IOS Kolkata Chapter and Aliah University organises 5 day Winter School on Islamic Studies

Institute of Objective Studies (IOS), along with several other events, has started its Summer/Winter School programmes for the benefit of university students and has been conducting the same in recent years. The endeavours of the Institute are not just limited to the likes of Winter School but are spread over a vast range of academic undertakings furthering the target of imparting true knowledge that serves as a guiding light for students enabling them to navigate their way while never losing sight of their goal.

The Winter School workshop in Islamic Studies is conducted with a view to impart fundamental, yet deep knowledge to the university students who are to shape the silhouettes of the future horizons. The driving force behind the persevering efforts is to encourage them to accomplish their duties in leadership roles.

At a time when the world in unison is echoing in favour of a marriage of sorts between online and face-to-face instruction, both of which need to be well thought out and carefully designed, the efforts of IOS go a long way in facilitating and materializing the same.

This year, the IOS Kolkata Chapter jointly organised the event with the Department of Islamic Theology, Aliah University, Kolkata from 15th to 19th February, 2021. Respecting the protocol of the global pandemic, the five-day winter school was conducted online which gave the programme a broader spectrum and connection as well. The joint venture brought the likes of literary stalwarts Prof. Nilanjana Gupta and Prof. Mir Rejaul Karim to share the dais along with kind patrons like the Minister of State, Mr. Siddiqullah Chowdhury.

The five-day workshop commencing on February 15, 2021 at 06.30 p.m. was opened with a recitation from the Holy Quran by Maulana Ahmad Ali Qasmi, followed by a speech by Dr. Mohd Shamim Akhter Qasmi, Head of the Department of Islamic Studies, Aliah University. The topic was then formally introduced by Mr. Abdul Basit Ismail, Coordinator of the Institute of Objective Studies, Kolkata Chapter.

The inaugural address was made by Prof. Z. M. Khan, Secretary General of Institute of Objective Studies, and two special addresses by Maulana Khalid Nadvi Ghazipuri, Shaikhul Hadith, Nadwatul Ulama, Lucknow and Maulana Siddiqullah Chowdhury, Minister-Mass Education, Extension & Library Services, Government of West Bengal. The attendees also had the pleasure of listening to inputs from special guest Prof. Mahammad Ali, Vice Chancellor, Aliah University, Kolkata.

Prof. Nilanjana Gupta from the Department of English, Jadavpur University, Kolkata compelled the audience to sit up and take notice of her informative and insightful comments that they were so relevant they seemed to hit the nail on its head.

Comprising of two lectures, Business Session-I of the Winter School commenced at 10.00 a.m. on February 16, 2021. First to speak was Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish, a former Professor in the Department of Islamic Studies, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi, followed by Dr. Imdad Hussain, Asstt. Prof. of the Department of Islamic Theology, Aliah University. Business Session II was taken over by Mr. Syed Abdur Rasheed, Head of the Department of Islamic Studies, Aliah University, Prof. Mohd. Fahim Akhtar, Head of the Department of Islamic Studies, MANUU, Hyderabad and Dr. Md Ashraf Ali, Assistant Professor, Department of Islamic Theology, Aliah University, Kolkata.

Prof. M. Afzal Wani, Professor of Law and Dean, University School of Law and Legal Studies, GGS Indraprastha University, New Delhi, took over the Business Session III along with Asst. Prof. Dr. Ziauddin, Department of Islamic Studies, AMU, Aligarh. Two very important topics “Globalisation and Islam” and “Islamic Perspective of Knowledge” were addressed by Prof. Wani and Prof. Ziauddin, respectively. The address made a lot of sense to the attendees who mostly represented the youth and 21st century of globalisation.

The eloquent Dr. Sajjad Alam Rizvi, Asst. Prof. in the Department of History, Presidency University, Kolkata addressed the topic, “Muslim Contribution to Mathematics and Medicine”. Dr. Rizvi blew the dust off our memories, revealing major contributions made by the Muslims, the most unique one being ‘cross application of disciplines’, the ones made by Umar Khayyam and so on.

