By Ghadia Cheema
Defects and 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 best means possible. Whilst the youth of today are somewhat aware of their personal demons, attention must be paid to the lurking darkness in the society that has us entangled with its farce of beauty and convenience. One such demon is our unconscious focus from true understanding to merely getting academic achievement.
The above statement refers to our desire to acquire knowledge merely with the intention to earn a certain degree or title of stature. Unfortunately, the quest to acquire knowledge for purposes of truly educating oneself are a rarity nowadays.
One of the main reasons behind the ‘economization’ of education is the lack of a moral framework in designing the curriculum, as aptly put by Steven Schwartz; former vice-chancellor of Brunel University, “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.’’ (source:https://www.timeshighereducation.com/comment/columnists/the-higher-purpose/176727.article) He further stresses, ‘’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.” This secularization of the education system is indirectly inculcating humanism (giving more importance to human abilities rather than the creator) in our veins, and this virus demands attention.
Unfortunately, the sad reality is that we attribute more significance to other things in our lives as opposed to our Creator. The purposelessness of our education system is causing purposelessness in our lives. This secular basis of knowledge is weakening our trust in the ONE who made us. Once we agree and accept this reality, only then can we move towards the solution.
What is the solution then? What is that miracle medicine which can free our souls from the crushing burden of economic crisis and humanistic beliefs? From the frustration caused as a result of the perpetual pressure of performing? The answer is surely, our creator. Can there be any one who can know us better than Him? But the intelligent creatures that we perceive ourselves to be, we live with the deceptive reality that our matters are under our control. 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 such havoc. 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 living on the dictates of our secular, humanistic system, which are surely not in accordance with what the Quran tells us. If this is the case, then what can be our end? 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)
The most ironic bit about the whole thing is that deep down, we believe that the message of Allah is ultimate, that what He has commanded is indeed what is best for us and yet we knowingly try to ignore it. If Allah has promised that those who follow Him, will not be distressed then why are we so doubtful? We look at several realms in our quest to locate the answer and yet, we forget to look at the book of the solutions itself, the Holy Quran. Allah says,
‘’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 is high time that the ‘tomorrow of change’ we keep referring to, finally arrives and we consciously take a step to correct our lives by studying the word of Allah and the teachings of the Holy Prophetﷺ. Indeed, a system cannot be uprooted overnight and hence, it will take time before our education system is streamlined and based on the teachings of the Quran and Sunnah. Till that happens, we can at least begin looking into these teachings on our own. With an abundance of resources available, we have no excuse into not reaching for this guidance. The first step is always the most difficult. 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.