By Usha Sanyal
Introduces the mythical chief of the nice 20th-century Sunni circulation.
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Additional info for Ahmad Riza Khan (Makers of the Muslim World)
044 10/12/2004 5:11 PM Page 23 THE MUSLIM RESPONSE 23 hadith (pronounced hadis in Urdu), the traditions of the Prophet, and to argue that the ‘ulama had an obligation to study the original sources (the Qur’an and hadith) and draw on all four Sunni schools of law (madhhab, pl. madhahib) eclectically to make legal judgments. The four Sunni law schools (Shi‘i Muslims have three of their own) came into being around the late tenth century. Named after their founders, they are geographically based, such that different parts of the Muslim world have come over time to be associated with one or other of the four.
Over the years, as David Lelyveld (1978) eloquently demonstrates, the school fostered a strong sense of belonging – even brotherhood – among the students, many of whom had come from outside the immediate geographical area. Sayyid Ahmad Khan’s goal of training a generation of Muslims who would become part of the new government structure was also partially realized, to the extent that three-quarters of school graduates got government positions. But there could be no sense of equality between the British and Aligarh’s Muslims: “however skilled in Western culture some Indians might become, the pall of arrogant racism, inherent in the colonial situation, meant that full acceptance of Indians as equals never happened” (Metcalf, 1982: 334).
Zaman writes, Only in the latter half of the nineteenth century, and ... possibly in response to a certain measure of influence exercised by Western styles and institutions of education in British India, did the Dars-i Nizami acquire a more or less standardized form that was widely adopted as a “curriculum” by madrasas of the Indian subcontinent. Madrasas have continued, however, to differ in their versions of this curriculum, which has scarcely been impervious to change even after its standardization in the late nineteenth century.