Second Hi-Tech Workshop for Young Ulema

ulema

A recent five-day workshop focusses on introducing Ulema trainees to the methodologies of research and its importance.

Besides providing collective guidance to Ummah on contemporary issues and problems since its inception, the Islamic Fiqh Academy of India has also been striving to impart modern research skills in young madrassa graduates with an objective to prepare them for fresh challenges in the realm of Islamic jurisprudence.

In this connection, the Fiqh Academy has been conducting a second five-day workshop [in Delhi] with the active collaboration of Excellence Research Centre on Contemporary Fiqh Issues (ERCCFI) which is affiliated to Riyadh-based Al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University in Saudi Arabia.

More than 70 young graduates from leading Islamic seminaries across India were trained by the Saudi and Indian experts and resource persons in the workshop. The course entitled “Characteristics of Research Skills in Contemporary Issues and Its Electronic Sources” is meant to make Ulema and jurists adept in extracting required material from printed and electronic books and modern technique of research in the field of Islamic Jurisprudence.

Speaking at inaugural session of the workshop, Dr. Ayad al-Salami, Director of Excellence Research Centre in Contemporary Fiqh Issues (ERCCFI), underlined the importance of information technology in research methodologies. He said that in the age of digitization and computerization,Ulema need to adopt modern research methods as Islamic jurisprudence cannot remain isolated from this trend. He further stressed that it is the primary duty ofUlema and Islamic jurists to find out solution of contemporary issues arising out of new technological advancements and changes in social, political, economic spheres across the world.

Giving a brief detail about academic activities in Saudi universities, Saudi diplomat, Shaikh Ahmad Roomi,said theExcellence Research Centre on Contemporary Fiqh Issues(ERCCFI) has been doing yeoman service in producing experts on Islamic jurisprudence. He said that Khadim-e-Harmain Sharifain Shah Salman bin Abdul Aziz and the Ministry of Education have been giving full patronage to educational activities. He informed that the Excellence Research Centre of Saud University has been organizing such workshops in other parts of world.

It is worthwhile to be mentioned here that the Riyadh-based ‘Excellence Research Centre in Contemporary Fiqh Issues’ has been doing remarkable job in the field of Islamic jurisprudence. It has recently published “Encyclopedia in the Fiqh of Contemporary Issues” which spread over in nine volumes providing simple solutions on modern issues.Furthermore, the Center has also published 80 highly acclaimed scholarly books on Islamic Law.

In his Presidential remarks, rector of Darul Uloom Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow, Maulana (Dr) Sayeed Ur Rahman Azmi Nadvi reaffirmed the significance of the academic research in the Sharia, Arabic, Humanities, and Social areas. He said the main sources of Sharia (Islamic Law) are Qur’an, Hadith (what Prophet Mohammad said), Sunnah or what the Prophet did, and Fiqh, the interpretation of the earlier two sources by scholars who were essentially products of their time.He exhorted young Ulema to excel in their discipline and guide the humanity in the light of Qu’ran, and Sunnah.

The five-day workshop (held in Delhi on 26-30 November 2015) focused on introducing trainee with the methodologies of research and its importance and how to choose the best among them to use, and introducing the trainee with the characteristics of research in the contemporary issues and ironing out the expected obstacles. Besides this, introducing the trainee with the common and particular errors all researchers may face and how he/she may avoid them accurately, and lastly bringing the trainee with capability to search inside electronic information database adeptly. All the trainees are being taught by providing them laptop with internet connection and books on seven important subjects and CDs of Uloom-e- Shariah.

Recalling the first workshop held in September 2013, Maulana Ameen Usmani, who is the Secretary of Fiqh Academy, said the current workshop would provide a new paradigm of research as many problems of the past demand rethinking and research. It can enableUlema to extract required information in a jiffy from the huge digitized repertoire of Fiqh books and manuscripts which are in tens of thousands. At a time when complicated issues are cropping up frequently due to a fast-changing world, one cannot rely on traditional and out-dated methodology of research to find their solutions; he emphasized the need for adopting new methods and modern technology.

For this purpose, the Fiqh Academy has signed a MoU with the ERCCFI as it feels that a lot of things need to be done for enhancement of research activities in order to achieve excellence in Islamic Jurisprudence.

It is to be noted that Islamic theologians and jurists in the sub-continent are mostly depended on extant texts such as Fatawa Alamgiri, which were compiled during the medieval period, to arrive at solutions. Thus,they lost touch with realities and dynamic approach. Besides this, most of the jurists follow highly sectarian approach in dealing with contemporary issues.

However,Maulana Usmani made it clear that since its inception in 1989, the Fiqh Academy has been following neutral approach. For the present workshop, it has shortlisted around 70 fazils and graduates from all over the country including Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Telengana, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Kerala, Delhi and Rajasthan. They are studying in reputed seminaries and universities such as Darul Uloom Deoband, Jamia Milia Islamia, Nadwatul Ulema, Delhi University, Jamia Islamia Shantapuram Kerala, Kerala University, Aligarh Muslim University, al-Mahadul Aali al-Islami, Hyderabad, Mahadul-Aali Lil Tadreeb fil-Iftata- wa Qadha, Patna etc.