Allama Muhammad Asad: The first citizen of Pakistan

Published: August 21, 2013

In the Indian subcontinent, ‘madrassas’ were the only educational institutes present and their significance was that they used to teach religion and worldly subjects side by side. PHOTO: REUTERS

“Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” This is an oft repeated quote in relation to our current abysmal situation and it reminds us to look back and analyse our mistakes. Rather than a rhetorical piece about politics, I would like to write about an unsung hero, Allama Muhammad Asad and his ideas.

He was the man who was awarded the first Pakistani passport on August 14, 1947.

The Government of Pakistan appointed Allama Asad to head the Department of Islamic Reconstruction, a body made to align Pakistani laws, educational system and governance practices in accordance with the Quran. Born to a Jewish family, he converted to Islam and toured nearly all Islamic countries, giving them hope of independence from the shackles of imperialism.

Asad says about his finding of Islam,

“Islam appears to me like a perfect work of architecture. All its parts are harmoniously conceived to complement and support each other; nothing is superfluous and nothing lacking; and the result is a structure of absolute balance and solid composure.”

In a similar pursuit, he came to India and met Allama Iqbal who persuaded him to work on the governance structure of a new independent state for Indian Muslims. He published a paper, ‘Towards an Islamic Constitution’ just before independence and it was through one of his essays titled ‘Pakistan Ka Matlab Kia?’ (What does Pakistan mean?) that the popular slogan of independence emerged, which ultimately became the anthem of the nation at that time.

My reason for writing about him is to educate people about his unfulfilled desire to change the educational system of Pakistan to what used to prevail here before the arrival of the British.

In the Indian subcontinent, ‘madrassas’ were the only educational institutes present and their significance was that they used to teach religion and worldly subjects side by side. In most cases, there were more courses on the world than on religion, ranging from medicine, pure sciences, logic, philosophy, languages and mathematics to astrology. Before the arrival of Muslims in the subcontinent, such institutes were only present in Taxilla, belonging to Buddhists and they used to focus more on Buddhism with only a marginal presence of material subjects.

An important point to note is that it was the students of these madrassas who went up that ladder of success hardly achieved by others. The reason was their diverse knowledge base, comprising of both worldly knowledge and teachings of Islam, which used to complement the study of the material world.

One prominent example is the ‘Madrassa-e-Rahimia’ which was later headed by the preeminent scholar, Shah Waliullah. History shows that it was an Englishman named Warren Hastings, who in 1781 established a ‘madrassa’ in Calcutta for purely religious studies. This was a turning point, when religious and worldly education was separated, in an attempt to weaken our strong scholastic base.

Sir Syed Ahmed Khan, after founding the famous Aligarh University, came to a conclusion that religious and worldly education must be taught simultaneously. It was upon his insistence that the first reciprocal Exchange Program of India was established. Students from Aligarh were sent to ‘Darul Uloom Deoband’ of Sheikh Mahmoodul Hassan and their students came to Aligarh. The importance of this mix of education can be judged from the fact that it was compulsory for students to take part in this exchange program, without which they would not be granted degrees.

Had we not deviated from our path, we would have saved ourselves from the disaster we are facing now. We have bracketed ‘religious people’ as a separate identity and now, their duty is to call for prayer five times a day, lead funeral prayers, teach our children the Quran and to perform the necessary formalities of a nikkah.

This is the greatest dilemma of a country founded for Indian Muslims.

It was only through such schools that we got ‘Ibn-e-Sina’ who mastered in Medicine, ‘Jābir ibn Hayyān’ who changed the world of Chemistry, ‘Omar Khayyam’ a leading personality in the field of Algebra, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Imam Shafi, Imam Malik, and Imam Abu Hanifa who each headed four Islamic schools of thought.

So, where did the works of Allama Asad go?

Unfortunately for this nation, a few years after its inception, the Department of Islamic Reconstruction caught fire and all the work done by Allama Asad on education reform vanished. And so did the dream of a prosperous Pakistan I wish to see today.

