ISLAMABAD – The Higher Education Commission has included a project on Sufism in its Public Sector Development Programme as it plans to set up a Centre of Excellence on Sufism, HEC Chairman Dr Mukhtar Ahmed said Saturday.

HEC Pakistan and National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) organized ‘An Evening with Rumi’ to feature Maulana Jalaluddin Rumi’s Concept of Divine Love and mark the launching ceremony of Bishnau, a book by Dr Aziz Ali Najam, Provost, SPD, NUMS here at the Commission Secretariat.

Dr Mukhtar Ahmed, Chairman HEC was chief guest on the occasion while Lt. Gen. Syed Muhammad Imran Majeed, Vice Chancellor NUMS was the guest of honour. Both the dignitaries formally launched the book.

Addressing the ceremony, Dr Mukhtar Ahmed “I am glad HEC is hosting the launch of first publication from NUMS. The evening with Rumi is an illuminating and enriching experience taking us back into Rumi’s world, he added.”

The Chairman said that Maulana Rumi’s contribution is truly a golden chapter of the illustrious Muslim heritage. He said that his thoughts unfold the mysteries of spiritual world and divine love.

He added that Rumi’s call that the divine love must manifest itself in the love for humanity without discrimination in any form is a beacon of light in the evil darkness of hatred.”

Mukhtar Ahmed said, “We are proud of Dr Najam’s work, as it is the real impact that HEC always talks about.” He announced to send copies of the book to all the 188 public and private sector universities of Pakistan.

Briefing audience on the book, Dr Najam said Bishnau is an introduction to Maulana Rumi’s extraordinary life and his profound work in the form of Masnavi. “The colourful illustrations remind us of Rumi’s times and also help us interpreting his thoughts,” he said adding that Rumi was the best-selling poet in 1990s in the United States.

Lt. Gen. Imran Majeed expressed pleasure on the launch of first publication of NUMS. ” He stressed the significance of reviving the Muslims historic heritage.

Appreciating the content of Dr. Najam’s book, Mr Iftikhar Arif said Dr. Najam has brought to the fore a faithful translation of Rumi’s poetic verses. He regretted the lack of understanding of Persian and urged academia to promote languages which have roots in the Islamic history.

Earlier in his opening remarks, Dr. Arshad Ali said that teachings of Maulana Rumi are relevant for all times, as they preach humanism, love and tolerance. He stressed the need for spreading Rumi’s message all over the world for the well-being of mankind.

The ceremony was attended by Dr Arshad Ali, Executive Director HEC, Sherali S. Jononov, Ambassador of Tajikistan to Pakistan, renowned literary figure Iftikhar Arif, Lt. Gen. Asif Sukhera, Surgeon General, and a large number of faculty members and students.-Online