Daring to tread a radically different path:
Located on the outskirts of Quetta, is the barren valley of Mariabad where the Hazara lead slow-paced lives.
These tribal people, living in narrow brick huts speckled along the rugged hillside, typically sell loose cloth, sweaters or tea for their livelihood.
One student’s journey from small-town Karrar Hussain Jaffar transcended the confines of an obscure town in Balochistan, where people rarely educate themselves beyond matriculation, to study at the prestigious Harvard University.
I am so proud of this boy; yet paradoxically enough no one would have celebrated eminence and illustriousness of this boy if he would have entered any of the following institutions of learning Hawza ʻilmiyya of Najaf, Iraq or Qom, Iran, or a Sunni centers such as Darul Uloom like Jami'ah al-Azhar (Egypt) Dar al-Ulum Deoband (India) Jami'ah al-Qarawiyyin (Morocco) Ma'had al-Fath (Syria) Dar al-Ulum Karachi (Pakistan) Dar al-Hadith (Syria) Dar al-Ulum Nadwah al-Ulama (India) Jamia Rasheed Jamia Farooqia Binori TownJamia Binoria.
Last week Cambridge was ranked top university in the world for the second consecutive year, ahead of Harvard, Yale and Oxford. It is the world's third-oldest university after Bologna in Italy and Oxford University, and educated the likes of Charles Darwin and Sir Isaac Newton.
I am also intrigued as to why none of the above Hawza ʻilmiyya or Darul Uloom made it to any rank in the QS World University Rankings 2011/12.
Hawza ʻilmiyya or Darul Uloom (Hawza ʻilmiyya Shi'a equivalent of the Sunni Darul Uloom) are institutions where Islamic students are trained through a study of classic texts in their original languages; they are centuries old traditional Islamic school of higher learning and considered by the 1.2 billion faithful as global preeminent centers for the training. They are based in Najaf, Iraq and Qom, Iran, and Sunni centers such as Jami'ah al-Azhar (Egypt) Dar al-Ulum Deoband (India).
Are the judges and those who vote these institutions discriminatory and bigoted or prejudiced? No the reason we celebrate LUMS and Harvard are due to the fact that these institutions of learning instill ascendancy of reason, logic and science over creed, doctrine and belief.
Enlightenment is far superior than tenets leading to close-mindedness. When a university teaches myths and fables instead of logic, reason and science, it produces intolerance and parochial narrow-mindedness.
This is the reason we cherish our sons who read at the institutions where Charles Darwin studied and where Newton premeditated and deliberated not the one that breed insular and unsophisticated incoherence of intellect.
Just two weeks before 911 in an article under 'Rise and fall Islamic apathy vs 400 years of forgotten renaissance' I had written that:
''The war of ideas where Islamic clergy, for its own limited interests, has tried to introduce elements of bigotry and fanaticism in mainstream Islamic thought is not new to Muslim societies. It has made them weak and backward and if it continues in its most dangerous form, such a schism will fragment the country whose only reason to exist as a nation is theological unity of belief. Today, our Darul-Ulooms are a breeding ground for sectarian terminators. Unless our Darul-Ulooms become and are redesigned on the pattern of House of Wisdom, of Baghdad and, instead of producing human terminators, we produce men of letters who may recognize how to respect life, our prospect as a nation is bleak.''
Reading this after nearly 10 years is so dejavuish!! Somethings will never change in our life time!! Within 2 weeks of writing ''Unless our Darul-Ulooms become and are redesigned on the pattern of House of Wisdom, of Baghdad and, instead of producing human terminators, we produce men of letters who may recognize how to respect life, our prospect as a nation is bleak.'' The human terminators as predicted had struck, I had to write this one:
Darkest day: Mankind's balance of terror has been most unfortunately changed
''The attack on World Trade Center in New York is one of the most dastardly and heinous crimes committed against mankind.The condemnation of this act has no precedent, and can find no better words than saying that this in the history of mankind will be called as mankind's darkest day. It is the darkest day because today we thought that we had groomed ourselves enough to understand and solve issues through mutual consultation. But that was not to be. The world financial markets have shown how precarious they can be. What it boils down to is that the entire 35 trillion dollar world economy finally became hostage to twelve human bombs who had very little respect for mankind in general. The worst of the whole thing is that this was done in the name of our Holy Book, the Quran, which teaches the message of mercy, forbearance and tolerance.
The attack on World Trade Center and its associated human loss of life is coincidentally too large a price for what has changed for humanity today. The world is poorer today, like the 1967 mass hijackings changed the way we fly now. These attacks have changed the way we have treated hijackings so far. The next time any plane takes to the air will not only be worrisome for the passengers, but the real agony will be for the people on the surface over whose heads these planes shall be hovering.
The dynamics of hijackings will change completely. So far nations used to refuse to accept flying planes as too hot to handle on ground; now, the first change would be that the people will try to bring these planes down on the tarmac as soon as possible. There will be a deep sigh of relief if human bombs do not hijack the fuel-laden planes. The world will have to live in fear of the unknown and that is the biggest disservice to mankind. Unfortunately, doing this in the name of Islam is the biggest disservice to Islam. Islam is a religion of compassion, not destruction and death.
It is sad today that we are at this juncture. Not only have the dynamics of terror been changed, but the fact that a fuel-laden bomb or biological-laden passenger bombs, the equation of threat against civilians has completely changed. It's New York today; it can be Cairo tomorrow. The same militants are as much against New York as they are against any other moderate Muslim government in the Middle east. Those who are gleefully dancing in the streets should realize that this is a common threat against mankind. We will never fly again the way we used to, and our profiles will be under more careful scrutiny. We who have darkened skins and darkened hair. Is this a fair price to pay for the whole Islamic nations that today one billion people are under suspicion? The act of few has clouded the prospects of billion. That is not acceptable.''
After 10 years it is my 'little' dream that everyone of the 1.2 billion faithful gets a break like Karrar Hussain Jaffar and they study 'Hawking Newton and Darwin with equal intent and zeal as they study the holy verses and sermons from the pulpits of Qom and Alazhar; the fate of the nation of Islam would be far better; fewer deranged suicide bombers and human terminators will be produced and co-habitation amongst man may become a custom and a norm in our troubled part of the world! Let's be united in our diversity is the lesson of tomorrows world !
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