Assalaam alaikum WRB.,

I would like to give a brief introduction. I am a 78 year old retired army office with 30 year service and two war experiences. I have been a keen observer of socio-religious developments as also socio-economic and political issues. Working mostly with our non-Muslim brethren in war and peace in the backdrop of my traditional upbringing as a practicing Muslim, I was motivated to go for fresh and deeper study of our scriptures independently with a view to knowing the objective meanings. Even before shedding my uniform I embarked upon a comprehensive, comparative and objective study of the Holy Quran picking up four Urdu and four English language translations and commentaries coving classical and modern era. I took almost 7 years to complete my work verse by verse. I cant capture the discoveries in words. It opened an altogether new vista of spiritual aspect of life impacting my way of thinking and day to day approach to life experiences

I have been a keen follower of serious scholars of Islam since my student days. It got further accentuated as a result of my studies. Your writings have been attracting my attention. I have read all your contributions in Deccan Chronicle with due interest. This mail is a result Fight ISIS in Classrooms published in 29 Jan issue has provoked me in taking this initiate to explore objective interaction.

At present I am a trustee in Indian School of excellence Trust which is running a school for the last ten years. We now have over 750 students. The purpose of the initiative was to provide high standard of scholarship at affordable cost to our kids keeping the doors open to all communities. The uniqueness lies in substantial time devoted to teach Quran over a period of eight years with a view to giving a sound base of religious knowledge. First four years (class I to IV) are devoted to learning tajweed and nazera. Remaining four (class V to VIII) are devoted to take them over a simple Urdu translation with emphasis on prohibited and disliked things.

The trust was set up by Dr. Shah Manzoor Alam, former VC of Kashmir University who was also a visiting professor in KSA. Before the start of school in 2004 he embarked on producing a set of 30 reader-friendly and pocket-friendly monographs in English with a view to providing as authentic knowledge of Islam as humanly possible. I had the privilege of coordinating, editing and even producing some of them. Should be interest to know more, you may visit These monographs were taken with zeal in USA. Feedback has been encouraging as knowledgeable people conveyed to us that serious reader is left more open and moderate with sense of accommodation that before.

I am keen to know a bit more on the methodology you propose for achieving the aim of fighting this menace of un-Islamic, nay, inhuman phenomenon in the name of Islam. This is more a challenge to the faithful than others. Rightly surmised we need to begin at the nursery of knowledge to make a lasting impact to weed out such elements even as the political powers enact their own role of countering it. The phenomenon itself is one of the, may be, unintended result of the selfish political ideology of national interest that cannot be same for all as against human values. If the powerful (weapon manufacturing) nations are serious about freeing the mankind from mad self-destruction they need to simply resolve not to sell any weapon to anyone under any circumstance. I doubt hey will.

Leaving the international community to their own pursuits, we can rebuild our ummah afresh with objective curriculum in our schools. Please dwell on this subject and share the ideas with me. At least I can try something in our school.

Khuda Hafiz.

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