IOS Kolkata organises Winter School on Islamic Studies

February 10-14, 2020, at Park Circus Campus of Aliah University, Kolkata

The Winter or Summer Schools are opportunities for students to gain valuable learning experience that goes far beyond the structured classrooms and examination stress. They explore emerging areas, provide space to test new ideas and methods, help understand critical sites and situations, and create opportunities to learn. They create opportunity for learners. Faculty members help students understand the nature and orientation of the courses and enable them to make well-informed choices. Surely such schools are unique opportunities to expand horizons of learning, interact with a large group of enthusiastic and talented students, practitioners and academicians yielding great ideas and results. 
The Institute of Objective Studies (IOS) Winter School programme in Islamic Studies, was started with a view to imparting basic but deep knowledge to university/college students pursuing professional disciplines like BA and Masters in business studies, science, computer science, engineering and medicine etc. 
It is also an outreach programme in which we wanted to introduce the IOS to a new and larger audience, particularly students, who are future leaders in medical science, technology and business studies. These students are a bright section of the young generation with potential to become leaders and decision makers in their respective fields. It is, therefore, necessary to acquaint them with the fundamental teachings of Islam as well as the great role that Islam played in the making of global human civilization. 
Furthering the important programme and series of the Institute of Objective Studies on Winter School, the national postgraduate programme on Islamic Studies, the Kolkata Chapter of IOS jointly organised a 5-day course with Department of Islamic Studies, Aliah University of Kolkata from 10th to 14th February 2020 at Park Circus Campus of Aliah University. 
Twenty two lectures on important Islamic sciences and subjects were delivered by eminent scholars and academicians in different business sessions, which were attended by 60 students of different colleges and universities of Kolkata, including non-Muslims and professionals. 
During the course of the Winter School a vast range of topics related to Islamic Studies was covered. The topics on which the lectures were delivered and discussions were held along with the open question-and-answer sessions included Globalization: Definition and Impact; Islam and Terrorism; Aqeeda: Tawheed, Risalat, Akhirat; Jama wa Tadween Qur’an; Jama wa Tadween Hadith; Non-Muslims under the Muslim Empires; Islam and Knowledge; Islam and Modernity; Islam and World Peace; Non-Muslims during the time of the Prophet (PBUH); Concept of Jihad in Islam; Islam in 21st Century; Islam as Faith and Civilization; Islam & Secularism; Muslim Contribution to Social Sciences; Islam and Multiculturalism; Muslim Contribution to Mathematics; Muslim Contribution to Medicine; Non-Muslims under Muslim rule in India; Development of Fiqh; Revelation and its Application: Focus on the Quran & Sunnah as sources of Shariah which led to emergence of Fiqh; and Women in Islam. 
The above themes had been selected keeping in mind the special target students to teach them how Islam is relevant, and can become a major player in the world we are living. The focus was on being relevant, both religiously and professionally. 
This Winter School was completed with the enthusiastic participation and scholarly contributions of eminent scholars and academicians from various universities and educational institutions. The resource persons who contributed in the Winter School in Kolkata included Prof. Z. M. Khan, Secretary General of Institute of Objective Studies; Prof. Amit Dey, Deptt. of History, University of Calcutta; Prof. Samantak Das, Deptt. of Comparative Literature, Jadavpur University; Prof. Haseena Hashia, Dept. of Geography, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi; Dr. N. Sabah Ismail Nadvi, President, International League of Islamic Literature, West Bengal Unit;  Dr. Sajjad Alam Rizvi, Deptt. of History, Presidency University; Ahmad Ali Qasmi, Deptt. of Theology, Jibreel International School; Dr. Ishtiaq Hussain, Deptt. of History, Aliah University; Dr. Maseehur Rahman,  Deptt. of Arabic , Aliah University; Dr. Md. Shamim Firdaus, Aliah University; Mahtab Alam Nadvi, Dept of Theology, Jibreel International School; Prof.  Fahim Akhtar Nadvi, Head of the Department of Islamic Studies, Maulana Azad National Urdu University, Hyderabad; Dr. Mohd. Shamim Akhter Qasmi, Head of Deptt. of Theology, Aliah University; Dr. Md. Shamim Firdaus, Aliah University; Dr. Enayatullah Khan, Aliah University; Dr. Shambam Begum, Deptt. of Islamic Studies, Aliah University; Dr. Sumaiya Ahmed, Deptt. of Islamic Studies, Aliah University; Prof Syed Abdur Rasheed, Deptt. of Islamic Studies, Aliah University and Abdul Basit Ismail, Principal, Jibreel International School. 
The inaugural and valedictory sessions that were held at the auditorium of the Park Circus Campus were also attended by important guests and were addressed by Prof. Amzed Hossein, Registrar, Aliah University; Prof. Mir Rejaul Karim, Dean, Faculty of Humanities and Languages, Aliah University, and Dr. Sk. Ashfaque Ali, Deputy Registrar, Aliah University.
The inaugural session was on 10th of February 2020. It was attended by Professor Amit Dey from University of Calcutta, Professor Samantak Das from Jadavpur University, Professor Haseena Hashia from Jamia Millia Islamia and Dr. N. Sabah Ismai Nadvi. The Inaugural session was presided over by Prof. Z. M. Khan, Secretary General of Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi.
