Entrepreneurial activity has percolated through every sphere of human endeavor. Of late the students coming from Madrassas or Islamic seminaries, those who mostly look for the jobs in mosques and seminaries as Imams, Muazzins (those calling faithful for prayers through reciting azan), etc. have been currently mooted to rope in for business trainings in West Bengal by Maeeshat Foundation – a Mumbai based NGO.
The Foundation has floated the idea of pushing such youthful Islamic scholars in business activities – those who couldn’t find employment in mosques and seminaries due to limited vacancies available. It looks forward to impart crash courses on entrepreneurial activities of varied shades to them.
Danish Reyaz – the director of Maeeshat Academy (Mumbai) and popular among theocrats in the city as an emerging educational elite, says: “These youth who lie idle due to lack of job usually fall prey to illicit temptations and at times cause embarrassing situation for their parents and seniors. It also gives bad name to the institutions from where they have acquired degrees. In the end, it is Islam that bears the brunt of their trespass”
“In the past, a few among them turn out to be loose cannons and involved in nefarious activities in order to earn money through illegal channels despite knowing well that Islam prohibits earning through this route.”
Social activist, politician and president of Islam Gymkhana Mumbai Advocate Yusuf Abrahani, believes religious teachings doesn’t exclude modern education and commerce. “It’s a painful irony that most of us think that religion is solely restricted to morality and prayers, but the fact is that the Islamic teachings include trade, commerce, modern education, and also guides faithful in multifarious ways to develop scientific temperament.”
Advocate Yusuf Abrahani says Google has launched an app called Coursera with tagline – ‘Learn without limits’, which claims over three thousand courses, specializations and professional certificates that too in throwaway prices. Those interested could get their desired course from the site too.
Besides, the Imams will get crash course on modern education, science, English and mathematics in order to enable them to teach children and thus get fairly remunerated.
Training to sharpen skill
Danish says, “The motive behind this is to arrange training workshops for Imams in order to teach them English, Hindi, Mathematics, and Science up to the 5th-grade level so that they are capable of providing tuition services in mosque itself.”
This will help in connecting Muslim families to mosques and getting qualified teachers inside the mosque. This will also be a very reliable source of income for the Imaams. Additionally, the workshops will also provide training on managing small stores of provisions of daily needs like miswaak, soap, toothpaste, dates, honey, etc.
This will include training on inventory management, accounting, and customer service. The workshops will be conducted by experienced professionals with expertise in these areas.
Danish says, “We have proposed to conduct these workshops at locations convenient for Imams, such as the Mosques or nearby community centers or Schools. The workshops will be conducted on weekends or other convenient days and times, to minimize disruption to Imams’ religious chore.”
There are a plethora of Muslim habitations across the country that reel through worst poverty, such as Malda, Murshidabad, Dinajpur, Nadia in West Bengal and similar places elsewhere where this project will trigger hope for the teeming hopeless. The holy month of Ramadan is merely sixty days away and this would be an opportune moment to learn the tricks of the trade and start the work.
M Azizur Rehman, director Tarbiyah Cambridge International School in Malda laments, “Due to immense poverty the Imams in this region at times couldn’t even afford two times meal. This is quite heart-wrenching. There’s a great need to establish Maeeshat Foundation’s WB chapter to address the problem of our area.”
It’s not only Bengal but similar poverty stricken pockets across India need the Foundation’s attention.