The age of wisdom

The Punjab government is reported to have banned the study of religions other than Islam and has penalised the principal of a school where study of comparative religions was taught. I suggest that they read this advertisement for the position of Imam of the Grand Mosque in Istanbul at the time of Sultan Suleyman (Khaleefah) who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1520-1566. The candidate was required to have the following qualifications:

• To have mastered the languages of Arabic, Latin, Turkish and Persian.

• To have mastered the Quran, the Bible and the Torah.

• To be a scholar in Shariah and Fiqh.

• To have mastered physics and mathematics up to teaching standard.

• To be a master of chivalry, archery, dueling and the arts of Jihad.

• To be of handsome countenance.

• To have a strong melodious voice.

(Source: Al Ahram newspaper 22nd September 1986, Egypt)

How many religious scholars in today’s Islamic world would qualify for this post?

Shakir Lakhani
Printed in The News, October 1, 2013