After the inaugural session,  two interesting lectures ''Islam and terrorism” and “Aqeedah: Tauheed, Risalat, Akhirat” were delivered by Professor Haseena Hashia and Mr. Ahmad Ali, respectively.
Professor Hashia made it clear in her speech that Islam is a religion of peace, it never encourages any form of terrorism and any form of violence is against the teachings of Islam, while Mr. Ahmed Ali spoke on the importance of the three basic beliefs of Islam “Tauheed, Risalat and Akhirat” in the light of the Quran.
On day two, six lectures were delivered. In the first lecture, Dr. N. Sabah Ismail, who was speaking on ''Jama wa tadween Quran" said that there had been many divine books which were sent down by Allah but the Quran is the only Holy Book which is protected by Allah Himself. He asserted that the Quran was compiled as a book during the time of Prophet Muhammad (S), therefore there is no doubt about its authenticity.
In the third lecture, Mr. Syed Abdur Rasheed shed light on the history of the compilation of Hadith. The fourth lecture was delivered by Dr. Sajjad Alam Rizvi of Presidency University who spoke on "Non-Muslims under the Muslim Empires." He explained that during Muslim empires non-Muslims had equal rights and opportunities.
In the fourth lecture, Dr Sumaiya Ahmed laid emphasis on the first teaching of Islam, ''to read'' and showed the importance of knowledge in Islam.
The fifth lecture was delivered by Dr. Ishtiaq Hussain of Aliah University on “Islam and modernity”. He defined modernity in the light of Islam, a timeless religion which has always encouraged modernity and development.
In the last lecture of the day, Mr. Mahtab Alam Nadwi emphasised the importance of peace in Islam in the light of the Quran.
On day three, Mr. Syed Abdur Rasheed spoke on how non-Muslims were treated during the time of Prophet Muhammad. He also said that all human beings were equal in the sight of the Prophet and there was no discrimination during his time.
The second lecturer of the day was Dr. Masihur Rahman Nadwi from Arabic Department of Aliah University whose topic was ''Concept of Jihad in Islam''
He said that Jihad is a word which has been misunderstood by many and explained its real meaning.
The third lecture of the day was delivered by Mr. Abdul Basit Ismail, whose topic was “Islam in the 21st Century”. He clearly explained that Islam is not at all unsafe in the 21st  century nor does it face any challenge. Rather Muslims must review their actions and their life.
The fourth lecture of the day was delivered by Mr. Mahtab Alam Nadwi who spoke on “Islam as Faith and Civilization”.  He said that Islam is a religion which is not confined to religious teachings alone. It provides guidance to human beings in all walks of life. He also explained that civilisation and religion are not different from each other. 
The topic of the fifth lecture was “Islam and Secularism”, in which Dr. Sumaiya Ahmad clarified that Islamic political system is based on secularism. Islam teaches us to respect the people of all faiths. 
The last lecture of day was by Dr. Shabnam Begum, who spoke on Muslim’s contribution in the field of social science.
Day Four started with a lecture by Professor Fahim Akhtar from Maulana Azad National Urdu University in which he explained how Islam promotes the concept of multiculturalism in different verses of the Quran which shows that multiculturalism is a Quranic concept and Quran asks its followers to maintain unity despite differences in religious beliefs.
The second and third lectures of day were delivered by Dr. Mohammed Shameem Firdaus of Aliah University, who spoke on Muslim contribution in the field of mathematics and medicine.
Dr. Firdaus stressed that the progress that we have witnessed in modern times in the field of science, technology and medicine is possible only because of the research which was done by Muslims in the past.
Fourth lecture of the day was by Dr. Inayatullah Khan, who spoke about Muslim rule in India and how non-Muslims were treated by Mughal rulers. He gave many examples of secularity of Akbar, Shahjahan and other kings.
The fifth lecturer of the day was by Dr. Mohammed Shamim Akhtar Qasmi  who was speaking on the development of fiqh. He said that the Quran gives Muslims orders, but does not often mention the method of practising those orders. It is fiqh, which provides us with the details of how to carry out a particular order.
The topic of the last lecture of the day was ''Revelation and its Application''. This lecture was delivered by Professor Mohammed Fahim Akhtar. Prof. Akhtar interpreted the Quran and Sunnah as the main sources of Islam.
On day five, before the valedictory session, a lecture was delivered by Mr. Ahmad Ali on the status of women in Islam. He explained how Islam does not differentiate between men and women in terms of respect and dignity. In Islam, women enjoy the same status, respect and rights as men.
This five-day Winter School programme ended with valedictory session on 14th February 2020. The session was presided by Professor Mohammed Fahim Akhtar, It was attended by many prominent personalities from the field of education. 
In the valedictory session, the students expressed their views about the Winter School. They were full of praise and shared emotionally their learning experience. The event gave students a broad overview of Islam, while exposing them to major ideas. 

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