Saturday, November 17, 2012

The True Purpose of Education

In a special sermon on 06 October 2012 the Khalifatullah Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius called the attention of one and all to the true meaning and purpose of education in life. Based on a specific message received from Allah the Almighty, the Messenger of our times points to the gaping holes in the contemporary education system. The students are merely acquiring degrees and do not understand the real significance of education. Modern educational system, on the whole, has become centres of factory production of graduates, limiting its functional effectiveness in resolving the complex contingencies of modern life. It has made people self-centred and individualistic, rather than socially-oriented and empathetic to the less-fortunate in society.

True education”, says the Khalifatullah is that which develops your inner vision, provides spiritual illumination and helps you experience everlasting bliss”. Such an education focuses on the moral and spiritual growth of the individual who acquires noble qualities and keeps under control his sensory organs.  Only when you achieve sense control can you become a learned man in the real sense of the term. Hence, control your senses and become a master of the world”, reminds and exhorts the Khalifatullah.

Read the Extracts from the Sermon:

“By the grace of Allah, I am presenting before you today, especially our youths and the parents, a message which I initially received from Allah during a Safar Zikrullah in the Divine Manifestation of this era, so that you may profit from the same blessings and advices which come from both Allah and His humble Muhyi-ud-Din of this era. And that you may keep away from the harm which Allah and His Muhyi-ud-Din are warning you about, and that you may reform yourselves in such a way that you become the true soldiers of Islam. I know that it is not easy to just reform all at once, but when there is a will, there is a way. When there is trust and firmness in Allah, then Allah Himself shall help you. Therefore listen carefully to what Allah and this humble self have to tell you:

O you, the youth, Hope of a new day… You are like pure gold. You are endowed with noble qualities. Your life is very precious. But some evil-minded people may try to put you on the wrong path. Even if others try to mislead you, do not deviate from your chosen path. Stand firm. You will then, Insha’Allah, acquire a good name and the whole world will praise you. But if you lose your character, you will ruin your life.

O Muhyi-ud-Din! Tell them, this is My advice to all of you regarding your education. O members of the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, nobody (nowadays truly) teaches moral education; Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam will teach people Moral Education, Insha’Allah. Morality is the most important aspect of education. Money comes and goes, morality comes and grows. Therefore, cultivate morality. That will earn you a good name in society. Have full confidence in Allah. Allah is your Sole Refuge wherever you may be, in a forest, in the sky, in a city or a village, on the top of a mountain or in the middle of deep sea.

Cultivate noble qualities. I am prepared to give everything to those who cultivate noble qualities and to those who teach them. Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam has been created to put you on the virtuous path. Lead a noble life and earn a good name. This is what your Rab, expect from you. You must be in a position to receive My Grace. I am yours and you are Mine. Try to understand My love for you. Character is your Greatest Protection in life.

Do not feel proud that you are pursuing higher education. It is not worth even the alms a beggar gets in the street. Instead of craving for degrees, one should cultivate noble qualities. Education without character is useless. In fact, education finds its fruition in character. Today many students read useless books. Such books should not be sold in the market. The Sahib-al-Faraj, the Muntaqa, the Mujtaba and the young Siraj Makin should read only such books, which develop their character. They should participate in sports and games in the true spirit of sportsmanship. This advice applies equally to the Mujtaba and young Siraj Makin as well.

O Muhyi-ud-Din! You know, today there are a large number of educational institutions all over the world, but nobody seems to have understood what education really means. Students fill their heads with mere bookish knowledge, write examinations, secure pass marks and claim that they are educated. This process of teaching and learning does not reveal eternal truths to the learner.

True education is that which develops your inner vision, provides spiritual illumination and helps you experience everlasting bliss. In what way are the students benefited by the present system of education? They merely acquire degrees without understanding the real significance of education.

Modern system of education is making the students narrow-minded instead of developing their power of discrimination. It neither imparts true wisdom nor does it help them to become broad-minded. Education today has therefore become meaningless. The textbooks that are prescribed for students do not contain the essence of true education. It is surprising how the government sanctions such textbooks! It appears that those responsible for recommending these textbooks are not making the government aware of this reality. The government is not realizing that this can bring a bad name to it. In fact, this trend in education is on the rise in the entire world.

Students today are interested only in bookish knowledge, not in the essence of education. Their only concern is to get a degree and secure a job. They do not understand the real meaning of education. The parents also do not bother whether the textbooks contain the desired knowledge or not. They are happy if their children score high marks in their examinations. They are not concerned about the numerous bad remarks their children get. If only they care to look into the remarks, they will truly understand the type of education their children are receiving. The sole aim of education today is to get a degree.

