World University Rankings
By Sir Cam
Cambridge, England


Ghazy Mujahid e-mails, "The reference to Ramadan takes me back 36 years to 1970 (and 37 Ramadans back) - my first Ramadan in Cambridge. I remember it was the whole month of November. Very short fasts - it amounted to having a slightly early breakfast and missing lunch!!! Iftar was around 5 pm. A few fasts I broke during a weekly South Asia Centre seminar by slipping a chewing gum into my mouth. Little did I know that I would be reminded of the experience by a communication from Cambridge. Thanks CAMDIARY and may the Almighty bless you, all Muslims and the entire humanity with the blessings of this Holy Month of Islam".

THE BEST REMEMBRANCE
Historian Dr M.A.J. Beg e-mails, "The calligraphy on the gate of the Muslim building you have photographed (e-mailed with last CAM DIARY; Wazir Khan Mosque, Lahore) has a sober message: Afdal al-dhikri La ilaha illa Allah Muhammadur Rasulullah, which means ‘the best dhikr (lit. remembrance ) is uttering the credo of Islam: there is no divinity except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of God'. Rightly so. It is the foundation of the Islamic faith. It is also a definition of Islam. Let us remember this always especially in the month of Ramadan for spiritual merit (thawab)".

WAZIR KHAN REMEMBERED
Ilam-ud-Din Ansari, AKA Nawab Wazir Khan, the Governor of Lahore until 1639, during the rule of Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, built the beautifully decorated mosque that goes by his name. Two large Arabic words attract you: Allah and Muhammad. What I like about this calligraphic piece is the detail. Within the large words are further words. In fact, a closer look at the word "Allah" reveals the well-known verse of the throne, ayat al-kursi. It goes, "Allahu la illaha illa hu Wal Hayyul Qayyum..." (There is no God but He, the Living, the Self-subsisting, the Eternal..., Qur'an, 2:255). Beautiful tile work, artwork of a deeply spiritual verse.

CAMBRIDGE IS TOPS
The Guardian paper reported on Oct 5, "Cambridge and Oxford have edged closer to Harvard in the latest world university rankings, securing second and third places respectively in a list dominated by US institutions... Ian Leslie, the pro-vice chancellor for research at Cambridge said: "It is very reassuring that the collegiate systems of Cambridge and Oxford continue to be valued and respected by peers, and that the excellence of teaching and of research at both institutions is reflected in this ranking." Here's a list of the top ten world university rankings 2006: 1. Harvard, 2: Cambridge, 3: Oxford, 4: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 5: Yale, 6: Stanford, 7: California Institute of Technology, 8: University of California, Berkeley, 9: Imperial College London, 10: Princeton.

KK AZIZ REMEMBERED
Prof Mukhtar Chaudhry of Chicago writes, "I am delighted to receive the CAMDIARY and to find that you visited Prof KK Aziz. He is a superb gentleman and I must thank you for sending me his address. I met him and his lovely wife and told them that you provided me their address. They were very much delighted to know that and added that you are like a son to them. What a great honor to be placed in the family of a dedicated couple! By the way, Prof KK Aziz and I went to the same school and share the same teachers in Batala (M.B. High School Batala, Pre-Partition Punjab). When we met in Lahore earlier this year, we talked about the teachers and our shared memories of the past.

PUNJAB EDUCATION FOUNDATION
Former Cambridge man Dr Allah Bakhsh Malik, now the Managing Director of the Punjab Education Foundation (www.pef.edu.pk), Lahore, e-mails to complain why I didn't visit him during my recent visit to Pakistan. Simple! Because of lack of time it was a choice of socializing or visiting the Wazir Khan Mosque and the National College of Arts. Business before pleasure this time! Sorry!

MUSHISTAN
How much more of Pervez Musharraf? How much more of military rule in Pakistan. Musharraf ousted the elected government on October 12, 1999... SEVEN LONG YEARS AGO! Oh, how much more?

KHAKI PRAETORIANISM
Prof Iftikhar H Malik has e-mailed this: "In face of the serious imbalances entrenched by the Pakistani tradition of khaki praetorianism that Musharraf has upheld, his remaining supporters portray him as the symbol of "enlightened moderation". It is a hard case to make in a country where 35% of people live below the poverty line, and where very few analysts believe the premise that (to use a favorite regime dictum) "only the military can contain the mullah".

Indeed, the experience of Musharraf's seven years in power has discredited the military as an agent in the political arena. More and more Pakistanis argue that the army's most progressive role would be to return to the barracks and make way for the only force that can truly prevent the much-feared "Talibanisation" of the country: unfettered democracy backed by
an assertive civil society. While the military projects itself as the only guardian of the state, millions of Pakistanis view it as an interest group whose power serves only to reinforce the country's problems of governance and nationhood..."

ISOC IT TO THEM
Mubarak Dawood of ISOC (www.isoc.co.uk), the University's Islamic Society, reminds us about the virtues of Ramadan: "The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs for the guidance, and the criterion. So whoever of you sights the month, he must fast (2:185)." So this is the first virtue: that it is the month in which Allah sent down His Book. And Allah reminds us that the Qur'an is a guidance for us, and also contains proofs, and is a criterion between right and wrong. The scholars state that the verse indicates that the revelation of the Qur'an during the month of Ramadan is the reason for Ramadan being a month of fasting. This is shown by the word FA (translated above as SO) which here conveys purpose. The revelation is therefore central, in fact essential, to the virtue of this blessed month.


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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