Al-Mauadudi Centre for Islamic Learning is an academic centre at Village Humpora of Kupwara District of Jammu and Kashmir. It was established in 2015 by the educated youth associated with Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba, Jammu and Kashmir. On June 12, the centre organised a youth conference.

This may be known that Islami-Jamiat e Talaba (IJT) is a student centric organisation that aims to provide Islamic knowledge to the students and develop them on other academic and leadership fronts. They perform career counselling and guide the youth properly in order to choose their subjects for quality education. More about IJT can be learned from their constitution.

I attended this Youth Conference and found it highly productive for the student community in particular. The distinguished guests present on the occasion were Mr Ibrahim Khawaja (Assistant Professor at JK Higher Education Department), Dr Abdul Rouf Mir (PhD) and Mr Shafat Maqbool (Researcher).

To be honest, I was totally moved and highly impressed by the organisation in terms of the administration of the event and the activism of the young students of the area who made all the necessary arrangements despite bad weather.

The inaugural speech was given by Mr Ibrahim Khawja on the topic ‘Priorities for the Muslim youth’. He discussed some very important points relevant across the time lines in history.  In the beginning, he talked about the historical achievements of Muslims and highlighted as how Muslims flourished on a variety of fronts in the past. He quoted history of Muslims as rulers, educationists, scientists, historians as contributors to human civilization. He then focused on why are we lagging behind today and what are its immediate reasons? He argued that Muslims need to re-associate themselves with knowledge and emerge as leaders in the field of learning. He quoted statistics and argued that Muslims need to create universities and centers for higher learning and develop their infrastructures for rapid advancement.

Dr Khawaja, however, maintained that it is Islam that provides us proper guidance related to worldly progress and success hereafter. He said that markets in the Islamic world were swelled with bookshops, and the literature was easily available across its length and breadth and this needs to be done again. He told the gathering that Muslims ruled the world only because they picked the priorities according to the guidance of Quran. In the present times, he said that Muslims need to come out of the quagmire individually as well as a community. Patience, perseverance and unity along with efforts to advancement of knowledge, creating intellectual leadership and adhering to the revival strategy will make a difference. He quoted Caliph Umar who was enlightened by Islam. Umar, he said, is known as an example of justice even as to this day.

The next speaker, Dr Abdul Rouf Mir spoke on 'Reclaiming Leadership for Social Justice'. He discussed as how the present world order has failed on the social justice front. He argued that ‘social justice’ came after the Industrial Revolution in context to address the economic disparities. He began by arguing that the today’s global leadership and especially the disparities in economies have failed to yield social justice. He began by quoting an article published in The Guardian on January 14, 2017, titled, ‘Aid in reverse: how poor countries develop rich countries’ by Jason Hickel saying, "in 2012, developing countries received a total of $1.3 trillion, including all aid, investment, and income from abroad. But that same year some $3.3tn flowed out of them. In other words, developing countries sent $2tn more to the rest of the world than they received."

Hickel, he said, writes, "In other words, for every $1 of aid that developing countries receive, they lose $24 in net outflows." He told the gathering that the article concluded by saying, "Poor countries don’t need charity. They need justice." He said that exploitation is not limited to economic issues alone. He then elaborated as how the data from developing countries suggests a need to revisit the world order. He quoted the data of Federal Bureau of Investigation, USA for the year 2015 that revealed 15,696 murders, 90,185 rapes, 327,374 robberies and property crimes worth $14.3 billion in one year alone. He added that as per Food and Agricultural Organisation, 194.6 million people in India remain under nutritional every day. He argued that the data is pathetic and justice is still a dream. He then presented Islam as an inspiration for justice quoting various verses of Quran and asked the youth to understand the undercurrents so as to emerge as saviors of humankind. He asked youth to find out the lacunas in modern social justice arena and come up to help resolve the crisis.

The final speech came from Mr Shafat Maqbool. He talked about the career counselling options and how to obtain admission overseas with scholarships. He provided a good insight in to the issue and shared valuable information and knowledge about the preparation for the exams at different levels.

I was a panelists in the final session of the conference along with Mr Ibrahim Khawja, Dr  Rouf, Mr Mustafa and Mr Basit Abdullah. The panel discussed the problems faced by students’ fraternity and their solutions. It was as a fruitful session.

I would say that IJT through its efforts has a platform for the students who harbour for carving a niche for a better future. I suggest IJT to continue with this process of intellectual engagement and service to nation.