With the rise of this trend in education, the study of Holy Quran and Sunnah of Holy Prophet (saws) had declined. No Muslim is making efforts to understand My Divinity and My existence, in other words the Unicity of Allah and the Sunnah of My loving Prophet, Hazrat Mohammad (saws). In this situation, how can the present system of education impart real knowledge to the students?

O Muhyi-ud-Din, tell them that Parent should Take Responsibility for inculcating virtues in children.  Students! You should acquire such education, which will be beneficial to society and the world at large. What is the present state of society? In what way can we make it ideal? How should we work for its advancement? These are the questions we should ask ourselves. But nobody seems to think on these lines. The present system of education does not address itself to the needs of society. In this situation, the elders should take up the responsibility to give proper direction to their children. We should follow the teachings of the Holy Prophet (saw) who has given us the true meaning of education.

It is a sign of foolishness to become egoistic by merely acquiring a few degrees. We should understand the needs of society and utilize our education for its progress. People say they are serving society. But what is the use of this service without understanding the requirements of society? Such service is not social service but lifeless activity. A proper system of education is essential for the advancement of society and the progress of the people. As the craze for modern education has increased, people have forgotten even the ABC of ancient system of education.

Parents should teach their children what is good and what is bad, right from their childhood. They are satisfied when their children secure a seat in a college and acquire a degree. They do not care whether their child is imbibing any virtue or not in the process of learning. It is for the parents to see that their son/daughter grows up a responsible person and utilizes his/her talent in the service of society and the nation. This responsibility cannot be left entirely to the educational authorities and the government. In fact, the parents should encourage the children to work for the country and for the Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam and earn a good name.

But nowadays parents do not have such broad-mindedness. The teachers on the other hand think that their responsibility ends with imparting bookish knowledge to the students. They do not even enquire whether the information contained in the textbooks is beneficial to society or not. Even if some teachers raise this matter, they soon get discouraged by the indifferent response of the authorities. In this way, educational institutions have been turned into factories, which produce degree holders.

Students alone are not to be blamed for this state of affairs. The mistake lies with parents, teachers and the government also. It is not enough if a student stands first in his class. He should also work for the Progress of society and the nation and thus bring a good name to his parents. The parents on their part should monitor the progress of their children from time to time, inculcate virtues in them and mould them into responsible citizens. They should not rest satisfied if their children get good marks. They should also observe what type of books their children read at home. Some students read meaningless novels. But the parents do not bother to correct them. On the other hand, they say, What is wrong in reading novels? It is enough if they are happy. It is a big mistake. In this way, they spoil their children themselves. They do not care to observe how and where their children play and what they do in their absence. There is no point in merely exposing the children to formal education without correcting their behaviour. Modern parents should emulate the ideals of our ancients who brought up their children in the most ideal way.

At present student’s agitation is on the increase. However, it is not their fault. They are in themselves very good. The fault lies with the books they read and the teachers who teach them as also the educational authorities who prescribe such books. There are no two opinions about it that the present system of education cannot bring about any improvement in the life of the students. It is high time that the parents realise the gravity of the situation and take steps to see that their children acquire proper education.

What is the use of that education which does not lead one to immortality? What is the type of education, which makes one immortal? That is spiritual education. O Muhyi-ud-Din!  Da’wa Academy is a great opportunity for them. The parents should therefore encourage their children to pursue spiritual education. Of course, secular education should be complemented with moral, ethical and spiritual education. Character is your Greatest Protection in life.

O youth! Do not misunderstand my words. I am telling you all this for your own welfare and progress. You should acquire such education, which will bring a good name to you and uphold the reputation of your family. Do not become egoistic and take to wrong ways in the name of freedom. I caution the youths not to look here and there while walking on the road. Some of them, while riding their bicycle or in the car, keep looking at girls who are passing by. In the process, their attention is diverted (may cause accident). Keep your senses under control. Always maintain high character. If you safeguard your character, your character will protect you. Hence, have a check on your vision, listening and speech.

Why are the eyes given to you? Is it to look here and there? No. The eyes are meant to see the beautiful Form of your RAB. Why are the ears given to you? Is it to listen to vain gossip? No. The ears are meant to hear the glories of your RAB.

