And whoever is granted wisdom has indeed been granted abundant good.
Wasi Academy is a Muslim Minority Educational Society based at Allahabad. It runs several educational and welfare programs in and outside Allahabad. The Academy owes its existence to the selfless service and untiring efforts of the great Sufi saint His Holiness Hadhrat Shah Wasiullah Rahmatullah Alaih, who taught love, amity and devotion. He was a saint who looked upon everyone as equal and was never biased. His efforts in the field of education, both Islamic and modern, are also remarkable. His khanqua’ah continues to send out a message of spirituality, integrity, and harmony to this day. It is a sanctuary where people from all walks of life come to find peace within and around.
Volumes and volumes have been written on various aspects of education. Nevertheless, the fact remains that it needs continuous reminding and restatement of its significance and ever true objectives.
Talking about the Moslems educational backwardness and how to eradicate the various issues that the community has to face is quite common these days. The erosion of values, the failure of the education system and the disappearance of the great teacher from the befouled campus atmosphere are much lamented. Has it brought anything productive and beneficial?
Thus, though it signifies awakening, what is needed is practical work.
Isn’t it surprising that the followers of a religion that teaches the value of education and knowledge more than others have become almost a second-grade community and a third-grade citizen just because of the lack of higher education and a high illiteracy rate?
Do we ever remind ourselves that the world i’lm (knowledge) and its different derivatives occur 805 times in the glorious Qur’an?
The very first verses revealed unto the prophet, whom peace be upon, commanded him to read. Moreover, Allah, the Exalted, swears by pen in an age when the savage races boasted of their swords and the number of men they had beheaded:
Nun. By the pen and that which they write (therewith),
Shouldn’t it compel us to realize what is required of us?
But owing to various political and social causes, Moslems in India saw their downfall. After the revolt of 1857, the British government clamped down hard upon the Moslems who they thought, and rightly so, were pivotal in hatching the ‘conspiracy’ against them. This resulted in the loss of the privileged position the community had been enjoying for centuries. ‘Others moved into positions of power at a rate higher than Moslems. From government services, Moslems were gradually ousted or at least represented out of proportion to their population.’ Hunter in his book The Indian Musalmans records that there were certainly fewer of them in the bureaucracy than their numbers warranted.
But Moslems have never given way to stagnation. Soon after the great mutiny, despite the prevailing chaos they had stepped into, despite the embarrassment they had to suffer from, and despite the dilemma they had fallen victim to, serious efforts were made for their revival. Centres for religious as well as those for modern education were founded. Keeping with the same line, Hadhrat Maulana Shah Wasiullah Rahmatullah Alaih framed his educational programmes more than half a century ago. Like most of the great scholars and saints, Hadhrat Shah Sahib Alaihirrahmah emphasised the need for Islamic as well as modern education. Once, when Dr. Yusuf Hussain Khan, the then Pro Vice-Chancellor of AMU, Aligarh, requested him to visit the Zakir Hussain Engineering College, Hadhrat Shah Sahib expressed his satisfaction and revealed that he had special interest in engineering technology. He also remarked:
Knowledge, whether Islamic or modern, is the foundation of growth and development, and we see that people who acquired some knowledge got benefited in proportion to their intellectual and technological advancement, and those lacking in it lagged behind and remained in the abyss of backwardness. (Talifat Muslihul Ummat Vol. II)
With him as the source of inspiration, his enlightened successor Qari Mohammad Mubeen and his sons Ahmad Mateen and Dr. Ahmad Makeen continue to make efforts in both the fields, temporal as well as spiritual. They are quick to realize that the panacea for the backwardness of the Moslem community lies in modern education with emphasis on character building without compromising moral values. Therefore, Wasi Academy, with its madrasas and centres of modern education and vocational training, has been making efforts to blend modernity with tradition. The Academy has been running two madrasas, Wasiatul Uloom in Allahabad and the other with the same name in Fatehpur, Mau, the hometown of Hadhrat Shah Sahib.
The importance of Vocational training need not be elaborated. Its need and usefulness is given due importance in all times. Prophet Mohammad, upon whom be peace, has said:
Help the craftsmen and teach the unskilled.
(Bukhari & Muslim)
In the light of this hadith, Wasi Academy has been imparting vocational training and producing skilled employable workforce. Wasi Institute of Information Technology and Wasi Institute of Industrial Training is fruitful efforts in this direction. Its future programs include Wasi Higher Secondary School in Allahabad and Wasi Girls’ High School in Mau.
Wasi Institute of Information Technology, established in 2000, provides training in Computer Application and Information Technology, the examinations for which are conducted by DOEACC, Chandigarh. Wasi Institute of Industrial training has been allowed by NCVT and DGE & T, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Govt. of India to start the following two job oriented certificate courses:
- Mechanical Draughtsman
- Computer operator and Programming Assistant (COPA)
- Short Term Courses Based on Modular Employable Skills (MES)