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Our System of Education
Dr. Shehzad Saleem


The system on which the general system of education in our country is based 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.

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 considered to be in the hands of its inhabitants who carve out their own destiny and shape their own future. All the 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 disciplines. Human intellect 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. 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 Dīniyyāt 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, but 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 leisures of life for nobler 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 goal 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 behaviour. What we often see is an immaculate 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 competent in their fields and besides being staunch Muslims possess a deep concern for Islam and this Ummah should be selected. Grooming the younger generation should be their mission and producing exemplary people in the society their primary responsibility.

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, language teaching should be the basic objective so that students attain high proficiency in the languages in which they are to be instructed in various disciplines and branches of learning. For this purpose, the Arabic, Urdu and English languages should be taught in a manner that the students are able to freely read, write and converse in these languages.

5.   Since the subject of arithmetic is essential for the teaching of science and other similar disciplines, therefore it should be included in the teaching syllabus at the primary level as is done so in the prevailing system.

6.   To make the students aware of the rich cultural and intellectual heritage of the Muslims and their customs and traditions, a new subject by the name of ‘Islamic Tradition’ should be introduced. The subject should be taught throughout the school period. Within its syllabus should be included a depiction of the evolutionary development of Islamic civilisation and culture in various ages, a delineation of the important events of Islamic history, a portrayal of eminent Muslim personalities and an anthology of the masterpieces of the Arabic and Persian languages.

7.   To provide useful entertainment to the students and to develop creativity in them, the subject of ‘Fine Arts’ should also be included at the primary level. The students should be informally taught how to write through this subject and when the students are able to write the alphabet, calligraphy and orthography should be inducted in the syllabus of this subject. 

8.   Sciences and other subjects related to it should be taught in English, while social studies and Islamic studies should be taught in Urdu and Arabic respectively. Until the students are able to understand and communicate in these languages, the above mentioned subjects should be taught very informally. At the beginning of the ninth class, subjects like science, literature, Dīniyyāt etc. which the students choose according to their inclination in order to specialise in various fields should be introduced and these subjects should continue to be taught till the twelfth class.

9.   The Arabic language should basically be taught to understand the Qur’ān. In the last two years of the secondary level, the students should study the Qur’ān piecemeal from the beginning to the end. During this period, they must develop the general understanding of the meaning and import of the Qur’ān which a common Muslim must have.

10. To fulfil various needs of the students, home economics, computer use, martial arts, repair of various instruments should also be taught.

11. Every educational institution should have a good library. Students should be urged to benefit from it. All modern day educational aids should be extensively employed in these pursuits. Students should be taught with the latest methodology tested and tried at the global level and the present way of loading the students with scores of text books and a lot of homework should be discontinued.

12. The higher level should only be reserved for specialisation. This specialisation can be in Dīniyyāt, medicine, engineering, sociology, physics, biology or any other subject the students choose and the period of this specialisation should be five years like that of medicine in the prevailing system. The existing mode of specialisation in these subjects should be completely terminated.

13. 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.

14. Teaching should be made the most highly paid profession and teachers should be given more facilities than any other professional. Teachers should not be allowed to impart tuition to the students of their own schools.

15. 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.


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.

These scholars should 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 at these venues.

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

The total period of education should be five years. The Qur’ān should occupy the pivotal position in the syllabus. Students should be reared with the notion that in the Qur’ān rests the final authority, and 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 scrutinised under the light of this Divine Guidance. All basis of belief and faith should be directly derived from this Word of God, which should be considered the ultimate standard and authority for philosophy and ‘ilm-i-kalām, fiqh and hadīth, literature and syntax. Students should be made aware that even the works of great jurists like Abu Hanīfah and Shāfi‘ī, scholars of Hadīth like Bukhārī and Muslim, scholastics like Ash‘arī and Māturīdī, sufis like Junayd and Shiblī must be weighed in the scales of this Mīzān, and nothing can be accepted from them which is not in consonance with it.

Besides this, the basic emphasis should be upon the disciplines of Arabic grammar and rhetoric, pre-Islamic Arabic literature, usūl-al-fiqh, hadīth and lslamic 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 political science 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 of 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 bases 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 realise 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.

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 Hadīth which pertain to self-purification and character-building. They should be induced to offer their utmost support (Nusrah) 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 the teachings of Islam, and as such in all their undertakings and endeavours they must always keep in consideration this responsibility.



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