The ears are given to hear good words and lead a virtuous life by putting them into practice. Hazrat Buddha (as) realised that human life was given to acquire virtues and not to indulge in sensual pleasures. Having thus set a goal for himself in life, Hazrat Buddha (a.s) left his home after renouncing his wife and only child. I am not, however, advising you to leave your wife and children and go to the forest like Hazrat Buddha. You should look after them well and fulfill your responsibilities towards them. [Inset: a statue of the Buddha from Sarnath, India, 4th Century CE]

Teach your children noble qualities and bring them up in life. Lead a life of virtue. This is what Hazrat Buddha (as) taught. Having realised that God had given the sense organs for the purpose of leading a virtuous life, Hazrat Buddha (as) discarded all other spiritual practices and tried to control his senses. He realised that conscience was his true Master. He understood that if the eyes and tongue were brought under control, all the other senses would automatically come under control. If you are able to exercise control over your vision and tongue, the whole world will be under your control.

Do not pay heed to the wrong advice of others. Foster noble qualities. If you can control your senses, that itself amounts to realizing the essence of the Holy Quran. The study of the Holy Quran is meant to transform you into a man of virtue. Only when you achieve sense control can you become a learned man in the real sense of the term. Hence, control your senses and become a master of the world.

This is what you have to strive for today. Explain to your parents also about your priorities in life. Tell your parent! You expect me to go for a job with a big salary. But high salaries are not as important as a virtuous life. If we give preference to money over virtues, our life itself will be ruined. You will become a man of virtue only when you keep your senses under control. You will also gain the strength of character.

Hazrat Massih Ma’oud (as), the illustrious devotee of his Master, Hazrat Mohammad (saws), is an example of such noble qualities. He is extolled as serene, virtuous and valorous. He became the Promised Messiah & Mahdi because of his noble qualities. All of you must emulate his example.

True education is that which develops your inner vision, provides spiritual illumination and helps you experience everlasting bliss. In what way are the students benefited by the present system of education? They merely acquire degrees without understanding the real significance of education.

Do not be influenced by the modern society. But do not get perturbed by these distracting influences. First and foremost, make proper use of your senses. Respect your elders like your father and mother. Earn a good name by your good words and good deeds.

Through My Muhyi-ud-Din, I have introduced Study circle every week in Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, this is a great opportunity for you all. Join good company, speak and listen good words, cultivate good vision and pursue good education. In fact, this is what your parents also want. No father or mother will like his or her children to go on the wrong path. But they are unable to tell their children emphatically out of some sort of inhibition. O Muhyi-ud-Din, advise them, with all the emphasis at my Command. Sacrifice is the noblest of all qualities. Keep away from sensual pleasures. In fact, sensual pleasures will lead you to disease.

O Muhyi-ud-Din! Let me reveal these verses in Sanskrit to you: Na karmana Na prajaya Dhanena Thya genaike Amruttattwa Manasu.

Immortality is not attained through action, progeny or wealth; it is attained only by sacrifice.

O members of Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, cultivate noble qualities. Prepare yourself to sacrifice anything for Me. But you must also be in a position to receive My grace. I am yours and you are Mine. Try to understand Allah’s Love. All that I am saying is meant to put you on the right path. Some children in Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, do not realise the hardships their parents undergo for the education. Your parents even forgo proper food to educate their children. Parents are your first teachers. Never disobey your parents. Speak sweetly and softly to them.

The time is coming, where many students will join our Da’wa Academy Insha’Allah. In the Da’wa Academy, there will be no business education, but only peace. But where is peace? Can you buy peace in the market? There is no peace anywhere but only pieces. You can find peace only when you inculcate virtues in your heart.

People want to be good but they follow the wrong path. They want to eat sugar but they get all that is bitter because there is no coordination between their thoughts and deeds. Those whose thoughts, words and deeds are in perfect harmony are noble ones; those who lack harmony of these are wicked. I like such people whose thoughts, words and deeds are in perfect harmony.

O members of Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam! Knowingly or unknowingly you might have committed some mistakes in the past. But at least now, cultivate good qualities and try to make your parents as well as My servant (My Muhyi-ud-Din of this era) happy. When they will be happy with you, I also will be happy with you all. Insha Allah. You shall notice that Allah has put much emphasis on a Dawa Academy. Insha-Allah, I shall address you on that precise subject: The history, importance and actualisation of Dawa, and the institution of a Dawa Academy.

May Allah bless you all – especially you the youths and hope of tomorrow’s generations – and Allah enable you to put into practice those precious advices so that your life may become a refreshing piece of heaven on earth. Insha- Allah, Ameen.