Hope that my message finds you in the best of iman, health and happiness. I wish to share with you our historical context that motivated me to found a contemporary Islamic education.
During the colonization of the sub continent , the British used all means of state terrorism to crush the resistance put up by the Muslims, who had till then been the rules of India. When political isolation, economic strangulations, confiscation of property, forced exile and barbaric acts like blowing off the bodies of the freedom fighters while tied to the muzzles of the cannons failed to subdue and tame the Muslims, the British rulers of India sought the advice of Sir Evelyn Baring who had remained the de facto ruler of Egypt for 26 years and was extremely successful in taming the Egyptians. He advised his contemporary colonial masters to cease their repressive policies against the Muslims and recommended that a new education system be introduced to secularize the syllabi and exclude the Quran, which was, till then, central to all Islamic learning. Hence new schools were opened in the length and breadth of India to impart secular education in an anglicized environment. All important executive and administrative positions, both in the government and private sector, were then reserved for the graduates of these schools. Prior to the British Raaj, religious education was an integral part of the school curriculum but then it was left to fend for itself in madaris run by the lesser educated religious teachers sarcastically termed as maulvis. Ironically, Darse-Nizami, a hallmark of sixteen years of Islamic education was downgraded by the British to be equivalent to grade eighth for job criteria. This one step alone immensely discouraged the Muslims for learning Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Islam for fear of losing higher government jobs. Unfortunately, this resulted in severance of links with the Quran, Sunnah and the Islamic heritage. Without the spiritual guidance provided by the Quran and Sunnah, the Muslim society no more remained impregnable and was greatly influenced by the British culture.
Imam Ghazali one of the greatest social scientists of the Islamic history has written that “the vanquished always imitates the conqueror for he considers that the defeat was not due to his own faults but due to the superior culture and customs of the conqueror.” From these western type of schools, a new creed of apologetic Muslims emerged from the middle and upper middle class-trained to follow the British mind set-taking up all coveted jobs reserved for them in the civil bureaucracy, armed forces, judiciary and in all other important spheres of life. This trend still continues unabated, having gained impetus from the mushroom growth of private schools on the model of the British Public Schools. Hence a large segment of the middle and upper middle class has been westernized not only intellectually but also culturally.
For the rapidly growing populace which count not afford these elitist schools, various religious elements made an effort to fill this vacuum by establishing Madarisand surprisingly their strength rose from 150 in 1947 to over 10,000 by 2001. Ironically, the curriculum of these Madarishas always been limited to an extremely narrow aspect of Islam, which is also completely devoid of modern contemporary subjects. The students of these Madarisare not only intolerant and narrow-minded but some of them are involved in the worst kind of sectarianism. Resultantly, not only the non-Muslims but a very large portion of our educated class has also formed a much distorted image of Islam. Consequently, this has led the educated class to believe that Islamic education is a symbol of backwardness having no possible solution to present say problems but rather encouraging the Muslims to adopting a regressive outlook on life. Even those parents who are convinced of the intrinsic superiority of the Islam civilization are unwilling to send their children to these Islamic Schools for fear of their children losing out on contemporary knowledge and above all, for being socially isolated. Therefore, parents have no option but to send their children to these grade oriented schools where a Muslim child not only fails to identify himself but also becomes confused and directionless. If any meaningful change has to be brought about in our society, or if Pakistan wants to become a progressive Islamic State, then modern disciplines have to be blended with the Islamic teachings to bring into existence a dynamic Muslim society, as it had happened during the earlier period of Islamic history. Therefore, it is imperative to provide an opportunity to the younger generation to acquire contemporary knowledge along with the Islamic teachings and not merely studying Islamiyatas a grade fetching subject.
A majority of the parents are innocently convinced that education is meant only for the acquisition of high grades, and to widen the scope of lucrative jobs and options. Therefore, it is highly disturbing but not surprising, that many bright, talented young Pakistanis lose touch with their heritage, and get lured away into the western corporate culture-content to serve the same master, we sacrificed so much to break free from. School for Contemporary and Islamic Learning (SCIL) is one such honest and sincere effort to impart Education in a complete sense, where not only contemporary subjects will be taught by highly qualified and dedicated staff, but most importantly where there will be equal emphasis on Islamic teachings, character building, high moral values, healthy habits and development of personality traits to make a child balanced, tolerant, broadminded and flexible to changes and new ideas. The curriculum of the school will be designed in such a way that all the activities of a public school are conducted in an Islamic environment to make a child mentally, physically and morally strong taking pride in identifying himself as a Muslim.Hope you can join us in our endeavor to learn, spread and work for our deen Insha’Allah.
Gul Abbas Mela
SCIL Founder & CEO