A Major Hurdle in The Quran’s System of Education (Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque)

“How far are we away from “establishing” institutions – centers imparting the Quranic Picture of Islam through Education and how long will this Picture take to materialize on a large scale from what you see in Pakistan?”

It is a very perplexing question and leads me inexorably to a total impasse. The concept of modernizing the existing system of Islamic Education is still in preponderance in Pakistan. Those at the helm of affairs do not try to understand the Quranic Model of Education. They simply consider the Quranic underpinnings of the curriculum offerings as an archetype of a social system to be established in a Qur’anic Society. They still desire to keep the dualism in the form of Scientific and Religious Education intact as it exists in the form of Deen-o-Dunia, or Public and Private or State and Prayers or Public and Personal Laws; and want to make improvement upon the “Dars-e-Nizami” courses from various aspects to make them approachable for an English-medium youth. This has become the gospel truth, which is known to all and sundry; and nobody thinks of the clandestine drawbacks inherent in the very nature of its structure. In the long run this subterfuge will never be helpful.

I think the following fable will help to get the cognizance of the real state of affairs prevalent in the System of Education:

Once upon a time there was a school for animals where the learners were instructed in a curriculum, which consisted of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer the curriculum, all the animals had to do all the subjects. Well, as one might expect, the duck was excellent at swimming; in fact she was better than the instructor, but she only just managed to pass in flying. She couldn’t run and since she was so slow at running they made her stay after school and also she had to drop swimming and practice her running. This was kept up but eventually her webbed feet were so badly worn that she could only get average in swimming. This did not matter so much at that school, as average was quite acceptable.

Then there was a rabbit, and a rabbit, as one might expect, also stayed at the top of the class in running, but she became very nervous because she had so much extra work to do in swimming.

Now the squirrel was excellent in climbing. She developed frustration in the flying class, where the teacher made her start from the ground up instead of from the tree down; so she only got a C in climbing and a D in running.

The eagle, of course, was the problem child, so the teacher disciplined her quite severely. In the climbing class she beat all the others to the top of the tree, but she insisted on using her own way to get there which of course did not suit the teacher at all. At the end of the year an abnormal eel came the top of the class, because the eel could swim exceedingly well, it could also run and climb and fly a little and it finished with the highest average.

I think you would have followed me! But there is nothing to worry, nothing to despair, and nothing to frustrate. We have the Quran; we can work out the underpinnings (of the curriculum offerings) responding to the exigencies of the Permanent Values enshrined in the Quran with greater circumspection and care to reach a plateau where Ummah can stand firmly. What is required is the understanding and will-to-work with constant devotion and steadfastness  -even without longing for any reward and/or gratitude. Let’s come out of this quagmire and gird up our lions.

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