View Printable Version :: Email to a Friend
Our System Of Religious Education
Javed Ahmad Ghamidi
(Tr. by:Dr. Shehzad Saleem)

First of all, we analyze the role played by our institutions of religious education1. A rigorous analysis of their structure reveals a number of flaws.

Their gravest flaw is that they are based upon the principle of Taqlīd2. Here a student from the very first day is labelled as an orthodox follower of a particular sect. His destiny seems to be carved out beforehand as a devout denouncer of every other sect and an ardent acclaimer of his own. He is made to believe that only his brand of beliefs is in direct conformity with the Qur’ān and Sunnah. He is brainwashed with the notion that only his sect has been divinely blessed with the true version of Islam. An inference attributed to a highly revered scholar of his sect stands supreme till the Day of Judgement. That it can be challenged by explicit reasonings derived from the Qur’ān and Sunnah cannot be dared thought of. On the contrary, it becomes a part of his faith that such a scholar cannot falter.

It is this superhuman veneration that has actually given rise to the menace of religious sectarianism. Differences in opinion have often developed into severe conflicts. An atmosphere charged with lightning and resounding with thunder prevails amongst our religious circles. Every now and then a new episode of defamacy erupts form our mosques, which are unfortunately being used for these malignant offensives. The intense disregard they have for one another has led them to violate all norms of decency. Even immoral tactics are employed to safeguard their own views and interests . Prejudices and bigotry have severely hampered the long needed compilation of Islamic law and its subsequent implementation. Like nations at war, they continue their crusades against each other---meanwhile, very close to them the forces of evil mock at them and continue to flourish.

There are some among them, who claim to be liberal by not insisting upon the taqlīd of a single person, yet are adamant that after the fourth century H*ijra, the process of direct deliberation and reflection over the Qur’ān as a means for deduction and derivation can no more be deemed admissible; a matter that stands closed and no one should dare open it. To them the explanation of a Qur’ānic verse or a Hadīth contrary to the conventionally understood meaning, outrightly amounts to heresy. Evident omissions and apparent flaws in inferences are accepted vehemently simply because no one ever disputed them. In their opinion, scholarship and research only consist of enumerating, as much as possible, the views of previous scholars in support of their own. As a result, all their mental pursuits are confined to compilation and collection of references, while the faculties of reasoning and intellect are impelled into a permanent state of dormancy.

The arguments, they give in their support have no basis in the realms of reality. All of them acknowledge that the Qur’ān is the first source of our religion. We need not elaborate upon the fact that the Qur’ān has always remained under the protection of Allah, and there is no question of anyone ever having tampered with it. Its authenticity stands unchallenged, and it has been passed on to us as it was revealed. Its meanings and implications like its language, Arabic, are very clear. All material required to study the semantics of the language is available to us, just as it was in the early days. After the Qur’ān, the Sunnah and Ahādīth are the second source of our religion. Most of their contents have reached us by way of ‘amalee-tawaatur3 , while the remaining content is in the form of akhbār-i-ahād4 which has been critically examined by our scholars and the portion found authentic has been transferred to us. They have even recorded the reasons which have led them to accept or reject a Hadīth. In short they have passed on the smallest bit of information that might prove useful. These are the two sources of our religion, designated as the final words of authority. They are as accessible to us as they were to our predecessors.

Therefore, any argument on these grounds cannot be entertained in support of their principle of taqlīd.

After this only two things can be alleged: firstly, the degree of piety achieved by our forefathers is now unattainable. Secondly, the extent of intellect and comprehension possessed by them cannot be emulated in present times.

The latter is just a claim that finds no basis in the Qur’ān and Sunnah, nor has it ever been justified in the field of observation. While the former is, also, just another claim, which is actually in contradiction with the Qur’ān itself. The Qur’ān unequivocally states that in the Hereafter the highest honour would be bestowed upon the Asābiqūn---people foremost in faith. They would grace this world in the earlier as well as the later times:

“And those foremost [in faith] are foremost. They will be nearest to Allah in gardens of bliss. A number of people from the old and a few from those of later times.” [56:10-14]

Whatever else affirmed by the proponents of this viewpoint is mere wishful thinking which has no place in the world of reason and rationality.

Their second flaw is that though these institutions are centres of religious education, the Qur’ān, which occupies the cardinal position in Islam, has been driven in the background within their confines. The lofty status commanded by the Qur’ān as the Mīzān, the Balance of Justice and the Furqaan, the Distinguisher between good and evil, demands that it should be made the the pivot around which the whole curriculum should revolve. Students should be reared with the notion that in the Qur’ān rests the final authority and that it is the Qur’ān which rules over every matter in our religion. With this beacon in hand, they should be made to explore the various domains of knowledge and at every step seek its guidance. Every other subject taught should merely help the students in having a better understanding of the Qur’ān. Everything accepted in our religion should be rigorously scrutinized under the light of this Divine Guidance. All basis of belief and faith should be directly derived from this Word of God and it should be considered the ultimate authority not only in all religious issues but should also be regarded as the ultimate linguistic standard of Arabic. Students should be made to ponder over every word and meditate over every verse they encounter. They should be made aware that even the works of great jurists like Abū H*anīfa and Shā’fī scholars of H*adīth like Bukhārī and Muslim, scholastics like Ash’arī and Māturīdi, sufis like Junaid and Shibli must be weighed in the scales of this Meezaan and that nothing can be accepted from them which is not in consonance with it.

