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Published in the 1-15 Mar 2004 print edition of MG; send me the print edition

Sir Syed’s contribution to Islamic studies lauded

Aligarh: "Apart from being a primary educational activist and socio-religious reformer, Sir Syed was also the founder of Islamic modernism in the Indian subcontinent, which had far reaching implication for ushering this region in an era of intellectual and educational development of its people, particularly the Muslims," said Naseem Ahmad, Vice Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), while inaugurating a seminar on "Contribution of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan to Islamic Studies".

Mr Ahmad pointed out that Sir Syed found the cultivation of modern sciences as developed by the West to be in conformity with the articles of Islamic faith as well as supportive of the mission of Islam. "This particular point in his thought became the foundation of his socio-religious and education reform movement, which he successfully launched for the regeneration of the Indian Muslims. This was perhaps his greatest contribution as Islamic modernist, on the basis of which he paved the ground for the renaissance of science and technology in the Indian sub-continent on the one hand, and prepared the Indian Muslims for their intellectual and educational empowerment on modern lines, on the other," the Vice Chancellor said.

Professor Asloob Ahmad Ansari, noted educationist, delivered the key-note address. He said that Sir Syed was legitimately persuaded to believe that the highly miraculous power of the Qur’an was manifested in subverting the decadent social order of the day, uprooting spiritual and moral depravity that had become endemic to it and it brought into existence a unique re-ordering of things based on the principles of social justice, equality and brotherhood among peoples on earth.

He said that Sir Syed argues that since reason is used almost universally the fallacy by which the reasoning of one man is fainted had better be rectified by the reasoning of another and not by having recourse to the verdict of a higher faculty.

Professor Abdul Ali, Director of the Institute of Islamic Studies, welcomed the gathering and said that there are three important landmarks on the way to the contemporary development of this region. They are Shah Waliullah in the 18th century, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan in the 19th century and Mahatma Gandhi in the 20th century

He highlighted the role of Sir Syed and Mahatma Gandhi and said they were endowed with an extraordinary vision and practical wisdom, which they fully utilized in the cause of the nation. Both pursued the policy of non-violence and engagement in their dealings with the British rulers. Moreover they were also of the firm conviction that in order to achieve these objectives, the countrymen first of all get rid of dogmatism, communal hatred and prejudices, and they succeeded to a great extent in bringing about realization of these objectives.

On this occasion, the Vice-Chancellor also released a book 'The Qur’an and Science' edited by Prof Abdul Ali and Dr S Ahsan. A large number of delegates from all parts of the country participated and presented their papers.

— MG News Desk

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