State of leadership among the Muslim community in India

Image used for representational purposes only. (Chandigarh: Indian Muslims offer prayers during Eid al- Adha outside the mosque in sector 20 in Chandigarh on Tuesday September 13, Dinesh Bhardwaj)

By Yash Nawaz

In this 21st century a Muslim is considered as the way he is being pictured in Bollywood movies. The Indian Muslims, second largest Muslim community after Indonesia have lost their identity. How can an Indian Muslim then come forward to lead his community or the nation?

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In Quran it is stated that Muslims are meant to lead but there isn’t any leadership among the community so it isn’t possible for the community to lead others too. There is a major fall of leadership within the Indian Muslims. The reasons are obvious. Losing identity, low percentage of literacy, lack of knowledge or having incorrect knowledge, sectarian divide, dividing into different ja’maats, financially and political backwardness, and no participation from the youth are some of the many other reasons.

According to Sachar committee report the situation of Indian Muslims is worse than Dalits. It reports that the Indian Muslims have very low percentage in Indian elite civil services. Only 3 percent in administrative service, 1.8 percent in Foreign Service, 4 percent in police service, 4.5 percent in railways, 6.5 percent in education and 7.3 percent in home department.

NSSO reports that 22.3 percent of Muslims between the ages 17-29 are illiterate, highest among all communities and national average which is 17 percent. Among literate Muslims in this age group, 64 percent have secondary education, 9.8 percent have higher education and only 4.1 percent have graduates or postgraduate degrees. Youth is considered as important part of a community.

Visiting a Muslim community will reveal the situation of youth and that of the elders of the community. They identify themselves with their sect’s identity rather than the religious identity. And due to their rigid orthodox beliefs one sect is ever ready to fight the other if any differences arise. The community is lacking in think tanks.  Muslims are in their comfort zone. They can be seen delivering powerful speeches but work wise there is no progress at all.

Each one of them seems to be busy promoting his/ her own sect or jam’aat. There is no one to represent the Muslims at the political level. The imams of different sects support different political parties and their followers go by their example. Thus with Muslims in politics It is more about their sects and not for the entire Muslim community.   As a result the issues of the Muslim community by and large remain unsolved.

One of the major problems faced by the Muslims in India is poverty.  According to a report average Muslim family spends 32.7 Rs per day, Sikhs spend 55.3 Rs per day, Christians spend 51.4 Rs per day and Hindus spend 37.5 Rs per day. The community has only 60 percent workforce. There are very few Muslim entrepreneurs. People have no interest in doing large scale business or they have no resources. It results not having money to fulfil the needs. There is need of Indian Muslim entrepreneurs to improve their economy.

Most important of all the Muslim community needs a leader who is above all these sects, ja’maat or any party. Under this leader we can visualize the community coming out from financial and literacy problems. Indian Muslims needs to pursue higher education and to compete in civil services.

It doesn’t need sectarian leadership but leadership which is purely Islamic. Islam is a religion of humanity and true believers of Islam will never be threat to humanity. They will cherishers humanity and work to preserve it.

Yash Nawaz is an undergraduate student at aligarh muslim university from new delhi.