It’s a truth universally acknowledged that defects or errors can only be rectified if we are consciously aware of them. The first step towards becoming a better human, society or a nation is the realization of one’s faults and then trying to do away with them through the possibly best means available. Keeping this phenomenon in mind, we can say that the youth of today can somehow do something about their known problems and social diseases, however, what about those hidden, venomous ideas or behaviors which have entangled us so beautifully and insidiously that we are unable to identify them as such. One of those infections which are contaminating the youth of today is our unconscious focus from true understanding to merely getting academic achievement.
The above statement can emanate a question that isn’t academic achievement a result of true understanding? Of course, we can achieve a good result only if we are proficient in the concerned field but the issue here is that whether we are interested, in getting knowledge for the sake of knowledge, in honing our minds and souls or whether our aim is to acquire a title of a doctor, engineer or colonel etc through one way or the other? The need of getting an economically acknowledged degree in this era of ‘knowledge economy’ cannot be neglected, but on the other hand, the ever-increasing demand of students who are really hankering after knowledge and wisdom cannot be ignored as an essential need of any society. Unfortunately, this essential ingredient is getting extinct from Pakistan as well as many other countries of the world. Our general attitude is ‘why read anything if it’s not required for our course? Why learn if it’s not in our curriculum? Young minds can decay if not utilized in the process of personal enlightenment and growth.
Moving further, if we suppose that somehow we have succeeded in developing a taste for learning, even then we will not be able to get away from yet another and even more deadly notion that is tearing up our roots. No one can help but getting shocked after reading a confession from a vice-chancellor of a western university, he says ‘’ Today, most religion-based universities can say with certainty why they exist. Their job is to teach students the values that their religion believes to be the basis of good moral character. But the decline in religion and the widespread acceptance of moral relativism, even idiot nihilism, has made it impossible for British secular universities to provide this prescriptive type of education’’ He has previously mentioned in the same article that we still have no consensus on the purpose of higher education. Then he acknowledges that this is not the case with religion based universities, because they are not confused with what they have to do. He further says ‘’ Abandoning their moral purposes has led universities to stress their utilitarian nature – get a degree and get a better job. Universities and their representative bodies routinely trumpet their economic impact. We have put so much emphasis on this aspect of our activities that the government now believes that universities exist mainly to bolster the economy’’ It is clear from his speech that one of the main reasons behind ‘economization’ of education is the lack of moral based purposes behind curriculum designing in colleges and universities not only in west but almost all over the world. HEC is not linked with any specific region; rather it’s a worldwide entity, spreading a same system everywhere. This secularization of our education system is indirectly inculcating the initial stages of humanism (giving more importance to human abilities rather than the creator) in our veins, and this virus cannot be eradicated just by learning for the sake of learning or improving ourselves, though it’s also essential, but it demands some more effort as well.
First, we should accept this sad reality, that we really no more give much importance to our creator, in our daily lives. As mentioned above, we need to acknowledge our faults before thinking of eradicating them. The purposelessness of our education system is causing purposelessness in our lives. Secular basis of knowledge is weakening our trust on the ONE who made us. If we do agree and realize that these ulterior notions are really effecting our lives then we have to do something, not for anyone, but for our own selves. Now, where to look at? Who can guide us in a best possible way? Who can take us out of this irritatingly and miserably competitive environment and can free our souls from the crushing burden of economic crisis and humanistic beliefs, of course, none other than our creator. Can there be any one who can know us better than HIM. Can a computer or a mobile fix itself? Will you believe if your robot suddenly comes up and announce that it doesn’t need your guidance any more, now it can work by itself… do you think it will be able to manage for long? Obviously, anybody can guess its end. Then why are we such fools, that we think that we can do without HIS help. He Himself says that ask me and I will give you. Then why don’t we consult HIM in all our matters. If we would have been leading our lives according to the injunctions of the Holy Quran and Sunnah, we would not have fallen prey to disastrous systems, so easily. Allah says in Surah Yunus,
‘’ O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e Quran), and a healing for that (diseases of ignorance and negligence) which is in your breasts, a guidance and a mercy for the believers’’. (10: 57)
‘’Then if there comes to you guidance from Me, then whoever follows My Guidance he shall neither go astray nor shall be distressed’’ (20: 123)
Are we following HIS guidance? Or are we moving on the dictates of our secular, humanistic system, which is surely not in accordance with what Quran tells us. If it’s really so, then what can be our end?
In this case, Allah says:
‘’ But whosoever turns away from My reminder, verily for him is a life of hardship, and We shall raise him up blind on the Day of resurrection. He will say ‘’O my Lord! Why have you raised me up blind, while I had sight (before) . Allah will say ‘Like this Our verses came to you, but you disregarded them, and so this day you will be neglected” (20: 124-126)
What these verses have to do with our defects and failings? Can Quran provide any practical solution to get rid of academic mania and human dependence, in the lives of youth? The answer is YES, it can. If Allah has promised that those who follow HIM, will not be distressed then why are we so doubtful? Why don’t we try to understand Allah’s message? But rather we mostly tend to ignore it. We have become so insane that we look everywhere for the solutions to our problems, except the Holy Quran. Youth has forgotten that this is the epitome of knowledge. All the sciences and arts sprout from this very source. The strangest thing is, we do believe in its truth but don’t consider it our guide. What an insanity, what a madness!!!
At the end, though we believe in it, but may Allah make this belief of ours, so strong that the following verse may jolt us into action
‘’If the people of the towns had but believed and feared Allah, We should indeed have opened out to them (all kinds of) blessings from heaven and earth; but they rejected (the truth), and We brought them to book for their misdeeds’’ (7: 96)
It’s high time that we transfer our verbal beliefs into practical ones. For this, though youth should bring about a dramatic change in the systems governing this country, but for a time being, and for taking the first step towards that change, we need to give credit where credit is due. We need to hold on to the rope of Almighty Allah in order to gain His blessings in this world and the Hereafter. This doesn’t require much effort, but just the studying of Holy Quran on daily basis. We can’t uproot a system in a day or two, or can’t immediately erase defective perceptions from our minds, but we can begin this process by getting to know the secrets of success mentioned in the Holy Quran. With so much means available today, this is surely not a difficult task. If all the subjects of the world are learnt under the shadow of Holy Quran, then in sha Allah, no force in the world can stop us from moving ahead of others. May Allah open our hearts and minds for accepting our shortcomings and welcoming His prescription for our mental diseases rather than trying to formulate our own solutions. For indeed He loves us more than seventy mothers and surely HE knows best.
(the above quoted lines are by Steven Schwartz; former vice-chancellor of Brunel University)