Our religion confers this supreme status upon the Qur’ān and consequently it should have held the same status in these institutions. But here, unfortunately, we know that during the initial years the only stress is upon its recital and committal to memory, while in the later years students have a final glimpse of it in the commentaries of “Jalālain” and “Bidhaavi”5. This is all as far as Qur’ānic teaching is concerned.

This estranged attitude towards the Qur’ān has resulted in there being no ultimate authority which can decide the correctness of a specific thought or a particular course of action. All religious concepts have become disputed and a subject of hot debate. Our religious-educational institutions which could have enlightened us over these issues, are themselves plunged in pitch darkness. Suffice to say that these institutions can have no access to the exalted wisdom of the Qur’ān, just as a born blind person can have no idea about the sun’s splendour.

The third essential flaw of these institutions is that the syllabus they follow is both outdated and ill-suited to the requirements of teaching and learning. It is generally believed that it was composed by Mullah Nizām-ud-Din. While, according to Shah Suleman, the heir to the shrine of Phulwaaree Shareef, its initial seeds were sown by Mullah Fateh ullah Sheraazee, and after many subsequent changes and additions reached its present form. Nevertheless, it was composed during the time when our religion had been completely isolated from its sources. The aforementioned treatment given to the Qur’ān speaks volumes about its inefficacy. The methodology of Daurah6 employed in the study of H*adīth can never instil the fondness of contemplation, neither in the teacher nor in the pupil. No importance has been given to the pre-Islamic Arabic literature, which has rendered the subtleties of language beyond appreciation. The books included for the teaching of Arabic grammar and rhetoric have an approach in which logical terminologies have overshadowed the diction of the language, and even if a student has an initial aptitude to relish the finer aspects of a language, he finally ends up with its crudest comprehension. His aesthetic faculties are made to remain passive and he inevitably fails to acknowledge the finesse in a Qur’ānic expression. Whatever has been set aside for philosophy, logic and ‘ilmi-kalaam7 in the syllabus inflicts a harm that surpasses its utility. Only the Hanafite Fiqh has been accommodated in the syllabus, and the concept of an Islamic Fiqh, irrespective of any school of fiqh, is non-existent. ‘Ilmi-Usūl8 is one discipline, pioneered and perfected by the Muslims; unfortunately, no book about it has been incorporated which could cultivate and develop the skill of Ijtihād9 in the students. On the other hand, books like “Sadraa” and “Maibzee”10 are regarded with a sanctity which has rendered them an eternal part of the syllabus. Any revision of old books or introduction of newer ones is considered high treason. Two centuries have gone by since the enunciation of this syllabus but the progress made in other branches of knowledge has failed to find any place in it.

Tremendous advances made in philosophy, psychology, astronomy, economics and political science have been treated with an almost contemptuous disregard. We are well aware of the fact that the world of knowledge continues to grow and expand and this dynamism constantly replaces older concepts with newer ones. The last two centuries bear witness to this with so much of material which once shaped the intellect of the world now being regarded as redundant. But our religious-educational institutions, quite unaware of these additions and abandonments, continue to blow their ancient trumpets.

These are the main flaws of our institutions of religious education. No methodology for the enforcement of Islam in this country can succeed unless it also aims at the reformation of these institutions. In our estimation, the following measures should be adopted by the government in this regard:

1. Besides persuading the pundits of the existing network of religious institutions to reform their set-up, the government should establish under its own supervision higher level religious educational institutions.

2. Scholars entrusted with the task of teaching in these institutions should be specifically those who consider only the Qur’ān and Sunnah as the source and basis of Islam and, as far as possible, practice what they preach.

3. These scholars will be freely allowed to form and express their opinions about the various matters and issues of our religion, wherever and whenever they want to do so within the limits set by the Qur’ān and Sunnah, so that all distinguished scholars are provided with an opportunity to lecture here.

4. Only students who have passed their intermediate should be admitted in these institutions just as in the existing framework students enter medical and engineering institutions after passing their intermediate examination.

