The scourge of secularization is spreading so rapidly in Pakistan that Islam, the Qur’an and hadith are now openly ridiculed in educational institutions, in open disregard of the feelings of Pakistan’s overwhelming majority or the consequences of such actions. Eating pig-meat, drinking alcohol, premarital sexual liaisons other deviant and immoral behaviours are extolled as “virtues” in some educational institutions in the country that was created in the name of Islam. Not only hadith literature but even the veracity of the Qur’an is being questioned in the name of liberalism, rationalism, scientific inquiry and enlightenment.
The most shocking example of this comes in the form of a new curriculum introduced at Government College Lahore, a premier institution in the country. Since it was granted autonomy in 1997, the college administrators have interpreted their autonomy as a licence to attack Islam itself. There appears to be a clear agenda to undermine Islam and curry favour with western governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) that have proliferated like a plague in Pakistan and elsewhere. Textbooks prepared by western NGOs are finding their way into such institutions. There are some Pakistani NGOs as well, funded by western governments, that are also in the forefront of this anti-Islamic campaign.
Under its new status, Government College Lahore sets its own curriculum, determines its own tuition fees and grants degrees independent of state regulations. Instead of improving course-material to enable students to deal with the world in a more mature way, the college has launched a demolition job by eliminating all Islamic content from economics and political science courses. Perhaps Islam’s injunctions regarding economic affairs and political theory are considered irrelevant by the western-doting secularists who are allergic to anything to do with Islam. But that is not all; they have also eliminated the teaching of hadith literature and Sunnah from the bachelors programme in Islamic Studies. Gone also are Qur’anic ayaat from the Islamic studies curriculum. People who are openly antagonistic to hadith literature have been inducted to teach; similarly anti-hadith literature proliferates in the department now.
The “liberal rationalists” have also amended the English literature course; they readily found material that encourages alcohol consumption, presenting it as being modern and an aid to socialization and upward mobility. They have introduced materials that give graphic accounts of various perversions and deviations as well as sexual promiscuity and homosexuality. They have even managed to find articles describing the “benefits” of eating pig-meat, which are now part of the new, “enlightened” curriculum that replaces outdated, “backward” Islamic material.
Not all the teaching staff at the college have agreed to these changes or accepted them without protest. Rao Jalil Ahmed, professor in the English department, was among several faculty members who vigorously protested such course-revamping, and described it as an assault on the cherished values of Islam. He and others like him, however, were either transferred or dismissed from their posts under the college’s new-found “freedom”. Fortunately, there is not total darkness yet even in Pakistan. A number of leading figures from the main Islamic groups — Deobandi, Barelvi and Jama’at-e Islami as well as members of the Islamic Ideology Council — have taken up the issue and challenged the anti-Islamic curriculum after it was brought to their attention by students and staff at the college.
When the ulama wrote to the college principal, he gave misleading statements about the content of courses. Aware of the true state of affairs because the course-materials were given to them by the college staff, the ulama issued a joint declaration whose contents are summarized below:
The leading ulama of Pakistan, in a collective declaration, have rejected the position of the Principal of Government College Lahore regarding changes to the Islamic Studies curriculum because his statement justifying the changes is false and misleading. The truth is that the teachers dictate the following notes to their students during lectures:
1. This life is not a test for the hereafter.
2. It is wrong to give ahadith general importance.
3. The shahadah is not a basic requirement for being a Muslim.
4. Salat (prayer) can be said in any language.
5. The Prophet’s sayings are not the final word in any matter.
6. The Prophet (saw) liked music.
7. There can be differences in the number of prayers.
8. Allah will not punish people who have done good deeds but do not believe in Him or His Prophet.
9. Prayer is not obligatory for a pious person.
10. Prayer is necessary only for sinners so that they become pious.
11. We cannot prosper if we follow the Qur’an as it is out-dated.
12. There is a need for new teachings.
13. All of the Qur’anic teachings on soothsaying and fortune-telling are wrong.
In 1998, students lodged a complaint against Professor Rafiq of the Islamic Studies department, submitting evidence in the form of an audiotape of one of his lectures. In it he stated that each ayah of the Qur’an or hadith has a thought behind it which is the essence of the teachings, and is more important than its actual text. According to him, only the message must be understood, even if most or all of the text is ignored. The attack on the authenticity of Qur’anic ayaat challenges the Qur’an itself wherein Allah states clearly that He protects it from error, deletion, additions or alterations (al-Qur’an 15:09). This so-called professor, who is not properly qualified to teach the course, is supported by the college principal in what he is teaching.
Rafiq also teaches that Imam Ali (ra) was a kafir and hell-bound (astaghfirullah) because he fought against Hadrat Aisha (ra) in what is referred to as the Battle of the Camel in Islamic history. When Hafiz Sanaullah, former head of the Islamic Studies department, by means of a signed document, exposed Rafiq’s deviant views, he (Sanaullah) and two others with him were dismissed by the principal for “interferring” in college affairs. No action was taken against Rafiq. Four other faculty members have since testified under oath that such deviant views are indeed propagated in the Islamic Studies department.
While religious groups in Pakistan are castigated for spreading “extremism” — a charge that may have a certain limited truth to it — secularists are allowed to spread intellectual, social and sexual anarchy, all in the name of ‘freedom’. This is a sure recipe for disaster and unless corrective measures are taken immediately, people will soon be hounded out of mosques as well, as happens in pro-western Muslim countries such as Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia.