Reason says,

“The six directions of space, these are a limit, there is no way out.”


Ecstatic Love says,

“There is a way out and I have gone beyond many-a-time!”

1. Nisaab Hast o Neest

Two Year Program

An Immersive Journey in Traditional Wisdom, Culture & Art

Nisaab Two Year Program

is scheduled to begin Friday 30th August 2019

Application Deadline is 23rd August 2019

The Context


‘And be ye not like those who forgot Allah, and He made them forget their own souls!...’

Quran- 59:19


Pakistan is heir to very rich artistic, intellectual, spiritual and literary traditions which are for the most part absent from mainstream education. Similarly we are a multi-cultural, multi-religious, multi-lingual society, but alas this diversity is again totally missing from our societal and educational discourse.


The first element – the artistic & intellectual heritage – was sacrificed at the altar of ‘progress’ and ‘development’. While the second diversity was sacrificed at the altar of ‘nationalism’, forgetting that no nation can be built on a root-less and solely ‘functional’ education and that the real strength of a ‘federation’ is in the strength of its federating units.


Coupled with the above glaring gaps in our societal and educational discourse, is the presence in Pakistani society of what can perhaps best be described as an uneasy intersection between the two currents of Modernity and Tradition or the Colonial and the Pre-colonial.

The tensions generated between these often competing currents and the accompanying crisis of identity which we face as a nation is, to a great extent, a result of our being ill-informed of the deeper philosophical and epistemological underpinnings of both Modernity and Tradition. As a result, Tradition is seen as a matter of faith, identity and values. While on the other hand Modernity, which is philosophically based upon quite a different set of ideas and values, is seen simply as the natural and inevitable result of the process of history.

Thus instead of the spirit of our tradition animating our actions and defining our goals, it is the desire for the fruits of Modernity which drives our actions and societal goals.

Vision & Introduction

The word ‘Tradition’ used in the title of the present course (as also in the description of the Hast-o-Neest Institute), is not used in the everyday sense of signifying something connected to the past. Here the word ‘Tradition’ is used in a particular sense, where it signifies a sacred ‘world-view’, according to which both Nature and Man are seen as having their roots in and as manifestations of a Divine Source. It is this world-view derived from Revelation and the teachings of the Prophets and the Saints, which underlies traditional Wisdom, Culture & Art.

It is our belief and conviction – based on the teachings of the wisdom-tradition – that the multiple crises faced by Pakistan today and the many crises the world faces are at root the result of having forgotten and ignored the teachings of ‘traditional wisdom, culture & art’. In a word, ignoring the reality of what man is, what the world is and what God or Ultimate Reality is.

What this course offers

(i) Modernity - History, Worldview & Culture, where the current dominant modernist/materialist views of reality and humanity are studied and discussed.

(ii) Introduction to Traditional Art & Architecture, including calligraphy, music, miniature painting, Islamic geometric design, illumination and architecture. In year two students will choose from one of these as an immersive and potentially transformative practice.

(iii) The Traditional World of Islam where we look at its main aspects of Quran, Theology, Philosophy, Spirituality and how they underpin Art and Culture.

(iv) Introduction to Classical Farsi and Arabic as the two basic languages to access the vast cultural and intellectual world of our civilisation. In year two students can choose to study representative texts from either one of these.

(v) Metaphysics, Cosmology, Spirituality & Ethics. and how these are applied to various domains of traditional thought and action – including the Arts, Architecture and the Sciences.

(vi) Peoples, Cultures & Languages of Pakistan focusing on Pakistan’s rich human and cultural landscape, necessary for any Pakistani's self understanding, identity and pride.

(vii) Social Application, is the engagement of its students in constructive social interventions and service, based on what they learn, research and analyse.

(ix) A Thesis Project/Research chosen by the student from within the areas of study.

For whom

This course is aimed at individuals – lay persons, teachers, professionals, artists, designers and architects -- who feel the need to further their understanding and practice of tradition in a contemporary context.


Interested applicants should send in their names, cell number and email address to hast.o.neest@gmail.com with a short paragraph sharing their reason for joining this program, and what they hope to gain in two years.

