The Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has decided to drop the teachings of two Islamic scholars from their syllabus of the Department of Islamic Studies with varsity officials saying that the decision was taken after some complaints were received that the teachings of the authors were “objectionable”.
The two scholars whose teachings will be removed are Egyptian author and Islamic scholar Sayyid Qutb and Pakistan author Abul A’la al-Maududi, said officials. The announcement to remove the teachings of the two scholars comes days after an open letter was written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi by 25 academics bringing to his notice “the brazenly Jihadi Islamic course curriculum” at Aligarh Muslim University, Delhi’s Jamia Milia Islamia and Hamdard University. The open letter said that it is a matter of “deep concern and worry that the writings of Abul Ala Maududi is part of the course curriculum of the three universities.
Confirming the removal of the two scholars’ teachings from the syllabus, AMU Public Relations Officer Shafey Kidwai said, “The two scholars’ teachings will be removed from the syllabus. The process for it will be followed. It was decided to remove the parts from the syllabus to avoid any controversy at the varsity. The circumstances have changed over the years. What may have been considered worth teaching years ago may not be considered worth teaching now…”
“There were some complaints. I do not know who complained, but yes, some people raised an issue with these teachings and the department decided to remove it,” Kidwai said.
The open letter written by the 25 academics was titled “Indoctrination of students at state-funded institutions like the Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Milia Islamia & Jamia Hamdard through an anti-Indic/anti-national course curriculum”. It read, “We the undersigned wish to bring to your notice the brazenly Jihadi Islamic course curriculum being followed by certain departments of state-funded Islamic universities such as Aligarh Muslim University, Jamia Milia Islamia and Hamdard University.” Among the signatories was Prof. Madhu Kishwar, Senior Fellow, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML).
A professor from the department, who did not wish to be identified, said, “We were asked by the higher authorities of the university to remove these two scholars from the syllabus of the Department of Islamic Studies. We were told that this decision has been taken to avoid controversy in the university.”
“We were not told by the university authorities which part of what was being taught was objectionable or anti-national. We were simply asked to remove the teachings of the two authors,” said the professor.
An official at the varsity said that the teachings of the two authors were being taught for Masters in the Department of Islamic Studies as optional papers. “These two authors were being taught for at least a couple of decades. In the optional papers, the department used to teach the thoughts and teachings of the two authors and ideologues. They ranged from their religious teachings and political thoughts. The optional papers taught about them were titled ‘Maulana Maududi and his thoughts’ and ‘Sayyid Qutb and his thoughts. These were two optional papers for masters’ students of the Department of Islamic Studies at AMU,” said the official.