Education, Pakistan And Process OF Change: A Message (Dr. Manzoor-ul-Haque)

Education for What?  – To  conquer the forces and resources of nature by the acquisition of adequate knowledge through a well-balanced, elaborate and all-embracing system of education; and to harness human potential and then to utilize external forces in subservience to the Qur’anic values for the benefit of all the mankind. This provides us identity, self-discipline and academic pursuits – all of the highest excellence but our difficulty, without any conspicuous flamboyant grandiloquent style and scintillating phrase, is that we overpower the forces of nature without being able to overwhelm the forces which lie within ourselves.

The outer world is true image of the man’s inner self. As long as there is no change in its own inner self, there can be no change in its outer world either: the Change in the outer world is the prototype of the Change in the inner world. Unfortunately, we try to change the society without first changing the inner self. This places us in a ludicrous situation. The Qur’an considers the psychological change inside human beings absolutely necessary to bring about an external revolution (Al Qur’an, 13:11): Nothing can change outside human life, unless totally transformed from within is the rudimentary Qur’anic approach.

But when a nation stops thinking and searching, words and concepts lose their meaning. This process of semantics distorts our vision and world view; we lose the art and awareness of connecting words and concepts and various institutions we live by and consequently we continue to wade through the mire of glaring contradiction smug in self-deception.Education per se is such a construct today – not in Pakistan alone but also in the entire globe.

If we work in line with the teachings of the Quran, provide information to the potential users, then the flow of this information, like water, will ultimately find its own level in the minds of the potential users of the spatio-temporal world because the most magnificent is the only fittest to survive: “The negative forces, as a result of conflict between truth and falsehood, pass away like scum and that which is beneficial for the mankind remains on the earth” (Al-Qur’an, 13:17) and the system of the universe is a clear proof to show that Allah’s plan is to produce positive results. Anything that does not produce such results is eliminated and replaced by another capable of producing constructive results. (Al-Qur’an, 14:19) Fa hal minn muddakarin (Al-Qur’an, 54:15) but is there any that remembreth?

A thing to ponder over is that when a whole culture matures   -as Islamic Culture did after the Muslims became settled in their various domains  -the Quranic Teachings give birth to that most precious and most delicate and most fragile and most dear of all institutions an entity  -where students are made to develop a deep insight for formulating the right solutions to difficulties and problems confronting them, where psychological change inside human beings as considered necessity by the Holy Qur’an, is made absolutely necessary to bring about an external revolution and hence this is the stance where victory is won not in miles but in inches, and ultimately knowledge is not mistaken for wisdom —- because knowledge helps the people make a ‘living‘ and wisdom helps make a life.

In Pakistan, the vision of Islam is the life blood of its people and the very business of its various institutions   -and universities in particular. But this vision has been beclouded in modern time by another vision, the vision of the West. That alien vision came to us through many intricacies, clandestine mechanisms and colonial magical approaches, and continues to be stormed afflicting us with mental confusion and practical chaos.

We should know that the scientific outlook has sunk deep into the modern man during the third quarter of the second millennium and the modern man now speaks the language of science. It is only because we have two types of education imparting institutions functioning in the world particularly the Western. The first is the upholder of the acquisition and development of science with full freedom of expression and thought. The second lays greater emphasis on science and technology (S & T) with maximization of experimentation in these fields. Again the first type opposes commitment in thought to any control point of view and sees in it stagnation of thinking. While the second relies for its development on aggressive competition. A Pakistani Institute of Higher Learning par excellence ought to be free from the vices of both the types; while it should be a beneficiary of the scientific achievements of the West, it should not be immersed in conflict and competition but should utilize them for the benefit of mankind in accordance with the Laws of God as revealed by Him engrafting harmony, concurrence, consonance and concord with the changing nature of the time, place and circumstances. This makes these Institutions today accept this as a challenge of the newly storming knowledge in the present and the future both.

But along with that this must be known that evolutionary changes take place in the outer universe automatically, according to the Divine Plan, and by stages, each involving thousands and thousands of years to accomplish. This is cosmic process. It is only by taking a long term view that we can perceive the trend of a world process. But in case of man this process works in the light of the Divine Guidance, revealed in the Holy Qur’an. Man (and here we mean man not travelling in the light of Divine Guidance) when pressed by circumstances to modify any existing state of affairs, adopts a course which he thinks the best, works on it strenuously day in and day out, but finds at the end that the course adopted was wrong. He abandons it and embarks upon another course. This he has to repeat time and again. Even when he reaches his destination, the labour involved and the time spent is not commensurate with results achieved —- the span of human life is so short and the distance to be travelled so lengthy —-. This process of ‘trial and error’ is another form of Cosmic Process. Man has, however, not been left in wilderness to find his way out, unaided by a Divine Guidance. If he adopts the course suggested by it straightaway, not only is he protected against pilfalls but the time taken to reach the goal also shrinks from cosmic reckoning to human calendar. In this way Allah’s plan and programme is put into action in this world of man through the agency of man himself. This necessitates over-hauling our present education system.

These stark facts in view impelled the writer as Professor teaching in the University to gush forth these few lines for the Internet and Tolu-e-Islam tyros to pause and reflect over these lines. These tyros will pool their resources at the Seminar on “Sectarianism & Quran” (dated November 05, 2000) for not only exchanging their views but also laying down together the guidelines of the discipline of education for eliminating friction, and curbing fissiparous tendencies, gut-wrenching hate, rampant corruption and operative lies in the society through the presentation and discussion of their research papers based on the Quran. It will bring to light the problems involved in the deteriorating politico-educational enterprise for leading towards national integration, balanced development of human self and finally suggesting ways and means to improve and develop such a national system of education for this purpose. The scholars present in this Seminar of the Tolu-e-Islam will seek, I fervently hope, neither pomp, nor advantage; and they will look forward to no reward save their obeisance to Allah SWT. This is my wish, my desire, my longing, and a few words to reflect. This is the Message at this occasion.

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