An interview will thereafter be held of the applicant for final selection to the two year program.

Online students can apply for the theory and/or language sessions only.

Queries can be forwarded on hast.o.neest@gmail.com/0300 8493170


Academic Qualification: Intermediate (Minimum)

Age: 18 Years +

Language: Urdu, English

Selection Interview of Interested Applicants

Program Fee & Payment:

Nisaab Two Year Program MONTHLY Fee: PKR. 6000 (Pak Rupees Six Thousand per month). 

Full term fees is to be paid by the 10th of the first month of each Term. The payment can be made by cash or crossed cheque in the name of the trust 'Baytunur'. 


Hast o Neest Institute of Traditional Studies & Arts

3, Iftikhar Ahmed Malik Road, Shariff Colony, Canal Park,

Gulberg II, Lahore, Pakistan.

Online Distance Learning at Hastoneest

- Students from other cities will join in the program via Skype. Support instructions for smooth connectivity will be shared.

- Time differences will be worked out around the mentioned schedule, and adjusted with the class students and teachers in mind. 

- Reading and reference material, including supporting uploaded class recordings will shared via Dropbox/Whatsapp.

- Reminders and intimations of sessions, timings, group meetings etc. will be shared via a whatsapp group.

Forests - Untitled Page (5).jpeg
Badshahi Qalibkari.jpg

(Only Languages and Theory is offered online)

Program Outline

The program is a balance

of an introductory and in depth study of 

i) Theory, ii) Language, iii) Art & iv) Social Application Projects


  1. Modernity: History, Wordview & Culture

  2. The Traditional World of Islam

  3. Metaphysics, Cosmology, Spirituality Ethics

  4. Peoples, Cultures & Languages of Pakistan

Language (Classical) 

  1. Language 01 – Farsi

  2. Language 02 - Arabic

Arts (Traditional)

  1. Calligraphy

  2. Islamic Geometric Patterns

  3. Manuscript Illumination

  4. Islamic Architecture

  5. Mughal & Persian Miniature Painting

  6. Classical Music: Vocals and Instrument

Social Application Project

Research, Analysis, Project Design & Implementation on areas as 

Education, Health, Heritage that impact a larger community or society as a whole.  

Scheme of Studies:


The Nisab/Course consists of a total of Four Terms:

Term 01: September 2019 – December 2019

Term 02: January - May 2020

Term 03: August 2020 – December 2020

Term 04: January - May 2021

There would be 3 courses per term for the first three terms and one course plus a thesis (research and/or project) in the fourth term. There would be three days of teaching per week, with 1.5 to 3 hours of teaching per day.


Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays : 5: 30 to 8:30 pm

List of Courses:

  1. Modernity: History, Wordview & Culture

  2. Language 01 – Farsi

  3. Introduction to Traditional Art & Architecture

  4. Metaphysics, Cosmology, Spirituality & Ethics

  5. Language 02 - Arabic

  6. The Traditional World of Islam

  7. Art Apprenticeship

  8. Peoples, Cultures & Languages of Pakistan

  9. Thesis

  10. Social Application Project


Coursework Credit-Hours


Term 01:

  1. Modernity - History, Worldview & Culture                 3

  2. Language 01 – Farsi Level - I                                   3         

  3. Introduction to Traditional Art & Architecture - I          3

Term 02: 

  1. The Traditional World of Islam                                 3

  2. Language 02 – Arabic Level - I                                3

  3. Introduction to Traditional Art & Architecture - II         3

Term 03: 

  1. Metaphysics, Cosmology, Spirituality & Ethics          3

  2. Language Level II – Arabic or Farsi                          3

  3. Art Apprenticeship (Selected by Student)                  3

Term 04: 

  1. Peoples, Cultures & Languages of Pakistan                  3

  2. Thesis                                                                     6

  1. Social Service Project                                               6

(Continues throughout the duration of the program

at 1.5 Cr Hrs per term)

Total Credit- Hours                                                        42

Venue: Hast o Neest Institute of Traditional Studies & Arts

3, Iftikhar Ahmed Malik Road, Shariff Colony, Canal Park,

Gulberg II, Lahore


Taimoor Khan Mumtaz: MA PRASADA, Leicester, UK; BArch NCA Lahore. Taimoor Khan Mumtaz practices architecture in Lahore, and teaches metaphysics, geometry and Islamic Architecture at Hastoneest and various other institutes. View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cdCwvrK5ng.

