ISLAMABAD (January 6, 2017): A two-day Consultative Session on Inter-Faith and Communal Harmony organized by University of Peshawar’s Seerat Chair in collaboration with the Higher Education Commission (HEC), Pakistan began here on Friday.
The purpose of the Consultative Session, involving experts from all parts of the country, is to identify challenges that our society face regarding harmony among people belonging
to different religions and sects, and what role academia and researchers should play to come up with concrete recommendations for advocacy and policy making for a just and tolerant society.
Federal Minister for Planning, Reform and Development Ahsan Iqbal was chief guest during the inaugural ceremony while Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC, Dr. Qibla Ayaz, Chairman Seerat Chair, University of Peshawar and many other academicians were also present.
In his address, Ahsan appreciated efforts of HEC for taking up project to establish Seerat Chairs in different higher education institutions. He emphasized that world portrays religion as a problem though it is actually solution to all of our problems. He said that there was a dire need for evolving an academic vision to project religion in its real essence.
“Academia has to recommend for advocacy and policy making in line with the objectives for setting up Seerat Chairs”, said Mr. Iqbal who has spearheaded the idea of establishing these Chairs in a number of higher learning institutions. He urged three groups, formed for brainstorming in this two-day Session, to devise a future road map with regard to research, advocacy and other areas pertaining to Seerat–un-Nabi(SAW).
Mr. Ahsan said that system presented by Prophet Muhammad (SAW) is a complete code of life. “We, the Muslims, ruled the world when we followed his teachings in their true spirit but over the past few centuries, situation has become otherwise only because we stopped seeking guidance from Quran and Sunnah which is the real key to success.”
The Minister reminded the audience that the reason for rapid spread of Islam was its model of social justice. He stressed the need to return to our roots for a just society where all are equal. He said that character building is imperative for a country’s real development and establishment of Seerat Chairs is an important part of such initiatives being launched by the Government. He informed that topics for these Chairs have been selected very carefully while keeping in view current needs of globalization.
Mr. Iqbal stressed the need for following the true spirit of Meesaq e Madina (Charter of Medina) in our relationship and deals with non-Muslims. He highlighted significance of Islam’s model of education, knowledge, social justice and welfare. “I am confident that our universities will become real think tanks for welfare of mankind and these Chairs will contribute to bring solutions to problems of humanity in light of Prophet’s life.”
Dr. Mukhtar Ahmed lamented lack of tolerance in society, and how we have forgotten our real treasure, which is teachings of Quran and life of our Holy Prophet (SAW). He observed that there are so many differences prevailing in every sphere of life, however life of Hazrat Muhammad (SAW) presents right solutions to all the discrepancies. He also termed the research imperative for identifying and resolving these differences and problems.
The Chairman informed that nine Seerat Chairs will be established in total under the project which was launched in 2014. He said these Chairs are meant for projecting the real essence of religion. “Islam is a very simple religion made difficult by us”, he said and expressed the hope that experts will come up with tangible recommendations.
Dr. Qibla Ayaz appreciated HEC’s efforts for development of higher learning institutions and tapping potential of country’s academics and researchers. He said that Seerat Chairs will provide academic vision for bringing much-needed reforms in our society, and will come up with recommendations for advocacy and policy making. He also appreciated University of Peshawar’s Vice Chancellor and Dean of Faculty for their continuous support. He hoped that after two-day deliberations, three groups of the Consultative Session will provide a roadmap for future course of action.
Apart from University of Peshawar’s Seerat Chair covering areas related to Inter-Faith and Communal Harmony, eight other Seerat Chairs will be established in different universities on Leadership and Governance; Human Rights and Social Justice; Education and Knowledge; Global Peace; Business, Commerce and Property Rights; Sustainable Development; Social Justice and Welfare; and Gender Studies and Women Rights.