Correction: The post earlier stated ‘on the request of Quaid-e-Azam’ which has been changed to ‘The Government of Pakistan’. The error is regretted. 


Osama Sajid

An undergraduate student at LUMS who is pursuing Economics, he is interested in reading and researching Pakistan's cultural and political issues.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Muhammad Ishfaq

    Agree… but didn’t know about this fire incident… he served in foreign ministry for quite some time, wrote the famous book Road to Makkah and an equally famous commentary on Holy Quran. If he was really interested in those madrassah reforms he could have tried again to work in this regard also.
    May he rest in peace… Ironically after Quaid’s death the only two rulers who invited him to work in Pakistan were Gen.Ayub and Gen. Zia.Recommend

  • A reader

    Nicely written.Recommend

  • Someone

    I don’t think the article is balanced.

  • Anon

    Sounds like,before Islam came to the subcontinent,no one was educated on the Indian subcontinent.
    And those who did study,attended this sole buddhist university in Takshashila and learnt only about buddhism.
    So education and enlightenment came to the ignorant masses only with Islam..Recommend

  • p

    very nice article..that’s what the predicament from which we are going through..we need to take religion and modern education abreast otherwise our future generation will be confused just like us Recommend

  • Sane


    Although bit brief, but a marvelous piece of writing. Recommend

  • Sane


    Although bit brief, but a marvelous piece of writing. Alas we live in the era in which Chief Minister of a province says ‘Degree to degree hoti hay, asli ho ya jali’ (a degree is a degree either original or fake). God bless us by getting rid of such CMs and others of the same ilk.Recommend

  • Sane


    You must write elaborating this subject more.Recommend

  • Saud

    Good effort.
    All so called “seculars” shut their eyes to facts. And just say “Quid ki 11 august ki taqrir….”Recommend

  • Proletarian

    The guys sounds like another right-wing religious supremacist like Iqbal. Good thing his propaganda factory burned down or we’d gotten Zia’s Pakistan a lot soonerRecommend

  • AR

    The blog makes me wonder what kind of education and research experience the writer is getting at one of Pakistan’s top universities. Implying that Muslim/Islamic places of learning, or madressahs, were just about the only places where education was being imparted in pre-partition India is laughable. That coming from a LUMS student is, however, exceedingly worrying. Recommend

  • Mj

    In medieval Europe, it were the monasteries which promoted learning of sciences, along with theological lessons. However, you won’t find many advocates of a return to such a system. It worked for that time period since such instituitions were the only ones offering a chance of education and relatively unhindered pursuit of research into the material world. We have better and more specialized centers of higher learning available to us. Why regress without purpose?Recommend

  • faraz

    So Jinnah made him director of Department of Islamic Reconstruction, and appointed a Hindu as law minister to make an Islamic constitution! Recommend

  • Rajiv Baruah

    Surprising that the writer has not heard of Nalanda University, which flourished from 5th century AD to 1193 when it was destroyed by Bhaktiar Khilji. Nalanda was one of the oldest and grandest universities recorded in history. In addition, Benaras, Mithila, Madura, Kanchipuram, Valabhi etc. were famous centers of Buddhist and Brahmanical learning. These were centers of both religious and secular education. Finally, every little temple town or marker centre had Sanskrit tols to educate Brahmin boys.Recommend

  • Saud

    At that time Indian act/constitution of 1935 was in effect.
    Moreover it was legislative assambly’s work to make new laws, not law minister’s.Recommend

  • Jihad Bil-Qalam

    Can anyone cite a peer-reviewed reference for the claim that Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah requested Allama Asad to head the efforts to align Pakistani laws, educational system and governance practices in accordance with the Quran. If true, this is a remarkably new piece of information that has not been reported in the academic literature, yet! We need to understand whether it indeed happened or whether it is a part of the established pattern to revise the early history of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Ali Tanoli

    Very interesting and different from other bloggers one valid point to be raised here that in india there was Aligarh and Darul Uloom Deoband, Jamia Millia Islamia Dehli, Lucnow, Daril Nadwa, Usmania builds and successfully runs by Muslims of india even today but after partition in Pakistan hardly one consider that even migrants forgots too I have seen one school recently built by peer sabir Mushwani of Srikot Hazara where both education toughts today.Recommend

  • Saud

    Not pre partition, he is talking about pre 1857.Recommend

  • Jihad Bil-Qalam

    ET should be careful about maintaining minimum publication standards, even for blogs. Recommend

  • Uqs

    He is one person Pakistanis need to know about much more than we presently doRecommend

  • Tiberius

    There is absolutely no evidence of Jinnah appointing this fellow as anything. There was no Department of Islamic Reconstruction in the first government of Pakistan.