Syed Uzair Abdullah Qadri: A traditional scholar of Arabic, Quranic Exegesis, Philosophy and Mysticism, Uzair Abdullah teaches at various madaris of Punjab. Listen to a Lecture

Hamid Reza Fazil: A traditional religious scholar of Arabic, Quranic Exegesis and Islamic Law with special interest in philosophy & metaphysics. Listen to a Lecture

Dr. Syed Rizwan Zamir: Ph.D. University of Virginia. B.A . James Madison University. Area of Islamic studies, specializing in Islamic thought and spirituality. He is currently an Associate Professor at Davidson College, NC, USA.

"Sharing my intellectual journey with others and developing new courses is a source of immense joy for me. I have developed and shared 15 courses in Islamic and religious studies. My Islamic studies courses range from overviews of Islamic life to specialized topics such as mystical life and thought, comparative study of Sunni and Shiite traditions, eschatology, literary texts and encounters of Islamic civilization with Western modernity."

Listen to a Lecture

Kamil Khan Mumtaz: Kamil Khan Mumtaz is a Pakistani architect in private practice in Lahore. He was trained at the Architectural Association, London in the 1960's after which he returned to Pakistan to practice and teach. He was head of the of the National College of Arts, Lahore between 1966-1975. He has been a memebr of several architecture juries and has widely lectured in Europe and Asia. In 1985, he authored Architecture in Pakistan, a Concept Media Publication.

Dr. Murad Khan Mumtaz: Murad Khan Mumtaz is an artist and researcher, teaching at Williams College, Massachusetts. He graduated with a BFA from the National College of Arts, Lahore, in 2003, completed an MFA at Columbia University in 2010 & PhD in South Asian Art History from the University of Virginia in 2018.

Dr. Amjad Waheed: Ph.D.Comparative Civilizations University of Punjab. Ex - Director School of Advanced Studies, UMT, Lahore.

Listen to a Lecture

Dr. Fuad Naeem: Ph. D. in Theological & Religious Studies, MA History of Religions, George Washington University.  His dissertation research focused on the nineteenth century Muslim scholar and theologian Muhammad Qasim Nanautvi, founder of the influential school of Deoband, his particpation in religious debate and dialogue between Muslims, Christians, and Hindus in South Asia and the transformations and reconfigurations of Islamic scholarly traditions in the modern period. His interests include Islamic intellectual traditions in South Asia, Muslim encounters with religious others, Islam and modernity, the Qur'an and its exegesis, and Islamic philosophy, theology, and esoteric traditions. 

Ali Galestan: Ali Galestan grew up in Germany and the United States before pursuing his undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia, selecting two interdisciplinary fields of study: Neuroscience and Religious Studies. He then pursued graduate studies at The University of Toronto and the University of Virginia, where he examined the inter-relation between ethics, philosophy, science, language and literature, religious studies, mystical theology, intellectual history, and tradition and modernity, among other things.


Since 2010, he has been living in Germany , where he has taught a number of language and communication courses at the university level. He is driven by one question: "What does it mean to be truly and fully human?"

Dr. Waleed Ansari: Dr. Waleed El-Ansary is university chair in Islamic studies at Xavier University, where he teaches courses on comparative religion, Islamic studies, and religion and science. His research focuses on the intersection of religion, science, and economics. His numerous publications include “Islamic Environmental Economics and the Three Dimensions of Islam” in his co-edited volume Muslim and Christian Understanding: Theory and Application of A Common Word (2010, with David Linnan). 

El-Ansary holds a Ph.D. in Islamic and religious studies from George Washington University.

