Educating the community: Some inspiring news and some random thoughts

A group of Ulema from the Indian State of Jharkhand have appealed to Muslims to solemnize marriages with simplicity. They have decided not to officiate marriages with baraat (often the big group of people who accompany bridegroom to the bride’s house for marriage) or unnecessary extravaganza. It is indeed a welcome decision.

Anyway, many were already forced to drastically cut down on marriage related celebrations due to lockdown. Billions of rupees are spent every year on marriages. Not all expenses are unnecessary, but a huge part of the expenses fall in the category of unnecessary.

A similar report about Meerut city in the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh estimates that around 60000 nikah have taken place in Uttar Pradesh alone during lockdown. The report also mentioned about how marriages were done with less than 10 to 15 people from both the sides. The news report also mentions as to how the simplicity in marriage ceremonies is helping families save significant amount of money. In fact, some people have mentioned that if not for the forced simplicity due to lockdown they would have taken loan to perform marriage with all the required extravaganza due to social pressure. I was just making some rough calculations. Imagine each person saving rupees one lakh due to reduced expenses. This is a very conservative estimate. 60000 marriages saving one lakh each amount to massive 600 crore. This is the saving only during the lockdown period and only from one state. Even if we take this as amount saved in a whole year still it is a huge amount. Let us assume that 75% of this saved amount is used by the family and 25% is used on education of the community. That would still be 150 crores. Assuming that it requires around 2 crore rupees to start a new school, this amount of money is enough to open 75 schools every year. It would not take more than 10 years to transform the education map of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh.   It is high time that the community starts thinking along these lines.

It reminded me of a silent movement already going on in the Muslim community on the need to save money on marriage and cut down on multiple umrah and instead use the money on educating the children of the community. A Faizur Rahman of Harmony India and Prof. Aslam Parvaiz, Vice Chancellor of Maulana Azad Urdu University, Hyderabad, India have calculated the amount of money spent by Rich Indian Muslims every year on Umrah. Their rough estimate shows that the money spent on Umrah just for one year can fund the education of 3 lakh kids for 18 years. They are not asking people not to go on Umrah, they are simply asking them not to go every year as many rich Muslims are doing and rather spend the money on the betterment of the community.

I would finish by taking excerpts from an article by Maulana Hafizur Rahman Azami Omeri where he has quoted Imam Ghazali on such practices. “These rich people are very fond of spending their money on the Hajj. They perform the Hajj again and again sometimes even at the cost of their neighbours suffering in hunger”.

For reference and further reading, see:

Aas Mohammad Kaif Twocircles.net (30 May 2020) लॉकडाऊन में इस्लामि कैसे बन गए निकाह के तौर-तरीक़े ! Twocircles.net. Available at: http://twocircles.net/2020may30/437185.html. Accessed on 4 June 2020.

News 18 Urdu (3 June 2020) جھارکھنڈ کے علمائےکرام کا بڑا فیصلہ، شادی میں دھوم دھام اور فضول خرچی

ہوئی تو نکاح نہیں پڑھائیں گے جھارکھنڈ کے علمائےکرام کا اعلان

Available at: https://urdu.news18.com/news/nation/big-decisions-of-religious-leaders-of-jharkhand-for-the-efforts-of-social-reform-nau-ns-305484.html. Accessed on 6 June 2020.

Maulana Hafizur Rahman Azami Omeri (25 May 2012) Multiple Hajj and Umrahs are not a priority in Islam. Twocirlces.net. Available at: http://twocircles.net/2012may25/multiple_hajj_and_umrahs_are_not_priority_islam.html. Accessed on 20 May 2020.

Rasheed Kidwai (24 March 2019) ‘Rich Muslims’ expense on Umrah, marriage can teach 3 lakh poor Muslim kids for 18 yrs’. The Print. Available at: https://theprint.in/opinion/rich-muslims-expense-on-umrah-marriage-can-teach-3-lakh-poor-muslim-kids-for-18-yrs/210834/. Accessed on 27 December 2019.

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