Director General of Hathazari Madrasah, Chittagong’s largest religious educational institution. He is a member of Hayatul Uliya, the supreme regulatory body of Qaumi Madrasahs and Vice President of Qaumi Madrasa Education Board Befaq. Recently, he spoke to Desh Parwaram on various contemporary topics including the reform of the syllabus of Qaumi Madrasa and the recognition of charters. Interviewed by Ehsan Siraj
Country conversion: How long is your relationship with Hathazari?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya: My relation with Hathazari since birth. The then Muhtamim of Hathajari Madrasa and my Pir Maulana Abdul Wahab (R.H.) and Maulana Hafizur Rahman (Prakash Pir Saheb Huzoor) went to my aqeeqah and named Muhammad Yahya. My father had a good relationship with them. Apart from that, my studies are also in Hathazari. Later, in 1990, I was appointed as a teacher at the request of Allama Ahmad Shafi (RA). To say that my life is connected with Hathazari.
Country transformation: Being in charge of running one of the oldest and most talked about madrasas in the country, do you have to face any pressure or obstacles?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya: I did not think so. Because, I saw Maulana Abdul Wahab (R.A.), Maulana Hamed (R.A.) and Allama Ahmad Shafi (R.A.) in the management of madrasas. Learned a lot from them. Apart from that, I learned how to run a company from my father. He used to distribute work among people very easily, I do the same.
Country Transformation: Ever felt any pressure on economic matters?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya: Alhamdulillah, personally I have never been in financial need. As a family we were self-sufficient. But after receiving the responsibility of managing the madrasa, it may have been reported that there is no boarding move! I am a little worried when the food is three days old. I cry to Allah, I run here and there, arrangements are made.
Country transformation: How many maulanas, muftis have come out of Hathajari madrasa, are there any statistics?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya : Many Muftis, Muhaddis and Maulanas came out of Hathajari. Something may have been left out in the beginning. Later when the fatwa department was introduced systematically, everyone’s information has been preserved. Maulanas are already in reserve.
Country transformation: Do they have any special plans?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya: The government has recognized Hayatul Uliya. But Darul Uloom Deoband did not accept such recognition, they are independent. Hathajari madrasa was never under the government, and still does not want to be. As in Dafture Darul Uloom Deoband (Principles of Deoband), I have made a Dafture Hathajari in Bengal. If the Shura in the Majlis approves it, the fujalads (alumni) of Hathajari will be called and this policy will be handed over to them. Madrasa will be managed in this light. This is my thought. Implementation may or may not. My job is just to try!
Transformation of the country: Shaikhul Islam Allama Shah Ahmad Shafi (RA) once did not ask for the recognition of Qaumi Sanad, but later the recognition came with his hands. How do you see the matter?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya: No, no, I will not talk about elders. The government has sought recognition for this. It wouldn’t have happened if the government didn’t want it. Because many of the partners of the government opposed it, still it was recognized according to Usule Hastegana (Eight Principles) of Darul Uloom Deoband. It cannot be said that there will be no change in the future. The government can do anything it wants.
Country Transformation: Hathajari Madrasa is a name of passion. Are students currently able to grasp and retain it?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya: Not only Hathazari! In almost every place there is a slight decrease, the emotion or action does not work in the students as before. But the teachers are working hard enough! Khanka has been made for this.
Country Transformation: Madrasas are associated with various religious and social organizations apart from management. You have a foundation. Again, traveling around the country for religious work, where do you get the motivation to do so much at this age?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya: The blessings and shade of the elders are upon me. Apart from that, I saw Shaikhul Islam Allama Shah Ahmad Shafi (RA) and my father, they never gave up under any circumstances. They have done many big jobs without pressure. Inspired by them, I do the same. There are people for the foundation. they work
Country Transformation: Do you have a message for other Muhatamim?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya: The reputation of a madrasah depends on the conduct of the muhtamim. If the muhtamim of the madrasah thinks about the financial accounts, the salaries of the teachers and the quality of the students’ education, especially if the funds are not kept in his own pocket, then the madrasah will surely have a good reputation, or the madrasah will not have any distinctive features. Remember, the more Muhtamim is a depositor, the more Allah blesses the income of the Madrasa.
Country transformation: Many people are demanding reforms in the Qoumi syllabus, what do you think?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya: I am also in favor of this claim. But that’s the old way! Books which were taught earlier in Hathazari or Qaumi Madrasa should be brought back to the textbooks. Then all modern subjects including modern science will be included. What do we not have? We have everything. But we are forgetting!
Country transformation: The demand for the recognition of Qoumi Sanad in the workplace and higher education is getting stronger day by day, what do you think?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya: I mean government job by the recognition of charter. If one takes a government certificate and works under it, he will never have the moral courage to speak out against the immorality or irreligious acts of the government. Hazrat Imam Abu Hanifa (RA) was ordered to take the post of Qazi of the then government. He did not take, what was the reason? There was only one reason. That is, any anti-Shariah action of the government cannot be criticized, even ordinary makruh actions must be recognized. Which is never possible as a scholar.
And higher education! Students will be admitted to any university in the country with the certificate of Qaumi? In which category will they fall? Who will teach them? Those who teach are more educated than scholars? Students are getting admission in universities of different countries of the world with the certificate of Hathajari. Hayatul Uliya’s certificate is not required for this!
Transforming the country: How can media present Islam?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya: I am not a person of this line. Those who work with media can speak well about this.
Transformation of the country: As Muhtamim of Hathajari Madrasah, you are the mentor of scholars and ulama across the country. Do you have a special message for the countrymen?
Maulana Muhammad Yahya: First I will tell the scholars to mingle with the common people. People come less to scholars. For this, the scholars should go to them more, teach them religion, help and cooperate more. If we look at history, we see that during the time of Hazrat Rasulullah (SAW), the Companions had to fetch water from a Jew’s well in exchange. That too would be distributed according to his wishes. It was painful for the Muslims, because the Jew could give or not give to anyone at will. Hazrat Usman (RA) bought that well for the welfare of people and opened it for everyone.
And the common people should understand the truth and have a relationship with the scholars of Allah. Then he can easily continue on the way of the day.
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