surviving despite the best efforts of foreign ideologies and colonialism.

Yet, the well-oiled anti-India global network, which is funding modern-day internal insurgencies and subversive activities, is trying to outdo what Mir Qasim, Muhammad Ghori, Mahmud of Ghazni, the East India Company, and the British Crown eventually did — partition and secessionism.

This is where Maulana Mahmood Madani and all whom he represents need to be asked: Where are our centres of excellence where we should be teaching what Ibn Khaldun formulated centuries ago?

If they really want to declare Islam as indigenous, it could very well be, after its syncretisation with the Dharmic traditions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and their offshoot, Sikhism, developing into an Indic Islam of sorts, visible across the landscape of Hind or Bharat.

Ibn Khaldun's views on civilisations were based on a holistic understanding of history, economics, and sociology.

Which is why there are universities, fellowships, chairs, and scholarships named after the fourteenth-century philosopher and historian, not just in North Africa and the Middle East, but also in the West.

And these institutions are not merely named after him, but are actively disseminating his ideas to society so that his legacy of critical thinking and intellectual inquiry can be continued.

Couldn't Aligarh University or Kashmir University or Jamia Millia have come up with an Ibn Khaldun Society, like the one in Istanbul, Turkey, or an Ibn Khaldun Prize in Social Sciences, like the one given annually in the Tunisian National Council for Scientific Research?

Where is the Ibn Khaldun Award for Excellence in Social Sciences, just as the Arab Network for Research and Publishing in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, maintains, or a similar Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies as in Cairo, Egypt?

It is high time for an Ibn Khaldun Chair in Islamic Economics, akin to the one in King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, considering the Kingdom has woken up to reforms in recent times.

Indian Muslims are still lagging behind due to the obscurantist rhetoric of the likes of Maulana Madani.

Arshia Malik is a columnist and commentator on social issues with particular emphasis on Islam in the Indian subcontinent.
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