“Research is the backbone for any new creation. Be it a new vaccine for Covid-19 or the creation of spacecraft, we as Muslim Ummah and Pakistanis are far behind. We have put the entire responsibility of creative thinking, new inventions, exploring new frontiers, designing new surgical equipment and techniques on the west, and have only become a consumer society. The universities whose job is to “generate and create new knowledge” are only the tool of knowledge dissemination and not creation. Is Islam a progressive religion or a regressive religion and what is our responsibility as a Muslim scientist, a contemporary physician, and as a nation in this competing world”, said Prof. Saeed Akhter, Professor and Chairman of Urology and Transplant Surgery, PAF Hospital, Islamabad.

He was invited by the Ziauddin University as a guest speaker to speak on “Research Ethics and Islam”.  The session was about the concept of research and its ethics in Islam through Quranic examples “people of knowledge and without knowledge cannot be equal”.

Prof. Saeed Akhter’s lecture provided directions for medical research based on his research experience at Yale, Harvard, and other US universities, and his experience over the last fifteen years in establishing medical hospitals and research programs with social objectives.

Prof. Saeed Akhter discussed problem such as the Separation of Islamic Knowledge and Worldly Knowledge. He explains, while saying “Islamic scholars have no idea about contemporary issues and modern sciences; also there seems to be little communication or collaboration between basic scientists and doctors in most of the Islamic world. As a result, there are no genuine relevant and commercially viable research or research products. The vast majority of people with modern understanding are unaware of the complexity of Islam’s teachings”.

“The solution to this problem is to acquire knowledge of both Quranic teachings and contemporary sciences at the same time. Promote research as an essential subject in medical schools, universities, and hospitals with proper funding, also begin to consider and investigate nature, local plants, illness mapping, and remedies in your area, as well as alternative medications, using evidence-based research. Collaboration between clinical and basic scientists should be improved”, he advised.

He also shared with the audience his personal experiences, such as how he wanted to build a machine and how doctors rejected his ideas, despite the fact that he researched and read hundreds of books to make his idea work. There are many nice individuals in the world who are willing to listen to you and your views. Many pupils will approach you with an open mind; simply listen to them and support them.

Prof. Saeed Akhter said “when people ask me what my largest investment in Pakistan is, I tell them it’s the youngsters I’ve trained”.

In his thankyou note, Prof. Dr. Syed Irfan Hyder, Vice-Chancellor of Ziauddin University, appreciated Prof. Saeed Akhtar’s presence and shared the university’s facilities. He also discussed the collected researches our university has done, explaining that as a university, we have people who did research on various categories. He also explained how we need to develop our current research profile, and we will enlist Prof. Saeed Akhter’s assistance for future medical research.

Author

Arshad Yousafzai is a Karachi-based journalist covering Education and Human Rights. He can be reached on Twitter @Arshadyousafzay

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