Dr. Muhammad Raziul Islam Nadvi, Assistant Editor, Tahqeeqate Islami Quarterly, Aligarh, spoke on the “Islamic Perspective on Money and Wealth” presenting the most beautiful and equitable social scenarios that could ever exist and how effortlessly this can be materialized following the light of Islam. According to Dr. Islam, the two common approaches to wealth are either extreme dearness, resulting in ‘hoarding’, or repulsion towards it, considering wealth an impediment in the spiritual and humanitarian growth. Islam clearly defies both and professes wealth as an important means of life. Prof. Hamid Naseem Rafiabadi, Department of Islamic Studies, University of Kashmir, enriched the audience with the elixir of years of his groundwork and study on the topic, “Islam in the 21st Century”. At the end of his discourse the audience was left confident that they now had a better understanding of the challenges faced by the youth in the 21st century and also had a firm grip on how these challenges could be faced or worked around. 

Non-Muslims under the Muslim Empires” was the topic explained by Dr. Enayatullah Khan, Asstt. Prof., Department of Islamic Theology, Aliah University. Sensitive as it is, the topic required gentle and tactful handling, which is exactly what Dr. Khan was able to do. The second lecture of the Business Session V, held on February 18th 2021, was delivered by Dr. Mohd. Shamim Akhter Qasmi, Head of the department of Islamic Theology, Aliah University, Kolkata on the topic “Development of Fiqh”. His topic was an issue that needs to be better understood both within and outside the community, and a major chunk of misconceptions and doubts can be simply done away with. As expected, Dr. Qasmi was efficient in doing just that. 

The commencing lecture of the Business session VI was one by Prof. Arshi Khan, Department of Political Science, AMU, Aligarh on the much talked about topic, “Islam and World Peace”. In the wake of controversial allegations like fundamentalism and terrorism, Prof. Khan, raised and answered questions like “Why there is no world peace?”, “How can we achieve world peace?” and “How Islam plays a vital role in bringing peace into our lives by channelling thoughts positively”? He was deftly able to uncover the western conspiracies behind such propaganda and present the desperate need to cling to the tenets, true spirit of Islam in order to restore peace. The second lecture by Dr. Abu Tamim, Asstt. Prof., Department of Islamic Theology, Aliah University, focused on “Islam and Humanity”. Smoothly and systematically, Dr Tamim, could disintegrate the allegations against Islam proving quickly that a religion going against the fabric of humanity could never possibly have gained the status of the second fastest growing religion in the world.

Finally, ending the day’s session with the lecture by Dr. Uzma Naheed, Director, Iqra Education Foundation, Mumbai, on “Women in Islam”. In the light of the arguments made by Dr. Naheed, the accusations of the Western world that has so often been used against Islam, seemed to naturally succumb and fizzle out. “Every time an attack is made on Islam, the media targets women and issues relating to them”, said Dr. Naheed urging Muslim women to watch out and prepare themselves by being aware of the rights and freedom that Islam has provided them with. 

The first of the two lectures in the second last Session was on “Islam and Multiculturalism” by Prof. Obaidullah Fahad, Department of Islamic Studies, AMU, Aligarh. The fervour with which Professor Fahad delivered was infectious. In no time, he had won the audience over to his side as opposed to the popular sectarianism. This was followed by the address by Prof. Syed Jamaluddin, former Professor, Department of History, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, on the topic, “Muslim Contribution to Social Sciences”. The lecture was packed with useful information much of which came as a surprise to most, compelling us to ponder how little we are aware of our own contributions to society.

February 19, 2021, the last day of the five-day workshop arrived even before we knew it. As is the tradition the Valedictory Session was started with a recitation from the Holy Quran by Maulana Ghulam Rabbani Nadvi and was followed by the Key Address aptly called “The Way Ahead” by Prof. Ishtiyaque Danish, Former Professor, Department of Islamic Studies, Jamia Hamdard, New Delhi. Prof. Amzed Hossein, Professor of English and Dean of Students’ Welfare, Aliah University, Kolkata, Md Nadimul Haque, honourable Member of Parliament, Dr. Sk. Ashfaque Ali, Deputy Registrar, Aliah University, ensued the Key address. The Theme Address was made by Dr N Sabah Ismail Nadvi, Alig, Chief Administrator, Jibreel International School, Kolkata. Dr. Ismail skilfully summed up the five-day journey, stringing the various pearls of wisdom into a single strand.

Dr. Mohammad Manzoor Alam, Chairman, Institute of Objective Studies, New Delhi, delivered the Presidential Address while the workshop was concluded with a vote of thanks by Mr. Abdul Basit Ismail, coordinator, Institute of Objective Studies, Kolkata Chapter.


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