Syed Rehan GIllani: Syed Muhammad Rehan-ul-Hasan Gilani is currently pursuing his PhD. in Islamic Studies from the University of Lahore. He has secured Gold Medal in Ash-Shahadatul-Aalamiyyah Fil Uloom Al-Arabiyyah wal-Islamiyyah and 1st Position in BS (Hons) Arabic from Minhaj University Lahore. He is also Adeeb Arabi and Alim Arabi from Darul-Uloom Muhammadiah Ghosiah, Bhera. His fields of interest include studies on Molana Rumi, Allama Iqbal, Said Nursi, Naat and Ilahiyat (Islamic Philosophy).

Listen to a Lecture

Qasim Jafri: Qasim Jafri is by profession the Chief Executive Officer at Imperium Hospitality Limited, but his passion and study of Urdu, Farsi literature and poetry has continued parallel to his professional career. He initiated and conducts the open Urdu & Farsi poetry sittings at Hastoneest for the past five years. He is also a calligraphy student of Sajid Naqvi sahib.

Listen to a Lecture

Muslim Shaggan: Muslim Hassan Shaggan, is the 20 year old disciple and grandson of the late legendary Ustad Ghulam Hassan Shaggant. He teaches classical vocals to a handful of students at Hastoneest. He performed Raag Malkauns, supported by his uncle Qadir Ali Shaggan on 19th February 2015 at Hast o Neest, Lahore under the Lahore Music Forum banner. The performance was sentimental for the fact that it was the first performance of the duo, a couple of weeks after the passing away of Ustad Ghulam Hassan Shaggan. Accompanying Muslim Shaggan are Ustad Shabbir Hussain Jhari Khan (Tabla), Zohaib Hassan (Sarangi), Khairat Ali (Harmonium) and Ghulam Sabir (Tanpura). Listen to a Performance

Dr. Qaiser Shahzad: 2011 Ph. D. Department of Philosophy, Punjab University (Dissertation: A comparative analysis of the cosmological Doctrines of Eriugena and Ibn ‘Arabi.) 2004 M.A. Department of Philosophy, Punjab University (Dissertation: Divine Names as theFoundation of Ethics: A Comparison of Ghazali and Ibn 'Arabi). Dr. Qaiser currently teaches at the International Islamic University, Islamabad as Associate Professor Aqeedah & Philosophy. 

Shaykh Jehangir Mehmud:  Teacher, Teacher-Trainer, Motivational Speaker, Islamic Research Scholar and Educationist in Pakistan. He is the co-founder and Executive Director of the ‘Society for Educational Research’.

Syed Sajid Abbas Naqvi has an Ijazah in Khat-e-Nastaliq from Ustad Irfan Ahmed Khan (President Calligraph-Artists’ Guild Pakistan). Sajid Abbas has also studied under Iranian master-calligrapher Ustad Nasir Jawaharpur a former office-bearer of the Anjman-e-Khushnawisan-e-Iran

Fyza Noon: BFA Miniature NCA, Lahore. A student of Ustad Bashir Ahmed, she teaches and lectures on miniatures & the Art of the Book at various educational institutions of Lahore. She is also a founder of Hastoneest and teaches the miniature programme at the institute.

Listen to a Lecture

Danish Bashir: Danish Baloch is a philosophy graduate from FC College with an interest in history, literature and the traditional arts. He teaches philosophy and Islamic Geometric Patterns at Hastoneest.

Danish is also a student of classical music, and a member of the Hastoneest Ensemble. 

Azma Salman. Inspired by Shadilli Shuyukh &Turkish art, Azma Salman studied the Art of Illumination-Tezhib from the Princes School of Traditional Arts, London. She now teaches tezhib at various institutions in Lahore.

Listen to a Lecture

Syed Shahabdullah Alamee is a practicing miniature artist based in Lahore who has a number of national and international solo and group shows to his name. He earned his Bachelors in Fine Arts from National College of Arts (NCA), graduating with honors in traditional miniature painting in 2012. Shahabdullah was awarded the "Haji Sharif Prize in Miniature Painting” in 2016. He has also undertaken courses at Isfahan and Tehran in 2010-2011 in Persian Miniature Painting and Calligraphy.

View & Listen to a Studio