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Our System of Education
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

The educational system of a country is the key to its development and progress. It serves as the foundation upon which the infrastructure of various agencies of a state is built. A country’s stability heavily relies upon the young minds the system nurtures. Unfortunately, we in Pakistan possess an educational system which is detrimental to the very cause of its creation. As such the main reason behind our moral degeneration and underdevelopment is the inefficacy of our educational system, which we must bear in mind, is the legacy of the British rule in our sub-continent. It is the brain-child of a nation which still rules our minds more than four decades after its departure. It was implemented to achieve the mental servitude of the Muslim subjects and to gain their affiliations. Sure enough the objective has been more than achieved, as each passing day merely strengthens this relationship between the victor and the vanquished with the latter not having the slightest idea about its subjugation. We consider it our national duty to point out its flaws and suggest an alternative. However before we do suggest such a scheme, it would be first appropriate to analyse the role actually played by our educational institutions which include schools, colleges and universities, and the shadows of influence they cast in our society.

The system is based upon the negation of any metaphysical explanation of the universe and upon the assertion that man himself is capable of deciphering the complex code of his existence without any assistance from his creator. This is the underlying concept upon which philosophy, science, sociology and other branches of knowledge have evolved and developed in the West during the last two centuries, and it still holds sway in contemporary Western thought. No doubt, not all of the Western thinkers have denied God’s existence, yet it is a manifest reality that all their views and thoughts are actually built upon His denial. Quite naturally the syllabus of these institutions upholds this concept.

The entire celestial cosmos is presented as a creation without a creator, a scheme without a deviser, a book without an author---a self-existent and self-sustaining mechanistic reality. The fate of the universe is regarded to be in the hands of its inhabitants who carve out their own destiny and shape their own future. All bases and principles of law and politics, economics and sociology are constituted by a human endeavour that looks down upon any divine Guidance in these affairs. Human whim on its own seeks to solve the problems that face the world. The story of mankind starts and ends with man himself and the concept of a God is granted no place anywhere in it by this syllabus. It warrants that man is a material entity who himself is the source of all concepts of truth and reality and that nothing lies at the exterior of this space-time continuum. The BETWEEN and the BEYOND are actually the two sides of the same coin. Consequently, the graduates of these institutions become advocates of the view that life can also be spent without having any relationship with God and all affairs of life can be conducted without his guidance. Overlooking changes at the basic level and inducting Deenyat as a compulsory subject in the syllabus has made the situation even more ironical. Severe conflicts have arisen in the minds of the students, regarding their religion and its relation with their lives.

As a result, this system of education has injected in our society a novel breed of men regarded as its intellectuals and trend-setters. Whatever they say or write vouches for the fact that the concepts of absolute truth can only be obtained from the West, and the Qur’ān can be regarded as a sacred book if it is interpreted, modified and brought in accordance with Western thoughts. Their characters have become an amalgam of ambiguity. They do not deny God’s existence yet consider regular vigilance in worship a needless affair. They do not disclaim the Day of Judgement yet are not ready to sacrifice the paltry leasures of life for higher causes. They assent to the Prophethood of Muhammad (sws) yet consider his directives outdated and inapplicable. The recital of the Qur’ān might herald the start of their gatherings, but the promulgation of its decrees in the constitution of their country weighs down heavily upon them. Only a grim lesson can be sought from their contradictory personalities. In short, the system has drained out the Islamic spirit from their mortal remains and they present a sight most pathetic. Their lives are tuned with the trends of the West and even the blood in their bodies seems to flow after seeking permission from these sources of revelation.

The secular nature of the system has not only produced an aversion from Islam within the minds of our elite, but also has gone a long way in degenerating their characters, without which no nation can thrive and prosper. It never envisages the real purpose of educational institutions which are not just meant to impart knowledge to the students, but a bigger objective is to breed and rear men of high moral calibre in consonance with the ideology of a nation. This prospect can only be achieved if the mentors of these institutions are not only competent in their own fields but are also devout Muslims who possess an impeccable character and lead a chaste life. Undoubtedly, the most powerful influence upon a child after the mother is the teacher’s personality. If he honestly upholds a certain ideology and leads his life in accordance with it, his pupils receive tremendous inspiration from him. No other way can be more effective in building their characters. Woefully, this system never takes this aspect into account. Courage and perseverance, valour and discretion, discipline and steadfastness which were once the hallmarks of Muslims, are now extinct commodities. The virtues of honesty and integrity, benevolence and sincerity have become relics of the past. We seldom see any modesty in their eyes, loftiness in their thoughts, and dignity in their behavior. What we often see is a mixture of dishonesty and pettiness, a charming blend of arrogance and haughtiness, an exquisite combination of perversity and corruption. We are breeding a nation that has been detached from its glorious past, has become indifferent to its present and unconcerned about a future which after all may not even exist. Thanks to this system moral values are breathing their last and materialistic goals are being regarded as the ultimate objective of life. To say the least, a scheme more sinister could not have been contrived against us, as a nation.

Rectifying this system is no easy job. It requires drastic measures that would extract it from its roots and implant a new one in its place. We suggest the following steps in this regard:

1. A uniform system of education should be enforced in our country. Any diversity in nature, religious or non-religious, and medium, Urdu or English should be eliminated.

2. Only teachers who are self-righteous, staunch and practising Muslims besides being proficient in their fields should be selected.

3. The total period of education should be divided into three levels: primary, secondary and a higher level. The first of these should span over eight years, the second over four years while the last level should extend over five years.

4. At the primary level only the Qur’ān and the language trio of Arabic, Urdu and English along with mathematics and calligraphy should be taught. Initially, the students should be made just capable enough to read the Qur’ān fluently and they should then be made to learn by heart the last group of the Qur’ān (Sūrah Mulk to Sūrah Naas). As soon as the students get acquanted with Arabic, the Qur’ān should be studied with a specific stress over its meanings. By including the essential teachings of Islam in the Arabic reader and interweaving the Urdu reader with topics pertaining to general knowledge and the English reader with topics relating to science, the students should be imparted a comprehensive understanding of these languages, besides being enlightened with other branches of learning. They should be encouraged to read about subjects that interest them from the libraries. Furthermore, all modern educational aids should be extensively employed in all these pursuits and the present way of loading the students with scores of text books should be discontinued.

5. The study of the Qur’ān and the languages should continue at the secondary level. Besides this, a few more subjects relating to the one in which a student wants to specialize at the higher level should be introduced. Just as in the present system the students of medicine and engineering study certain science subjects at this level, the students of Dinyat, for example, would study pre-Islamc Arabic literature, grammar and rhetoric. The same mode should be adopted in the teaching of other subjects.

6. The higher level should only be reserved for specialization. This specialization can be in Deenyat, medicine, engineering, sociology, physics, biology or any other subject the students choose. The existing mode of specialization in non-professional subjects should be completely terminated.

7. All topics in various books should begin with an elucidation of the Qur’ānic point of view about these topics. Other details should be enlisted in coherence with this point of view so that the relationship between the knowledge obtained from the Qur’ān and the knowledge acquired by means of rational inquiry and scientific observation is clear in the minds of the students.

8. Co-education should be completely abolished and all the surplus energy of the students should be directed towards receiving the necessary training for Jihaad.

9. Teaching should be made the most highly paid profession and teachers should be given more facilities than any other professional. That a person should have an aptitude towards teaching must be firmly emphasized in his selection.

It is our firm conviction that until and unless these changes are brought about in the educational set up of our country no significant progress can be made in the cause of an intellectual awakening.

(Adapted from Ghamidi’s "Burhaan")

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