Many studies have been conducted on establishing an Islamic university. But this topic requires to be viewed from another angle i.e. from a religious point of view. In my opinion, any problem facing the Muslims, be it cultural or otherwise, is basically a religious problem. Every problem is related to their religious problem.
The popular belief is that many graduates can be produced from the Mohammedan University. It is true. But as far as Muslims are concerned, it is not a big goal. Many universities are set up to guard their foundations.
The issue is: with what social aim have the Muslims decided to set up a university? What are the social goals of Muslim? While some societies are based on the ancestral traditions, others are based on nations. An Englishman’s nationalism is based on nation of England. But a Muslim’s goal is not based on any nation. An Indian Muslim is much different from a Turkish Muslim in his national goals. An Iranian Muslim will not agree with the national goals of Egyptian Muslim. Thus the social setup of a Muslim cannot be attached to a particular nation. Can we unite a society based on language? That is not possible. Tartar Muslim speaks in Tartari while Iranian speaks in Persian, an Indian speaks in Urdu and Arab, and Turk speaks in Arabic and Turkish respectively. A language cannot become a common language of world Muslims. In short, Muslim society cannot be fundamentally based on nation or language.
Can ancestral heredity be a common element? No. The forefathers are different. While some are of Arabian race, others are of Mughal or Persian races. While these three factors cannot create a Muslim society, the question remains as to the goal for which Muslim University is set up? The question deserves attention. In short, the society is based on the formula “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet”. When compared to other social framework, this social formula is an intangible one. Other ideologies are based on the worldly foundations.
Take for example a Tartar Muslim, a Kashmiri and an Afghan. As they declare ” There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet”, their differences are dissolved in the fire of this formula.
But we must remember that merely by uttering “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet”, one does not become a Muslim. It is only by upholding the Islamic lifestyle that one becomes a real follower of Islam. Mere belief cannot create a Muslim. A Muslim is born in the true sense when he brings out belief in the field of action. Suppose an Arab born in Muslim household. He is a scholar in English and European literature. But after learning an alien culture and adopting their culture and lifestyle and living among them for a quarter century, he cannot be called as a Muslim its true sense. His heart might’ve changed by then. A Muslim is one who progresses through Islamic culture. There lies the relevance of an Islamic University.
If you ask an Anglo to locate his center of Nationalism, he would point at England. This is not the case with a Muslim, as I mentioned above. A Muslim’s culture is always with him. It is not outside him, but resides in his heart. When an Englishman arrives in India, he’s 7000 miles away from his nationalism.
It was the Spanish Muslims who first thought about the concept of university. Cordoba University was the result of such thought. Today’s universities are following the example of Cordoba. The first model of Cordoba was set up in France. Such institutions spread across Europe.
Today we too long for a university. Muslims are the real founders of University. Today if Englishman is giving Muslims a university, it is only a repayment of debt. European countries are indebted to Muslims for their universities.
Translated by Jaihoon