By Dr. M Qutubuddin
The New Year will bring new challenges, and thereby new opportunities. Although challenges for the Muslims are going to be relatively harder, yet the youth are well-equipped to convert the same into opportunities if the community leaders draw their attention towards their strengths.
It is futile to expect any good from the current dispensation as it will continue to pursue its politics of anti-Muslimism, at the cost of infringements of basic Constitutional rights accorded to every citizen of India. However, it always better to light candle than to curse the darkness.
First and foremost, Muslims in India should work towards building a strong psyche. Their silence at times is interpreted as weakness. They shouldn’t be afraid of anything and keep negativity at bay. They must speak up against injustice done to any individual or society within the Constitutional framework. It’s high time to decide to live with a positive and healthy mental attitude and determination. Putting trust in God and being confident will help in discarding, what many say, mental slavery.
Focus on Education
As we all know, the age of the Internet has changed the education system. Traditional schools and institutions are limited in providing basic education in the present day and age. Every Muslim, however, must pass high school and for those who can afford it, Higher Education is the way to go. In present times, the new distant or internet learning can substitute costly education.
Prestigious institutes across the world deliver through e-learning which saves time and money. Muslims need to cash in on this opportunity by enrolling themselves in various programs which are being provided online.
Muslims must prioritize education as it’s mandatory for every Muslim to acquire knowledge. People living in the upper strata of society should invest in the education sector. They can do so by contributing towards the opening of new educational institutions. Notably, Muslim drop-out rate in India stands between 30%-40%. These numbers are staggering and can only be reduced by investing more in education.
Vocational training institutes also need to be set up, they will be instrumental in providing practical knowledge and developing technical skills
In this regard, some Muslim organizations like the Shaheen Group, Al Ameen Mission and Rahmani Mission are doing a great job, yet there is a need do a lot more.
Muslims have a bad record when it comes to health. Poor hygiene, lack of health education, smoking, and poor eating habits are common among Muslims. Diabetes, hypertension, and respiratory diseases are common among the Muslim population in the country. The longevity of Muslims is approximately 5 years less than the general population.
It’s high time to establish Muslim hospitals across the country. The hospitals will not only provide medical facilities but will also play a pivotal role in imparting health education.
When it comes to finances, Muslims are the worst money managers. Wasting money on weddings and other rituals is a menace to the Indian Muslim society. We must immediately stop people from spending lavishly on functions and feasts. Religious scholars can help in this regard.
Furthermore, wasting money on luxuries must be avoided. The money which a large majority of the Muslim population spends on the luxuries of life can be utilized on supporting orphans and widows. Muslim NGOs should put efforts towards educating society about methods of earning and managing money.
The devil’s mantra of divide and destroy is going in full swing in India. Muslims have to apply their mind and learn from the mistakes of the past. Immaturity, selfishness, and duality and their worst enemies and it’s time to shun them.
A divided community cannot excel in any sphere of life. Unity is the need of the hour. Muslims must form alliances with other minority groups in the country like Christians, Dalits, and Sikhs. Muslims in the country also need to be aware about the so-called Muslim organizations and parties which are playing into the hands of the Hindu right-wing parties in India.
The Muslim society has not done honest analysis of the socio-political changes across the globe. Not only changes in electoral politics, but we see a sea change in political lexicon. Political awareness is a must. The Muslims should be educated about political sciences. Muslims are politically divided. A recent example of this was found in the Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat elections. Muslims of the country need to act now or else they will be people having no clout on paper.
Media is the field where Muslim fail miserably. It’s the most neglected sector despite the fact that it plays a key role in perception building, which plays an important role in democratic polity.
Muslim women can do miracles for the community. Shaheen Bagh is just an example. Women’s empowerment in educational, social, economic, psychological and political spheres will improve their social inclusion and overall development of Muslim society. A mother’s own education and knowledge, her own economic standing and success, impacts the future of the generation she brings up.
Focus on youths
Islam gives utmost importance to youths has the development of civilisations and the future of nations lies in their hands.We must focus on the character building of youths as they contribute greatly to the development of the community and the country. Youths were the torchbearers of Islam in early age and the representatives of Islam today. It is incumbent upon the youths to represent the Islam by action.
They need to be more practical when it comes to faith, conviction, sincerity, honesty and following the teachings of Islam. What is deeply concerning today is that Muslim youths are clueless as what responsibilities and priorities should they have in their lives. They must rise to the challenges and accept their responsibilities with truthfulness and sincerity, and use all the means available to them in confronting the challenges before community and the country.