Textbook case: Govt gives up on updated Islamiat curriculum

Published: May 6, 2012

RNew books gathering dust in stock as government makes last second u-turn. PHOTO: QAZI USMAN/ EXPRESS

LAHORE: 

The Punjab government decided to shelve new and revised Islamiat textbooks for class nine due to pressure from a religious group over the removal of verses on jihad, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The Punjab Textbook Board (PTB) spent Rs60 million on printing the new books for class nine, which are now gathering dust. Schools Education Secretary Aslam Kamboh said that the government had decided to stick with the old curriculum to avoid controversy and would revisit the issue next year.

PTB officials met on Friday to discuss a notification to formally declare that the old books are to be used this year and the new books will not be distributed. The 2012-13 academic session for class nine students in government schools began in April.

The curriculum was updated for the 2012-13 session as part of a regular review process by the Islamiat Curriculum Committee consisting of National University of Modern Languages (NUML) Islamic Studies Head Professor Dr Ziaul Haq Yousafzai, former Islamia University Azad Kashmir Vice Chancellor Dr Ishaq Qureshi, former Karachi University Baitul Quran Chairman Dr Fazal Ahmad, International Islamic Education Board Director Dr Mohsin Naqvi, Ruet-i-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneebur Rehman, Government College Sheikhupura Assistant Professor Matloob Rana, Islamabad Model College Assistant Professor Shahid Haseeb, Jamiatul Hujjat Islamabad Professor Sajid Ali Subhani, and Islamabad Model College for Girls Assistant Professors Fakhira Arshad, Shameem Kausar and Rasheeda Amjad. It was assisted by an advisory committee that included Dr Abdul Khaliq Peerzada, who got his PhD from Cairo’s Al-Azhar University, Dr Maznoor Ahmad, rector of the International Islamic University Islamabad, and noted scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamdi.

The Tanzeem-i-Islami (TI), an NGO founded by the late Dr Asrar Ahmed, objected to the revised curriculum, noting that Quranic verses from Surah Anfaal, Surah Mumtahina and Surah Al-Ahzab concerning jihad were no longer included. Some teachers’ groups supported the TI on the issue.

A PTB official told The Tribune that Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had chaired a meeting at the end of March that included TI officials, the education secretary and the PTB chairman. “The chief minister accepted the TI’s demand that the revised book not be used this year. PTB Chairman Shaikh Izhar had pointed out that not using the new books and reprinting the old ones would cause a Rs 60 million loss,” the PTB official said. Izhar was transferred from the PTB two days after the meeting and the board has been without a full-time chairman since, he added.

Another PTB official in the Curriculum Wing said that the jihad verses had not been removed from the curriculum entirely, merely moved to the syllabus for class 11 (intermediate).

Asked what objection the TI had to the jihad verses being moved to two years later in the curriculum, TI Public Relations and Publishing head Mirza Ayub Beg said that the matter had been settled and he did not wish to explain.

Schools Education Secretary Aslam Kamboh said the government had decided to go with the old curriculum to avoid controversy. He said it was important for Islamiat textbooks to have support from ulema.

“The newly revised book will go into stock and maybe a decision will be made to use them in the next academic year. Otherwise we can use it as a supplementary document or something,” he said. “Next year, we will again seek a consensus and then decide about the newly revised book.”

Published in The Express Tribune, May 6th, 2012.

Reader Comments (17)

  • Bhindian
    May 6, 2012 - 5:16PM

    Good, Jihad is part of islam so shame on them who try to remove it.

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  • Mj
    May 6, 2012 - 5:50PM

    @Bhindian:
    That’s exactly what we need: a world in a state of perpetual war. When there are no longer ‘others’ to fight, the faithful turn their eyes towards other sects as is happening in Pakistan

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  • ashar
    May 6, 2012 - 7:24PM

    @Mj:
    Comment for the sake of comments. when you do not know the philosophy behind jihad you have no right to talk about it. And if you want to know, please refer to the explanations given by Dr. Mahmood Ghazi in “The international Law and the World Today” printed by Institute of Policy Studies Islamabad.

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  • hameed
    May 6, 2012 - 7:54PM

    wow…now some pressure groups Molvis will decide,which Surah of Quran should be read and what should be not…Now we have to face the case of favoritism regarding the Holy Quran.