    Nothing about Asad or Leopold Weiss appears in Jinnah papers. Nor is there anything about a Department of Islamic Reconstruction being formed.


  • mind control

    He was the man who was awarded the first Pakistani passport on August 14, 1947…. Allama Asad headed the Department of Islamic Reconstruction, a body made to align Pakistani laws, educational system and governance practices in accordance with the Quran..

    Jab Aaghaaz Hi Aisa Tha Phir Anjaam Tau Yehi Hona Tha.Recommend

  • observer

    He was the man who was awarded the first Pakistani passport on August 14, 1947.
    On the request of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Allama Asad headed the Department of Islamic Reconstruction, a body made to align Pakistani laws, educational system and governance practices in accordance with the Quran.

    Thank you Osama Sajid for your honesty, though it is a bit late for the hapless minorities.Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)

    Enlightenment for a wave, is the moment the wave realizes that it is water.

    The moment we totally detach ourselves from all these man-made religions and ideologies, casts and colours, clean all the garbage and phantoms out of our minds…….we realize the Oneness of our beautiful Hindustani family!

    A Chinese philosopher knocks beautifully at our minds:

    A trap is for fish: when you’ve got the fish, you can forget the trap.
    A snare is for rabbits: when you’ve got the rabbit, you can forget the snare.
    Words are for meaning: when you’ve got the meaning, you can forget the words.
    Where can I find someone who’s forgotten words so I can have a word with him?…Recommend

  • Ahmed


    Awesome work. Don’t worry about the criticism. It’s just a stamp of approval.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Which Muslim country from Afghanistan and the KSA on one hand to Malaysia and Turkey on the other have Islamic laws in place that provide true justice that fulfils the aspirations of the people ? ………… my view if that question is answered honestly the answer should be none. The reason for this failure is the abject lack of quality educational institutions that could impart a fully rounded education enabling these countries to address matters such as this.

  • ahmed hassan


  • ModiFied

    Oldest form of education system in India started through Ashrams and then Gurukuls. It was here that all the great Indian epics were written. Ashram system of education produced great poets like Kalidas and Tulsidas. Great mathematicians like Bhashkarachariya were all products of Gurukul system. Surgical practices invented by Shsruta almost 1000 years back till form the backbone of modern medicine. World’s oldest residential university was established in Nalanda where apart from Buddhism, modern subjects like astronomy, mathematics and medicine were also taught. Nalanda and Texila were the two most well known universities where students from far way places used to come fur studies. Chanakya was the professor of economics and political science at Texila university in present day Pakistan. India is reviving Nalanda university once again. Let us hope Texila is also revived by Pakistan to its original glory. Madarsa based education started during Muslim rule. Even British continued with Urdu medium at primary education level in most of north India. Primary schools in villages were called Madarsas even till late 1950s, though there wa no Islamic education imparted there.

    I don’t agree with author that imparting modern education and religious education all under one roof is going to do any good. It was fine in olden days when subjects were limited. in my view the religious studies should be left to individuals to decide how much one wants. Basic religious education can be imparted even at home and one need not go to any school. Recommend

  • Adil Uddin

    Great to read this even though very less has been said about the life and legacy of Mohammad Assad in the blog. The founders and inspirations of Pakistan were actually the Muslim modernists such as Sir Syed Ahmed Khan and Allama Assad not the religious fascists who have been issuing fatwas and gathering mobs for all these years. Assad’s translation and commentary of the Holy Quran can easily be accessed online.

