In our schools and colleges, only worldly education is imparted to the youth of the country, and its result is that the intellect is developed, and the more important part of man, the spirit, is neglected. This purely intellectual education makes the man an atheist, and his ideas are confined to the material world only. The higher world of the spirit–and there is no doubt even in this materialistic age, that such a world does exist is entirely shut to them.
Without religion, there can be no secure foundation for morals, either. Religion raises, and ennobles man, and it should form an essential part of a young man’s education. In Pakistan, unfortunately, the circumstances are very peculiar. There are so many religions here that it is not possible to teach them all in our schools.
The government has wisely adopted the policy of noninterference in the religions of the people, and hence it is neutral in the matter of religious instruction. But all the same, the need of religious instruction is being greatly felt. It should go hand in hand with training in material science. Some moral instruction is given in material sciences. Some moral instruction is given in schools by means of readers and lectures, but that is not enough. In order to be of practical use, it must be based on religion.
In denominational schools, started and maintained by the various religious communities, the Brelvis, the Shias, the Ahl-i-Hadith, and the Christians, religious education is given according to the tenets of the particular faith of that community which supports it. But this training is unfortunately imparted on narrow sectarian lines and has not succeeded in its object.
All religious training worth the name must be broad-based on a spirit of toleration. The first principle which should be taught to every child is to respect the religious susceptibilities of others, and to honour the prophets of other religions. Mutual toleration and a broad-minded sympathy and respect for other faiths should be an essential part of religious instruction. Without it, it will degenerate into narrow sectarianism and foster bitterness and fanaticism. Let us teach youngmen the doctrines and practice of their religion, but let them imbibe the truly religious spirit which inculcates universal love, and removes all hatred and narrow bigotry from the mind.
“Tis religion that can give
Sweetest pleasures while we live;
Tis religion must supply
Solid comforts when we die.”