An Islamic Predicament – Eqbal Ahmad

Secular Pakistan

eqbal_chomsky_pcPublished-1998

Any historian of Islam would shudder at what passes in Pakistan for instruction in Islamic history. Some Years ago, I queried an M.A class in this subject at a major Pakistani university. None of the 25 odd students there had an inkling of the issues which defined the first major schism in Islamic history – the khawarij movement.

None gave a satisfactory explanation of the Ash’arite doctrine and its place in Muslim theological development. Only one had an inkling about the Mu’tazila – woh acchay log naheen thay. Unki fikr men dahriyat ke anaasir thay (They were not good people, There were elements of atheism in their thought.) l had then thought that we are witnessing ‘the end of history in Pakistan.’ (Francis Fukuyama had not yet come out with his arcane thesis about history’s end.) I was wrong of course ideologically loaded ignorance does, after all, produce…

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