    I know the fake liberals here would continue to badmouth the legendary scholar despite no criminal record of his anywhere. They along with some prejudiced (not all) Indians already feel a great pleasure while criticizing and mocking a great thinker such as Allama Mohammad Iqbal.

    Waiting to read a blog or column about yet another unsung hero of Pakistan Movement whose name was Allama Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz. You can still access his works (mostly in Urdu) and differ with him too; but the way he criticized the divisions and sectarianism among Muslims worldwide and how he presented the difference between the concept of Deen (way of Life) and Mazhab (simply a set of beliefs and rituals), it has never been done by any mainstream cleric till date. Assad , if I am not wrong, also had a chance to give an interview to Pervaiz sahab’s monthly magazine Tolu-e-Islam (Rise of Islam) and one can access the magazine’s archives online too. Recommend

  • S

    Taxila University started as a Hindu or rather Vedic University and the focus changed with time, from Hinduism to Buddhism and back. Nalanda, Taxial attracted students from China, Korea, Srilanka, even Turkey, for math, science, and the study of the arts, along with religion. It was in these schools that the modern numeral system (the so-called Arabic numerals, that the Arabian traders took to Europe, but in Arabia which is known as the Hindu numerals) and the zero were invented. There were five Universities, a complete university system along the lines of those in modern times, existed on the eastern parts of the country bordering Bengal and Bihar. The main campus was on Vikramshila. The schools in Kerala and Tamilnadu were well known in the ancient and middle ages and the contribution of the Kerala School of Mathematics to modern math was second to none. If anything the whole education system painstakingly built by the Hindus and the Buddhists collapsed after the advent of Muslim rule. When Bakhtiar Khilji burnt down Nalanda his biographer recorded that the library was so massive that it took full three months to burn. Recommend

  • http://[email protected] Akhtarnawaz

    We can agree on most of the points.One main point ,in my view, is that many people who served Islam have been forgotten,this article will serve as a reminiscent of all great people of Muslim world.The article is brief but it provides a very good structure for such attempts in future.We can write about many other such cases. For instance, Late.Dr. Hamidullah is one example who came to Pakistan in 1956 to formulate constitution in consistence with Islamic injunctions ,as he was one of the authorities on Islam,in his days.But unfortunately,the politicians of our country,because of their ulterior motives, made his job so tough for him that he finally had to quit it!
    As regards traditional schooling system of Muslim world,Abu Hamid Al-Ghazzali is a brilliant example. He is considered to have mastered all knowledge available at his time and traditionally. His philosophy has been translated into Latin and many other languages,including English and Urdu! His Magnum opus “Ikhya uloom ud din” or “Revival of religious knowledge/studies ” is highly regarded in Muslim world.. And he had a very traditional Islamic schooling but he mastered worldly as well as celestial knowledge!Recommend

  • csmann

    Independent,progressive minds have existed in all places and all times,but has always been suppressed and thwarted by the clergy.Europe came out of the shackles over 500 years ago,and progressed.Islam,although with a head start in sciences ,capitulated to the unity and monopoly of clergy,and never came out with a viable resistance against it. It still is struggling ,and unfortunately,losing still,time and again.Recommend

  • Aneeq Fasi

    Among Asad’s followers and admirers are: Tariq Ramadan (Oxford University Professor, listed by TIME Magazine as one of 100 most innovative thinkers), Murad Hofmann (German convert and influential scholar) and Mahathir Mohamed (Malaysian Prime Minister). Recommend

  • SM

    It’s scary to think that this generation is our future. Modern education is based on reasoning and questioning anything and everything, whereby the enquiry itself is based on logic. Recommend

  • faraz


    What has 1935 act to do with it? No, the law ministry prepares the drafts, summaries and proposals; parliament votes on it.Recommend

  • Rayan

    I wish & pray that the teachings of following scholars cloud be implemented in Pakistan some day:

    1) Fazlur Rahman Malik (
    2) Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz (
    3) Allama Muhammad Asad

    People should read and search about their work to get rid of the religious fanaticism we are facing today.Recommend

  • Aalia

    Very well written……at least some one has written about the unsung heroes in our history….good job keep it up !!!Recommend

  • http://na deep

    There was no such thing as a golden age – even in India – despite the Taxila, Nalanda, ashram system, your madarassas etc.

