Many times we correlate natural sciences to the usage of the word ‘science’. Generally, science is the systematic analysis of an object or phenomenon from observation and experimentation. Said Nursi very aptly said that the true purpose of the progress of science and technology is the growth and development of mankind. Science according to him should bring glory to civilisations, not their end or devastation. Scientific beliefs and perceptions of science are among the key themes in the writings of Said Nursi, especially in Risal-e-Nur where he makes us familiar with the nature and importance of science for a contemporary, modern welfare society. Since we live in the age of science and technology, we need to appreciate the logic of science.
Nursi is of the opinion that “at the end of time, mankind will spill into science and learning. It will obtain all its strength from science. Power and rule will pass to the hand of science”. He is suggesting that the growth and development of science and technology is also the growth and development of the power of man. Science will resolve the problems of all men and help in improving their welfare. It will provide the opportunity to expand citizens’ choices and capabilities for welfare and happiness. Nursi once advised Muslims in general and the Turkish people in particular to never lose optimism and confidence in any situation. At times of calamities and pandemics, it is very important to uphold the confidence in science.
Despite the fact that Nursi contributed a lot in conserving spirituality and Islamic faith, at the same time he accepted science as an essential part of the faith. He states, “The light of conscience is religious sciences. The light of the mind is civilised sciences. Reconciliation of both manifests the truth. The student’s skills develop further with these two (sciences). When they are separated, from the former superstition and from the latter corruption and skepticism is born”.
The New Education Policy 2020 has interdisciplinary learning as its main focal point. An integrated curriculum with an interdisciplinary approach links different areas of knowledge by cutting across subject matter and highlighting synthesis. Integrated curriculum and learning develop connections between various kinds of knowledge and skills from multiple sources and experiences. It spreads skills and practices over a number of settings and makes use of various opinions. Moreover, it has a sympathetic approach towards subjects and situations contextually (Huber, Hutchings & Gale, 2005). Both religious and modern secular sciences nowadays witness irreconcilable differences. The consolidation of both religious and modern secular sciences into a combined course or framework is viewed as the best solution to resolve the educational dualism facing contemporary Muslim society. Nursi’s notion of an integrated curriculum could be better understood from his Madrasah Zahra model which highlights the teaching of religious subjects in secular schools and natural sciences in religious schools. This ensures that learners or students of the religious education system are protected from religious bigotry while learners of secular systems are protected from irreligious nihilism.
Nursi’s educational model is a complete model with integrated knowledge based on the Quran as well as scientific advances. His Madrasah al-Zahra model provides deep inferences and suggestions to transform Muslim educational institutions so that they are better able to enquire into the nature and causes of problems and offer better solutions.
—The writer is an ICSSR Doctoral Fellow pursuing PhD in Economics at Department of Economics, Central University of Kashmir. [email protected]