Dr. Taimur Rahman
Muslim civilisation can never advance as long as it does not do away with the outdated madrassah education system and embrace modern scientific education. For the last 500 years Muslim civilisation has been in an intellectual decline because we simply refuse to embrace modern scientific secular education.
We keep living in the past and talk about Ibne Sina and Al-Khwarizmi. But the madrassah system that stopped all critical thinking after the 13th century ban on ijtehad has gradually become completely outmoded. The only thing they teach is how to memorise things. But they do not teach alternative points of views or critical thinking.
In madrassah a system called Taqlid is encouraged. Taqlid means that we must accept and follow the authority of religious scholars. These scholars wrote more than 700 years ago. But our madrassah system will teach only the bare minimum of anything that has occurred in the modern world. A little bit of maths (nothing about its history or impact on philosophy). A little bit of the languages (nothing from its literature which is mostly considered by madrassah teachers as heretical). A little bit of science but nothing about its battle with faith or its underlying assumptions.
Sir Syed’s great contribution to the modernisation of South Asian Muslims was that he encouraged young Muslims to learn English and acquire modern scientific secular education. This was opposed tooth and nail by the conservatives of his time.
Today Imran Khan is not helping Sir Syed’s cause. He is not modernising education. He is helping the cause of those who always opposed Sir Syed. Those who wanted to go back to the conservative madrassah system.
PTI supporters assure us that he is modernising these madrassahs. Let us look at the record. The first thing PTI did when it took the KPK government was to give the education ministry to Jamaat e Islami (followers of those who always opposed Sir Syed Ahmed Khan). Jamaat immediately went about reversing all the progressive things in the KPK education syllabus and stopped all development of secular scientific education.
And if you are confused about the term secular scientist, let me explain it to you that science is totally secular in its orientation. The word secular means the opposite of sacred. It means that which belongs to the world of matter. To the non-spiritual world. Science seeks the answer to the wonder of this world (not the next).
If you want to catch up to the West, encourage secular scientific education. If you want to stay backward and be the slaves of the advanced countries of the world, continue supporting the enemies of Sir Syed Ahmed Khan.