Online Course in Iqbal Studies
Online courses, including this one, are now being offered on a regular basis. For updates, visit
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Marghdeen Learning Centre
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It would come as a surprise to many that there are hardly any teaching courses in Iqbal Studies as such. Despite the fact that Iqbal Studies has been an acknowledged subject in universities, especially in Pakistan!
Therefore, the online course Introduction to Iqbal Studies is a pioneer in two regards. It’s for the first time that a proper course has been developed to introduce an average learner to the relevance of Iqbal’s message to the world today. Secondly, it’s the first time that such activity is being offered online.
The fee has been kept low to encourage wider participation: PKR1000 (one thousand rupees) for Pakistani students and US$24 (twenty-four US dollars) for overseas.
The course has been designed by Khurram Ali Shafique (whose biography of Iqbal was nominated for the Presidential Iqbal Award recently). It is being offered under the auspices of Educational Resource Development Centre (ERDC) in coordination with Dr. Iqbal Society of North America (DISNA). Academic support has been provided graciously by Iqbal Academy Pakistan.
- Induction: abridged translation of an excerpt from Javid Nama, describing the ultimate ideal that Iqbal desires and foresees for humanity. It is a world where people live inside-out, bodies have become contained in souls rather than the other way round, there is no crime and everybody lives in material and spiritual bliss. Is this world possible? That is the question which is central to any genuine learning in Iqbal Studies, and learners will be encouraged to arrive at their own answers.
- The Conquest of Nature: This is a poem in five segments describing, respectively (a) the birth of Adam; (b) the Devil’s animosity; (c) the Temptation; (b) the sweet challenge of the worldly life; and (e) Adam’s explanation to the Almighty on the Day of Judgment. In five short scenes, the poem gives us a complete overview of the past, present and the future of humanity as Iqbal perceives it. This is the broad outlines in which learners can fill in details as they move along in life and studies, even beyond and after the completion of this course.
- The New Garden of Mystery: Iqbal summarized his philosophy in the form of nine questions that are cross-cutting across all fields of human knowledge – i.e., each of these questions can be answered through any discipline according to the scope of that discipline. Here, the learners will be encouraged to find answers from brief synopses of Iqbal’s works. The aim of this component is to give the learners a handy introduction to all the poetic works of Iqbal and also to show them the nine basic issues that can be used for summing up the entire philosophy of Iqbal – and possibly also the entire range of human knowledge in the present age.
- The Sphere of Moon: This chapter describes the beginning of Iqbal’s spiritual journey in search of immortality under the guidance of the spirit of his mentor, Maulana Rumi, in Javid Nama. On Moon, which is the first stage of the journey, they come across seven visions: (a) the Hindu sage Vishvamitra; (b) the music of Sarosh, the angel who inspires poetic visions; (c) the poetry of Sarosh; (c) the Tablet of Buddha; (d) the Tablet of Zoroaster; (e) the Tablet of Jesus; and (f) the Tablet of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). These visions are brief and engaging introductions to seven cultural forces shaping the human civilization even today. Learners will be encouraged to explore the relevance of these cultural forces, and to develop personal insights about them.
- Application: These concluding lessons facilitate the learners to make some personal action plans in the light of Iqbal’s thought.
The course material comprises mainly of three components: (a) the course manual; (b) videos; and (c) the blog.
- Course Manual will consist of approximately 25 lessons (see “Course Outline” above to get an idea about the contents of these lessons). It will be provided to participants in PDF and MSWord formats. They can take printout and do the activities.
- Videos. There will be a brief video to accompany each lesson. These videos will contain a mini-lecture to go with the lessons given in the manual. They will be uploaded on YouTube for participants to view, and links will be provided (Pakistani students will be provided the course manual as well as videos on a CD).
- Blog/Discussion Group. Each lesson in the manual will lead to an open-ended question involving reflection and thinking from the participants. They will be required to post their answers as "comments" on the official blog of the course, or as posts on their own blogs if they have any. They will be able to choose whether they wish to do it on a daily basis or only once or twice a week. (In case the blog doesn't suite you, you can join an email discussion group).
Q. Would the material be posted at home?
A. You can receive all the course material through the Internet. It will be emailed to you.
Q. If it's online, then why the specific dates?
A. Specific dates for the beginning and end of the course have been assigned mainly for three reasons:
- to ensure that most participants take part in the online discussion around the same time;
- to award a certificate at a specific date (i.e. the end of the course);
- to assign a date when the professional obligation of ERDC and myself comes to an end: if there is no end-date, then we would be obliged to remain engaged for an unlimited time, which might not be feasible.
Q. How will you teach this course? Via some software? What would be the timing (and days in the week) and how many classes?
A. This is how the course will be conducted:
- Participants will be given a course manual consisting of approximately 25 lessons. They can take printouts of activities and do them on paper. These are comprehension activities. The outcome of each lesson will be a reflection, which the participants should post as comments on the official blog of the course (soon to be announced), or as posts on their own blogs, if they have any.
- Many lessons will be accompanied with short videos that will be uploaded on YouTube and can be watched or downloaded by participants. Pakistani participants may also be given these videos on a complimentary VCD.
- The lessons are scheduled in such a manner that the participants can either work daily (for an hour or so), or at their own pace as long as they spend 5 to 7 hours a week on the activities and postings - some participants might be spending time on the course only on weekends, and catching up in that manner.
Under the auspices of Educational Resource Development Centre (ERDC), A-735, Block H, North Nazimabad, Karachi, Pakistan. Email: email@example.com Website: www.erdconline.org
In coordination with Dr. Iqbal Society of North America (DISNA), www.disna.us with academic support from Iqbal Academy Pakistan, www.allamaiqbal.com
- Minimum age limit is 13+ (minors may be asked to take permission from their guardians). Minimum qualification is lower secondary (Grade 8).
- Presently the course is being offered in English only. However, it is designed with special consideration for the difficulties faced by many non-native speakers – we do not want language to become a handicap.
It is a 10-week course offered four times a year. The next session starts on September 5, 2011. Registration close on August 14.
- Foreign applicants: US$ 24 (Twenty-four US dollars) plus postage and handling of the certificate (optional)
- Pakistani applicants: PKR 1000 (Rupees One Thousand)