By Mudassir Ahmad Qasmi
The Muslim lunar calendar shows Shaban, the month before the holy Ramadan, is at its last leg. This is the time when Madarsa students across India would be appearing for their final exams. And hundreds of students would also be appearing for their last exam of Muslim religious studies that they have been studying for the past fifteen to fourteen years. They also see the product of all their hard work and dedication in the form of the final result. They become the inheritors of the knowledge of their religion and now have upon them the responsibility of imparting the knowledge to others.
By Eid they would have officially graduated from madarsa education. They would be standing at the most crucial, a rather turning point of their lives. Their personalities have mostly been formed and prepared for a set direction in life. They need to correctly identify what they are now best suited to choose as their prospective profession. And they need to be aware of the options they have in this choice. Their decision for the next step has the capacity to affect their entire life lying ahead. They would be faced with the biggest question of their life. What next?
For a student who has spent his entire life in a madarsa, studying Quran and Islamic religious studies, the future prospects with regard to the worldly life and profession and source of income or higher studies become hazy.
This is where the invaluable advice and inputs from their teachers, guides and guardians comes in use. The students should take all the advice they can get, and follow the path that seems fit to them after that.
The options are aplenty and it can be confounding for the youth to choose one out of the many. With the help of their teachers and elders, the students need to identify their strengths, aptitudes, interests and need of the situation, then shortlist their options.
The first and straightforward option is to join a madarsa or an institution in the form of an educator now, similar to the one where they have completed studies. They start giving to others what they have gleaned in the last fifteen years in these hallowed institutions of education and knowledge. Muslims are in dire need of educators that would make their fellow men aware about Islam and its salient features of practical life.
The second option is to become the spiritual guide of Muslims as an Imam or Khateeb in a mosque. This is a very rewarding profession and when done right, has the biggest potential of finding a successful life in this world as well as the hereafter. The monetary benefits might be limited, but the spiritual perks and the peace and satisfaction that it brings abound.
The responsibility of becoming the spiritual guides of Muslims then lies on them. And they not only have to guide the people on matters related to namaz and other compulsory religious practices, but also in leading practical life according to the instructions given in the Quran and as shown by the Prophet Muhammad SAW.
The third option is to become a teacher of Islamic studies in a school. This is a dire requirement of the time as we have a shortage of knowledgeable teachers in matters of Islamic laws and Islamic lifestyle. The children of today will become adults of tomorrow who will form the backbone of Islamic society. If they remain ignorant of the tenets of Islam, the backbone of Islamic society will crumble.
These options are for those students who do not want to opt for higher studies in Islamic education and want to begin their practical life. Those students who are interested in higher education in Islamic studies have another set of options.
They can pursue advanced studies in Arabic in the same institutions where they had been studying. Second option is taking a course in English and computer education in institutions where such courses are offered for madarsa students. This would help them in expanding their options for profession in the current world. This is a 2 year diploma course offered by Central Education and Research Centre. More than a dozen centers are scattered across the country where these courses can be taken. This prepares the students in functioning in the modern world and aids them in staying abreast of all the latest developments that the modern world demands from the competitive spirited individual.