5. The total period of education should be five years. The Qur’ān should occupy the same place in the syllabus as we have mentioned above. Besides this the basic emphasis should be upon the disciplines of Arabic grammar and rhetoric, pre-Islamic Arabic literature, usuli-fiqh, hadīth and Islamic law. The students should just be made familiar with the medieval trends and terminologies of philosophy and logic enabling them to read the works written in the older diction. The essentials of modern philosophy, psychology, economics, physics and politics should be expounded to the students so that they are able to follow their methodology of reasoning and have the capability to explicate, in contrast, the views held by the Qur’ān and Sunnah. The syllabus should also constitute an anthology of world literature which will assist the students in developing a literary taste and in having some idea about the delicacies of the sublime language of the Qur’ān. A comprehensive book upon the principles and basis of modern law should also be part of the syllabus. All schools of fiqh should be taught and students should be made to consider themselves the beneficiaries of this vast heritage and also made to realize that any biased affiliation in this regard is intolerable in the world of knowledge and learning. It should be made clear to them that from this profound legacy of our scholars, only material found in accordance with the Qur’ān and Sunnah is acceptable and everything else stands rejected without any hesitation whatsoever.

6. Besides these mental pursuits, the character of the students should be moulded so that they profess a high calibre of moral conduct. They should be made to spend sometime everyday in the company of pious scholars, and urged to pay special attention to the injunctions of the Qur’ān and Hadith which pertain to self-purification and character-building. They should be induced to offer their utmost support and co-operation in furthering the cause of Islam, and also made conscious of the fact that after being enlightened with the true understanding of Islam it is their responsibility to urge and exhort the ruling class of our country to follow and implement the teachings of Islam.

7. The existing way of higher education in Islamiat should be completely abolished and the degree given by these institutions should be equivalent in level with the M.B.B.S degree.

If the framework of our religious education is established on these lines, it can be hoped that the prevailing set-up of religious institutions shall be forced to follow them as well. It is only then that a mental and an intellectual reformation will take place and pave the way for an Islamic revolution.

(Adapted from Ghamidi’s “Burhaan”)








1. This article is part of a major article which presents our recommendations to the government for the enforcement of the Shariah in Pakistan.  (Editors)

2. Taqlīd: Blind acceptance of a jurist’s verdict.

3. ‘Amalee-tawaatur: The mode of passing on the established customs of the Prophet (sws) as religion to the Muslim Ummah by a vast majority of the companions of the Prophet (sws) through their practical consensus or perpetual adherence to such customs.

4. Akhbar-i-ahaad: Traditions reported by a single or a few individuals.

5. “Jalaalain” and “Bidhaavee”: Qur’ānic exegeses which have become famous by their authors’ name. The former is by Jalaal-Uddin-Assuyutee (d:1505 AD) and Jalaal-Uddin-Al-Muhallee (d:1459 AD), while the latter is by Abdullah-Bin-Umar-Al-Bidhaavee(d:1286 AD)

6. Daurah: A brisk oral recital of important books of Hadith before a teacher.

7. ’Ilmi-kalaam: Scholasticism ie the aims, methods and products of thought which constituted the main endeavour of the intellectual life of the middle ages.

8. ‘Ilmi-usul: The principles of deducing commandments from the Qur’ān and Sunnah.

9. Ijtihād: Independent or original interpretation of problems not covered in the Qur’ān and Sunnah.

10. Sadraa” and “Maibzee”: Two books of philosophy taught in Dars-i-Nizaami, the syllabus of our prevailing instituitions of religious education. They are in fact commentaries upon “Hidaayatul-Hikmah”, a book on this subject by Aseer-Uddin-Abharee (d:1264 AD) that have come to be known by their authors’ name. One of them is written by Mullah Sadar-Uddin-Sheraazee (d:1640 AD) and the other by Moin-Uddin-Maibzee.

For Questions on Islam, please use our

Replica Handbags Bottega Veneta fake Bvlgari fake Celine fake Christian Dior fake Gucci fake Gucci Bag fake Gucci Wallet fake Gucci Shoes fake Gucci Belt fake Hermes fake Loewe fake Louis Vuitton fake Louis Vuitton Belt fake Louis Vuitton Calf Leather fake Louis Vuitton Damier Azur Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Ebene Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Graphite Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Damier Infini Leather fake Louis Vuitton Damier Quilt lamb fake Louis Vuitton Embossed Calfskin fake Louis Vuitton Epi fake Louis Vuitton Game On Monogram Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Jewellery fake Louis Vuitton Key Holder fake Louis Vuitton Mahina Leather fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Denim fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Eclipse Canvas fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Empreinte fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Seal fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Shadow fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Vernis fake Louis Vuitton Monogram Watercolor fake Louis Vuitton New Wave fake Louis Vuitton Shoes fake Louis Vuitton Since 1854 fake Louis Vuitton Strap fake Louis Vuitton Taiga Leahter fake Louis Vuitton Taurillon leather fake Louis Vuitton Transformed Game On canvas fake Louis Vuitton Utah Calfskin fake Louis Vuitton X Supreme fake Mulberry fake Prada fake YSL fake