With an MBA cleric as its new head, Deoband marks a generational shift

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  1. anoop_mig25

    anoop_mig25 Senior Member Senior Member

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    With an MBA cleric as its new head, Deoband marks a generational shift

    Seema Chishti Posted: Sun Jan 16 2011

    The new Mohtamim or head of the Dar-ul-Uloom, who took over on January 10, has a Facebook page devoted to him by his fans.
    That, among other things, is what Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Wastanavi brings to one of the Islamic world’s most well-respected seminaries. A lesser-known scholar outside the Muslim world, Wastanavi is a well-networked Maulana who holds an MBA degree along with degrees in Islamic law.

    In his early 60s, the Mohtamim from Gujarat, younger by more than 20 years to his predecessor, has constantly striven to provide technical education and to weave professional courses and degrees related to pharmaceutical, engineering and management with theology.

    Wastanavi won the election to the post — occupied by the previous Maulana, Marghoob ur Rehman, for 30 years till his recent death — taking eight votes. The top body of rectors and scholars that picks the Mohtamim (called the shoora) gave Maulana Arshad Madani (a senior cleric currently involved in a battle for control for the Jamiat Ulema e Hind with his nephew, Maulana Mahmuid Madani, MP) four votes while the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the Deoband,Maulana Abdul Khaliq Madrasi, got two.

    Wastanavi’s election represents a generational shift in many ways at the seminary based in Deoband, in UP.

    Having obtained his Aalim and Faazil degrees (in Islamic law) from Surat, and MBA from Maharashtra, Wastanavi has been an enthusiastic campaigner of progressive and professional careers for young Muslims coming to madrasas. His admirers, ‘The fans of Maulana Ghulam Mohammed Wastanavi’, have a page on Facebook.

    Best known for his extensive network of madrasas in western India, and a member of the Maharashtra Waqf Board and the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, the Maulana has received at least two awards (including the Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Award) from the Maharashtra government for his work.

    He edits several periodicals (in Urdu, Arabic and Gujarati) and heads educational institutions and runs hospitals in Akkalkua, Aurangabad, Nanded and Bhavnagar.

    There is of course a view that the post of Mohtamim — involving management of sentiments and factions within the Muslim Indian fold, as well as balancing political faultlines — has suffered because of the election of someone “not from the Deobandi tradition and not having studied there”.

    An Islamic scholar, who did not want to be identified, said: “Wastanavi symbolises the Gujarat factor that is emerging as significant in the Muslim world, as scholars from there are prosperous and generous, having helped several Muslim institutions in times of need. Having built an extensive network of support and contacts, they find it easy to win support in the community.”

    But other scholars like Dr Akhtar ul Wasey, the Director of Islamic Studies in Jamia Millia, New Delhi, welcomes the appointment of “a progressive and enlightened man, so concerned with professional empowerment”.

    With the interest in Islam in the West since the 9/11 attacks, Deoband has emerged as a major world centre for Islamic learning, along with Al Azhar, Cairo. Its anti-terror fatwa in February 2008 was the first in the Islamic world.
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    now lets hope RSS to one day get an refomist, ideal minded , leader:love:
     
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