    You are living in the golden age NOW with internet giving you access to the best universities online. Your sister and female relations are enjoying the absolute best time with freedom to learn.

    Stop craving for some imaginary good times – those were times riddled with corrupt leaders, palace intrigues, gender inequalities, slavery and grinding poverty for the peasants. There was no middle class to speak of.

    So appreciate your opportunities and work towards improving the lives of not so privileged pakistanis – don’t give them a regressive system based on gender and religious inequalities.Recommend

  • Osama Sajid

    Its great to see that people are appreciating my effort. As expected, there are some negative comments too. I am not at all an authority on Islamic education system. Actually, I came across Allama Asad by reading a column series of Orya Maqbool Jan. So I decided to inform and educate our educated elite about him, and his ideas. The crux behind this piece was to make Muslims realize that there is no concept of an authoritative figure in Islam, such as priests in Christianity. Why have we appointed Mullas to teach Islam to our children, when we must be doing such things ourselves. Allama Iqbal is my mentor, and I think he has given the best possible definition of a Muslim in this verse:

    Ye Raaz Kisi Ko Nahi Maaloom Ke Momin
    Qaari Nazar Aata Hai, Haqeeqat Mein Hai Quraan

    Having said that, its good that people are at least liking this topic, and commenting their views. Recommend

  • Sane


    You need to correct your knowledge instead of criticizing a very informative blog post. Science and technology nurtured basically in madressahs in Ummyad and Abbasid time and even in Ottoman.Recommend

  • Pappu

    @ Auther
    “It was only through such schools that we got ‘Ibn-e-Sina’ who mastered in Medicine, ‘Jābir ibn Hayyān’ who changed the world of Chemistry, ‘Omar Khayyam’ a leading personality in the field of Algebra”

    Should we believe that all Scientific inventions, discoveries done by westerners are through reading and studying Bible and Torah?Recommend

  • Pappu

    @ Author
    “Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Imam Shafi, Imam Malik, and Imam Abu Hanifa who each headed four Islamic schools of thought.”

    Can I ask why we have ” four islamic schools of thought” and ” many many sects”? Does this have to do something with madrassa teachings?Recommend

  • Saim

    Let me put the record straight:

    On the request of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Allama Asad headed the Department of Islamic Reconstruction

    1- There is no evidence of any contact between Quaid and Allama Asad, even Allama Asad himself didn’t mention of any contacts with Quaid let alone assigment of any responsibility.
    2- Allama worked in a department established by Nawab Madot of Govt. of Punjab.
    3- Allama in his book, Home Coming of The Heart, states clearly that the department was established by Punjab Govt and not by Quaid.

    a body made to align Pakistani laws, educational system and governance practices in accordance with the Quran

    4- Making/amending/allignment of constitution is not the responsibility of any individual ever any where. Pakistan’s constituitional assemblty was in place to do its job, no evidence from any document including Allama’s books suggest so that he was working on constitution.
    5- National Educational Policies are also made by Federal bodies. After creation of Pakistan a National Educational Conference was held in Karachi on Nov. 27th where Quaid gave ploicy guidelines for future educational direction, he stressed upon Vocational & Technical Education and not on Medressah Education.
    6- Allama Asad resigned from govt. of Pakistan Job and left Pakistan because he married an American lady Pola and preferred to stay with her as he wrote in his book.

    it was only through such schools that we got ‘Ibn-e-Sina’ who mastered in Medicine, ‘Jābir ibn Hayyān’ who changed the world of Chemistry, ‘Omar Khayyam’ a leading personality in the field of Algebra, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Imam Shafi, Imam Malik, and Imam Abu Hanifa who each headed four Islamic schools of thought.

    All the mentioned names studies in the best schools of their times and not the typical “medrassahs”, are you suggesting that we go back 1000s of years in history and start from there. Just few names and you concluded that the 1000s year old system should be adopted, modern educational system can put forth millions of names who served humnity after studying in those modern institutes from Edison to Einstein to Bill Gates to our very own Abdus Salam.

