Moral foundation of education
By Dr Abdul Saboor
Our education system has been a victim of many ills and ironies the snapshot of which can be watched from many public and private facets of life. On the one hand this system is producing degree holders trained of cramming and rot learning rather than true rational thinkers who could generate new knowledge for the uplift of science and technology. On the other hand, moral foundation of the existing system is not as strong as it could generate a more human environment for the state machinery to govern effectively for the true welfare of humanity. The capacity of national think tanks as well as state organs to counter the emerging challenges is neither sufficient nor efficient. Ironically, most of the time; the problem creators come in the forefront for the solution of same problems. Sometimes the solution carries the seeds and weeds of more problems.
Even the religious and sectarian issues are made understandable for us from the perspectives of secular thinkers. Cognitive skills of our graduates and scholars have become so damaged that we are to learn from “others” about our own social and economic problems. There is a long list of “others”- who are to take care of their vested interests. Most of their vested interests revolve around supremacy of knowledge so that they could market their social and scientific products to us. They are not only selling their dollars but their development models and complex theories as well. Their chief interest seems to be keeping us away from the knowledge mines God has granted to us. There is high price of these anomalies which nation has to pay in the shape of lagging far behind in almost all fields of life as compared to rest of the world.
To quote Hazrat Ali (RA), improve your education and knowledge if you want to defeat your enemy. To this end, the fundamental goal of education – seriously lacking in our education system – is to think innovatively and to create new knowledge. In order to achieve this goal one would have to realize one’s own being as the best creature of Allah Almighty who always provides a magnanimous charter for His people so as they could lead a successful life. That Charter is the Divine Wisdom which has always been available in human history for the sanctity of mankind either in the shape of Sahifa’s or Holy Books. This other-worldly knowledge is the primary source of knowledge. The sub-primary source is a demonstrated knowledge which is attributed to the beauty acts of the Prophets (PBUT). This fabric of knowledge demonstrates Divine Wisdom.
All the worldly knowledge has been generated from the Divine and demonstrated wisdom. By using the intuitive and cognitive faculty of mankind, the knowledge generated after the consensus building (Ijtihad) and deep thinking (Qayas) is declared as a secondary source of knowledge. All such originally published material falls in the category of secondary knowledge. Rest of all knowledge gauged from secondary sources is dubbed as tertiary stuff. Pakistan is mostly following the same pattern of knowledge which means we are using secondary knowledge without challenging the conventional wisdom. Our education system has been so designed and we have been academically so trained that we could be a follower of others’ wisdom rather than becoming innovators. The creation of new knowledge thus remains a dream immaterialized.
Accordingly Ghazali, all knowledge is available in soul just like seed in the soil. How that knowledge can be extracted from soul? To get the answer we need to recall the simple message that man is the best creature of the Creator for two reasons; for having a diamond brain and for keeping soul or spirit which acts as a reflection of the Divine Wisdom in the body. Brain is meant for creation of new knowledge as soul is designed for finding the truth of Nature and universal Laws. A great deal of harmony needs to be maintained between brain and soul. Naturally embossed software needs to be activated for the truth available in soul to be mobilized. Making a use of brain without charging it from the waves of spirit would mean that we are not fully utilizing the power of brain and thus the knowledge being generated is not fairly good for humanity.
As per typical chemistry of human body, brain is taking fresh blood from heart for carrying on its functioning. Heart acts as a bridge between physical and meta-physical fabric of human body. One physical role of heart is to supply fresh blood to all parts of the body including brain. This is what we may call physically filtered blood. The other role of heart is of spiritual nature which can only be activated if any task or mission of our life is pursued with full spirit. This is how spiritually filtered blood passes to the brain. Thus for the brain to work remarkably, a physically and spiritually charged blood serve as a pre-requisite. This is how the diamond brain of mankind may be used for creation of unique knowledge beneficial for the humanity. This kind of knowledge would truly be cognizant to the Laws of Nature and thus implicitly to the Divine and demonstrated wisdom.
Knowledge creation all over the world has been made in the same fashion. It is still going on in the same way. Once we are convinced with this process of creation of knowledge we will have to realize the fact that meta-physical fabric of soul or spirit needs some food just like the physical body which needs standards nutrients for survival. Honesty, integrity, sobriety, modesty and positivity fall in the list of delicious food items of soul. These keep the heart spiritually charged and morally motivated. In the contrary sense, we can understand that as poisonous and contaminated food can upset the human organs so is the case with animosity, hate, hypocrisy and jealousy which hamper the moral fabric of soul. Under such odd situation, heart is not fairly charged of spirit. Brain does not get spiritually filtered blood. Creation of new knowledge remains a dream.
At schools, colleges and universities, the young generation may be convinced that they are not getting education for becoming doctors, engineers and scientists. They get education and take knowledge so that they could explore themselves. In the process of exploring oneself, a lot of wisdom is generated that ultimately paves the ways for all fields of life. While spiritually sensitized, when one explores oneself completely, Allah is found. Finding the Creator means a lot of Divine Wisdom has been generated that ultimately helps us in creating further mechanical knowledge for handling the issues of communities. Similarly, exploring the Universe of the Creator is also a good part of knowledge creating phenomenon. The more we think on the creation and creatures of the Creator, higher is the wisdom generated provided that our heart is physically and morally filtering blood flowing to the brain.
Fulfilling this dream is associated with initiation and institution of moral foundation of education in Pakistan. This would mean to activate moral software among young Pakistanis through soft reforms in formal as well as informal education system so that they could design a truly knowledge based economic, political, religious and social constructions. The best starting point is to take initiatives for changing the internal and external character of young chaps. A country wide movement of character building of youth needs to be launched which may help in enhancing their spiritual health that ultimately leads to the path of innovative thinking and creation of knowledge.
We should be optimistic of our great leaders but they would have to pledge for launching this movement. They are to be sensitized that the mind which is dodging us to the nitty-gritty of problems does not arrive at solution. They should now finally accept the universal reality that asking the solution from the same mind that has created problem is an irrational approach. They will have to mobilize their own intellectual faculty for thinking innovatively and thus creating new knowledge by the agency of which we could solve our contemporary issues confronting at national and international levels. Finally, the secret of how various ‘Master Plans’ are going against us would start revealing if moral foundation of education is operated.
Dr Abdul Saboor is Professor of Economics, Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, PMAS Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi