KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan wants to establish an inclusive society in the country when he mentions the State of Madina as his ideal, said Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Prof Dr Peer Noorul Haq Qadri here on Wednesday.
Speaking as the chief guest at the inaugural session of the annual national Seerat conference organised by Karachi University’s Seerat Chair, he explained that the State of Madina treated equally all its citizens, including Jews and Christians, irrespective of their creed and ethnic identity.
He said in that city state old identities were not erased, but they got relegated to the background. He said the Arabs who were divided into numerous inimical tribes got new identities of the Mohajir and the Ansar and lived in exemplary harmony.
Stressing the need to shun bigotry and adopt tolerance, he lamented that Pakistani Muslims were divided into opposing intellectual and ethnic groups. He said it was the enemy who had fanned minor differences.
KU ready to upgrade Seerat Chair to department if funds are provided
“The followers of a faith have turned into the followers of sects,” he said, adding that intellectual differences existed even at the early period of Islam but they were never exploited as they were being done now.
He said the imams of the different schools of thought followed one set of Companions or another and nobody had any objection to it.
“We should stop calling people kafir who do not ascribe to our views. We must live as a single homogeneous nation that promotes peace among all its components,” said the minister.
He eulogised Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and said it was his concept of Pakistan that the present government wanted to establish. He said God chose a clean-shaven man to lead the nation to freedom although there were many pious religious figures at the time.
Talking about Karachi University, Prof Haq acknowledged that it was the largest institution of learning in the country and deserved more than it was getting.
He said the vice chancellor had shared with him some of the problems the university was faced with and he would convey them to the prime minister at the next cabinet meeting.
He said health and education were Imran Khan’s priorities and though at a pre-budget cabinet meeting he had agreed to the slashing of big development projects, he did not allow tinkering with the budgets for education and health.
The minister appreciated the activities of the Seerat Chair. He, however, suggested that all major universities should have fully fledged departments not only chairs.
KU VC Prof Dr Mohammad Ajmal Khan, who was presiding over the session, picked a clue from the minister’s suggestion. “If the government pledges recurring funds for it, we would be glad to set up a Seerat department,” he said.
The VC lamented that as Pakistanis we are fond of indulging in hollow talk, but practically do little and hence stay dependent on the West in the field of science and technology. “If we can become an atomic power with such meagre resources, we can achieve anything. The time has come when we have to revive the glory of Muslims. We need to play our role in global progress by following the guidelines of Quran and Sunnah,” he said.
Prof Dr Mohammad Ahmed Qadri, the director of the Seerat Chair, said the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was the only beacon that could guide us out of our difficulties. He said the love of the Prophet and association with him is the real progress and the secret to success.
Prof Dr Mohammad Ziaul Haq, director general of the Islamic Research Institute, Islamabad, delivered the keynote address.
The topic of the conference was: ‘Political, economic and societal issues and their solutions in the perspective of Seerat-i-Tayyaba’.
He said: “Building a narrative to counter violence, extremism and terrorism in today’s era is in fact an innovation. Like material innovation, innovation of ideas and thought processes is fundamental to nation building and advancement of society. Due to the effectiveness of narrative of destruction and violence in Pakistani society, the present challenges are urging on demonstration of a non-violent and enlightened Muslim culture with all its manifestations based on the early Islamic society headed by the Prophet (PBUH). Therefore, the research is aiming on articulation of possibilities of sustainable social peace and stability through dealing with potentialities through reinterpretation and re-articulation of values of Islam.”
Published in Dawn, October 25th, 2018
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