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Sunday, April 22, 2012

Benchmarking Religion-The Language Fiasco

Funny that one start calling Arabic as the mother of all languages, funnier still in believing that only learning Arabic will pave way for one's salvation in the hereafter & the funniest part that such jokes come from the mouths of the most respected religious clerics; but oddly enough I can’t hear laughters...The assemblage sitting in front of these ‘Noorani’ spiritual fathers instead of questioning, welcomes such pettiness with rallying cries of ‘God is great’; but then again I am an imbecile & they are the pious disciples who are destined to live in nirvana!

Countless times one can observe Arabic lovers expressing their deep romance using religious platforms so abundantly available here in Pakistan in the face of mosques & madrassas. With a religious notion & a spiritual touch this romance, unlike that of Valentine’s romance, is for the betterment of humanity. These feverish Arabic lovers, using English tools the likes of Facebook & Youtube are targeting the presently ‘not-so happy’ youth community. Promises of paradise & eternal peace, increasingly appeal to the already paranoid youth who take the fall. I myself have observed the accelerative sprouting of dedicated Arabic learning centers around my area & the pupils there are young graduates who are either jobless or have minor jobs with plenty of time.

Inferring this blind Arabic love is quite trivial if one stop lionising the lovers (or should you look upon them as preachers). Look around yourself & you will not see any contemporary Arabs invention, everywhere you see objects of German origin, French origin & majorly English origin. From your toilet soap to the satellite & including the very LCD that you are using to read this article right now is a non-Arab product so how come Arabic be of significance in modern times? The lovers should realise that their withered love is of no practical value today but they remain digging their heels in.

Being an engineer I know that today the power of any language can be determined by the quantity of technical publications in that particular language. For instance, compare the considerable abundance of patents published in Hebrew (by Israel), in Russian (by Russia), in Chinese (by China) etc. with those negligible Arabic patents. Even the Arabs tend to use English in technical journals; isn’t that enough for Arabic lovers to be ashamed of what nonsense they are selling & same goes for the youth who are irresistibly buying it!

Then emerges the Quran factor. I have no words to accurately demonstrate the significance of understanding Islam & how important personal endeavour is in trying to comprehend what Quran really means. Quran being in Arabic does not necessitate Arabic learning as a language, nor does Allah orders this anywhere. What He wants from you is to understand it & not just memorise it in Arabic as is done by today’s Hafiz community. People in our society usually get thrilled when some person quickly answers “The word y occurs x times in Quran”, but little do they they distinguish between information & knowledge because former has nothing to do with intellect. With the availability of thoroughly researched cross-language religious publications & translations, one needs to read Quran critically just like you do with your Physics book, where you don’t need to quote everything but to understand it to be able to solve problems. Similarly, thorough Quranic understanding in one's own language is a prerequisite to solve worldly problems in accordance with Islam.

This Arabic fiasco & its proponents may in time demand learning of Arabic language to be made compulsory till the higher-secondary exams. Let me rebut them in the light of seemingly nonexistent Arab’s prowess that we should rather make literature-rich language an optional subject. Students can be given a choice among Chinese, German, French, Russian & Japanese. Student attaining mastery in at least three languages till their second-year college can be awarded extra marks, the very marks that discreditably are bestowed upon Hafiz-e-Quran nowadays. From a scientific point of view the choice of languages & its adoption framework I have mentioned above will create two major benefits:

  1. Will provide a solid technical work force, our country so dearly needs.

  2. A high degree of saturation is observed in English speaking countries with relation to jobs & overseas education. With English & Urdu as compulsory languages, the third choice will enable Pakistani student to penetrate technically astound but relatively untapped civilisations like China, Japan & most notably Russia.

Read this article outlying how Soviet's attained technology prowess

Another article: Russian to be reinstated in Chinese schools

It will not be long enough that we see the emergence of sacred tailors marketing Arabs Keffiyeh & Thawb with some ad absurdum religious slogans; but lucky for me they still would be using English sewing machines...isn’t that funny!


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