Education Is What Makes
Or Unmakes a People, a Society and a Nation
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time.
Trying to Take the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And Which One Does Not?)
It is not for nothing that the Qur'an begins with a clear and straightforward command to all human beings to Read.
Nor is it, also, without any significance that the second and the longest chapter of the Qur'an, Surah Al Baqarah, begins with the exaltation of The Book: Al-Kitaab.
Mind you, all this was happening, right here, on this earth, well over 1400 years ago. That was centuries and centuries before people were either able or allowed to read and use a book! Any book, in any form or fashion.
Unless, of course, they were royalty, clergy or nobility: members of the royal family; or of "noble birth"; or part of priestly and clerical classes.
Everyone, everywhere! Go and get the best education you can, every single one of you.
And go, all the way from the deserts of Arabia, even to the far-off land of China in pursuit of the kind of education that you, your families and your societies need.
That was Islam then. And that is Islam now. And that is how Islam will be forever!
And individuals, nations, groups and societies that follow these Instructions from God will rise and shine in the world, while those who don't, will go down the tube of history to end up as a garage pile of garbage and refuse.
Muslims followed those orders from God -- in the Qur'an -- and became leaders of the world for 1000 years. They became leading scientists, educators and scholars in the world.
Muslims then forgot those orders of the Qur'an to read and to get the best possible education, in every conceivable subject of the world, even if it were from China, and became a mass of ignorant people. As a result, Muslims lost all their value and worth in the world.
They became Ghuthaa', as the Hadith says they would.
And that may be because there perhaps is nothing more critical in a nation’s life than education. At every level and for all segments of society.
Where educational roles and responsibilities are rightly and properly defined, and diligently pursued, results can be most wonderful.
Where those are mediated through various filters of self-interest, exploitation and greed, results will be disastrous. For now and for a long time to come.
In the United States today, the fundamental flaw of lumping faculty with other groups on academic campuses must be reversed. A college or university campus must clearly recognize Faculty Primacy as the sine qua non of the academic enterprise.
That means, when faculty exist, students are possible. And "staff" come in to provide support as and when needed.
When the basic integrity of this academic architecture is tampered with, a clear signal goes out to everybody that faculty are negotiable and disposable, and that they are just like anybody else on campus or in society.
It tells the world that faculty are not the very core and nucleus of the academic enterprise as a whole, but merely one of the ingredients, part of the mix.
Nor can this equation be reversed, unless the model is changed from Academic to Commercial.
That means, faculty will go on thinking, researching and building and sharing their dreams of creative and revolutionary ideas and projects with or without students present, and with or without support staff being available in sufficient numbers and in the right roles and places.
But when Academy is changed to Business, and when faculty-student relationship is defined as fundamentally transactional, then faculty become factory workers and sellers and supplies of educational goods, and students become consumers, connoisseurs and shoppers.
Under the auspices of such a model, driven by rank market considerations, it is only natural that support staff should end up becoming managers and bosses that run the shop or the plantation. And they morph into foremen who in different ways tell everybody on the plantation what to do and in many cases also how to do it.
The kind of social, academic and other outcomes and ills that flow out of such a transactional or business model of education are countless.
We and our future generations will tinker with those unfavorable outcomes and consequences at the periphery for the rest of our lives, without being able to solve the problems that arise out of our lopsided sense of priorities in such a critical field as education.
Problems that arise from our fundamental moral perversity of turning the most noble and life-giving process of education into a usurious, money-making operation and knowledge into a marketable commodity, sold to the highest bidder.
God Help Such a Nation and Such a Society that turns its back on the Divine Instructions that God Almighty provided in the Qur'an.
Dr. Syed Pasha