Understanding Our Plight
Education is the only way to change the lot
AAMIR HUSSAIN SHAH
Why is that Muslim societies today are divided by sectarianism, destroyed by wars and firmly controlled by industrialized nations exploiting the resources of Muslim nations? In one word the answer is lack of proper education. Today Muslim youth is torn between different tendencies and assailed by doubts and uncertainties from all sides. They hear that western civilization is bankrupt, but at the same time see its economic and political hegemony. Our youth have no choice but to acknowledge certain fundamental qualities of the West such as its scientific development, its technological supremacy, its administrative efficiency and its political cohesion. At the same time they see completely the opposite of it in the East.
If we look at the top 200 universities of the world, you will not find a single Muslim university in the list. What has happened to this community of knowledge and learning? We are the people who are related in our faith to Al Beruni, Al Khurazmi, Ibn Sina, Razi, Ibn Haytam and many others. Arts and humanities, social sciences, engineering and technology, medicine and natural sciences are the faculties where Muslims are not even in top 50. If we pray five times a day, fast, do Hajj we do this for ourselves but if we gain knowledge, we not only benefit ourselves but also our children, our society. Where is that community of learning? We are not even a shadow of past. The moment Muslim ummah deviated from the path of knowledge, science and research, it fell prey to the West. It is true and unfortunate that most of the Muslim nations don’t have the kind of education system which would enable Muslim youth to develop the broad vision and compete with the west in the field of research. No nation or community could progress unless it adopted the modern education system. We are lagging behind because we are not willing to give up the traditional and conventional way of education.
Muslims have to modernize the ‘Madrassas’. Modern analysts usually criticize two areas of its pedagogy; the limited range of subjects taught and the exclusive reliance on memorization. This usually finds its effect on the students when they enter into the formal education offered by modern state. While these students can memorize copious volumes and texts, they often lack competence in critical analysis and independent thinking.
During the golden age of Islamic empire (usually between 10th and 13th century), the Islamic world flourished and they were regarded as the masters of science, art and even literature. It was the period when they made most of its contribution to scientific world. Contributions were made in chemistry, botany, physics, medicine, mathematics and astronomy as many Muslims regarded scientific truth as tools for accessing the divine. Knowledge occupies a place of prominence within Islam. There are more than 800 references in the holy Quran which place a high premium on education. The very first revelation was the revelation of knowledge (Iqra).
It not only stops here but what happened in the very first battle of Islamic history that is ‘the Battle of Badr’. Each war prisoner who was not able to pay ransom was asked to educate ten Muslims for his freedom. We do not find such a unique punishment in any history. But what is important is that Islam has never laid stress on a particular subject. The first message of Allah to Prophet S.A.W was ‘Read’. Reading/Contemplating the Creator, creation, universe, humankind, science, subject of pen, subject of research and exploration were revealed in only first five verses. This goes on to show the importance of modern education and science in Islam.
During Islamic rule, Sisley alone contained 600 primary schools. In Damascus, only one city had 130 law colleges, every hospital had a library which contained a vast number of books on medicine. Nizamul Mulk (education minister of Seljuk Empire) during the rule of Alap Arsalan had a vast amazing education system. Every single village under him had a primary and secondary school.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 May 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 15 May 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 16 May 2012 00:00:00 IST
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