PM seeks scholars’ help against corruption

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-Says discrimination between powerful & weak destroys societies
-Shows concerns over sharp rise in ‘sex crimes’, corruption
-Urges Muslim youth should be educated to glide through current age challenges

By Uzma Zafar

ISLAMABAD: A number of eminent Muslim scholars on Sunday stressed upon the need to grapple with issues emanating from globalisation and a plethora of untamed information on the internet through proper guidance of the Muslim youth.
Sharing their thought-provoking views, they highlighted that through the creation of adequate awareness about the Seerat and Sunnat of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), the Muslim youth should be educated to glide through the current age challenges.
In the second part of the dialogue with Prime Minister Imran Khan held by the National Rehmatul-lil-Alameen Authority, on the topic of “Riyasat-e- Madina, Islam, society and ethical revival”, they dotted down certain collective efforts by the Muslim countries to brace the negative impacts of modernity upon the Muslim youth.
The prominent scholars included Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, Dr Timothy Winter/Abdal Hakim Murad, Dr Seyyed Hossein Nasr, Dr Recep Senturk, Dr Osman Bakar, Shaykh Hamza Yusuf and Dr Chandra Muzaffar.
They responded to various questions raised by the prime minister about the unbridled availability of social media material, corruption, rising sex offences against women and children and other contemporary challenges posed to the Muslim youth and society.
Taking part in the discussion, Dr Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic Studies at the George Washington, US, alluded to the impacts of the modernistic trends upon the Muslim youth which could be felt much more than ever.
He said that the youth should be taught that spirituality was a real phenomenon while the mundane attractions were temporary.
“Today, the world is more precarious and dangerous for the youth,” he said, adding that the Muslim youth should be guided through the teachings which were authentic and pertaining to the current challenges.
Dr Nasr also denounced that in the West, certain non-serious elements talked about Islam in a negative tone, which was tantamount to attacking the religion.
He maintained that Islam offered solutions to the most urgent issues of today, adding that the Muslim countries were blessed with tremendous resources and they could utilise it to revive and preserve their culture on the basis of faith in the religion.
Dr Nasr further said that solutions to present-day challenges could not be resolved within 24 hours as there was a dire need for gradual awareness. Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, an American scholar, responding to the prime minister’s query about the corruption and increasing trend of sexual offences against women and children, agreed that these were the profound problems arising from greed in society.
The prime minister said that that sex crimes had increased sharply in societies and the same case was with corruption as these issues were not confined to one country. He opined that a society had to take a stand against corruption making it unacceptable. Dr Yusuf further likened the issue of corruption to a rotten apple that could decay a society.
He said the Holy Quran had explained the issue of corruption and its impacts upon individuals and society.
He further said that Islam had tasked the men to take care of the womenfolk and children in a society, stressing that youth should be inculcated to honour women.
“The Holy Prophet (PBUH) had always stressed upon respect and protection of the women and children,” he added. Dr Timothy Winter/Abdal Hakim Murad said that information on mobile phones for the young generations was a real challenge for most of the societies across the globe.
“The youth had become addicted to certain undesirable material which led to permanent damage,” he added.
He said that the use of internet had now become a global phenomenon that should be resolved through global efforts. He regretted that thousands of cases of harassment against women had been reported.
Dr Murad said that modernity had brought manifold issues and the crises were ever-escalating and also referred to the ‘Me Too’ movement launched in the US which reflected societal changes.
Dr Recep Senturk, a Turkish academic, and president of USUL Academy, Turkey, shared that in the face of global problems, the Muslim youth should be advised to adopt ethics derived from the Sunnat of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
“They should be encouraged to develop their intellectual independence by following the Sunnat and rid themselves from the global hegemony,” he added. He said the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had been an embodiment of blessing for all races and ages.
Dr Chandra Muzaffar, a Malaysian sociologist and thinker, suggested holding conferences of the Muslim youth so that they could participate and speak out their minds and articulate their position over the contemporary challenges and solutions.
He said during the climate change conference in Switzerland, the youth participants had vented their anger against climate issues and shared their thoughts.
Dr Chandra acknowledged that Muslim youth had respect for the dignity of human beings, adding the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had brought different people together.
“The people across the world should realise that all burning issues in today’s world are challenges to which Islam had beautifully provided solution centuries ago,” he said. Dr Osman Bakar, an emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Malaysia, opined that it was encouraging that students in universities and colleges were keen to learn about spiritual traditions.
He emphasised upon interfaith and intercultural dialogue which would bring stability in the future. “The religion of Islam had stressed upon interfaith harmony.”
Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, Chairman of Fatwa Council UAE, said that they were living in the age of globalisation and invasion of social media, the internet and other things which had been casting huge impacts upon the youth. He suggested the idea of seeking ‘Sakinah’ by the youth which meant peacefulness of mind. “It was the quality of soul that helped in the removal of agitation from a person,” he maintained.
Sheikh Abdullah underlined the need for the establishment of a university for the Muslim youth that could focus on teaching morals and ethics. He said that the youth of Pakistan should learn more about the people like Allama Iqbal.
The prime minister hinted that he would be holding a similar dialogue with the renowned scholars in the future so as to get their enlightening views about contemporary issues.
He said that his idea of the establishment of the National Rehmatul-lil-Alameen Authority in Pakistan was to unite human beings under the teachings of Seerat and raise standards of morality and ethics in society.