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Aligarh Muslim University’s Centenary Celebration

English rendering of the address delivered by the Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University, His Holiness Dr Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS on the occasion of Aligarh Muslim University’s Centenary Celebration

December 22, 2020

In the name of Allah, the Most Merciful, the Most Compassionate.

From Him I seek assistance.

All praise be to Allah, and salams upon His chosen devotees. May Allah grace the Prophet Mohammed, his family and his companions with His blessings and salams.

Honourable Prime Minister, Janab Narendra bhai Modi saheb; Union Education Minister, Janab Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank saheb; Pro-Chancellor, Nawab Ibne Saeed Khan of Chatari; Vice-Chancellor, Professor Tariq Mansoor saheb; Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor Zaheeruddin saheb; respected ladies and gentlemen: Salams upon you all and the Almighty’s mercy and blessings as well.

I am greatly pleased that today, once again, I have this opportunity to address you all on this joyous occasion. A number of esteemed guests have joined us today to celebrate the centenary of this educational institute, renowned the world over for its academic contributions: Aligarh Muslim University. From the depths of my heart, I welcome you all.

It brings me great pleasure in knowing that this University has completed a century in the service of our beloved homeland, India. Its students, faculty and administrators have through their hard work and dedication, raised aloft the banners of our country in various fields of arts and sciences and will continue to do so — insha Allah. May the Almighty generously reward the University’s founder, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan for his efforts.

It is also a matter of pride and joy for us all that India’s Honourable Prime Minister, Janab Narendra bhai Modi saheb, has joined us in celebration of AMU’s centenary as Chief Guest. I pray that the Almighty grant him strength in the service of the nation and humanity, and bless him with health and well-being. May our beloved nation of India continue to tread upon the path of success and progress, and may peace, happiness and prosperity reign throughout our country and across the entire world.

Resected guests, the religion of Islam considers education a form of worship. The Prophet Mohammed, Allah’s blessings and salams upon him, has stated, ‘Seeking knowledge is a duty obligated upon every Muslim man and Muslim woman’. He also stated, ‘There are four things that are obligated upon every intelligent and sensible person in my community’. The Prophet was asked what these were. He replied, ‘Attentively listening to knowledge, retaining it, acting in accordance with it and disseminating it’. The first is to listen attentively to all knowledge. The second is to retain the knowledge which one has acquired. And knowledge can only be retained and be beneficial when one acts in accordance with it. Thus, this is the third obligation [for the intelligent and sensible]: that one must always act in accordance with what one has learnt. The fourth is to ensure that the knowledge one has attained reaches others.

Honourable guests, the very purpose of education within the Islamic tradition is to put what one knows into practice and derive innovative solutions to local and global challenges, thereby benefiting the societies within which we live.  An education, which one does not put into practice and with which one does not benefit others — is not an education at all. It is obvious that people of knowledge are responsible for the betterment of all humankind. Knowledge put into practice has the capacity to solve all problems. Knowledge bridges the distances between people and brings together hearts and minds.

Today, in the midst of this global Covid pandemic, the entire world looks to those with knowledge to help rescue it from this unprecedented calamity. In these difficult times, cooperation and unity are essential for ensuring stability within any scientific, economical or social field. The responsibility for fostering this cooperation and harmony rests upon the shoulders of our educational and governmental institutes, which today are discharging this duty with utmost grace and proficiency.

I am grateful for the Almighty’s countless bounties and pray that — by virtue of Imam Husain — He quickly deliver and liberate all humanity from the clutches of the global Covid pandemic, blessing them with prosperity and renewed livelihood. May the Almighty reward doctors, healthcare workers and all those on the frontlines who have helped others in these difficult times. May the efforts of those working towards the cause of vaccination see fruition.

May the Almighty bless this beautiful garden of knowledge and learning with His grace and sustain its verdancy. May He inspire AMU’s students, faculty and administrators to continue to serve the nation and humanity with their academic contributions and technical skills. Indeed, He is the “Hearer of all prayers”, “Near, Ready to answer.”

And our final prayer is “Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the universe.”