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  • Ahmed
    May 6, 2012 - 8:03PM

    Let the word Jihad be in it, so student can understand what really Jihad is. Because it is widely being misunderstood as something what these barbaric terrorists are doing

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  • Ahmed
    May 6, 2012 - 8:04PM

    This article does not tell enough on exactly what verses were removed and why and what the objection was. I would be grateful if ET could follow up on this and add some details Recommend

  • May 6, 2012 - 8:13PM

    Such resistance to moderate views is truly a shame. My doctoral dissertation was on madrassah reform in Pakistan where I document this type of intransigence from clergy.
    It is tragic that Muslims who consider madrassah education profoundly flawed never get a chance to implement their views. I interviewed a number of moderate Muslims who came up with wonderful ideas to transform religious sensibilities in Pakistan. Alas, their ideas would not be embraced by the masses who only listen to the rabid clergy.

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  • Mj
    May 6, 2012 - 8:14PM

    @ashar:
    I am very well aware of it. However, as is the case with other holy teachings, everyone seems to have their own interpretation of what exactly is a justified holy war. Which is why groups such as Boko Haram, TTP, and other lashkars and hizbs exist, all seemingly at odds with each other and having different objectives.

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  • @plarkin
    May 6, 2012 - 9:00PM

    Oh why, oh why, do we need “religious” education at any level? Haven’t you seen the results of it all around you?

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  • Khan
    May 6, 2012 - 9:27PM

    Jihad also means taking care of elderly parents. I only found out about this fact because my O Levels teacher decided that even though Jihad was scrapped out of our syllabus we still needed to know. Better to live with knowledge then to live in ignorance. It’s only when people get second hand knowledge from idiots is when the real problems begin.

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  • ashar
    May 7, 2012 - 12:06AM

    @Mj:
    The interpretation of all these groups has nothing to do with the proclaimation of jihad. In Islam the declaration of jihad is the job of Islamic government only not the groups, however if some outsider attacks an Islamic country and as a result of this attack the government is disintegrated only then the struggle of militant groups is jihad as says Dr. Ghazi in his book I have referred in my comment above. No group can give a call of jihad against any country by itself however there are so many conditions that apply on the application of an armed struggle or waging a war but all of them gives us an impression that it is not very easy in Islam to initiate armed struggle instead it is taken as the last resort. Before that the Jihad BinNafs is the very important objective that every muslim has to carry out to make himself a real muslim.

    In the light of the above explanation it is clearly visible that TTP and Taliban Afghanistan are two absolute different entities.

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  • Nawab
    May 7, 2012 - 12:07AM

    I guess Taliban will be designing our textbooks next.

    Quiz: Was Islamiat taught in school in 1950s or 1960s?

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  • Khalid
    May 7, 2012 - 12:11AM

    Plarkin

    Nope, we dont see the results of "religious" education around here these days, because on one hand there are smart people like you who are either too busy or too lazy to find out about religion themselves(not by reading about it on blogs, but by actually reading the book itself) so they ll know its the most peaceful way of life on earth, then they can guide others as well, we need that because on other exterme there are some idiots whom if you tell them " hey guys if you are attacked you are allowed to fight" and there is a whole list of restrictions, but theyll conveniantly ignore that part and say hey we are allowed to fight, lets go blow people up for fun, So you gotta educate them, coz our religion says that even in War, you cannot kill women, childeren, innocent civilianz, not even a crop, a fruit bearing tree should be hurt, there is no concept of collateral damage, you gotta fight, go fight in open away from civilianz, you cant blow up towers or send drones to do your dirty work etc.Recommend

  • T R Khan
    May 7, 2012 - 12:24AM

    @Bhindian:
    Jihad is part of Islam, very true. In the jihad verses Allah also promises victory for jihadies and we have seen no convincing victory in the last two hundred years.

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  • @plarkin
    May 7, 2012 - 1:27AM

    @Khalid:

    Again if you didn’t start the education you wouldn’t now need to do it “properly”. Look at the various countries around the world. There’s peace and prosperity, without the need of religious education of any kind. Not an iota of worth is added to life by religion, and if I were you I’d hedge my bets on what happens after we shuffle of the mortal coil.

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  • Kaalchakra
    May 7, 2012 - 4:27AM

    What distinguishes Islam from all other (man-made) religions is that it does NOT need updating. Instead of ‘updating Islam’, these officials should update their courage to proclaim it boldly before hateful unbelievers.

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  • Rationalist
    May 7, 2012 - 5:30AM

    @Khalid:
    I am afraid you haven’t read the scriptures yourself and done a serious contemplation. It looks like you are just mirroring what you have been told since your birth. Do some independent and open minded reading and research, I am sure you will come away with a different opinion.

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