The Sheikh Abul Hassan Shazli Research Centre in Lahore – an educational institution focusing on Sufism, religious thoughts and science – was inaugurated on Saturday.
First lady Bushra Imran, after inaugurating the research centre, inspected various sections, including its auditorium, library and conference room.
Her friend, Farah Khan, also accompanied her during the visit.
An official handout issued by the Punjab government announced that on the special interest of the first lady, the government had decided to set up Sufism and science and technology research centres across province.
In the first phase, Sheikh Abul Hassan Shazli Sufism and Science and Technology Research Centre has been set up in Lahore where the research work on Islam, Sufism, religious thoughts, tolerance, science and technology as well as modern knowledge would be conducted.
“Poor- and education-friendly steps of the first lady are being implemented under which equal opportunities of development and progress are being provided to the impecunious strata of the society,” the handout read.
“Apart from reviewing the arrangements of Pannahgah almonries, Darul Amman and Child Protection Bureau in different cities, the first lady is trying to bring significant improvements,” it added.
“Sheikh Abul Hassan Shazli Research Center will always be open for poor and deserving students, destitute classes of the society and education-friendly people.”
The handout further read that the research centre would be linked to Darul Amman, Child Protection Bureau, prisons across the province especially for juvenile and women rehabilitation centres/jails, schools, colleges, universities besides public and private religious educational institutions.
It would also be connected to the e-libraries of world-renowned modern research institutes including JSTOR and leading educational institutions such as Oxford, Cambridge and Howard.
“[The centre will allow] people of the province emote access so that they can benefit the same from their homes.”
An online guidance centre portal will also be set up in the research centre in collaboration with Higher Education Department to provide guidance to students for getting admission to local and foreign universities.
For this purpose, memorandums of understanding are being signed with the Government College University, Lahore College for Women University, Jamia Naeemia and Auqaf Research Centre in the first phase for linking them to the modern research work.
BS, M Phil and PhD programmes on Islamic philosophy and Sufism will be offered at the centre.
Moreover, Rahmatul lil Alameen scholarship will be made a part of it.
Sheikh Abul Hassan Shazli was a well-known Sufi scholar from the royal family of Morocco. The purpose of naming this research centre after Shazli is to promote religious tolerance, harmony and knowledge-friendliness in the region.