    Please open your mind and embrace the realities.Recommend

  • AR

    It is indeed an informative blog, to the extent that it brings to wider attention a figure whose contributions to our country have been immense. But to imply that science and philosophical education flourished only at Muslim/Islamic places of learning, in India and across the world, is simply ridiculous, and its not something any sane person would be cool with. Recommend

  • Ahsan

    This guy is impressed by Orya Maqbool Jan; he is bound to produce his opinions as facts… after all; he is impressed by the one who believes natural disasters are a by-product of our sins (Seriously!)

    and ET you published his blog without any fact check… pathetic!Recommend

  • Confused

    @Osama Sajid:

    The crux behind this piece was to make Muslims realize that there is no concept of an authoritative figure in Islam, such as priests in Christianity

    What a confusion…………..did any one get this crux after reading the blog or am too dumb??

    You copy pasted an article of Orya and without knowing the guy Allama Asad you started praising him and developed a case…..Recommend

  • Saad Durrani

    First ‘naturalised’ citizen of Pakistan. Do not bend and twist history for glory.Recommend

  • mind control


    All so called “seculars” shut their eyes to facts. And just say “Quid ki 11 august ki taqrir….”

    Not only the ‘seculars’, the minorities and non-Muslims also keep harping on ‘Qaid ki 11 august ki taqrir..’.

    They should have known their fate from day one.Recommend

  • http://na deep

    Ha ha – you were inspired by an article penned by Orya Maqbool Jan – who is zaid hamid sans the red cap. Seriously get yourself better mentors. Recommend

  • Uza Syed

    So, we finally know who to blame for our confusion. What a sad story about putting a country and its people to search for a future in ancient times and never get there. It’s so unfortunate that people like this author is stuck in the time frame that moved on already a long-long time ago. My request is to just leave us alone with such screwed up philosophy of religious-worldly studies, listen knowledge and education both what you differentiate as ‘Religious and Worldly’ have just one single purpose which is to enlighten our minds and induce enough curiosity to seek knowledge and boldness to ask questions about each and every thing under the Sun and beyond. Recommend

  • Uza Syed

    @Osama Sajid: Listen kiddo, people aren’t so very impressed by your this failed attempt at “informing and educating”. You have tried to misguide people with your own misguided knowledge of what is the purpose of any knowledge, religious or otherwise. Frankly, people seem pretty upset at your this audacity to propagate Orya Maqbool Jan, do you realize, do you ever even think what this Oryas & Zaid Hamids of the land are trying to inflict upon the body politics of our country and our collective ‘world view’ ? Do you realize that these two, with their pseudo academic claims to knowing us and our History, have done more harm than most mullahs could do together.Recommend

  • Jihad Bil-Qalam

    Many thanks for confirming that this blog had no itellectual foundation and was simply a rendition of the revisionist hearsay under an English garb while drawing legitimacy from a reputed academic institution. This article is itself a manifestation why rational sciences and religious teachings shall not be combined under the same roof.Recommend

  • Osama Sajid

    To those who are even denying the existence of the Institute of Islamic Reconstruction, here is a picture proof:

    Secondly, if you people do not want to believe that Quaid even met him or requested him to head DOIR, I can’t do anything about it. But there are a number of other pieces I found stating the same thing. I am pasting links to 3 of them.

    Renowned columnist Dr. Safdar Mehmood wrote ‘Quaid-e-Azam ne Allama Asad ko Pakistani shehriaat ata ki, Inhey Pakistani passport diya aur in se aik aisa mehkama kayim karney ki darkhuqast ki jo Aien-e-Pakistan, Qawaneen, aur Nisaab-e-Taleem ko Islami Asoloun Ke Saanchey Mein Dhaley…’,+Oriya+Maqbool+Jaan+11+April+2012+.gif

    2 “…proper correspondence between the Quaid and Asad was available at the archives in which the latter was asked to come up with recommendations to run the country on Islamic lines.”

    3 “He has close relations with Quaid e Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah due to his effort for Islam.”

    And for those interested in reading more about him, here is a link to some of his lost papers.

    Its actually scary for me that the educated class of our country hold such hatred for interference of religion in public life. And why do you people loathe Orya Maqbool Jan? Only because he advises you to pray to Allah and ask for His forgiveness in times of such despair? And btw, I did not say that Orya is my mentor. Allama Iqbal is. Recommend

  • Sa


    Don’t compare Madrassa with Taxila. Apart from difference of many centuries in the universities of taxila and the establishment of madrases in the Sub-continent, they belong different educational traditions. Madrassas in India were modelled on Madrassah-i-Nizamiya of Baghdad.
    Madrassah Rahimiya, a renowned institution, regressed in one sense: it laid emphasis on Hadith and became the primary seat of learning for Hadith in India and so was more literalist.
    Warren Hastings is not responsible for separation of secular and religious subjects. It was the cataclysmic event of 1857 that changed the power game in the subcontinent. Madrassa graduates, specialising in jurisprudence, logic, Arabic grammar, medicine, Astronomy, were no longer required by Indian Civil Services. Dars-i-Nizami, codified by Maulan Nizam ud Din Sihalvi in the early 18th century, with its emphasis on legal sciences, was changed in the aftermath of 1857 and included more courses on Hadith and Tafseer.

  • amna

    i have read Muhammad Asad’s brilliant book..the Road to epic tale of a spiritual awakening and journey..this article has reminded me to go through it once more!

    Islam is the source of all knowledge…telling us this whole world..its physical laws..are all a creation of Allah..and to study them to benefit mankind is an act of Ibadah(worship)…this was the premise on which our forefathers used the divine commandments to make inroads into all branches of science…..their inspiration was the Quran!and this was the vision that illuminated the paths of our eminent scholars like Allama Muhammad Asad..Allama iqbal and sir Syed ahmed khan !Recommend

  • Adil Uddin

    @Osama Sajid:

    I bet likes of Orya Maqbool Jan and Zaid Hamid haven’t read the works and ideas of modernists like Assad properly themselves. Just to let you know that Allama Iqbal and Sir Syed Ahmed Khan had also become a target of fatwas by mainstream clerics of Muslims. And the way Ghulam Ahmed Pervaiz and his legacy got censored in our textbooks, it clearly shows how Pakistan got hijacked. Recommend

  • Adil Uddin


    You spoke my mind but even in present day scenario when we have got tens of private channels in Pakistan, not a single religious or mainstream show bothers to talk about the three legendary scholars. In Ramzan transmissions; many models, actors, sportsmen, singers and anchors gathered so much crowd and ratings on their respective channels but still no mention about the three modernists you talk about.
    Looks like our media outlets have got enough time to invite controversial and hatemongering figures in their shows, they can show coverage to extremist outfits, and can also give likes of Amir Liaquat Hussain , Maya Khan and Veena Malik the authority to teach us about being a good Muslim.Recommend

  • Rashid

    The blogger writes, “Allama Muhammd Asad: The First Citizen of Pakistan, the man who was awarded first Pakistani passport.” It is truly a news for me. I have never heard of the term first citizen used for a person who gets his (or any other nation’s passport) first of all other citizens of any partcular country. Generally this term is reserved only for the serving Executive of a country or his family, I. E., first Hamilton, First Lady or first citizen. Can this term be used for a foreigner who gets the first opportunity to get the passport of that country?Recommend

  • Ali

    It is factually incorrect to say that Asad was the first citizen of Pakistan. Pakistan’s citizenship laws were not drafted and approved till early 1950s. Asad claims to be the first recipient of a Pakistani passport but that too happened in early 1950s. Check his autobiography where he has mentioned the circumstances which led to all this.Recommend

  • mind control

    @Osama Sajid:

    And why do you people loathe Orya Maqbool Jan? Only because he advises you to pray to Allah and ask for His forgiveness in times of such despair?

    And what does Mr Oraya Maqbool Jan suggest about this?

  • Saim

    @Osama Sajid:

    Osama, all references are again not authoritative none from official archives, Jinnah papers, any published letter/correspondence from Quaid to Asad, even no mention of any links let alone assignment of said work by Quaid in his own books. Why you insisting. The department he was working for was established by Nawab Mamdot of Punjab Govt. Please read his own book before making any case.

    All references copy each other just like Orya copied one and you copied Orya so that doesn’t mean there are two authoritative references. Please !Recommend

  • Aloo parantha

    @ Author

    The links you’ve provided are not standard references. Being an educated person-you shoukd know that anyone can put up a website or write a blog. Please check the credentials of the site before providing it as a gold standard for reference and cutting a sorry figure.Recommend

  • Spade

    “proper correspondence between the Quaid and Asad was available at the archives in which the latter was asked to come up with recommendations to run the country on Islamic lines.”

    This bit is completely untrue. There is no correspondence between Jinnah and Asad. Recommend

  • Hassan Riz

    Osama, the greatest of all the scholars was Imam Jafar Sadiq. All the people you have mentioned above including the 4 Imams were the students of Imam Jafar. Yet you failed to mention his name, WHY?Recommend

  • Syed

    He was the man who was awarded the first Pakistani passport on August 14, 1947.

    This line is in complete contrast with your title which states …The first citizen of Pakistan.
    Passports are only issued to citizens of a country and on 14th August 1947, it was not defined as who was a citizen and who wasn’t. The Pakistani citizenship Act 1951, describes who is a Pakistani citizen.
    He might had been issued a British Indian Passport on 14th August with PAKISTAN stamped inside (just like we did with the currency).Recommend

  • kashif

    Our hero is Sir Syed Aahmad Khan. Our priority should be modern education while religious education should be imparted at homes by parents or a clergyman or children may go to a nearby mosque for short lessons but wasting 8 years in a Madrassa and having that outdated education of darse Nizami will be the wastage of time, energy and human resources.

    This is not the time of institutions like Madrasae Rahimya or Deoband. We need more and more universities on the pattern of Ali Garh.I wish the government one day may declare all madrassas in Pakistan as primary or secondary schools.Recommend

  • Pmbm

    Mr Asad published::1; The Message of the Quran, an excellent translation and explanation 2;the road to Mecca, 3; Islam at crossroads,4; This Law of Ours ( includes his speeches on radio Pakistan after partition).5;The principles of state and government in Islam. Most of them after he left Pakistan. All very useful reads for Muslims and others.
    He died in 1993, editions before his death are most authentic, for those interested. Recommend

  • piddler

    I think its not important what he was invited to head nor is it important that he was an Allama- it is important what was the policy of the country was on dual passports. This kid picked up the strangeness of the coincidence that a Jews born in Poland ( then Austrian empire) ended up with a paki passport but did not answer the pak studies 101 question: How did Pakistan assimilate the British Indian passports? Recommend

  • Saeed ur Rehman

    I scrolled down expecting the article writer to be a Jihadi type extremist but Lo and Behold ! he is from Lums. This is not only worrying but also shocking. To think that this kind of mentality has perverted even the students of our nations top universities. Madrissa culture of todays Pakistan teaches Jihad and extremism, both cultural and religious extremism so I think that the writer should do a little bit of research before just loggin in on his laptop at home and jotting down a blog.Recommend

  • Osama Sajid

    It seems that people are more concerned about the pity details of him getting the passport, or whether he, in real technical sense was the first citizen or not. Instead, you people should try to get his philosophy about the education system. Don’t you think that the extreme polarization in our society is a result of such Madrassaz which teach only a selected version of religion? Instead of proposing to take religion out of society, why not integrate it with modern education to get a good blend?Recommend

  • Pmbm

    @ piddler, he was a Muslim when he came to Pakistan from Amritsar in 1947.
    @saeed ur Rehman , Asad’s work should be given importance instead of who the blogger is.It is association with Lums which helped him recognize a true scholar and researcher.
    @Osama Sajid, that should be the way, sir.Recommend